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  • 7 Aug. 1841 News of the Day

7 Aug. 1841 News of the Day

With our Thanks to Jane who transcribed the following.

Newry Telegraph August 7, 1841

Record Court

Monday, August 2

Chief Justice DOHERTY entered this Court at 10 o’clock, and a special Jury was at once called in this case. His Lordship, however, addressed the Counsel on both sides, to the effect that the case was one rather for the decision of arbitrators than of a Jury; the cause of action having been the stoppage of a road through Mountjoy Forest, towards the Parish Church of Cappagh, by the plaintiff, and the consequent breaking down of the barriers erected by him, by the parishioners, for several successive Sundays. It appeared that the road had been open for a very considerable period of time. The suggestion of the Learned Judge being complied with, the matter was left to the decision of two Counsel on each side, and the agreement come to was that the Congregation should have access to the Church on Sundays and all Church Holy days, the defendant paying the costs of the action.

The other records being of very little public interest, his Lordship intimated that he would not hear them until the following day, but would proceed to assist the Crown Judge in disposing of the criminal cases.

Hugh TOLAN, Francis BROGAN, Sally BROGAN, William BROGAN, Hugh BROGAN, Sally BROGAN, the younger, and Margaret TOLAN, were then indicted for riotously assembling, and assaulting Thomas O’CONNOR.
No prosecutor having appeared, the prisoners were discharged.

Patrick KANE, James M’GLINCHY, Bernard M’CONOMY, and Thomas KERR, were indicted for riotously assembling at Na-Stewart, on the 27th April, and assaulting William CARTHY.

William CARTHY being sworn, said he was coming out of a preaching-house in Na-Stewart on the evening in question, about nine o’clock, when he was attacked by a number of persons, one of whom seized him by the neckcloth and nearly strangled him. He was for some time insensible, and was for a
week under medical treatment. He could not identify any of the prisoners.

Other witnesses were produced who testified to the assault, but were also unable to identify the prisoners as the guilty persons.The prisoners were accordingly discharged.

Owen M’NAULY, for having on the night of the 4th, or morning of the 5th July, stolen a heifer, the property of James BROWN. Guilty – sentence not passed.

After hearing this case the Chief Justice rose and dismissed the Court at four o’clock.

Tuesday, August 3.

Petit Jury: Messrs, John CHARLTON, John HOUSTON, Andrew WALKER, James KING, Archd. KING, Richard KING, David KEYS, William HOUSTON, Jas. HOUSTON, Joseph SCOTT, Joseph WILSON, and Andw. WILSON


Thomas ROBINSON, for killing and slaying James WILKINSON, on the 16th of July, at Coagh, by giving him a mortal wound with a stick on the left side of the head, of which he languished till the 17th of the same month, and then died.

John McQUAID was the first witness, examined by Mr. SCHOALES, Q.C. – Witness is a baker, and lived at Coagh when this business took place; prisoner kept a public house there; witness and the deceased were there drinking; had been drinking together before they came there; deceased was not sober; he could walk, but was tipsy; got a naggin of rum, and after it was drunk. Mr. ROBINSON ordered them out, as it was near 11 o’clock at night; witness went out, but deceased would not till he would get more drink, and commenced to kick the counter with his feet; prisoner then pushed him out and shut the door, but deceased began rapping at the door, and hitting it with a stone; witness went about two perches away then, towards his own house, when he heard a noise; turned and looked back, and saw the deceased lying on the ground; witness then went back and lifted him, and found his head cut and bleeding; he could not stand; saw no fighting before this; deceased lived till 5 o’clock the next evening, when he died; witness’s wife had come for him; did not see the prisoner again till he was in the custody of the Police the next day.
This witness was not cross-examined.

Mary McQUAID, wife to the last witness, examined by Mr. SMILEY. – Went to ROBINSON’s for her husband; the deceased called for a naggin of rum, but the prisoner was not willing to give it; witness advised him to give it, to get him away; he did so, and when he did deceased had no money to pay for it; witness’s husband paid for it; deceased then wanted more drink, but ROBINSON would not give it, and when deceased commenced kicking and jumping on the counter, the prisoner pushed him out; witness then shut the lower half of the door, and ROBINSON remained inside and barred the other half; deceased commenced beating the door to get in again, and witness followed her husband, who had gone across the street; on her husband going back when he heard the noise, witness went also, and saw the deceased lying on the ground; lifted his head, and saw it cut and bleeding on the left side; he could not speak; saw other persons around him, and after a little the prisoner also.

Samuel DENISTON, examined by Mr. JOHNSTON. – Was at ROBINSON’s on this night; on going to it heard a knocking as if at the door, and when he went forward saw a man lying on the ground among the crowd, and a woman shouting and crying; saw the prisoner going into his own door with the appearance of something in his hand; could not tell what it was, as it was nearly dark; it was like a stick, but longer; went into the house and heard a knocking on the outside, as with knuckles, and the person said the man was killed; ROBINSON then asked witness what would he do? witness said, what could he do? he said he would give himself up, and went out into the street; witness followed, and saw the deceased lying bleeding on the street; did not see the wound; the people said a Doctor should be sent for; went for Dr. SAMPSON, but he would not come, and when witness came back, Dr. McCORMICK was there; saw the wound then, on the left side of the head.

