The State Trials.
Court of Queen's Bench, Dublin
Wednesday, Jan. 24.—At ten o'clock the Lord Chief Justice, and Judges CRAMPTON and PERRIN took their seats on the Bench, and the jury were also punctual in their attendance.
Before their Lordships went into the case this morning, a Mr. MAUNSELL, who had written an objectionable letter was ordered to attend to explain his conduct, but Mr. HENN having expressed the regret of his client at writing such a letter, he was permitted time to make an affidavit, explanatory of his act.
James HOLY , examined by the Attorney General.—I am in the constabulary; and on the 1st of October was at the meeting at Mullaghmast; I went from Cork there; my estimate of the number present was 150,000; several bands came before Mr. O'CONNELL arrived, in a very riotous and boisterous manner, shouting and pushing all before them; the band with Mr. O'CONELL was orderly; there was about thirty bands on the ground, many dressing in uniform, and some had Lancer uniform; several thousand halfpenny placards were circulated, describing "The Slaughter of the Roman Catholics at the Rath of Mullaghmast." (Witness here handed in one which had been purchased.) The placards had been circulated from morning to night. Mr. O'CONNELL and Mr. STEELE arrived at three o'clock; a good many men had pieces of timer called wands, and in their hats cards, with " O'CONNELL'S police" on the; there were a good many banners at the meeting; one was inscribed, "No Saxon Threat; No Irish Slave; No Compromise, but Repeal;" this banner was borne by a body of the Castlecomer collieries men' another banner had "The Borderman greet O'CONNELL;" another, the words, " We tread the land that bore us;" opposite the platform was a banner inscribed" The Queen, O'CONNELL , and Repeal;" at the pavilion there was one near the chair, with the motto, "Mullahgmast and its Martyrs—a Voice from the Grave;" all the people did not leave after the meeting; many remained for the night.
Cross-examined by Mr. DENOUGH.—I hear no observations made by the people except shouting for "Repeal and Old Ireland;" I watched everything with the greatest attention; the assemblage was peaceable, as far as I saw.
The Attorney-General proposed to read the placard descriptive of the slaughter at Mullaghmast.
Mr. DENOUGH submitted that the evidence was not admissible, as the placards were sold for profit by persons who had no connection with the Traverser. It was the habitual course for persons to sell ballads and such kind of publications whenever a large meeting took place, and that without the privity of those who held the meeting.
The Attorney-General referred to the KING v. HARDY, to show that the Court had a right to look to the document, to see if it bore on the objects of the meeting, and taking that into consideration, let them refer to the evidence, where they would find that Mr. O'CONNELL at that meeting stated he selected the Rath of Mullaghmast as the scene of Saxon treachery. They object was, in circulating the document, to let those people who could not bear Mr. O'CONNELL , know the reason why the Rath had been selected—namely, as the scene of Saxon treachery.
Mr. MONAGHAN , Q.C., followed on the other side, and the Solicitor-General replied.
The Chief Justice said the Court were all of opinion that the document must be admitted as evidence.
The Clerk of the Crown then read the document in question, which was headed, "A full and true account of the dreadful massacre at Mullaghmast on the bodies of 400 Roman Catholics." The paper was of a most inflammatory nature, and described the English nation as "the tiger of the human race, feeding an insatiable taste for blood; consistent in villany, and pursuing in India the same course that she had pursued in Ireland."
The Attorney-General next offered in evidence the Gazette, containing the speech of her Majesty when proroguing the parliament, which was objected to.
The Attorney-General was surprised at the objection sought to be taken to the document. The Queen's Speech had been repeatedly mad the subject of comment by Mr. O'CONNELL'S comments of a most extraordinary nature; and after his describing the language as that of a fishwoman it was essential to prove what the speech actually was.
The Clerk of the Crown then read the extract of the speech relating to the repeal of the Union.
James IRWIN , examined by Sergeant WARREN.—I reside in Liverpool, and am in the constabulary there; I saw a number of placards in that town on the 13 th of October, and took down one. It is a copy of Mr. O'CONNELL'S address to the subjects of the British Crown.
