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!! Connaught Journal; Aug 16, 1824 "Limerick Assizes- Murder of Major Hare" part 1

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  • Cathy Joynt Labath
    THE CONNAUGHT JOURNAL Galway, MONDAY, AUGUST 16, 1824 LIMERICK ASSIZES - August 5 MURDER OF MAJOR HARE The long panel, which occupied a considerable time, was
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 9, 2005
      Galway, MONDAY, AUGUST 16, 1824

      LIMERICK ASSIZES - August 5
      The long panel, which occupied a considerable time, was called over by the
      Clerk of the Crown, so as to have a sufficient number of Jurors in attendance
      for the trial of the murderers of the lamented Major Hare, on which case
      numerous challenges were expected from the traversers' agent.
      An unusual sensation was visible in the Court, from the great anxiety
      evinced to watch the progress of the important trial. It was intimated on behalf
      of the prisoners, that none of them would join in their challenges. The
      procedure was conducted by the Crown.
      After nearly sixty challenges on behalf of the prisoners, and a few from
      the Crown, a very respectable Jury was sworn.
      Patrick Minnane, James Minnane and John Green were put to the bar, and
      indicted for assaulting the late Major Thomas Hare, at his residence, Mount
      Henry, on the first of February, 1822; Patrick Minnane for giving him a mortal
      wound in the breast with a gun; and the two others for aiding and assisting in
      the said murder. There was also a second indictment, charging them with ?aniting
      the habitation.
      Mr. Serjeant Goold rose to address the Court. He said it became his duty,
      as Counsel for the Crown, to state a detail of facts connected with his case,
      without offering any observation upon them; he would not intentionally make a
      remark that could have a tendency to excite a prejudice in the mind of the Court
      and Jury; he was not so disposed; he would not call their attention to a simple
      narrative of facts in reference to this most important transaction. Before he
      would do so, however, he would like the opportunity of congratulating them on
      the symptoms of returning peace and order visible in the country. The Judges on
      the Circuit have seen how little in the way of outrage has been committed since
      the lapse of the last Assizes; the persons engaged in these heretofore are
      beginning to fell a sense of their conduct, and evince their duty to the laws by
      a returning submission to them. The Gentlemen of the Jury are now called on to
      investigate into and decide upon as state case that took place on Thursday, the
      31st of January, 1822. The late Major Hare resided at a place called Mount
      Henry, which is within three miles of Rathkeale; at that time, when its
      disturbed state must be in the recollection of every one who heard him; that
      particular district of the country was characterised by the perpetration of
      every crime the most revolting, such as murder, burning, robbery, &c. It would
      be satisfactorily proved that on the evening mentioned, a party had assembled at
      a certain place, when it was determined to proceed to the house of a Mr. Copley,
      a Gentleman well known to be a sporting character, to have had several guns, and
      possessed a great landed property in the county. On the same night these persons
      went there in a body and as it will be detailed in evidence, it is sufficient to
      say they got Mr. Copley's arms; they went from this to the house of a man named
      Frawley, where they supped, and where they agreed to go on to Major Hare's, who
      was supposed by them to have had a considerable number of firearms.- They did go
      there, and on examination they found it difficult to effect an entrance; some of
      them, however, discovered a small window in the rere of the house, through which
      they got into the kitchen, leaving a sentinel outside; while groping in the
      dark, they came over a servant who was in bed, and with whom they placed a guard
      for fear of alarm. On proceeding farther, they entered a small room in which
      there was a bed, but no one slept there; they now went up stairs and met a
      person at the door of the room, in his shirt, with a gun in his hand; he called
      out, "you rebels, what do you want here?" he snapped the gun at them, and one of
      the party closed, and struggled with him for the possession of it, during the
      struggle, Patrick Minnane, one of the prisoners, presented his gun, took a
      deadly aim, and fired at this unfortunate person; he dropped, and the shot
      deprived him of life! - it was perfectly unnecessary for the prisoner to have
      fired, for Major Hare's gun missed fire, and eleven or twelve fellows were fully
      sufficient to have overpowered him without proceeding to such an extremity. A
      brother of the prisoner, James Minnane, went to Mrs. Hare's room when she asked
      him was her husband killed; he said he was not, and out of a desk in the room
      she gave them powder and ammunition which they had demanded. These persons
      showed a fidelity to each other unusual in this party of the country, for in
      other cases of a similar matter wherein convictions have occurred, it has been
      the evidence of approvers and accomplices- but the Providence of God, which
      watches over our actions, decreed that the crime of murder should not escape the
      punishment which it deserves. That man who will come forward this day to prove
      the statements he had made, fled from his native country, after the murder, and
      reached the far distant shores of North America - Lieutenant Dillon Massy, of
      the 37th Regiment of Foot, stationed there, and highly connected in this his
      native country, who had occasion to know something of its state and of the
      characters who resided there, had this individual, Officer Fitzgerald, arrested
      upon suspicion, in consequence of information he had received from home. His
      conscience, it is to be hoped, struck him with remorse for the outrage he had
      been concerned in, and he made disclosures; as soon as the news had been
      received in Limerick that Oliver Fitzgerald had been arrested in America, that
      their old accomplice was taken, and was returning to this country every one of
      the three prisoners at the bar fled from their homes- they were not to be found.
      Green fled to a remote part of the county Clare, where it will be proved he went
      under an assumed name. Patrick and James Minnane were found concealed under a
      bed. There could not be a stranger presumption of guilt under such
      circumstances - they all fled and abandoned their homes. There is a strong
      confirmation of the detail of facts, which will be deposed to. Other criminals
      are as yet at large, who have not been apprehended. The Learned Serjeant
      concluded by observing, that it was one of the most atrocious murders that ever
      disgraced a civilized country.

