Report of the Special Commission, 1888. Allegations Against Certain Members of Parliament
Book ID: 56213
Report of the Special Commission, 1888. Special Commission to Inquire into Charges and Allegations Against Certain Members of Parliament and Other Persons by the Defendants in the Recent Trial of an Action Entitled “O’Donnell v. Walter and another. Published by HMSO, 1890. Pp 160, text printed in double columns. Folio. Bound in cloth, title in gilt to spine. Ex lib Scottish Conservative Club, with stamps. In March 1887, The Times published a series of articles, “Parnellism and Crime”, in which Home Rule League leaders were accused of being involved in murder and outrage during the land war. The Times produced a number of facsimile letters, allegedly bearing Parnell’s signature and in one of the letters Parnell had excused and condoned the murder of T.H. Burke in the Phoenix Park. In particular the newspaper had paid £1,780 for a letter supposedly written by Parnell to Patrick Egan, a Fenian activist, that included: “Though I regret the accident of Lord F Cavendish’s death I cannot refuse to admit that Burke got no more than his deserts” and was signed “Yours very truly, Charles S. Parnell”. On the day it was published (18 April 1887), Parnell described the letter in the House of Commons as “a villainous and barefaced forgery. After considerable argument, the government eventually set up a Special Commission to investigate the charges made against Parnell and the Home Rule party. The commission sat for 128 days between September 1888 and November 1889. In February 1889, one of the witnesses, Richard Piggott, admitted to having forged the letters Parnell’s name was fully cleared and The Times paid a large sum of money by way of compensation after Parnell brought a libel action.