John HARRIS, examined by Mr. SCHOALES. – Was within one door of ROBINSON’s on this night; saw some people about the door as if they had got some drink; a man was knocking at the door to get in; saw another man come from the end of the house round the corner and catch the man by the left shoulder, and ask him what he meant, or what he was doing? he then gave him a push with the left hand, and struck him with his right hand; cannot tell what he had in his hand, but thinks he had something in it, as the blow had a sharp sound; the man went away round the corner again; don’t know who the man was; don’t know if it was the prisoner, as he had never seen him before; the prisoner was only pointed out to him since he came into town.

John MULLIGAN, Policeman, examined by Mr. JOHNSTON. – Went to ROBINSON’s house, in consequence of information he got; did not find ROBINSON there, but found him in the street, and took him into custody; went with him into his own house, and said to him that this was a bad job; prisoner said that it was indeed, but he could not help it, for he (deceased) was breaking his door; witness cautioned him to say nothing that would do himself any harm; he told witness nothing more.

Cross-examined by Mr. CHAMBERS.- Swore examinations in the case; stated what he now states; also at the inquest swore the same things; found prisoner in the street coming from William J. HOWARD’s door, a few yards from his own, a little after 10 o’clock that night; he went with witness willingly.

Samuel VANCE, another Policeman, examined by Mr. SCHOALES. – Went to ROBINSON’s, in consequence of information he got, and found the man lying bleeding; went into the house for the purpose of arresting ROBINSON; did not find him in the house; went then for the Doctor, as the man was in a bad state; leaving the other Policeman with orders to arrest ROBINSON if he would come; when witness came back ROBINSON was in custody; carried deceased into the house then, and cautioned ROBINSON as to what he would say; ROBINSON said the man was breaking in the door, and the thing was as bad as it could be, and he could not help it then; he said he was something rash.

Cross-examined by Mr. DOHERTY. – It is witness’s duty to clear out public houses, at an irregular hour; especially on public nights; thought it part of his duty to caution the prisoner as to what he might say, when he observed it was a bad job; was examined on the inquest, but not on oath; the prisoner is a licensed retailer of spirits.

William McCORMICK, Surgeon, examined by Mr. JOHNSTON. – Was called on to examine the deceased immediately after the occurrence; found him sitting on the street supported by some persons; found a fracture on the left side of the head, extending the length of 5 or 6 inches; found the brain protruding the entire extent of the wound; he lived till the next evening; the wound was the cause of his death; made a post-mortem examination.
Cross-examined by Mr. CHAMBERS. – The wound extended from the back of the head to the front; saw no stones in the place; Coagh is a small town; cannot say how long deceased remained in prisoner’s house; sent for Surgeon SAMPSON when he saw the wound having such a bad appearance, and no hope of man surviving; said in ROBINSON’s presence the man could not live; said this to all the persons present; ROBINSON did not make any attempt to go away when he heard this, but quite the contrary.


James ANDERSON, examined by Mr. CHAMBERS. – Lives at Rossmount, near Stewartstown; has known the prisoner from his youth; he was always a quiet good lad, as ever was in the neighbourhood; he served his apprenticeship to the baking business, in Dungannon, and witness never heard anything against him before.

Rev. Maxwell CARPENDALE, examined by Mr. DOHERTY. – The prisoner is a parishioner of witness and he always considered him a remarkably good character.

Forbes G. SEATON has known the prisoner since his childhood; was in habits of intimacy with him nearly ever since, and never knew him to be of a quarrelsome disposition.

His Lordship then charged the Jury at some length. Not Guilty.

Wednesday, August 4.

Petit Jury: – Messrs. William ELLIOTT, William SCOTT, John McFARLAND, Andrew GIBSON, John McCLELLAND, William IRWIN, Robert HUNTER, John ORR, William JOHNSTON, William GRAHAM, Arthur SCOTT, and John McCUTCHEON.

Murder of a Mother

Nancy McCONWAY, was put to the bar, charged with the murder of Catherine McCONWAY, at Strabane, on the 15th of April, by casting her several times on the ground, and thereby giving her several wounds and bruises, of which she lingered till the 19th of the same month, and then died.

Robert FENTON, examined by Mr. SCHOALES. – Knew the deceased for upwards of thirty years; has known prisoner for about twelve years; she is daughter of the deceased, and lived with her; don’t know if they lived on bad terms; was standing in the door of a house in Front-street of Strabane on the day in question; heard an unregular noise in the street, and when he looked towards it he saw the prisoner and deceased coming up in an unregular way; prisoner was pulling the old woman by the hair of the head, and pushing her; called on James MAGUIRE, the man of the house, to come and witness it; when they came opposite witness deceased fell; thinks she fell through weakness; she turned round on the ground, and called to James MAGUIRE to save her; MAGUIRE said to prisoner, “You should not abuse your mother so, Nancy”; she said, “H_ll to your soul, it’s not your business – mind your own business – you don’t know everything”; she then caught deceased by the arm-pits, lifted her off the ground, and asked her to come home; she said she was not able; prisoner then dashed her several times against the ground; she sassed her on the ground the way she was sitting; she then tore off her plaid and petticoats, exposing her person; deceased was then lifted up by two men, but witness cannot tell who they were; they aided her along the street, 40 or 50 yards and then left her; prisoner then endeavoured to take deceased home, a distance of about 300 yards; her house was off the Main-st.; witness went alongside of them some way towards his own house; she dragged her along, pushed her, and apparently bit her shoulders; she also swore an oath she would have deceased’s life when she would get her home; deceased’s shoulders were naked when the prisoner put her mouth to them to bite them; deceased had always been complaining; she appeared to be sober on this day in question, but was exhausted with the abuse.

