Face of Winifred May Davies
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Parnell Commission Inquiry

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Parnell Commission Inquiry

Post by Karen on Tue 5 Mar 2013 - 10:11

One hundred and fourteenth Day of Proceedings - Tuesday, October 29, 1889


When the Parnell Commission resumed this morning there was a rather larger attendance of the general public. Indeed, no less than one hundred and fifty gallery tickets were issued for the day. As many as a hundred have been issued for each day this week.


Mr. Davitt resumed his speech, prefacing it with a resume of the points touched upon on Friday afternoon. He then proceeded with his references to the American portion of the case, particularly dwelling upon the evidence of Le Caron and his descriptions of the secret conclaves - under-currents, as it were - of the innumerable conventions held in various parts of the United States. Several speeches he delivered in America were briefly touched upon, short extracts, showing the pacific nature of the utterances, being emphasised. He contended that throughout his American tour he said nothing that was not thoroughly constitutional, and said of "Parnellism and Crime" that it was a "catechism for liars and forgers." He read a list of names of gentlemen with whom he was brought in contact in America, notably those who were alleged to have been engaged with him in concocting murderous designs. These gentlemen, he said, held influential social positions and were and had always been above suspicion. One of the most remarkable incidents in the case in this connection was that the Times, in making this accusation, quoted the names of several persons and altogether omitted mention of several others who were men of great eminence.


Here Mr. Davitt made a somewhat serious charge against the Times. There had, it seems, been a Joe Brady anniversary in some part of America, and amongst those who attended it was a P.B. Egan. In "Parnellism and Crime" the second initial was dropped, and thus the public were led to believe, according to Mr. Davitt, that this was Patrick Egan, who, Mr. Davitt pointed out, was now United States Minister to Chili. But in fairness to the Attorney-General, Mr. Davitt wished to say that when the incident was pointed out to him he frankly withdrew the charge and apologised. It was a mistake on the part of the Attorney-General, but it was, he declared, designed moral assassination by the Times. It had gone the round of the world that Patrick Egan was present at a Brady celebration, and the Times had never thought fit to offer a contradiction. This, he said, was only one example of the jumble of misrepresentation in which the Times had indulged.


Then Mr. Davitt directed his speech to a consideration of the Parnellite association with the Clan-Na-Gael in America. Mr. Davitt argued at length that the Clan-Na-Gael, being a legal association, the League could not refuse to recognise elected delegates because they belonged to the Clan. Prince Bismarck said he sat in the German Reichstag by virtue of exactly the same right as a Revolutionary Socialist; and a Convention must be judged, not by the view of an extreme minority, but by its own corporate action as expressed by the votes of its own overwhelming majority. That majority was, in the case of the Conventions, composed of the Conservative Nationalists, and he asserted that in not a single instance had any man been elected to any position save as a supporter of Mr. Parnell. In concluding his reference to the American portion of the case, Mr. Davitt contended that the Times had utterly failed to show that he had brought about, or that there was, an alliance between the Clan-Na-Gael and the Land League of Ireland.


Turning from the American part of the question, Mr. Davitt entered on a disquisition upon the history of the Irish land question. He went back to 1850, or thereabouts, with the object of showing that but for bad legislation the Irish land agitation would never have assumed its present acute phase.
Here Sir James Hannen interrupted. He pointed out that the question which really lay to the Court to determine was not whether there had or had not been bad legislation, but whether certain people had endeavoured by certain methods which were not constitutional to bring about certain ends.
Then followed a very interesting incident - the President, with extreme courtesy, pressing the point that they did not desire to sit upon the legislature either of this or any other time, Mr. Davitt quite as courteously rejoining that he did not wish to foist upon their Lordships anything that might be unnecessary or likely to cause a further extension of the sittings of the Court. So Mr. Davitt abandoned his point, and, as he said subsequently, confiscated a great portion of his speech "in deference to the wise ruling of your lordships."


Then came a long reference to articles in the Times speaking approvingly of the conduct of the Irish peasantry during the famine and in previous and subsequent years. In an impressive tone Mr. Davitt here referred to his earlier years and the incidents of misery with which they were marked. He remembered, he said, when he was, with his mother and father, turned out of his home, how the home was afterwards burned, and how the authorities at the neighbouring workhouse would not allow them to enter, because the mother would not submit to one of the rigorous rules of that home of misery and degradation. These incidents, he said, were not calculated to cause him to look with any regard upon Irish landlordism.
Soon afterwards the Court adjourned for luncheon.


Upon resuming, Mr. Davitt dwelt upon the Miltown agitation, which, it had been alleged, came about as part of the Fenian and I.R.B. programme. This he denied, saying that the Irishtown meeting was accidental rather than anything else. He submitted that the statement that Scrab Nally and the man P.J. Gordon were organisers of the Land League had been proved without foundation.
(The report will be continued.)

Source: The Echo, Tuesday October 29, 1889, Page 3

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

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