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Parnell Commission Inquiry

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Parnell Commission Inquiry

Post by Karen on Thu 7 Mar 2013 - 0:48


For the first time since the Court settled down to listen to speeches a witness was called this morning. His evidence was not of any particular moment. It dealt entirely with questions of account.
Mr. Wm. George Sill, from the old Broad-street centre of the National Bank, who described himself as the secretary of the Bank, was questioned by the Attorney-General about the accounts of persons charged in the Dublin branch of the bank. Mr. Sill asserted he could not then give any account of them, for he was not intimately associated with that branch. He was asked and promised to provide to Mr. Cunynghame or Mr. Soames particulars of the accounts in the Dublin Branch of any persons charged in the year 1885, and particulars of accounts in the other Irish branches from 1882 to 1886 inclusive.


Mr. Biggar reminded the Court of the undertaking that no accounts of a personal nature should be examined or divulged. If they were, by some legerdemain on the part of Mr. Soames -
The President (interrupting warmly) - No, no, Mr. Biggar; don't use that word. You must state your case without such offensive personal observations.
Mr. Biggar - Well, my Lord, all I can say is, that with regard to some accounts, they have been examined even when they have been of a purely private character. I submit that Mr. Cunynghame alone should be allowed to see them, and not Mr. Soames, who, of course, represents a political opposing party.
The President pointed out that it was necessary that somebody should be present to assist Mr. Cunynghame, and suggested that Mr. Biggar should accompany him and prevent the examination of private matters.
The Attorney-General denied all knowledge of attempts to examine private accounts.
The President declared no such attempt had come to his notice. Indeed, so far the whole matter had been treated with great liberality.
Mr. Biggar - Why, the questions put to this witness referred to private accounts, and nothing else.
The President - All I can say is that, whenever any attempt has been made to pry into private matters it has been stopped by us.


Here the matter dropped, the witness left the box, and Sir Henry James resumed his speech, taking up his arguments concerning the acquisition of newspapers in Ireland by the Nationalist Party for the promulgation of its views. Dealing with the purchase of the Irishman from Pigott by Mr. Parnell and some of his colleagues, he produced one of the articles that appeared in its columns just after the purchase, which declared that there would be no deviation from its former course, and no alteration of its policy. He submitted that the persons engaged in the purchase of the paper were responsible for its articles, and especially that of Mr. O'Brien, the accredited editor and publisher, must be so regarded. Describing these articles, he adopted the expression of Archbishop Walsh, that they were of an "abominable character" - abominable because they were written solely for the purpose of inciting people to the commission of crimes.


Counsel next moved to the incidents surrounding the purchase of United Ireland, and the work of Mr. W. O'Brien in connection with that journal. He read several extracts from articles in its columns which he contended amounted to incitements to crime, and submitted that Mr. O'Brien and his colleagues - those who were acting with him in Parliament - were responsible for them, and the events which followed them. He paused for some time to consider the remarks appearing in United Ireland anent the Phoenix Park murders. Among these was a sentence from the letter of a correspondent, which ran, "The Strangling Commission is over, and honest Dan Curley is killed by the British Government"; and a series of paragraphs headed, "Prayers for the Brave Ones," meaning the Park murderers. Speaking of the Irish World, Sir Henry said the general tendency of the articles in its columns was to show the tenants that the commission of crime was a virtue. From this point counsel went on to consider the attempts made to frustrate justice - as he alleged - on the part of the leaders of the Land League, and those who were bound to submit to them. He mentioned, in this connection, the attempts to disaffect the police, the refusal to give any information, the intimidation brought to bear upon Jurors, and the systematic defence of prisoners, whether guilty or innocent, if these prisoners had committed agrarian crimes when carrying out the edicts of the League. Dealing with the latter point first, he said it was a sad feature in the case that a prominent Member of Parliament, Mr. Biggar, should have promised a people who had not committed crime that if they did he would see they had a fair trial.
Here the Court rose for the usual luncheon interval.
(The report will be continued.)

Source: The Echo, Thursday November 14, 1889, Page 3

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

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