Cross-examined by Mr. PEEBLES. – Only saw the prisoner’s mouth on the deceased’s shoulder; deceased was a beggar; never knew her to drink; don’t know where the deceased had been coming from; she appeared to be very weak.

James MAGUIRE, examined by Mr. BROOKE. – Recollects the day in question; was called to the door by last witness;, and saw prisoner come up the street, having a hoult (hold) of her mother by the neck or shoulder; she was dragging and pushing her on; did not see her striking her; deceased called to witness to come out and save her, and witness said to the prisoner it was a shame for her to use her mother so; she gave some kind of rough answer, which witness does not recollect, part of it was that witness “knew nothing about it”; saw prisoner then take deceased by the shoulders, and push her on the ground; don’t mind it she did it more than once; deceased then lay on the ground; saw two boys come forward and take deceased away; the clothes had all fallen off her, and she was naked lying on the ground; she might have some clothes on her.

Cross-examined by Mr. PEEBLES. – Deceased was a very poor looking old woman; part of her clothes was a loose blanket she had about her; don’t know if deceased said that some body had given her a glass of whiskey, which was too strong for her.

Wm. BOYLE, examined by Mr. SCHOALES. – Was in the street a part of the time; saw prisoner strike her mother with her fist; heard a woman tell her not to abuse her mother, and she said it was none of her business, it was a little to what she would get when she would go home; did not hear her say anything more; never saw deceased in liquor.

Cross-examined by Mr. PEEBLES. – Cannot tell if deceased was in liquor; did not hear her say she had got a glass.

Mary BURNS, examined by Mr. BROOKE. – Deceased lived within three doors of witness; prisoner came to witness’s house shortly before deceased died, and asked her to go to her; did so, and found her in bed; this was on Sunday, between 1 and 2 o’clock, and she died on Monday, about 8 o’clock; she appeared very far through and in a dying state; she told witness she wanted to speak to her, and that her daughter Nancy had murdered her; she knew she could not recover, and requested her Clergy to be sent for; she left her death on her daughter, and said she trusted in God He would justly reward her for what she had done to her; prisoner was not present at this time; she came afterwards, and called her mother a very un-proper name, she called her an old rotten carrion, and said nothing would serve her but the Priest; she also blasphemed horridly; witness told the prisoner what her mother had said; she said to her mother that Jacky DUNN had gone for the Priest, but he would not come, but she would go for one who would come; she said she would go for Mr. ATKINSON, the Protestant Curate, and asked her own daughter to accompany her; deceased said to her not to give the gentleman the trouble to come to her, for he knew she did not belong to him; prisoner then stepped over to the bed in a great violence, blaspheming and took the rug or quilt and threw it on a ladder that was in the house; this was the only bed clothes the old woman had; witness said “O Nancy, Nancy, would you go to strip your dying mother?”; the prisoner then repeated a great blasphemy, and said “she would not wet her lips if she was going into H_ll”; deceased’s little grand-daughter was crying, and she and witness gathered the bits of clothes to cover the deceased again; witness was then going away, but deceased begged her not to go away till she would get her liberty to die in peace; was in the house when she died; she was quite sensible all the time; saw her the morning she got the beating; saw her every day; saw the Police come up with them after the transaction in the street; had seen deceased in the morning; she appeared to be a frail woman in health; she was not more so on this morning than for a twelve month previous; has known her above 30 years, and never saw liquor on her; had an opportunity of knowing on what terms they lived; did not see prisoner strike her mother these 8 years.

Cross-examined by Mr. PEEBLES. – Cannot form an opinion on the religious disposition of the deceased; the daughter wished the Protestant Clergyman to see her mother; no one interfered between them; the Priest came and saw her, before she died; the grand daughter went to the Protestant school in the town; never heard any one interfere between them; witness goes to law sometimes; is a married woman, and has five children; never heard anything said about a child of hers that died; all her children are alive; her son was once charged with a bit of a riot; thinks if she was brought here against her will, she is not to be insulted; it was none of witness’s business to go for a Magistrate to hear the old woman’s confession; told everything to the Magistrate as correctly as she has done to-day.

