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‘THE TIMES ’-PARNELL COMMISSION., Issue 8003, 4 September 1889
‘THE TIMES ’-PARNELL COMMISSION.
MR PARNELL ON THE WITNESS STAND. The Court was crowded in every part when the cross-examination of Mr Parnell with regard to the accounts of the League was resumed on Tuesday, July 23 Mr Parnell answered the questions put to him with the same nonchalant air which he had shown when previously in the witness-box. In reply to Sir Henry James, he stated that the Land League had still funds in Paris, part of which were invested. Sometimes the money was used for the current expenses of the League and the Parliamentary paity. Witness could not remember the names of the American bankers through whom the moneys had come. His connection with financial matters was, after_ all, only casual. Mr Parnell said, speaking carefully from a memorandum, that the books of the Land League, from the time of its formation until February, 1881, were, he believed, in Egan’s possession. Egan took them with him when he left the country, because it had not been decided at the time of his flight to Paris whether the work of the League would be directed from Paris or from Dublin. Mr Parnell had taken no steps to communicate with Egan over this case at all. He (Mr Parnell) had always had an impression that the books were in Egan’s hands, and from an examination of ‘The Times,’ the expert’s evidence, and Sir Richard Webster’s examination, he last night felt himself in a position to repeat this opinion definitely and conclusively. When asked why he did not mention the absence of the books in question to Mr George Lewis, Mr Parnell said that he did not look upon Mr Lewis as an expert in Irish affairs. When asked why he did not communicate with Egan through Mr Labouohere, since Egan had supplied Mr Labouchere with a clue to the forged letters, Mr Parnell explained to the AttorneyGeneral that he did not believe Mr Labouchere would have helped him, as Mr Labouchere considered that the Commission ought to have been cut short at the close of the evidence relating to the letters. When asked why he did not write to Egan, he replied with impatience : “ Oh, I never write to anyone if I can help it. I hate writing.” Here the president pulled up Mr Parnell for being irrelevant in his answers. The next point raised was with regard to cheques given by the League for sustentation moneys for suspects. All suspects, Mr Parnell explained, on whatever charge they were arrested, were similarly treated under the sustentation fund. Witness himself had received 15s per week while imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol, a sum that was subsequently increased. A number of men who were arrested refused to accept pay, as they did not wish to be regarded as Land Leaguers. This concluded the cross-examination, and then Sir James Hannen asked Mr Parnell several questions, to which the answers may be summarised as follows:—That Egan took away all the books to Paris ; that, as to the documents after Moloney became bankrupt, he directed all those in bis possession to be destroyed before he left the country ; and that, as regards the funds now in Paris at the disposal of the Irish party, he declined to tell anything. “ I decline,” said Mr Parnell, “ to give any information that will disclose the nature and extent of our resources in Paris, either to friend or foe.” Mr Parnell then left the box.
Moloney, an officer of the Land League in 1881, was next called. He stated that he knew of no documents except those he had given up to Mr Lewis. He denied Mr Darnell's statements that when he loft the country he ordered the destruction of the books and documents in his possession. Mr Sexton cross-examined the witness, who said he never knew of the League funds being used for the commission of crime or outrage. Alexander Phillips, accountant, was then called. He said that he had been employed by the League in 1881 to open their books. After he had described the system on which he and Moloney kept the books, ho stated that he had a number of documents in his possession when the League was suppressed. On the night when the suppression of the League was expected a number of clerks were detailed off to remove the books to Holyhead. He saw a person with a parcel which he supposed contained the books. At the time of the witness’s arrest he had a considerable number of documents lying about in his house, and on a detective calling his wife gave him a number of documents, but other documents had been thrown on to the top of a wardrobe, and these were afterwards found. They were handed over to Mr Soatnes. In reply to Mr Sexton, witness said that none of the documents he saw suggested illegal or questionable proceedings on the part of the League. He was not aware that any attempt was made to destroy the documents, nor had anyone connected with the League suggested that he should destroy any of the documents, Mr Hardcastle, accountant, gave, as an expert, the results of his examination of the Land League books, produced by Phillips and others. In the principal accounts L 16.447 was not accounted for, and in the relief account L 1,787 was also not explained. The receipts of the Ladies’ Land League were for L/ 7,071. Of this amount, he found L 1,475 of expenditure accounted for, and L75.C34 of expenditure unexplained, so that the total unexplained expenditure in the books was L 95.871.
Mr Sexton asked what was the object of this examination.
The President replied that it was suggested that largo sums had been disposed of and not satisfactorily accounted for. Mr Sexton asked : “ la it suggested that the ladies embezzled this L 75.001) 5”
“ Oh, no,” replied the President. “I, at least, do not entertain any such idea." This was practically the end of the evidence, and after Mr Soames had been called into the box and interrogated by Mr Sexton as to the costs of ‘ The Times ’ in connection with the Commission, which witness refused to state, Sir Henry James intimated that no more witnesses would be called.
The Court was then adjourned until Thursday, October 24.
‘THE TIMES ’-PARNELL COMMISSION., Issue 8003, 4 September 1889
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