      Oliver Fitzgerald sworn and examined by Counsellor Quin.

      Knows the three prisoners, Patrick Minnane, James Minnane and John Green;
      has seen them before; recollects the night Major Hare was shot; it was in or
      about Candelmas, 1822; on that day they all met according to appointment at the
      lime-kiln, on the race course of Rathkeale; they were armed, and towards evening
      went from thence, through the fields out by Kilcool-bridge, to Mr. Copley's
      house, which is some miles from Rathkeale; they went for his arms, and reached
      there early in the night; they got into the house and saw Mr. Coply, whom they
      asked for arms and ammunition; they told him they would only keep them for some
      time and would return them; they went into the parlour, where Mr. Copley and his
      wife were sitting by the fire; he believes they all demanded the arms;
      recollects that Pat Minnane the prisoner, Browne, (since dead), David Donovan
      and himself, were in the room; after some time, Mr. Copley went out with them to
      give the arms; they were in a pantry, the windows of which James Minnane, one of
      the prisoners, was after breaking; they distributed the arms they got among each
      other; they consisted of a long shore-gun, two blunderbusses, one without a
      lock, and a fowling-piece, with a tin cannister of powder; they left behind a
      fancy gun belonging to Mr. Copley; Browne had it first and witness took it from
      him, returned to the house and gave it to Mr. Copley for the blunderbus without
      the lock; they then went homewards, and on the way it was proposed to go to the
      house of one Frawley for refreshment, which was agreed to; when they got there
      one of the party called out, and three Frawleys came outside, and took them into
      a barn, where they gave them potatoes and meat; they laid by their arms, which
      the Frawleys took up and examined; they were covetting them and the party said
      they would take arms for themselves; it was then agreed to go to Major Hare's
      for arms, and they all proceeded the same night, with the exception of David
      Donovan, who tired; they were ten in number; one of the Frawleys and two strange
      boys went with them; when the party reached the house, they found the lower
      windows were barred, but on going round it, they discovered a window in the rere
      that was not fastened; this they burst open, and they all went in through it
      except the two strange boys and John Green, the prisoner, who remained outside
      as a guard; they got into the kitchen, and from that noticed a small room on the
      right, where a man was in bed; he cried out, and said he was the servant; they
      left a guard over him, and the others proceeded up stairs until they came to the
      second lobby, on each side of which there was a door; they entered the room at
      the right and said there was nothing there but an empty bed; witness was then
      after them; he turned round opposite the other door, which was open, when a man
      came out in his shirt and nightcap, and presented a piece at him; it was a short
      gun; he called out, "What, ye rebels," and snapped it at witness; it missed
      fire; he then drew back into the room, and witness threw away his gun and
      followed him; he did not wish to shoot him, and wanted to prevent him doing so;
      as he opened the bed chamber door Major Hare struck him with the gun on the
      forehead and cut him; he bled a great deal; he, whoever, caught him in his arms;
      Brown, who is dead, came up to assist him; they struggled for the gun, and
      witness took it from him; finding his face covered with blood, he made a punch
      of it with his left side, which Major Hare caught, and while wrestling it from
      him, Patrick Minnane drew back and shot him; witness's hands were round Major
      Hare's middle, and he received part of the powder on his wrist, the marks of
      which he partly retains; Major Hare fell, and in falling Minnane struck him
      again on the head with the gun; the others of the party got whatever arms were
      in the house; can't tell in what part; they then went down stairs, and he
      stopped on the lobby after them to wipe away the blood off his forehead; he then
      went down after them and saw a candle lighting below; he told them his hat was
      above and asked one of them to return with him for it; James Minnane wnet up
      with him to the lobby where Major Hare lay stretched; Mrs. Hare was standing at
      the bed chamber door, and asked them where was her husband- was he dead? one of
      them said he was not, after which they entered the room and demanded of her
      ammunition; she thought it was money they asked, and said there was but little
      of it in the house; they told her it was not money they wanted but ammunition;
      she then went towards the window to a table and handed James Minnane from the
      drawer a shot-pouch; they obtained a short gun, a fowling-piece, and another gun
      with a new rough or home-made stock; he believes Green was outside all this
      time; he did not see him inside the house; on leaving it they went away to