Dr. MITCHELL, examined by Mr. SCHOALES. – Made a post mortem examination of the deceased; found a great many parts much diseased; they appeared to be diseased of an old standing; opened the head, chest, and belly; the parts might have been diseased for months, or probably years; heard the evidence given on the inquest read by the Coroner; thinks from what he saw that the diseased state of the parts was quite sufficient to cause death without any reference to external injury; saw no external marks; thinks improper treatment might have accelerated death, and that deceased would have lingered longer had she not have received external injury.

Cross-examined by Mr. PEEBLES. – Deceased had ulceration of the bowels, of considerable extent; it was not of a recent origin; improper medecine would aggravate the symptoms, but there did not seem any reason to believe such had been taken; want of food, or improper food might also accelerate death, and so would want of clothing, or want of fuel.

George SWEENY. – This witness was summoned for the prosecution, but Counsel for the Crown declined to examine him. Mr. PEEBLES, however, cross-examined him. – Saw deceased on the Sunday evening, and asked her if her daughter had been beating her; she said no, at first, and, after a little she said somebody gave her a glass of spirits, and that she got a sore fall coming down the bridge; she did not say anything to witness about expecting to die.

To Mr. SCHOALES. – She said she had got a sore beating, but did not say who gave it to her; thinks she was so weak she was not able to tell witness; witness staid in the house a little after Mary BURNS left it; just went in by the invoice of the neighbours; is no friend of the prisoner’s.


Mr. PEEBLES proceeded to address Jury for the prisoner. He thought, from the evidence of the Medical Gentleman, it would be clear to them that the death of the deceased took place from natural causes. From some things that had come out in the course of the trial he was apprehensive that something of the unfortunate religious dissensions that so unfortunately prevail in the country was mixed up with the business; and that he thought might account for much of the virulence observable in the evidence of the witness Mary BURNS. He thought her evidence should be altogether put aside. The Learned Gentleman did not call any witnesses.

His Lordship then proceeded to charge the Jury at considerable length, who retired, and after consulting about half an hour, returned a verdict of Not Guilty of the murder, but Guilty of an aggravated assault. Sentence not passed.


Patrick KIRK, Patrick McSORLEY, John McGRATH, Thomas McWILLIAMS, and John MAGUIRE, were indicted for that they, after the 24th of August, last year, were members of a certain secret Society at Fintona, and for making use of certain signs and pass-words, on the 28th of March last, used by the members of said unlawful Society. There were several counts in the indictment, varying the offence in the usual manner.

Mr. SCHOALES rose to address the Jury for the prosecution. He mentioned the provisions of the Act of the 2d and 3d of her present Majesty relative to secret Societies. He then stated that a Society of this description existed at Fintona, at the time mentioned in the indictment, and that the prisoners were members of it, he trusted he would be able to bring forward evidence as would prove satisfactorily to them. He did hope that, after the examples that had been made in many parts of the country in the punishment of persons convicted of this offence, there would not have been found persons to have participated in the proceedings to which he had alluded; he had the satisfaction however, to state his conviction that there was not at the present time one-tenth of the numbers of persons connected with this combination as were at the time those prosecutions commenced. To give an idea of this Society, he might state that he believed it could be traced to the rebellion in the year 1798, but it was only a few years since that the attention of the Government was particularly directed to it, when an Act was passed, under the operation of which he was happy to say the system had considerably declined. A number of the officers of the Society had been detected and punished, but he regretted that the prime mover of its proceedings has as yet remained undiscovered. It was a system entirely confined to one class of her Majesty’s subjects, namely, the Roman Catholics, and indeed it would appear, from the evidence he would be enabled to produce that no others could be admitted, as one of the objects of it was the extirpation of heresy; and they all knew what was meant by heresy, in the language of the Roman Catholics. Now it appeared that in the neighbourhood of Fintona, nearly all the population, who were Roman Catholics, were connected with the system, and it became absolutely necessary that some notice should be taken of it. The system was held together by certain pass-words which he would read to them, and which were changed at certain periods, and to persons unacquainted with them they appeared quite nonsensical. They were similar to those we have given in former trials. They were such as –

“Men are of different opinions.”
The answer was,
“So was King Pharoah and Moses.”
by which the person was known whether he was a member of the Society or not.
“Have you got a medal?”
“I think I’ll take one.”

There were also some others of a similar kind. There was also an obligation of the most solemn nature, binding the members together, by which they engaged to support one another in the most unlawful and worst practices, as long as their present leaders were in power. They engaged that they would propogate brotherly love among the brethren, and that they would not drink to intoxication, so as to endanger a discovery of the secrets of the system. There was also a clause pledging the members to deal only, or at least in preference, with persons who were their friends. After some allusion to the solemn nature of the obligation, the Learned Gentleman concluded by reading the signature to this document, which was in two words, viz., “Narrato narratum.” He proceeded to call the following witnesses: –

