THE CONNAUGHT JOURNAL
Galway, Monday, March 15, 1824
The Assizes for the county of Wicklow commenced on the 4th instant, at ten
o'clock in the morning. The Chief Justice presided in the Crown Court, and Baron
Smith in the Record Court.- After the Grand Jury having been sworn, his Lordship
addressed them briefly. He dwelt very forcibly on the appearance of two
different charges of Ribbonism for administering secret and unlawful oaths, and
called upon the Magistrates of the County to act with vigilance, and check the
evil at its commencement. He drew a very striking distinction between the state
of tranquility in which the County was placed, and the disturbed state of many
of the Southern Counties.
Having explained the meaning of some new Acts of Parliament, and the Grand
Jury having retired, the following prisoners were successively put on their
Abraham Cooper, stealing. Acquitted.
John Burne, stealing wearing apparel. Guilty.
Bridget Foster, stealing a silver bowl, the property of Bernard Rogers.
William Marcey, stealing fowl. Guilty.
Richard Lyons, for stealing a horse, the property of Michael Dunn. Guilty.
William Heron, stealing a cow, the property of James Dunn. Guilty.
The only case of importance in the Criminal Court was the trial of a man of
the name of Rickards, who was tried for administering the oaths of a Ribbonman,
and convicted on the clearest testimony. The Secrets of the Society were, upon
the trial, fully disclosed, and their objects exhibited to public view, which
were to effect a separation between this Country and Great Britain, and a
general assassination of the Protestants of Ireland.
The Chief Justice, when passing sentence (which was transportation for
life) delivered a most beautiful and impressive exhortation to the prisoner.- He
reverted to the scenes of bloodshed in the year 1798, the effects of which he
said, left many a woman a widow, and many a child as an orphan.- He pointed out
the madness of the attempt to separate the countries that were held together by
firm and constitutional ties, and which were governed by the best laws which any
nation upon the earth was blessed with. Laws, as he said, that the prisoner
himself was then enjoying the benefits of, for until a very few years ago, had
he been convicted of the same crime, that offense which was now only accompanied
with transportation, would have been stoned for at the gallows.
The next trial of any interest was that of Colonel Whaley, who was indicted
for sending a challenge and using disrespectful language to John Colthurst Lees,
Esq., in his capacity as a Magistrate, by declaring that he (Col. Whaley) could
not get justice from Mr. Lees, but rather injustice. Colonel Whaley was found
guilty, after a most patient trial; and in passing sentence, the Chief Justice
told the prisoner that had not Mr. Lees, by an incautious proceeding, given an
excuse, whereby the feelings of Colonel Whaley were roused, he could hardly tell
what measure of accomplishment would be sufficient to inflict; but taking those
circumstances into consideration; he would sentence Colonel Whaley to one
month's imprisonment, and to pay to the King a fine of twenty pounds.
Several other cases were tried, when Wm. Headen, John Hellehan and Dominick
Bolger were put to the Bar, and charged with robbing Joseph Byrn of 3l. sixteen
The prosecutor gave a most accurate description of the manner he had been
robbed by the prisoners, who were fellow-travellers with him to Wicklow, to
purchase herrings, when two respectable witnesses were produced to prove that he
had told them he had fallen asleep and lost his money, and that he did not tell
them of his having been robbed.
The Chief Justice here called up the prosecutor, and told him that he was
shocked at such a horrible conspiracy as it appeared he had entered into, to
take away the lives of these innocent men, for the purpose of getting back the
money he had lost, and that he ought to be prosecuted for perjury.- The
prisoners were acquitted and discharged, to the satisfaction of a crowded Court.
The Magistrates of the county of Wicklow have voted an Address to John
Colthurst Lees, approving of his conduct in prosecuting Colonel Whaley, for his
disrespectful manner to him while sitting as a Magistrate.
Cathy Joynt Labath
Ireland Old News