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Parnell Commission Inquiry

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Parnell Commission Inquiry

Post by Karen on Mon 4 Mar 2013 - 21:19

One hundred and thirteenth Day of Proceedings - Friday, October 25, 1889



Mr. Davitt resumed, at the Special Commission today, his speech in justification of his political conduct and in answer to the charges brought against him by the Times. Addressing himself once more to the American part of the case, he said they claimed that the funds of the Land League were drawn from the Irish race, as a race, in all parts of the world, and not from any body or Association as such. He produced and read a large number of resolutions passed by American branches of the League denunciatory of the Phoenix Park murder, the object being to show that, instead of countenancing crime, the League had always spoken in the strongest possible manner against it. He pointed out that counsel on the other side had not credited these pacific utterances with being the cause of a great augmentation of the funds of the League. Indeed, they had entirely placed such sentiments aside, and tried, though unsuccessfully, he contended, to show that every penny that came to England from America was stained with blood, and came from men the sole object of whose existence was to effect by force a separation of Ireland and England. Mr. Davitt read a great batch of extracts from the Irish World to show that at one period of its career it was opposed in the most vehement fashion to the Parnellite Party. In fact, in almost every matter pertaining to Ireland the journal invariably had a policy of its own, independent altogether of any party or organisation.


Mr. Davitt went on to deal with the third indictment preferred against him by the Times - that of bringing about the alleged alliance between the so-called party of violence in America and Mr. Parnell's party in Ireland. He submitted that no evidence had been brought before the Court in support of this charge, except the evidence of Beach. Even this evidence only amounted to this: that Beach saw him in company with Colonel Clingen at a railway depot in Chicago in 1878; and that on a subsequent visit to America he had attended meetings at which Clingen was present. As to Clingen, he was alleged to be a member of the Clan-Na-Gael, but no evidence had been offered to show the character of the meetings. He declared that the alliance he was accused of having brought about the Home Rulers and the Revolutionary Party was never effected. Such an alliance never existed, and he had no authority from Mr. Parnell or any other leader of the Irish Party to make any such alliance!


Coming to the forged letters, Mr. Davitt created quite a sensation in the Court. He delivered his remarks in a low voice, which were listened to with rapt attention. He asserted that the Attorney-General was instructed to, and actually informed another Court, that the Times would not cost what it might, divulge the names of the several persons from whom the letters came, as they knew what would be the terrible effect of such a disclosure. "This," said Mr. Davitt, "was said by Her Majesty's Attorney-General for England at a time when it was actually within the knowledge of Houston and his co-conspirators in the Times office that Pigott was a forger, for it has come to my knowledge, through Pigott's servant, that he confessed to her" -
The President interrupted very hurriedly here. "I can't have any statement of that kind," he exclaimed.
"Very well, my lord," replied Mr. Davitt; "I shall not insist upon it. It will have to be proved elsewhere."


Again Mr. Davitt addressed himself to his task. His next point was as to his association with Mr. Patrick Egan, which dates back to 1877, and is, as Mr. Davitt said, of the most affectionate nature. His association with Mr. Finnerty was next briefly touched upon, Mr. Davitt describing that gentleman's social position, and introducing several personal reminiscences. Dealing again with the evidence of Le Caron - the spy "Beach," as he called him - Mr. Davitt pointed out that that man, like Pigott, had produced documents in the box which he declared to be authentic. "It was on the evidence of these documents, backed by the oath of a man of the infamous profession of a spy, who acknowledged in the witness-box having perjured himself repeatedly, that the Times relied for proof that the Land League and the Clan-Na-Gael was one and the same organisation, and that the dynamite explosions were carried out under the auspices of that organisation." Recurring again to the statement of the Times, that there was an alliance between the two parties, Mr. Davitt pointed out that Beach himself declared that in the deliberations of the secret council of the Clan-Na-Gael, no mention was ever made of such an alliance.
The Court here adjourned for luncheon.


Luncheon over, Mr. Davitt continued his speech. He said he wished to emphasise a fact which had not been emphasised even by the defence - viz., that it was Mr. Parnell, and not himself, who established the Land League in America. In this connection Mr. Davitt referred to some of Mr. Parnell's speeches delivered during his tour in America. He read one delivered by Mr. Parnell, at Madison-square, in New York, and for about an hour and a half dwelt upon Mr. Parnell's visit to America, reading an unlimited number of newspaper extracts to show that Mr. Parnell was welcomed by the most prominent men in America, and that those who held high official positions spoke and presided at his meetings. All this was intended to counteract the statement of counsel for the other side, that members of the Clan-Na-Gael were the leading spirits in the organisation of the meetings Mr. Parnell addressed.
(The report will be continued.)


PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 24. - The Cronin trial began in Chicago today. About 5,000 people desired admission to the Court-room, which was guarded by bailiffs, but only 200 could be admitted. When the Jury were brought in the case was called, and the State's Attorney began his opening address for the prosecution. He described the duties of Jurymen and the Illinois laws governing murder and conspiracy. Describing Dr. Cronin's disappearance, and the finding of the body eighteen days afterwards, he said: - "The State proposes to prove it a murder as the result of conspiracy, and that all the conspirators are liable for the murder. The evidence we shall produce will be that, after Dr. Cronin's disappearance on the night of May 7, nothing was seen or heard of him, excepting as we shall prove. That same hidden hand that worked and moved this conspiracy, that concocted this scheme, was again working in this community to lead people to believe that Dr. Cronin was still alive. That same hidden hand, that same mysterious work upon which the conspiracy rests, in this case was at work trying to make the people of this community believe that Dr. Cronin was not murdered, but was still alive. Not content with having beat out his life, not content with having laid him to rest in a sewer, the same conspirators that brought it about were again at work for the purpose of blasting the character and reputation of the man they had murdered, and until the 22nd day of May people all over this city and country had doubts as to whether the poor man was ever killed."
Describing the motive for the crime, Mr. Longenecker it was necessary to examine the history of the Clan-Na-Gael in this country, reminding the Jury that they were not trying the Clan-Na-Gael, but the prisoners at the bar. Describing the Clan-Na-Gael, he said it was made up of patriotic Irishmen - Irishmen who went into it for political effect, and Irishmen who went into it for the money there was in it. Its object was to free Ireland by force of arms as soon as a favourable opportunity should offer. It declared that the Triangle was supreme; that the oaths of the members made their commands superior to the laws of the nation.
Mr. Forrest, counsel for the defence, objected to this line of statement as inadmissible in default of proof.
Judge M'Connell said he did not know what would be proven; but warned the State's Attorney that he was making these statements at his peril.
The States Attorney said he would prove what he had said, and accepted the responsibility. He proceeded to say that when Sullivan, Feely, and Boland got control of the Executive Board, they changed the plan of work of the organisation, inaugurated a dynamite policy, and implanted in the constitution a clause commanding perfect and unquestioning obedience to the commands of the Board.
The defence took exception to this line of statement.
The State's Attorney then continued, describing the adoption of the Triangle as the symbol of the Executive Board. The membership did not know who constituted the Triangle, so secret was it; but nevertheless they obeyed its orders, and were sent on various special missions in England to carry out active work under assumed names. Notwithstanding the secrecy maintained the men were betrayed by the Board to the English authorities, and two of them, he said, were now in prison. This was, he declared, to enable the Board to steal funds. When at last an allegation was made the Board claimed that the order owed them $13,000, when there was $250,000 in the treasury when they took charge.
At this point the State's Attorney introduced Dr. Cronin in connection with the Order, and proceeded to sketch the history of his fight against the Triangle. He told of Dr. Cronin's expulsion, the subsequent union convention, and the trial of Sullivan, Feely, and Boland by a secret committee, of which Dr. Cronin was a member, in Buffalo in August, 1888. The committee was there in session for days hearing evidence. That evidence, as they had it, would be introduced there. Dr. Cronin took evidence, and fully-witnessed facts were produced to show what they had done in the old country, and what had been done across the water under the direction of this Triangle. All their active work was shown that was all being investigated there, and the committee had not made its report, but Dr. Cronin had taken full notes of that trial committee. He had taken down what each witness had said about certain things. Dr. Cronin insisted that all evidence should be sent out to all camps, but down to the time of Dr. Cronin's death the report had not been sent out. It would have shown that they had not only violated the laws of the Order and of this country, but also those of England, and had robbed the Order of its funds and the men of their liberties. Only a day or two after Dr. Cronin's death, however, the report of the trial was sent out. Dr. Cronin's part of it, however, was rejected, and that part used which accused Dr. Cronin of being a traitor. They would show that all this denunciation of Dr. Cronin was sent out over Alexander Sullivan's signature, and that it was sent out after Dr. Cronin had disappeared and in the belief that his body would never be found. It was not sufficient to make away with Dr. Cronin, but the same unseen hand that regulated this conspiracy in its inception had to make it appear also that Dr. Cronin was a traitor, for if Dr. Cronin had published his evidence against the Triangle, as he was about to do, it meant the ruin of the Triangle with the Irish people. To have it published to all their camps was to convict these men of embezzling the funds that had been accumulating for years. It would have proved them not only violators of the laws of the two countries, but traitors to the cause in which these people had enlisted. Instead of crediting them with doing that which was to benefit poor old Ireland, it would brand them as the worst men on earth among the Irish people. That was the object.
The State's Attorney continued, showing how Coughlin had begun denouncing Dr. Cronin as a spy in February, how Beggs at a certain meeting of Camp 20 had said that Dr. Cronin's denunciation of Sullivan and the Triangle had to be stopped, if it took blood. Finally, after several weeks' delay, Beggs, as guardian of Camp 20, announced that the charges against the Triangle would have to be investigated. Next day the flat at No. 117, Clark-street, was rented, the trunk and furniture, which were afterwards moved to Carlson Cottage, were bought, and preparations begun for the murder.
The State's Attorney then went on to describe at length the plot and execution of the murder, as heretofore told.

Source: The Echo, Friday October 25, 1889, Page 3

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

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