Richard McGOVERN, examined by Mr. JOHNSTON – Has been about 20 years in the County; knew something of the Ribbon Society; was a member of it; it is upwards of 16 years since witness became a member of it; was made at Dromore, in this County; cannot describe the way he was made; was first and foremost put down on his knees, and made to say the Lord’s prayer; was then handed the book, and sworn to keep secret everything he should hear of the Society, and who were connected with it; was obliged to go when called on, unless sickness or death prevented him, to any place the authorities of the Society should bring him, paid half a crown and some liquor for being made; there were some signs and pass-words; got some when he was made, but hardly recollects them; they were in the shape of a question and answer, and he would know a member by them when he would talk to him; these were mostly changed every quarter; they were then called renewals; there were County Masters, who were the highest; then Parish Masters, Body Masters, and Committee men; witness was a Committee man; never knew but one religion among them – the Roman Catholic; the members were pretty numerous in the neighbourhood; they had other objects than giving out the “renewals”; those were beating a man, quarrelling at fairs, or injuring a man’s property; the members were bound to go on these occasions, if ordered; is aware of different actions of this kind done; knew of the windows of the School-house at the Barr of Fintona being broken and the farming utensils of a person being buried in a bog-hole on account of his having offended them; knew also of a turf-stack being burned and several persons being beaten; Mr. JOHNSTON (witness’s master) was severely beaten and almost killed, in consequence of orders given by the Society; did not tell, nor could any member of the Society, without breaking his oath; knows the prisoner KIRK, and also the others; they were all members of the Society at the time they were taken in March last; has seen some of them distributing signs and passwords and all the rest receive them except McWILLIAMS; KIRK and McSORLEY held office; cannot tell what they were, but McSORLEY himself told witness he was a Parish Master; it was KIRK gave witness the papers to take out on the Sunday they were taken; knew KIRK some time before Nov. last being asked to go and help to make a man; the other man had not the obligation papers; it is the business of the Body Masters to make the men and to give out “renewals”; saw all the others at meetings of the Society in Fintona; in March last was the latest time he saw them; remembers seeing KIRK and McSORLEY about New year’s day in a house; they were sitting drinking with witness and none but Ribbonmen were present; McSORLEY mentioned a man’s name and said he should get some kind of a cheek that would make him look sharp.

Mr. DOHERTY, as Counsel for the prisoners, objected to this line of examination as relating to circumstances not mentioned in the indictment.
Mr. JOHNSTON said it was merely to connect the prisoners with the Society.

Examination continued. – Was at a meeting about Christmas, at which the prisoners KIRK and McSORLEY were present; recollects having a communication with the prisoner KIRK, immediately before he was arrested; it was about witness getting the papers relative to being a Body Master from that time; the papers contained the signs and passwords; got them from KIRK; went to a public house of a man named MAGUIRE, on the occasion, and found all the prisoners there except McSORLEY; KIRK sent witness for him, and finding him in DONNELLY’s cloth-shop, brought him down; they then sat down and drank some spirits, and commenced distributing the signs and pass-words, as it was for that they had met; witness got them from KIRK by McSORLEY’s orders; the words on the papers were repeated to witness by KIRK, as he can neither read or write himself; it is not usual in such circumstances to have the distribution of pass-words, unless there is a Committee-man who can read or write to assist him; the first was “Have you got a medal?” This belongs to Body Masters, and not to the common members, the answer was, “I think I’ll take one;” does not recollect much more about them; this was the day the “renewals” were given out; and they should be done with at May; they were generally changed at May, Lammas, “Halliday”, and Candlemas; got signs on that day also, but does not remember them; gave the paper he got to his sister, when coming down the street on the same day; MAGUIRE on that day requested KIRK to read the obligation for him; McWILLIAMS did not take out the “renewals” on that day; some paid for them, and others had not the money; saw MAGUIRE and McGRATH pay; McWILLIAMS said on account of having a Temperance Medal he would not take out the “renewals”; was about two hours in the house; went into it as soon as Mass was over; witness told the others if they would come to John MAGINN’s he would give them a treat; the reason he asked them there was to get them made prisoners of , as he had previously given information; did this by Mr. HATTON’s orders; all the prisoners went to MAGINN’s which is nearly opposite the door of the Police Barrack; was there scarcely fifteen minutes when the Sergeant came in with his men, and made them prisoners, the name of the Sergeant is KING; they searched all the prisoners, and got some papers on KIRK; had given the paper he got from KIRK to his sister in the interval, and charged her to give it to nobody but a Policeman; knew a man named Thos. MORROW, who was transported; can’t tell if he was a member; knew a man called Michael MULLAN, who was a member; also, another called McDADE, and one called McMULLAN, James McSORLEY, a person named McSLUDDEN, and one called McKENNY; recollects well that signs were given out at MAGUIRE’s that day; don’t remember what they were.

