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Phoenix Park Murders: Murder, Betrayal and Retribution: Conspiracy, Betrayal & Retribution

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In March 1887, The Times printed letters that said they were written by Parnell. The letters said that he agreed with the murderers of the English politicians, and that his speech saying otherwise was not true. It later came to light that the letters were not written by Parnell. They were forgeries written by journalist Richard Pigott. Parnell was personally shown to be innocent by the Parnell Commission in 1888-89.

Charles Stewart Parnell's policy of allying his Irish Parliamentary Party to Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone's Liberal Party in 1886 to enable Home Rule was undone by the murders. Gladstone's Minister Lord Hartington, the elder brother of Lord Cavendish, split with Gladstone on the Home Rule bills [11] of 1886 and 1893 and led the breakaway Liberal Unionist Association, which allied itself to Lord Salisbury's Conservative governments. In the ensuing 1886 general election the Conservatives and Liberal Unionists swept the board. This delayed Home Rule by twenty-eight years until the Government of Ireland Act 1914, which was technically passed but was never effected. [ citation needed] Reaction [ edit ] In the aftermath of the Phoenix Park assassinations Coercion was again introduced in Ireland, a provision of which, Section 16 allowed for what became known as the Star Chamber inquiry, allowing the state summon a suspect for interrogation under oath, and without legal representation, each witness compelled to give evidence in any subsequent trial facing imprisonment if he refused to do so.But who were, the Invincibles really? And how did they come to adopt such ruthless methods in the cause of Irish independence? Context; Coercion of the Land League In Carey’s narrative the Invincibles had been formed in the fall of 1881 by a Middlesbrough Fenian, John Walsh whose declared aim was to ‘make history’ and to establish a grouping within the Fenian network to assassinate government administrators in Ireland. Walsh had been sent to Dublin by Frank Byrne, secretary of the Land League of Great Britain, whose wife would later deliver the knives to Dublin smuggled on her person. This disaster in the harvest was combined with the unpredictability of capitalism, as the value of Irish agricultural produce in the British market fell against cheaper imports from South America and New Zealand. Many tenant farmers, particularly in the west, could not now afford to pay rent, resulting in an increasing number of evictions – rising from 406 in 1877, to 1098 in one year, and levels of emigration not witnessed since the famine. With the famine less than a generation beforehand, tenant farmers were not prepared to allow tragedy to strike for a second time, many determining to organise as a social movement seeking fairer rights on their farms and lands led by an effective tenant leadership. Forster vigorously championed and applied coercion in Ireland, which was administered by his permanent Undersecretary, Thomas Henry Burke. Once put into operation, some nine hundred members of the Land league were arrested and interned in various prisons across Ireland, culminating in the arrest of Charles Stewart Parnell in October 1881 and his imprisonment in Kilmainham Gaol Dublin. The hunt for the perpetrators was led by Superintendent John Mallon, a Catholic who came from Armagh. Mallon had a pretty shrewd idea of who was involved, suspecting a number of former Fenian activists. A large number of suspects were arrested and kept in prison claiming they were connected with other crimes. By playing off one suspect against another Mallon got several of them to reveal what they knew. [7]

Andrew Roberts; "Salisbury Victorian Titan" (Phoenix Press, London 1999) p. 454. ISBN 0-7538-1091-3 THE IRISH FRANKENSTEIN. “The baneful and blood-stained Monster * * * yet was it not my master to the very extent that it was my creature . . . Had I not breathed into it my own spirit?” * * * (Extracts from the Works of C.S. P-rn-ll, M.P.).’ Punch (20 May 1882) quotes from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to link Charles Stewart Parnell (left) with the murders. (British Library) The Invincibles' leader James Carey, Michael Kavanagh and Joe Hanlon agreed to testify against the others. Joe Brady, Michael Fagan, Thomas Caffrey, Dan Curley and Tim Kelly were convicted of the murder. [6] They were hanged in Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin between 14 May and 4 June 1883. Others were sentenced to serve long prison terms.Burke is himself an interesting figure, a scion of the Catholic landed gentry of County Galway and a grand-nephew of Cardinal Wiseman, the first Catholic archbishop of Westminster, in the wake of the re-establishment of a Catholic hier-archy for England and Wales in 1850. He had served in the office of the chief secretary in Dublin Castle since 1847, and was appointed under-secretary in 1869. He was a conscientious and hard-working official, and W.E. Forster—Cavendish’s predecessor—said of him that he was ‘the most efficient permanent official I ever came across, and my only fear about him is that he will literally work himself to death’. He was closely identified with and involved in the coercion policies espoused by Forster in response to the first Land War from 1879 onwards, and no doubt this explains why the Invincibles targeted him for assassination. It is notable that, to quote from the entry on Burke in the Dictionary of Irish biography,

The Coercion Act allowed for internment without trial and the suspension of Habeus Corpus. Under it over 900 Land League members were imprisoned, including thier leader, Parnell. Under interrogation, James Carey, a leading Fenian, told the authorities all he knew ofthe movement, resulting in the hanging of six of his former comrades James Carey was one of the leading figures of the Dublin Invincible leadership. In Kilmainham he underwent extensive psychological manipulation; Mallon telling him that Daniel Curley had revealed all about Carey’s involvement in the Invincibles, and meeting his wife outside of the Gaol, he told a similar story. He also allowed Carey’s wife to send letters to Carey, repeating what Mallon had said of Curley’s treachery. This was all a lie, Curley had not talked and had refused to speak about his role or anyone else’s role in the Invincible conspiracy. Joseph Brady, hanged and decapitated for his role in the killing of Chief Secretary Cavendish.One can be quite certain that Joseph Biggar, Parnell's plain-spoken ally in obstructionism, did not meet emissaries from America to discuss the formation of a murder society

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