Ballina, Mayo, Ireland
Wednesday, March 13, 1850
Interesting Forgery Case
John Graham, alias Henry Dickson, was indicted for that he not being an
officer of the Bank of Ireland, had in his possession a plate or piece of metal
on which were impressed the words, &c. used by the company in their notes. The
indictment contained 23 counts and the presentation was conducted by Sergeant
O'Brien and Mr. Brereton.
The prisoner, a shrewd, intelligent man, well dressed, and of a mild
demeanour, evinced a determination to act as his own counsel, having arranged
before him in the dock several manuscript documents.
The first witness examined was James Keogh.- He deposed that he met the
prisoner in this city in the month of November, 1848; never knew him before;
Thady Molony was with him when he met Graham in Brunswick-street; he invited
them into a public house and asked them to buy a pound note; witness gave him
7s. for it; they drank three dandies of punch each; when parting Graham
appointed a place of meeting should they want to buy any more notes; on the
morning after witness bought six more from him for 30s.; bought four more in a
fortnight after; saw the prisoner printing notes in a house in Augustinian land;
saw the plate with him; he rubbed something dry on the plate, and then sprinkled
water on the paper which he laid over it, and got the impression; Graham told
him he should fly form the town - that the police were after him, and that he
would give him (Keogh) the plate which he did.
Prisoner - My lord, I request you will order the other witnesses out of
court. I am labouring under debility, having been imprisoned for the last 15
months without being brought to trial, and as I have to defend my own case, it
would make it the more embarrassing to me were they present, for one would swear
to what he heard the other say.
The witnesses were ordered out of the court.
Prisoner (to Keogh)- Were not many members of your family suspected, or, I
shall say, convicted for passing forged notes?
Witness - 'Twas a sorry day to me I ever saw you - my uncle was transported
for it, and my mother is under sentence of transportation.
Prisoner - And to save yourself you have sworn a false information against
me - may the blood of Jesus-
Sergeant O'Brien - You said, Keogh, that he gave you the plate; what did
you do with it?
Witness - I was afraid to take it home, and deposited it in a hole in the
well at the dock-yard, north strand; it was rolled in paper; I put a stone in
the opening to prevent it being seen; I afterwards gave information to Mr.
O'Brien, the stipendiary magistrate, of where the plate was.
Prisoner - I never saw you until I was arrested.
Witness- You are a danger; you said you were in Clonmel gaol for forgery in
Prisoner - I stand here and am prepared to go before the governor in every
gaol in Ireland for identification; I dare say the Bank of Ireland will defray
Witness- You told me you were a deserter.
Prisoner - You swore I was a deserter.
Witness - Oh, you are too great a grammarian for me (laughter.)
Prisoner - You are here on your oath, and must answer me as soon as you
would his lordship.
Witness- (astonished) faith you have too many crans for me (renewed
laughter) I got enough of you.
Prisoner - You say I told you I was a deserter. Now if I said I was an
Antedeluvian would you swear to it? (laughter)
Witness appeared much surprised and looked his lordship sternly in the
face, who laughed heartily.
Judge- Can you answer him that question?
Witness - Why, then, my lord, (immoderate laughter)
Judge - Do you know what an Antedeluvian is?
Witness - Indeed, faith. I don't; may be he is one, by gor - (renewed
Prisoner then took up the sworn information of the witness, and with a
degree of tact that would do credit to a practised lawyer, cross-examined him at
Thadeus Molony corroborated the testimony of Keogh, and was also
cross-examined by the prisoner.
John O'Brien, Esq, R.M. proved having found the plate in the wall at the
dock-yard; Mr. Williams, Sub-Inspector, was with him; also Molony.
Prisoner then told Mr. O'Brien he held him in too high esteem to offer him
the slightest offence, and hoped he would excuse him if the questions he was
about to put afforded him any annoyance. He then cross-examined Mr. O'Brien as
to the construction of the wall, the aperture where the plate was deposited, and
the condition of the metal when found.
Mr. Michael O'Brien, son to the former witness, deposed that he exhibited
the plate at the office of the Bank of Ireland, in Dublin, where it was
pronounced a counterfeit. (The plate here produced was remarkably well
Michael Ryan, of Trough, proved that he purchased a piece of copper,
similar to the plate, for the prisoner who lodged in his house; saw him pencil
the form and figures of a bank note on it; saw an engraving press with him,
which was removed without witness's knowledge.
The arrest of the prisoner, and particulars connected with the passing of
forged notes at fairs and markets were then given in evidence.
James Quinn, sworn- I am a turnkey in Ennis gaol; the prisoner was there in
'43 while he was in gaol I saw him engraving his name; he was then called
Mullins. I often saw his wife come with words to him.
Prisoner - How do you know she was my wife? - Did you ever see her in bed
with me? (laughter)
Witness- This is all I have to say, my lord.
Charles Turner, examined - I live about twenty miles from Limerick, in the
county Clare; the prisoner lodged at my house one night; he gave me a pound not
to change; I went to change it; John Page brought it to the police.
His lordship then asked the prisoner if he would address the court or the
The Prisoner addressed the Court at some length in a very able and
The Judge then charged the jury, who were about to retire, when
The Prisoner said- My lord, I submit there was no evidence to go before the
jury that the offense was committed in the city of Limerick.
The Jury having retired for a few minutes, returned a verdict of Guilty.
His Lordship, in passing sentence on the prisoner, said he had displayed
extraordinary natural ability by the ingenious arguments he had used for his
defence and able cross-examination of witnesses.- During his experience he had
never met so clever a person, and it was to be regretted he had not directed his
abilities to better use. The sentence was that he be transported for life.
Prisoner - As I am to be transported for life I must say that the jurors
who tried me have put themselves on an equilibrium with the presecutors who
swore against me.
The convict was formerly a householder in Sackville-street, Dublin, and
worked in this city as an engraver.-- Limerick Chroncile.
Cathy Joynt Labath
Ireland Old News