      Cross-examined by Counsellor Jackson.

      If his presence at this murder marked him a murderer he admits he is one;
      allows there is no crime more atrocious than the crime of murder; knows he
      committed crimes that deserved hanging; he came from America to give evidence on
      this trial; he might and might not take a man's life to save his own; he carried
      arms to put down all tyrants, as he considered them; he went to America to avoid
      what has now occurred, and to avoid becoming an informer if he could. "Is your
      swearing her today to save your life, on your oath?" He hesitated, and said,
      "that could not be known until he was tried first." The question was repeated,
      and he gave an answer in the affirmative, he could not avoid coming forward
      here, he was so persecuted; it is partly a love of justice that influences him
      now; he committed crimes enough to hang himself; he never put his story in
      writing, nor ever made a memorandum of, he stated it all from memory; the
      prisoners were friends and acquaintances of his, some of them from his infancy;
      witness would prosecute in a just cause; that he would not damn his soul to save
      his life; he was not as calm on the night of the murder as he is now, for his
      life was twice in danger then; saw Major Hare's corpse, but it was not his fault
      that he became one, he was sorry to see him dead; there was no conspiracy to
      murder him, it was not intended to do it; it was the occurrence of the moment;
      it need not be done; witness was charged with other murders; two others; one of
      them was the post-boy of Shanagolden, and the other was the murder of Gorman; he
      was also charged with assembling and taking arms; does not know how many
      occasions; he was in the service of Mr. Lloyd, but cannot say he was charged
      with robbing his son-in-law; perhaps he ought; was not charged with depredations
      at Mr. Hewson's, or with pawning his plate; robbed a man on the Commons of
      Rathkeale; took a gun from Mr. Leake; heard that one Gleason was shot; was never
      charged with robbing him or his son; heard the prisoners were charged with it,
      and believes it.

      [to be continued]

      Cathy Joynt Labath
      Ireland Old News
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