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evade the Crimes Act of 1882. One or two specimens must suffice :
"On Monday evening, a man living near Kanturk was fired at, and it is "believed mortally wounded. He had carried oats for a boycotted farmer."
"The blowing up of the Limerick police barracks, which was expected on Monday, did not happen.
Perhaps it was postponed." “A man named Dempsey, who had taken a derelict farm near " Clara, had employed men to van his hay. Several hundreds of people “collected and scattered the party in all directions." The Parnellite Irishman, the
paper of Pigott, for Parnellism, felix opportunitate mortis, was quite as outspoken as Patrick Ford :
“We know what instruments England has employed in repressing us. We “know she never scrupled to murder and assassinate that she might rob, “despoil, and conquer.
Against such a foe any weapons are " lawful."
Nearly all the accused were convicted of this charge ; a charge of extreme gravity, if we recollect that the Irish peasant is alike vindictive and ignorant, and that half Ireland was in a revolutionary state.
I pass lightly over the sixth charge, that “the respondents "did nothing to prevent crime, and expressed no bona fide
disapproval of it,” for it is only a corollary from previous charges. The Judges have found on this count, that “while some of the respondents, and in particular, Mr. “Davitt, did express bona fide disapproval of crime and "outrage, the respondents did not denounce the system of “intimidation which led to crime and outrage, but persisted "in it, with knowledge of its effect"; in other words, they did not condemn “boycotting,” and all the atrocities to which it led. Two observations, besides, must be made here; the statement that some of the respondents and Mr. Davitt did sincerely deprecate deeds of violence, does not apply to all the accused Members, or to chiefs of the Leagues who would not stand trial; and the Commissioners have significantly remarked, that " during the years 1880, 1881, “and 1882,"—the worst period of agrarian lawlessness
we cannot find that the League, as an organisation, took
any step whatever to aid in the detection of crime, or gave “any directions for that purpose, to its numerous branches " throughout the country.” Opinion, therefore, may be left to fix the responsibility of guilt on this charge; and I proceed to consider the seventh and eighth charges, which, for the sake of convenience, I place together. The seventh charge is (1) that “the respondents subscribed testimonials “for and were intimately associated with notorious “criminals"; and (2) that “they defended persons sup“posed to be guilty of agrarian crime, supported their “ families, and made payments to procure the escape of “criminals from justice.” The Commissioners say "not “proven” on the first part of this charge, and also on the last branch of the second, and this may be fairly deemed an acquittal; but here again our readers will note, that the absolution is confined to the persons accused, and does not embrace many of the League leaders. On the second part of the charge, the Commissioners report, that “proof has “ been given that the Land League systematically and “indiscriminately paid for the defence of persons charged “with agrarian crime”; and the Report adds, “ that if it “cannot be said that the supplying means of defence to “ prisoners is, in the abstract, unjustifiable, we can entertain
no doubt that the knowledge that such assistance would in “all cases be afforded, must have the effect of encouraging
persons disposed to commit outrage, and the same obser“vation applies to the support of their families.” The Public may also decide for themselves whether the encouragement given in this way to the interesting class of persons well known in Ireland by the name of “Parnell's police," is not an offence of extreme significance; and I pass on to the eighth charge, that the “respondents made compensa“ tion to persons who had been injured in the commission “of crime.” The gravity of this charge cannot be gain
said; for it represents the accused as accessories after the fact to crime, sometimes of the worst kind; and Mr. Gladstone endeavoured in vain to get rid of its terrible import, by a plausible statement that it had been established in only a single instance. Unfortunately for the value of this statement, the example proved the general practice; a few letters only from the huge correspondence, “in sacks"full,” of the League, were brought to light; one of these shewed that a payment of this kind was made evidently on system ; and the Judges have reported “that the respon“ dents did make payments to compensate persons who had “ been injured in the commission of crime.” With respect to this subject, too, they have added remarks which brand “ Parnellism" with a sufficiently severe stigma. The books of the Land League were shewn to exist ; the Commissioners called for them, often, in vain ; and there is evidence that an enormous sum of £108,000 passed into the hands of the League, the application of which could not, therefore, be traced! The Judges have properly reported on this most pregnant circumstance:"We may say generally that we “ have not received from Mr. Parnell and the officers of “the League the assistance we were entitled to expect in “ the investigation of the Land League accounts, in order " that it might be seen how its funds were expended.”
