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Parnell Commission Inquiry

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Parnell Commission Inquiry

Post by Karen on Wed 6 Mar 2013 - 4:35


When he resumed his speech this morning, Sir Henry James had among his listeners Mr. Lockwood. This is the first time Mr. Lockwood has appeared since the memorable occasion when he, with other counsel for the Parnellites, threw up the case and marched out of the Court. Mr. Lockwood, who was not in his wig and gown, took his old seat on the Q.C.'s bench, and a few moments later was joined by Mr. Reid.
Sir Henry James discussed for a long time the American tour of Mr. Davitt. He asserted that Mr. Davitt was received or entertained by trustees of the "Skirmishing Fund," the objects of which were the destruction of life and property. It was with men of such calibre as these that he associated for the purpose of forming a movement - a constitutional movement it was called - for redressing the wrongs of the Irish people. He submitted that Mr. Davitt knew of the objects of these men, and knew also of the "Skirmishing Fund."


What, asked Sir Henry James, was it that Mr. Davitt proposed in obtaining these allies? He had candidly avowed the object he had in view. The abolition of landlordism he regarded as a stepping-stone to another object, and expressed his belief in the national independence of Ireland, and wished he could obtain it tomorrow. Counsel ridiculed the idea of the League presented by Sir Charles Russell and Mr. Reid - a charitable, soup-distributing institution - and thought Mr. Davitt must have laughed in his sleeve when he heard it so described. As to the American cablegram, Mr. Parnell had denied that he ever received it, he was bound to accept that denial; but the importance of the document lay in the fact that it represented the view of the Nationalists in America. Then came a lengthy reference to Mr. Davitt's association with John Devoy. The latter, said Sir Henry, came to this country for the express purpose, as he himself admitted, of organising and arming a force to fight against England. He was thus guilty of high treason, and at that very time, they had proved, he was acting in concert, for some purposes at least, with Mr. Davitt. This man, Devoy, had taken a prominent part in the conduct of the affairs of the League, and it was established that he was a Fenian, and also a trustee of the "Skirmishing Fund." Sir Henry proceeded to describe the objects of the Land League, which, he contended, aimed at the total separation of the two countries. He quoted several speeches by leaders of the movement in support of this view of the case. This proceeding occupied Sir Henry till ten minutes past one, when the Court rose for luncheon.

Upon resuming, Sir Henry, continuing his speech, said that what Mr. Davitt was thinking of when he laid the foundation of the Land League was the attainment of a political object, and he set about, in his own way, to reach that object. He could not help thinking, looking at the social condition of the people when the League was started, that if bad feeling had been allowed to die away with it social disorder would have gone to its death, whereas it was fostered by those who became the leaders of the new political movement, and grew into even greater dimensions.


Speaking of the Irishtown meeting, Sir Henry endeavoured to show that John Devoy was the leading spirit in that gathering. He pointed to the letter Devoy wrote some time afterwards showing that each of the resolutions submitted at the meeting was placed before him before being proposed. Devoy was not, Sir Henry presumed, going to commit acts of treason or treason-felony without some guarantee that the objects he sought might be attained. Having read the resolutions, counsel referred to the Westport meeting in 1879, which he said was an important one, as that was the first time Mr. Parnell appeared on the scene.
(The report will be continued.)


As there was some misapprehension in Court, which may, therefore, correspondingly prevail outside, concerning one of the closing references of Mr. Davitt, which secured the intervention of the Attorney-General, the London Correspondent of the Birmingham Post explains what was really meant. The manner in which the matter was referred to left the impression that the "Invincible" convict Delaney had recently written a letter regarding the evidence he gave before the Commission for the Times. This is not so - Mr. Davitt's reference having been to a letter, alleged in the Irish Press some time ago to have been sent by Delaney to the authorities, petitioning to be set at liberty in recompense for the testimony he had brought forward. The Attorney-General's objection rested upon the fact that the authenticity of any such communication had not been proved in evidence; and his whispered contention, therefore, that reference to it was not admissible in a closing speech, was perfectly within his right.


Mr. Davitt's pathetic reference to Miss Burke's attendance on Joe Brady before his execution must be disallowed. Mr. Burke had but one sister, the lady who kept his house; and the London Correspondent of the Manchester Guardian is informed on unimpeachable authority that she was not in Ireland at the time referred to in Mr. Davitt's speech. Brady was, in his last days, visited by a lady, a Roman Catholic Sister of Mercy, whose name, the Correspondent is told, is Curwen, and who is related to Mr. Burke's family.


The report of the Parnell Commission, writes the Leeds Mercury London Correspondent, will, it is expected, be ready before Christmas, and will, in any event, be presented before Parliament meets. In a sense, the report has been in existence for some time. The facts proved before the Commission have been arranged, and the general deductions suggested by the evidence have been prepared; but the report which the Judges are to make as to their own conclusions has not yet been settled. That will, of course, not be decided, till the case is concluded, but as the Judges have the whole facts at their finger ends they will not take long to come to their conclusions, and place them in a clear and definite form.

Source: The Echo, Friday November 1, 1889, Page 3

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

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