Mr. MOOR.—Why give this evidence?
Sergeant WARREN .—To prove that Mr. O'CONNELL'S wishes were complied with, of having this manifesto extensively circulated.
Charles VERNON , Esq., the registrar of newspapers in the Stamp Office, was next examined, and a long discussion arose as to the proof of the proprietorship of the Nation newspaper being invested in Mr. DUFFY. The majority of the Court ruled that the declaration of the Stamp Office pursuant to the Act of Parliament, was sufficient evidence, without proving the handwriting of Mr. DUFFY.
The witness here read the leading article of the Nation, of the 10 th of June, entitled, "The Morality of War."
The Traverser's counsel called on the witness to read pages from the speeches of the association, which occupied a great length of time.
The Chief Justice said he was to understand this was the evidence for the defence.
Mr. WHITESIDE insisted that having read a part of the paper, the Crown should read the whole.
The Solicitor-General said that, of course, they were bound to read the whole of any article on which the Crown relied, but not the rest of the paper.
Mr. VERNON was then required by the Traverser's to read page after page, which he accordingly did.
Mr. Jona. S. COOPER , also from the Stamp Office, produced the declaration signed by Mr. DUFFY.
Before the Court rose, Mr. MAUNSELL and his counsel, Mr. HENN, repeated their apologies for the indiscretion of which he had been guilty, and the Court intimated that no more would be heard of the matter. It was stated that the letter he has written had no reference to the proceedings before the court. Adjourned at a quarter to five.
Thursday, Jan. 25.—Thursday commenced by an appheation from Mr. DUFFY, the proprietor of the Nation, to be absent from Court in consequence of indisposition; the Chief Justice replied he could make no order without the consent of the Crown, and the Attorney-General stated he would take no notice of Mr. DUFFY'S absence. The whole of this day was occupied in reading evidence that was documentary, consisting of the address issued towards the close of the last session of parliament to the people of Great Britain, various articles, speeches, and correspondence from the Nation, Pilot, Freeman's Journal, and other Irish papers, referred to by the Attorney-General in his opening speech. In the course of their perusal at the instance of the Crown, the traversers counsel proposed to have an extract from the Nation read as evidence for their clients; to this the Attorney-General objected, stating that when he had consented on the previous day to have extracts read on the part of the traversers, he was under the impression that those extracts were explanatory of, or pertinent to, the matter complained of as libelous; and as the Crown counsel were anxious to close their case within a reasonable time, the better way would be to have, at that time read only such parts as were relied on in support of the prosecution, and when the traversers came to open their defence they could have read the other parts which they now wished to give in evidence. He repeated his wish to close the case within a reasonable time, but it would be out of his power to do so if the course taken was to be continued. But, even then, if anything pertinent to the matter complained of was proposed to be read, he would not object to go out of the regular course, but he certainly would protest against doing so when the officer was asked to read at that part of the case documents which had no bearing upon it. Mr. HATCHELL said, that in consequence of the arrangement agreed to on the previous day, the Traversers' counsel had prepared themselves for the course of having read from each newspaper such parts of it as were relied upon both for the prosecution and for the defence, so that the jury might not have their minds confused in going back again to the same publications. If the objection was intended to be made, it should have been taken when, at the suggestion of Mr. WHITESIDE, the arrangement was made on Wednesday evening.
The Court held that the rule of law was certainly with the Crown; but it ruled that the arrangement entered into on the previous day out to be adhered to.
The Court then decided that it would be desirable to get rid of one paper before they took up another. At the same time, that nothing in it was to be read except it bore upon, or had relation to, the objectionable matter pointed out by the Attorney-General. It was not anticipated when the arrangement was made that the reading of anything unconnected with the matter complained of would be resorted to by the Traversers, and it was hoped that they would keep within proper bounds. The Solicitor-General said that they would not object to any arrangement made by the Court, although the rule of law was strictly with them. The documents put in have been already before the public.
Friday, Jan. 26.—The Court sat at ten o'clock, and Mr. Justice BURTON, who had been indisposed for some days, resumed his seat upon the bench.
