Lord Normanby returned to Dublin on Saturday.
A letter from Mr. Peter Purcell, regarding the disposition of the Precursor Society's funds, appears in the Dublin newspapers. Much has been made of the charge stated in the following extracts against Mr. O'Connell ; but on the whole, that gentleman seems to have been only guilty of a little neglect.
"On the 9th of December, I ascertained that Mr. Laurence Finn, the Trea- surer of the Precursor Society, had resigned his trust, for reasons which he can best explaiu himself. This circumstance led me to make inquiries as to the disposition of the funds • it induced me to see where the sums remitted from the country had been lodged, and to whose custody they lied been intrusted. With some surprise, I discovered that all the monies received from the day of the organization of the Society up to the period of my inquiry, were safely lodged in the Tralee branch of the National Bank, to the credit of Daniel O'Connell, Esq., M.P. Upon findino this to be the case, I lost not a moment in communicating with Mr. O'Connell's friends : I mentioned without reserve what my opinions were ; I stated that the future prosperity of the Society and his own character depended on the funds being transferred to other hands. Those who are his most devoted adherents all concurred in my views, and be- sought me to speak to him on the sidled. I did so; and represented the matter to him as forcibly as I was able—impressed on his mind the impropriety and impolicy of having the funds so situated. I stated the suspicious appear- ance which such a disposal would have, not alone with our political opponents, with his personal foes, but with the public generally. I urged, that if he de- sired it the funds might be lodged in the National Bank ; but that it was per- fectly indispensable that they should be under the control and to the credit of treasurers publicly appointed. He appeared struck with the prudence of my observations, and agreed to my suggestions. He even went further than I an- ticipated; for he stud the money should be invested in the Hibenthin Bank, not the National Bank. With his perfect concurrence and sanction I solicited three gentlemen, Messrs. Ignatius Callaghan, Laurence Finn, and James Mar- tin, to undertake the office of treasurers • and, at my request, they consented to act, and were accordingly proposed to this high trust by Mr. O'Connell, and were approved of by the unanimous consent of a public meeting on the 9th December."
But Mr. Purcell ascertained that the money had not been transferred to the credit of the gentlemen named, and that the subscriptions were still paid into Mr. O'Connell's private account at the Tralee Bank. Ile therefore applied to Mr. O'Connell for an explanation-
4. In the committee-room, on the 29th ultimo, in the presence of others, I spoke to Mr. O'Connel ; but without success. His answers were vague and unsatisfactory ; his reasons for persevering in his own course were, in my mind, of no value. I then remonstrated with him through the agency of his private friends : the same success awaited their efforts which had attended my apical; and having no other alternative, I then addressed to him a letter, of which the following is a copy- " My dear Sir—Since I saw you yesterday I have been thinking about the fluids of the Precursor Association ; and, in eonsequence, I ant, if possible, the more convinced that the prosperity, nay, tin very existence of the society, depends on maintaining the public cuntidence. which we now so extensively possess. With this view, you will pardon me for apin suggesting to you the propriety, it out the necessity, of having our accounts of receipts and disbursements up to this period at once audited, and the ba- lance paid into the hands of our treasurers. " Ion will recollect that the gentlemen who have undertaken to act as treasurers were approved of lw you, previous to their accept:wee of the task, and by you were proposed to their office, at a public meeting of the body. I have duly considered the objections you referred to as to the delay and difficult y of procuring money through a finance committee with till the promptitude which an .xpected enwrgency might require ; but I respectfully contend, that this objection is 11.4 tenable, when it is obvious that there exists no probability of a sudden demand arising, and, above all, when we know the thorough confidence which every Member of the conimittee reposes In the expediency of any matter you might think it right to suggest with a view to the expenditure of our funds. "lit conclusion, I cannot help feeling, that if the mtmagement and control of the funds be continued on the present system, 111111 he so exhibited to the people, against
which no precautions can be taken, the intblie confide i confidence which we now enjoy s ine- vitably lost, no matter how pare our motives and well-intentioned our conduct. " Believe me; with unalterable regard laid esteem, yours faithfully,
"30th December 1838." PETER PURCELL" No answer was vouchsafed to this epistle ; and Mr. Purcell concludes his letter to the newspapers by announcing his withdrawal from the Precursor Society- .' I have to express a hope that this public statement will produce that effeet upon what I conceive to be his erroneous conduct, which neither entreaty, advice, nor re• monstrance hiss been able to accomplish ; for I am reluctantly obliged to state, that even upon this day I have seen by the books of the Society, that since toy letter of the 30th ultimo, two additional sums of money have undergone the snme process of investment. Allow Me to add, that I consider so sacred a fund as that which has been collected from the hard earnings of a confiding peasantry should not only be secure—which I fully believe it to be in the bands of Mr. O'Connell—but that it should be so placed as to be above onspiclon, even iu the minds of our political enemies. From the various circum- stances which I have brought under your notice, I feel I have only one course toadopt ; and that is, relieving myself from all Ware responsibility, by separating for ever from the Precursor Society. VETE& PURCELL." Saturday, 5th January 1839."