Cross-examined by Mr. DOHERTY. – Has been a Ribbonman about 16 years; is now about 30 or 32 years of age; might be about 14 when he first took the obligation, or probably a little more; kept the secret pretty well till now; acknowledges he has now added the character of traitor to his other crimes;
planned the betraying of the men on the Saturday night, and the Friday, before they were taken; had planned to do so four months before, but could not rightly get them taken sooner; attended the meetings of the Society as usual in the meantime; let it lie over till the papers would be got; didn’t want to get them taken till the papers would be in custody; was not told that his own evidence would not do to convict them; was anxious to get the papers himself; had drank with the men often during the four months; it was his intention to bring them as near the Police Barrack as he could; does not think he is too wise; thinks Counsel could spring a mine as well, or probably better; had agreed with the Policemen, and as a sign, was to put his hand in his own pocket corresponding to the one in which the prisoners had the papers; MAGUIRE’s is about 30 perches from the Police Barrack; the Police directed witness to bring the men to MAGINN’s ; they thought that in MAGUIRE’s the papers might have been thrown aside; has often been at a Ribbon meeting at the back of a ditch; never himself planned the beating of any person in such a place; might be in MAGUIRE’s about two hours, and drinking part of the time; was told that was important to get the papers with the prisoners; this is the only oath he ever broke in his life; did not conceive it binding on him for more than a year; is just a labouring man, and never thought a bit of toil; when he did give his information he intended to do as much harm to the Society as he could; expects to get whatever Government allows; has heard of other approvers being well paid and sent out of the country; has not been promised anything; had money from his daily labour which he treated the prisoners with; got 15 1/2 d. from Constable DICKSON to buy the papers, and got half a crown from Mr. HATTON on another occasion; might also get a sixpence now and again, when he wanted it to buy tobacco from the Police; did not always get it when he wanted it; could earn sometimes 15d. and sometimes half a crown in the day; considers he has a right to be paid let the men be acquitted or not; never said he gave the information to get money; had a dispute with some members of the Society, and got an advice in consequence, to leave it; was married about fourteen years ago, and has five children; cannot tell who supports them now; they are not in this country, or the next; did not purchase the coat he has on with the price of his labour; it was given to him, he believes, by order of Government, as he had need of it.

Re-examined by Mr. JOHNSTON. – Was obliged to pay for the papers; was advised by witness’s sister to quit the Society; cannot tell whether his sister is married or not; some say she is, some say not.

Patrick MAGUIRE, examined by Mr. SCHOALES. – Is son to the person who keeps the public-house, in Fintona; saw the prisoners, KIRK, McSORLEY and McWILLIAMS in the house on the Sunday in question, and a young woman; saw nothing that was done in the room; only got the money for the drink
which he took in; there were others in the room witness did not know, cannot tell if the other prisoners were there; McSORLEY and the girl went out first, and the others followed immediately.

Cross-examined by Mr. DOHERTY. – The door of the room was not locked, nor even shut; it is usual for people to go in and take a glass after coming out of the Chapel.

Irwin KING, Police Constable, examined by Mr. JOHNSTON, – Knows the witness, McGOVERN; recollects getting information from him on the Friday and Saturday previous to the arrest of the prisoners; he told witness a meeting of Ribbonmen was to take place in MAGUIRE’s on Sunday; witness went to MAGINN’s, who lives opposite the Police Barrack, in consequence of an agreement with McGOVERN, went into a small room, and found six persons there; the five prisoners and McGOVERN; took out a pistol, and threatened to shoot any of them if they would attempt to stir, or put aside any papers; they were all then pretty quiet, and witness commenced searching them; searched KIRK first, and found the paper marked-

No. 1 in his vest pocket, and also the one marked
No. 2; found another paper, and a medal on McWILLIAMS; handcuffed them, and removed them to the Police Barracks; witness went in about half an hour, in consequence of information got from McGOVERN, to his sister, and got the paper marked
No. 3 with her. [These papers were produced; they contained the passwords, and were handed in.]

Saw KIRK write his name, when before Major SNOW; the signature on the paper No. 2 is very like KIRK’s handwriting; cannot say positively that it is his; believes it to be so; thinks the whole of the papers is in the same handwriting; saw McSORLEY on a market day in Fintona, about three weeks after the men were bailed; he came up to witness and asked if he knew what would happen to him and the others; witness said he could not know until the Assizes would come on, but if he was innocent he would, of course, be acquitted then – if he was guilty he would have the worse chance; McSORLEY then said when there was a traitor like McGOVERN among them it was hard to say how it would go; he said they were deceived, for McGOVERN had informed on them; he also said if they had known that Police were going to arrest them in MAGINN’s, they would not probably have found it so easy.

Cross-examined by Mr. DOHERTY. – The reason the Police did not go to MAGUIRE’s was, they thought it better to bring them as near to the Police Barracks as possible, as a great crowd was immediately collected around the Barracks; agreed with his Officer, Mr. HATTON, to do as they had done; knew McGOVERN just two days before the arrest took place; supposes others of the men may have known him before this.

Bessy McGOVERN, examined by Mr.SCHOALES. – Is sister to the witness McGOVERN; remembers getting the paper from him on the Sunday in question; lives convenient to the Main street in Fintona; her brother came to her and gave her the paper; witness locked it up, and had it between four and five hours; gave it to Sergeant KING of the Police; cannot tell if the paper produced is the one, as she cannot read; thinks it is the same; had no other paper.

Cross-examined by Mr. DOHERTY. – Is not a married woman; earns some money by sewing; has not got any money from Government; has a child to a young man, who gives her some assistance; gets the best part of her support in this way; is “in keeping” by a gentleman.