The whole day was again occupied in reading reports, articles, addresses, &c., in the Freeman's Journal and The Nation. The poetry entitled "The Memory of the Dead," and that "To my beautiful, my own," printed in The Nation, was read.
Charles HOVENDEN, an inspector of the Dublin Police, who had attended at the Arbitration Court, stated. That he saw Dr. GRAY and Mr. John O'CONNELL there. He saw one case decided. On cross examination the witness said he went in his policeman's dress; no obstruction was given to him. The court was a public reading room; no fees were paid; the case was decided by the consent of the parties, and was adjourned to Kingstown; the Arbitrators stating, before hand, that they had no power to make any decision without the consent of the parties. The examination of this witness terminated at half past three o'clock.
The Attorney-General immediately rose and said that the case for the Crown had closed.
Mr. MOORE, after a short pause, rose and said that Mr. SHEIL, who was to open the case on the part of the traversers, had been unwell for the last two or three days. He had been sent for, and he stated, that he had a slight attack which confined him to his bed, but he would be able to attend the next day. Under these circumstances, and considering that it now approached four o'clock, and also considering the magnitude of the case, he trusted the Court would wait and not press the proceedings. It had been arranged amongst the counsel for the traversers, that Mr. SHEIL would open the case on the part of Mr. John O'CONNELL, and it would disturb the arrangements if Mr. SHIEL was not waited for.
The Chief Justice said he thought the application a very reasonable one, and the Court adjourned.
Saturday.—The interest manifested by all parties to hear the opening speech for the defence was intense; the members of the bar and the general public, ladies as well as gentlemen, testifying equal anxiety to obtain access to the Court, every part of which was crowded to excess.
At ten o'clock precisely the Lord Chief Justice, accompanied by Judges BURTON, CRAMPTON , and PERRIN, took their places, and the clerk of the Crown proceeded to call over the names of the traverser4s, all of whom, excepting Mr. DUFFY, answered, and that gentleman shortly afterwards intimated he was in attendance. There was a delay of a few moments waiting for two of the jury, and, on their appearance.
Mr. SHEIL then rose to address the Court, as counsel for Mr. John O'CONNELL. How sacred, sad he, was the trust reposed in the jury! How great the task he had undertaken! In the fullest conviction of its magnitude he arose to address the Court, humbled but undismayed. He had confidence in the jury upon the ascendancy of principle over prejudice in their minds. He had confidence in himself, derived from a thorough conviction of the innocence of his client. The father and son were indicted together,—the same blood flowed in their veins—their principles were the same. With the father he had toiled in companionship (not dishonourable, he hoped) in the great work, conceived in spirit of peace, and in that spirit brought by him to its glorious consummation. From the sanguinary misdeeds imputed to him, he knew him to shrink with abhorrence. It was that persuasion that would sustain him, and lift him to a level with the lofty topics which he should have to treat in resisting a prosecution unparalleled in the annals of criminal jurisprudence in this country.