I now come to the ninth charge, that “the respondents “ invited the assistance and co-operation of, and accepted "subscriptions from, known advocates of crime and
dynamite.” This is one of the gravest accusations of The Times; it declares that Parnellism trafficked with the worst criminals; and the movement, in fact, drew its strength from America, and had little material support in Ireland. The Commissioners have examined this charge at length; but I can do no more than glance at the evidence. The conspiracy from which the two Leagues sprang was first hatched by Mr. Davitt, and the violent party known
afterwards as the Clan-na-Gael; and, since 1880, Mr. Parnell, and others of his followers, have been in close relation with the Clan-na-Gael and its leaders. In 1883 the Irish National League of America was founded at Philadelphia ; many of Mr. Parnell's trusted lieutenants were present at its inauguration, and took part in it; and the Clan-na-Gael have ever since been its master spirits. The professed object of the Clan-na-Gael is to ruin our cities by fire and dynamite, and they have made several attempts to carry out their purpose; what these desperadoes are may be inferred from the following :
Though the efforts of your Executive have not been fully realised, or rather, • indeed, were marred by the informer's treason, yet those brothers (with one " solitary exception) intrusted with the work did nobly, and were at the very “ threshold of deeds that would have startled the world, and put the fear of " the organization in the hearts of the enemy. These brothers, with heroic
faith, have carried your secre to the dungeon, under a fate and torture worse than death."
It is significant that, about the time when the dynamite explosions occurred, the Parnellite Irishman contained this passage :
"The outcome of the " (Philadelphia) “ Convention we never can accurately “ forecast. It threatens to compass an end of thrilling interest to England. “ From the union and resolve and determination of the Gael in the American “ Continent, there is no prophecying what may issue. In the hearts of those
15 or 20 millions of men of Irish blood rankles a wound which refuses to be " healed."
The American League, led by the Clan-na-Gael, filled the Parnellite Exchequer with thousands of pounds. Patrick Ford, we have seen, was a huge contributor; and the Parnellites sought and obtained funds, but for which the agitation would have been impotent. The Treasury of the Clan-na-Gael was in truth the base of supplies for Parnellism ; it could not have carried on the campaign otherwise. Further comment is needless. We quote the last sentence of the Report on the charge fully proved in its substance. “Though it has not been proved that Mr.
“ Parnell and the other respondents knew that the Clan-na" Gael controlled the League, or that the Clan-na-Gael "was collecting money for the Parliamentary Fund, it has “ been proved that they incited and obtained the assist
ance and co-operation of the physical force party in “America, including the Clan-na-Gael, and in order to “ obtain that assistance abstained from repudiating and
condemning the action of that party. It has also been proved that the respondents invited the assistance and co-operation, and accepted subscriptions from Patrick Ford, a known advocate of crime and the use of dynamite.”
Do the people who toss up their hats for “ Home Rule" at meetings addressed by Nationalist orators ever reflect that Mr. Parnell and his crew in Parliament have been shewn to have taken the money of dynamitards, who, from across the Atlantic, would fire our cities, and "have “ been silent for years, and silent for money," that they might attain the objects of the Leagues ?
I have reviewed eight of the nine charges, and shall now consider the third count, which I have designedly placed last. This charge is that “when, on certain
occasions, the respondents thought it politic to denounce, and did denounce certain crimes in public, they after“wards led their supporters to believe that such denuncia« tion was not sincere." Extraordinary misapprehension prevails as to the finding of the Commissioners on this charge, largely owing to careless reading of the Report. This charge, they observe, “was chiefly based " on the letter ascribed to Mr. Parnell, expressing “regret for the “accident of Lord F. Cavendish," but stating that the writer “ could not refuse to admit that Burke got no more “than his deserts ;” and as this, and another set of letters were found to have been wicked forgeries, the Commissioners as a matter of course, “ entirely acquit Mr. Parnell and the