William DICKSON, Policeman, examined by Mr. JOHNSTON. – Went with Constable KING to arrest the prisoners; McGOVERN got money from the witness to take out the “renewals”; assisted to search the prisoners at MAGINN’s; got the paper marked No. 4, in McSORLEY’s pocket.

Cross-examined by Mr. DOHERTY. – Gave McGOVERN 15 1/2d. on that day; had given him some sixpences before, as he said his children were badly off; had known him about 4 months before this; cannot tell how much he gave him; gave him the money for his services in giving information.

Major SNOW, R.M., examined by Mr. SCHOALES. – Asked KIRK how he could account for having the papers in his possession; he said he found them on the road about half a mile from the town of Fintona.

Cross-examined by Mr. DOHERTY. – Thinks this was the next day after the prisoners were arrested.

John HATTON, Esq., S.I. of Police, examined by Mr. JOHNSTON. – Found the papers produced to him in the house of a person named MORROW, of Ballyvaden, near Fivemiletown; MORROW admitted the papers to be his; MORROW has been convicted of Ribbonism, and transported and the papers are similar to those found with the prisoner.

Dennis GILGAN, examined by Mr. SCHOALES. – Witness has been a Ribbonman; was pretty well acquainted with the rules and regulations of the Society; can read and write a little; the printed obligation was here shown to the witness, who read it; while Mr. SCHOALES compared the one in his brief; the one he had read had the second and third article, the same as the one in the similar document with which he was acquainted. It appeared the printed document was the one found in MORROW’s, and that a manuscript paper of a similar kind was found in the prisoner KIRK’s pocket. The pass-words are also similar to those used in the witness’s time.

Cross-examined by Mr. DOHERTY. – Was never convicted of Ribbonism; got a beating that laid him on his back for 14 weeks, and gave information in consequence; lives in Dublin now, but was a Fermanagh man, formerly; is a shoe-maker, and gets some of the public money, but not from the Government; never saw King Pharaoh’s name in the document before; those produced now are similar, however, to those he was acquainted with.


Mr. DOHERTY then rose to address the Jury for the prisoners. He considered it his duty to observe on the ingredients that were brought together for the purpose of this trial. He would condemn the practice of secret societies as much as any person, but he thought that the circumstances in the present case had been much too strongly dwelt on by Counsel for the Crown. The system might have its head in the clouds for aught he knew, but he was much mistaken if the present case at least would not crumble into dust before he would have done with it.

The Learned Gentleman then animadverted strongly on the character of the approver McGOVERN, and on his conduct in inveigling the prisoners, whom he had made his victims, till he got them completely in his tolls. It was, he said, ridiculous to think that the reasons McGOVERN had given for taking the men to MAGINN’s were the true ones. This part of the business was completely obscured, for undoubtedly it would have been much better had the Police come upon them at MAGUIRE’s, where, according to him, they were in full activity as a Ribbon Lodge. But he thought it would appear plain that they were only in MAGUIRE’s for the innocent purpose of taking a little refreshment after coming out of the Chapel. They would see that at the very utmost McGOVERN’s evidence was highly suspicious, and when such was the case the prisoners had a right to the benefit of the doubts that would consequently arise. It would be impossible for any person to be safe if open to the conspiracy of such persons as the person who had been examined before them. He had evidently spurred them on, and it would appear that the men had rather given up the business, until incited by McGOVERN. He alluded to the respectable character of the prisoners which would be proved to them, and in that respect the witnesses on the prosecution had not said one word. He thought it very probable that the papers had been brought to the place by McGOVERN himself, as they had not the appearance of having been written in March last, as sworn by him.

The Learned Gentleman concluded by expressing his confidence in the impartiality of the Jury. He then proceeded to call some witnesses.

The first witness called was the girl McSORLEY, who was along with the men in MAGUIRE’s. She said they were met for no particular purpose except to take a refreshment as usual after prayers; she saw no appearance of papers with them.

Some other evidence was given as to character, after which the case closed, and his Lordship proceeded to charge the Jury, who retired, and after a short time returned into Court with a verdict of Guilty against all the prisoners, accompanied with a recommendation to mercy with respect to McWILLIAMS, McGRATH, and MAGUIRE. His Lordship did not pass sentence. (see more for sentences) The Court then adjourned.

The Dungannon Election Riots

Henry MADDEN, for having, with others, collected together, and made a riot, at Dungannon, on the — July; and for assaulting John THOMPSON.

The prisoner was allowed to traverse in prox. till next Assizes. Securities – himself in £10, and two sureties in £5 each.

Patrick McKENNA, Francis DREW, Peter DONNELLY, John McDONALD, Patrick CAMPBELL, Joseph GREER, Wm. MORTON, James MULDOO, Patrick HEALLY, William MOLES, John BRANIGAN, William BRADLEY, John RAFFERTY, James M’GAHAN, James M’CAMLEY, William RAFFERTY, Patrick M’CAMBELL, James M’CAMBELL, John KERR, William KELLY, Henry M’KERNAN, John M’GUIGGAN, Michael DONAGHEY, Bernard M’CREEDY, John M’CULLEN, Murty CULLEN, Hugh LISTER, Thomas NIXON, James ROONEY, Joseph CULLEN, and Thomas M’KEW, being the Roman Catholic party concerned in those riots, were then called on, and placed in the upper gallery of the Court-house.