The learned gentleman then proceeded to comment at great length on the evidence adduced on the part of the Crown, and concluded his able speech with the following eloquent peroration:—
"There is not a great city in Europe in which, upon the day when the great intelligence shall be expected to arrive, men will not stop each other in the public way and inquire whether twelve men upon their oaths have doomed to incarceration the man who gave liberty to Ireland. Whatever may be your adjucation, he is prepared to meet it. HE knows that the eyes of the world are upon him, and that posterity, whether in a gaol or out of it, will look back to him with admiration. He is almost indifferent to what may befall him, and is far more solicitous for others at this moment than for himself. But I—at the commencement of what I have said to you—I told you that I was not unmoved, and that many incidents of my political life, the strange alterations of fortune through which I have passed, came back upon me; but now the bare possibility at which I have glanced has, I acknowledge, almost unmanned me. Shall I, who stretch out to you on behalf of the son the hand whose fetters the father had struck off, live to cast my eyes upon that domicile of sorrow, in the vicinity of this great metropolis, and say, "Tis there they have immured the Liberator of Ireland with his fondest and best loved child?" No! it shall never be! You will not consign him to the spot to which the Attorney General invites you to surrender him. No. When the spring shall have come again, and the winter shall have passed—when the spring shall have come again, it is not through the window of this mansion that the father of such a son, and the son of such a father, shall look upon those green hills on which the eyes of so many a captive have gazed so wishfully in vain; but in their own mountain home again they shall listen to the murmurs of the great Atlantic; they shall go forth and inhale the freshness of the morning air together; they shall be free of mountain solitude; they will be encompassed with the loftiest images of liberty upon every side; and if time shall have stolen its suppleness from the father's knee, or impaired the firmness of his tread, he shall lean on the child of her that watches over him from heaven, and shall look out from some high place far and wide into the island, whose greatness and whose glory shall be forever associated with him name. In your love of Justice—in your love of Ireland—in your love of honesty and fair play—I place my confidence. I ask you for an acquittal, not only for the sake of your country, but for your own. Upon the day when this trial shall have been brought to a termination, when amidst the burst of public expectancy, in answer to the solemn interrogatory which shall be put to you by the officer of the court, you shall answer ' not guilty,' with what a transport will that glorious negative be welcomed! How will you be blest, adored, worshipped; and when retiring from this scene of excitement and of passion, you shall return to your own tranquil homes, how pleasurably will you look upon your children, in the consciousness that you will have left them a patrimony of peace, by impressing upon the British Cabinet, that some other measure besides a state prosecution is necessary for the pacification of your country."
After the lapse of a few minutes ,
Mr. MOORE, Q.C ., rose, and in a low tone of voice, asked were their lordships disposed to proceed?
The Chief Justice: We are not disposed to press you, Mr. MOORE, and probably the better way would be to adjourn. It is now past three o'clock, and, without trenching upon the public time, the desire of the court is to give you every indulgence in their power. Unless the Attorney General press to the contrary we will allow the case to stand to Monday morning.
The Attorney General observed that, as the court was disposed to give the indulgence, he would make no objection.
The Chief Justice then directed the jury to be in attendance at ten o'clock on Monday, and the court adjourned.
Monday, Jan. 28.—Mr. John O'CONNELL requested permission to explain least any misunderstanding should arise from the observations of his distinguished counsel (Mr. SHEIL) on Saturday, that he could never, under any circumstance, be a party to any arrangement which might, in the slightest degree, compromise the question of the Repeal of the Union.
The Earl of Meath sat under the bench immediately behind Mr. O'CONNELL.
Mr. MOORE, Q.C ., then addressed the jury on behalf of the Rev. Mr. TIERNEY, and was followed by Mr. HATCHELL on the part of Mr. RAY. The speeches of the learned counsel occupied the court until three o'clock, when their lordships rose, having adjourned the court until the next day.
Tuesday, January 30—Mr. FITZGIBBONS commenced the defence of Dr. GRAY, one of the proprietors of the Freeman's Journal , which occupied the whole day. The proceedings were enlivened by a misunderstanding between the learned Counsel and the Attorney General. Mr. FITZGIBBONS, in the course of his remarks, imputed dishonourable motives to the officers of the Crown in originating the prosecution, upon which the Attorney General immediately wrote a note calling upon him to apologize, or to name a friend. Mr. FITZGIBBONS appealed to the Court, which interfered, and the matter was explained by Mr. FITZGIBBONS denying that he intended "anything personal."
THE AMNESTY ADDRESS.—The Lord Mayor has received a letter from Sir J. GRAHAM, acquainting him that the Queen will receive the celebrated Amnesty Address from the hands of his Lordship on Friday next. In consequence of this intimation their honours held a meeting this day, at which, we understand, it was proposed by Alderman George ROE that the Lord Mayor should not wait upon her Majesty; but that a letter should be written to the Home Secretary to request him to present the Address. The view was generally dissented from, and it was strongly put to the ex-Lord Mayor, that he at least should not refuse to do the polite thing upon this occasion. He flatly refused, however, to accompany his successor into the dread presence of her Majesty. A deputation, consisting of some half dozen members of the council, was ultimately got together, and it was determined that they should proceed to London forthwith.