Reduced facsimile of the Times letter alleged to have been written by Charles Parnell linking him to the Phoenix Park Murders

- Image ID: PE422K
Historical Images Archive / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: PE422K
Illustration from Cassell's Century Edition History of England, pub circa 1901. Info from wiki: Parnell next became the centre of public attention when in March and April 1887 he found himself accused by the British newspaper The Times of supporting the brutal murders in May 1882 of the newly appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland, Lord Frederick Cavendish, and the Permanent Under-Secretary, Thomas Henry Burke, in Dublin's Phoenix Park, and of the general involvement of his movement with crime (i.e., with illegal organisations such as the IRB). Letters were published which suggested Parnell was complicit in the murders. However, a Commission of Enquiry, which Parnell had requested, revealed in February 1889 after 128 sessions that the letters were a fabrication created by Richard Pigott, a disreputable anti-Parnellite rogue journalist. Pigott broke down under cross-examination after the letter was shown to be a forgery by him with his characteristic spelling mistakes. He fled to Madrid where he committed suicide. Parnell was vindicated, to the disappointment of the Tories and the Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury.[34] The 35-volume commission report published in February 1890, did not however clear Parnell's movement of criminal involvement. Parnell then took The Times to court and the newspaper paid him £5,000 damages in an out-of-court settlement. When Parnell entered Parliament on 1 March 1890 after he was cleared, he received a hero's reception from his fellow MPs led by Gladstone.[9] It had been a dangerous crisis in his career, yet Parnell had at all times remained calm, relaxed and unperturbed which greatly impressed his political friends.