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Parnell Commission Inquiry

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Parnell Commission Inquiry

Post by Karen on Thu 7 Mar 2013 - 19:35

I just found a sitting of the Commission which I missed...


Punctually at half-past ten this morning the Judges took their seats. Sir Henry James immediately resumed his speech, taking up the theme where it was forsaken on Friday evening - the reference to the aims and objects of the Land League from the point of view of the Times. Sir Henry read the rules of the League, laying emphasis upon the fact that the word "traitor" was frequently made use of in the course of the constitution, and observing that he should have to ask their Lordships to attach special significance to the meaning of the word so used. The production of this and other documents led Sir Henry up to the attack Sir Charles Russell made upon the other side, when he described their non-production of certain documents as a "grave scandal." "As a matter of fact," said Sir Henry, "the very documents Sir Charles referred to had been produced and read exhaustively, though he was ready to admit that possibly that fact escaped Sir Charles's notice. In this connection the learned counsel briefly referred to the attacks that had been directed against the Times' counsel outside the Court. He did not deem it incumbent upon him to attempt to repel any of those attacks. He considered it his duty, and in this he felt he had their Lordships' concurrence, to deal solely with the evidence as presented to the Court and the facts connected with the case. Thus he wished it to be understood that his silence in respect to these outside charges and criticism was due to a sense of his duty to the Commission only to deal with matters brought directly before the attention of the Court.


Passing on, Sir Henry James referred to the distress of 1879, and considered whether the crime of that period proceeded from the distress and the proposition of Sir Charles Russell that the League was formed as a natural combination to combat the distress. Sir Henry pointed out that the League was formed a year before the period of the distress, and, therefore, the argument of Sir Charles Russell, was not admissible. He quoted the interview Mr. Parnell had with the Correspondent of a New York paper, in which Mr. Parnell was reported to have stated that, taking advantage of the threatening state of affairs, Mr. Davitt began to agitate to secure the land for the tillers of it; to, as Mr. Matt Harris subsequently said, arouse an inert peasantry by that agitation and excitement which alone could bring them to the condition it was sought to bring them to. He also laid stress upon that portion of the interview in which Mr. Parnell was reported to have avowed that he was desirous of bringing all sections of the party into line in the Land League, including, of course, Sir Henry submitted, the revolutionary body.
The President interposed, calling attention to the fact that Mr. Parnell had explained these words.
Sir Henry James replied that he was aware of that, and assured the Court that in the absence of Mr. Parnell he would not refer to the fact without detailing also Mr. Parnell's explanation of it.


Passing on, Sir Henry came to Mr. Parnell's tour in America. Here he made a brief digression, and reviewed the career of the witness Le Caron. He said it was in justice to that witness that he should not, perhaps, deal with his interest, still less ought he to say with his fate, but he thought it his duty, after what had occurred, that something should be said on his behalf. Sir Henry asked - Who was this man, on whose evidence much depended, and whom he should have to ask the Court to rely upon and accept? As far as he knew, that man's character, apart from anything that took place in America in connection with his conduct towards the Clan-Na-Gael, was unimpeachable. He had given an account of his life right from the period when he left England. It was in connection with the projected raid upon Canada that Le Caron gave information which prevented that raid, and it was after that that the Government of England asked him to continue his inquiries, so that the innocent subjects of the Queen might be saved from the machinations of those who were not fit to be classed amongst human beings. For twenty years that man had gone with his life in his hands, never having one moment's security. He had simply been a detective on the part of his country, and he had saved hundreds - ay, and thousands - of Her Majesty's subjects, perhaps, from destruction. And while thus engaged he was receiving pay from English Statesmen, men of the highest integrity and honesty, and men who always acted, as they conceived, for the good of their country. He did not propose to prove the accuracy of Le Caron's story, but he could give their Lordships corroboration after corroboration. He asked the Court especially to remember that the other side, with all the facilities offered them for calling witnesses, had never called one to say either that it was true or untrue.
At this point the Court adjourned for luncheon.
(The report will be continued.)

Source: The Echo, Tuesday November 5, 1889, Page 3

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

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