THE PARNELL COMMISSION
[Peb Press COMPLETE EXPOSURE OP PIGOTT. FORGERY PROVED. (peb fbess association.) London, February 21.
Pigott deposed that he went to Lav sarnie m January, 1881, and saw Davis, but his negotiations met with no success. He reported his failure to Houston, and returned m February. This time he was more successful. Davis made a statement, which witness wrote out m his presence, and afterwards forwarded to Houston. Pigott went to Paris m April, and there met Murphy, to whom he was formerly unknown. Murphy produced a bag containing a dozen letters of Egan'sand Parnell's, for which he wanted a thousand pounds. After some haggling he agreed to accept half this amount provided the authority of the American Clan-na Gael Society could be obtained to the sale. Houston accordingly despatched Pigott to America, carrying with him & sealed letter from Murphy introducing him to J. J. Breßlin, member of the LR.B. and Hospital Superintendent of Richmond Gaol. In July he again visited Paris, and there Murphy introduced him to five unknown Fenians at a cafe. Pigott swore upon a Roman Catholic prayerbook that he would never reveal the source whence he obtained the letters. At witness' request Houston himseli went over to Paris and received the letters through Pigott. He gave witness £1000, of which the latter retained £100 for himself. The vendors refused to see Houston or reveal their names or addresses. Witness was ignorant of the source whence the letters were obtained, beyond statements made by the anonymous vendors. He denied they were forged, and was positive the signature of Parnell m the letters addressed to Egan was authentic. In January, 1888, a Fenian named Brown, called on witness m Paris, and said he had heard the latter was buying letters. He offered two which had been found among the papers of the convict Mullett, explaining at the same time that one was known to be a facsimile. Witness paid £500 to the same man m a cafe. An unknown man called on Pigott m Paris m July of the same year, and after stating he had heard he was buying letters, offered three for sale, for which he wanted £500 ; finally he consented to give £200, out of which he retained £50 for himself. Mr G. Lewis, solicitor for the Parnellites, subpoenaed witness m September last Pigott inquired who would pay his expenses, and said he was afraid his admissions would be damaging to Parnell. Lewis replied that the matter of expenses would be arranged if he would only speak the truth. Afterwards Sinclair, an emissary of Egan's, arranged that Pigott should have an interview with Mr Labouchere for the purpose of Assisting Parnell. Sinclair gave Piggot £5. He informed Houston who induced him to cancel his engagement. Pigott afterwards wrote a letter to Labouchere saying he was not selling his evidence, and was unwilling to become a witness, nevertheless he would not object if it was made worth his while. He also asked that he would arrange a safe interview, because he believed he was being watched. Witness met Labouchere and Parnell at the former's house m October. Parnell asserted that he possessed proofs that Pigott was forging letters. Witness stipulated that Lewis should withdraw the subpoena In order to avoid being obliged to give evidence. To this Parnell did not agree. Labouchere demanded that he shonld enter the witness box and admit he had f prged the letters, adding that he could secure a certificate from the Commission to escape punishment* He took Pigott aside and forbade him to mention money m the presence of Parnell. Suddenly Lewis entered and denounced Pigott as a forger, accusing him of receiving letters from Parnell m 1881 and 1882, from which he had copied words and phrases and concocted the letters m the possession of the " Times." He threatened that unless Pigott acceded to Labouchere's request he should be prosecuted for forgery and perjury. Labouchere again took Pigott aside and offered him a thousand pounds to admit the forgery. Witness admitted that possibly he mentioned they were forgeries, but he required £5000 to do what he was asked, and the matter was not settled. In the meantime the M Times " served him with a subpoena. Another interview took place at a later date, but without any result. Under cross-examination by Sir C. Russell, Pigott pleaded the " inviolability of the confessional " with regard to the admissions made to Archbishop Walsh, and refused to divulge what had passed hetween them. The witness was staggered by Sir O. Russell producing an admittedly authentic letter from Pigott, informing Archbishop Wajsh an attempt would be made to wreck the Irish party upon evidence quite sufficient for a.n English Court, but that -nevertheless he would be able to defeat it, and prove their innocence on condition that the Arohbishop guaranteed secrecy. Witness admitted sending subsequent letters assuring Archbishop Walsh he had not assisted m the attempt to prejudice the Parnellites, He had received a letter m reply refusing to interfere, Sir C. Russell quoted sentences from Pigott's letter seriatim. PJgott became flustered, hesitated, vaciiUted m his answers, and at laßt helplessly confessed he had forgotten subjects indicated m the letter, and was unaware of his purpose m writing. Great sensation was caused m the; House of Commons and London generally by the turn affairs have taken. . The Parnellites are jubilant, and confer the collapse of the " Times " case 18 assured.
Sir 0. Russell compelled Piggot to write several words m Court occurring m the letters, including *• hesitancy" and ". likelihood.'* Pigott misspelt both m the same way that they appear m the letter.
Mr Balfourwas received m the House of Commons by the Irish members with hisses, and cries of "Pigott." Mr Parnell was absent.
LoMßoir, February 23. In cross-examination to day Pigott's evidence before the w Times "-Parnell Commission was further discredited. He admitted that his actions bad been systematic blackmailing of Forster and Egan. He had, h$ said, tried to obtain. £200 for the purpose of visiting Australia, hoping to receive the assistance 9( Sir Q«T«n Itofy ft was ebQirn to
the Commissioners that whole paseagef of letters alleged to have been written by Egan and Parnell were identical with letters Pigott received from them m 1881, and habitaal mistakes m spelling made by Pigott were reproduced m these passages. London, February 24. The « Daily Telegraph," m referring to Pigott'B evidence before the Comission, says he collapsed hopelessly, and his evidence <vas both degrading and disgusting. The sequel, it says, is obvious.
The "Times" is applying to have the action brought by Parnell against it m Ireland dismissed pending th« result of the Scotch action.
Permanent link to this item
Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2072, 25 February 1889
THE PARNELL COMMISSION Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2072, 25 February 1889
Using This Item
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.