At a meeting of the Precursor Society on Monday, Mr. Ignatus Cal- laghan said— It was well known that Mr. Finn, Mr. Martin, and himself, had been ap- pointed joint treasurers. He had often examined accounts, but on no former occasion did he take the same pains as in the case to which he should now re- fer. The account of this society was certified by all parties ; and the result showed a balance of 1,280/. 15s. to the credit of the Association in the Tralee branch of the National Bank of Ireland. The account contained upwards of six hundred items, for every one of which they had vouchers.
Mr. O'Connell said he had read Mr. Purcell's letter with great sur- prise— He parted with Mr. Purcell a few days before on the best possible terms with that gentleman ; nor did he receive the slightest intimation from Mr. Purcell that he intended to take such a course. When he saw that publication, he wrote to the three gentlemen who were acting as treasurers and secretary, to meet him (Mr. O'Connell) at three o'clock yesterday, for the purpose of inves- tigating the accounts. He made the same request of .Mr. Purcell Omit that gen- tlemen wrote in reply, that he would not come to the meeting, as he could not conceive that any advantage would accrue from such meeting. Ile (Mr. O'Con- nell) wrote a second letter to Mr. Purcell, demanding his attendance, but this demand was also refused.
Mr. O'Connell read the letters which had passed between himself and Mr. Purcell to the effect mentioned. The correspondence closed with the following letter from Mr. Purcell.
" Saekville Street, 8th January 1839.
" Sir—I find by your three letters to me of yesterday's date, you wish me to audit the accounts of the Precursor Society ; and you state that I am bound to do so, in con- sequence of my letter which was published in the morning papers of yesterday. I begyou will again look over my letter, and you will then perceive that my only ob- jection up to this period stated in it was your interference as to the depository selected by yourself for any .surplus money of the Society. I therefore do not teel called on, by any observation I have made, to attend or audit those accounts. I, however, respect. ftilly submit to you, as the extent of the accounts are so limited, that the most satis- factory course will be to submit them before the public, showing the receipts and ex- penditure; the disbursements to be given in detail, to whom paid, auil by whose authority, exhibiting the balance now in the National Bank. " Thus the people of Ireland who have joined the Precursor Society can be the auditors of their own accounts.
I have the honour, &c. PETER PURCELL." 'To Daniel O'Connell, Esq., M.P.
Mr. O'Connell then spoke as follows— It appeared that Mr. Purcell only objected to the place where the money had been deposited, and Mr. O'Connell could satisfactorily account for the disposi- tion of the money. Mr. Purcell should be furnished with the accounts ft-one the formation of the Society, and he would have an opportunity to inspect them. Ile (Mr. O'Connell) would explain the reason that induced him to lodge the money in the Trate° Bank. He did so in consequence of a resolution of the finance coinmitteeeirr. O'Connell read the resolution of the committee, by which it was declar that all sums of money received on account of the Society should be lodged in the Tralee Bank until Mr. O'Connell's departure from town, and that the account in the bank should be open to the inspection of every member of the Society,) that the money could not be lodged in any bank in Dublin, except to the credit of the Tralee Bank. The cash of the General Association was kept in the same way; and of this Mr. Purcell must have been aware, for by one of the rules of the Precursor Society it was declared that the cash-accounts should be kept in the same manner as in the General Associa- tion; and Mr. Purcell was in the chair when that resolution was passed. It was to be recollected that Mr. Purcell never joined the Catholic Association, and it was only recently he had given them his assistance. If Mr. Purcell dis- liked the manner in which the money was disposed, he could move to rescind the resolution of the finance committee. But the object was to direct a calumny against him, Mr. O'Connell. His (Mr. O'Connell's) object was to get the tithe martyrs out of gaol at the least possible expense; and he was resolved to do so even at the risk of being made liable for the money himself. Some payments of this kind were made through the medium of Mr. Purcell himself, and several others would be likewise relieved were it not for Mr. Pitt-cell's letter. Mr. O'Connell concluded by moving, that Mr.purcell should be furnished with copies of the account for Ins inspection.
After some discussion, the motion was negatived, on the ground that Mr. Purcell did not "deserve the compliment."
Mr. Purcell, in another letter, declares that he never heard of the ' resolution of the finance committee cited by Mr. O'Connell ; and that it is very extraordinary, if such a resolution had really been passed on the 30//t of November, that on the I lth of December following Mr. O'Connell should have agreed to a resolution for appointing three new treasurers, Mr. Finn being one of them, and again on the 18th of De- cember procured another resolution confirming that of the 11th. Mr. Purcell also thinks it strange, that when he repeatedly represented the irregularity of lodging the public money to 3Ir. O'Connell's private account, the resolution of the finance committee should never have been mentioned to him.