Before they were arraigned, Mr. DOHERTY, their Counsel, applied to his Lordship to postpone going into the case for a few minutes, as a satisfactory arrangement was, he understood, about being entered into between the parties. His Lordship consented, Counsel for the Crown, who were the prosecutors in the case, not objecting.

In the meantime the woman, Nancy McCONWAY, was put forward, and sentenced by his Lordship to twelve months’ imprisonment at hard labour.

Patrick KIRK, McGRATH, McWILLIAMS, MAGUIRE, and McSORLEY, convicted of Ribbonism yesterday, were then put forward.

His Lordship said they had been very properly convicted of an offense which it had become absolutely necessary to visit with severe punishment. A special Act of Parliament had been enacted for the punishment of persons connected with this illegal association, and it was the duty of every one who
valued the welfare of this country to take the most prompt steps for its suppression. It was a disgrace to a civilized community, and his only course was to award the extreme penalty of the law to two at least of the prisoners. He then sentenced KIRK and McSORLEY to be transported for the period of seven years; and McGRATH, McWILLIAMS, and MAGUIRE to 10 months’ imprisonment, and hard labour every alternate month.

The Protestant party connected with the Dungannon Election riots were then called, and the remaining galleries and side boxes cleared for their reception. Their names were as follows:

James MOON, Joseph BULLOCK, Joshua BULLOCK, James MORROW, James ROBINSON, Robert CLARK, Joseph BURNSIDE, Edward SIMPSON, William BULLOCK, John HUTCHESON,jun., Wm. HARTLEY, Henry MAGUIRE, Thos. STEELE, John MITCHELL, John CLARK, Robert TEACY, Mathew EVANS, John SIMONTON, James CORIGAN, Wood Caulfield HAZELTON, Thomas CRAIG, Charles MOLYNEUX, Wright MILLES, James BLAYNEY, Francis TIPPING, Richardson GREEN, James OLIVER, Wm. NELSON, George JOHNSTON, Benjamin JAMES, James SHILLINGTON, and Oliver M’CAUSLAND.

At this period, Mr. DOHERTY said his clients, the party first called, proposed to traverse in prox. till next Assizes. He thought there would most likely be an arrangement entered into by that time by the parties.

The calling of the remainder of the Protestant party then proceeded:
Alexander M’NALLY, William LUCAS, John GRIMES, Aaron CADDOW, George M’WHINNEY, John ARNOTT or ARNOLD, James KINNEAR, Laurence WARD, Andrew KELLY, Aaron HALL, Andrew M’ATEER, William REID, James M’ILROY, James SCOTT, James IRVINE, George ROBINSON, James

The following of the Roman Catholic party were also called:
John M’GURR, and John HAGAN.

Mr. SMILEY said he had examined the informations, and found that the greater portion of both parties had a right to traverse in prox.

They were then formally indicted for a riot on the 21st of June, at Dungannon, and making a great affray. Mr. MAJOR for the Protestant party, said his clients were ready for their trial, and declined traversing in prox.

His Lordship thought it would be of much advantage to the peace of the country that the passions of all parties would have time to cool. He could not for his part think of trying 500 persons, at so late an hour, on the last day of the Assizes.

Mr. DOHERTY said it was under the impression that the trials of the whole would be postponed, that his clients came to the determination of traversing in prox.

The Clerk of the Crown said there had been bills found in 113 cases. Mr. MAJOR said it was certainly very inconvenient for such a large number of persons to attend from Assizes to Assizes.

Mr. SMILEY announced the intention of the Crown to be to select five or six persons of each party for prosecution and in the meantime that the whole should give bail to appear at the next Assizes, on getting a fortnight’s notice.

His Lordship suggested the propriety of parties, and all who had any influence with them endeavouring to cultivate a feeling of peace, as the cause of the excitement was over, and it would be every one’s interest to promote that feeling, as much as in his power.

Mr. SMILEY said that future proceedings would in a great degree, depend on the conduct of the parties both in going home, from the present Assizes, and during the intervening period till the next Assizes.

The whole of the parties were then discharged, with the exception of BRADLEY, charged with perjury, for whom however, bail was subsequently accepted. Mr. John HUGHES and Mr. John M’GARR both of Dungannon appeared as his sureties.

Jane PEDEN was then presented as a vagrant and ordered to give the usual security, within six months, or be transported.

A number of minor cases were tried before Chief Justice DOHERTY, in the Record Court, after the termination of the civil business.
Some road traverses were then disposed of, and, the Assizes terminated.

William IRWIN, Thomas ATKINS, and Charles PHILLIPS, were indicted for being concerned in an Orange procession, on the 12th of July last, at Dromore, in this County. Traversed in prox. till next Assizes. They were ordered to enter into the same bail as formerly.

On the 27th ultimo, in Forkhill Church, by the Rev. Doctor Campbell, Patrick MOORE, Esq. S.T.C.D., to Ellen Mary, fourth daughter of the late Rev. Henry ASHE, of Acton Girbe, County Armagh.