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James Mahady 1840/41 - Rathowen

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The Westmeath Guardian and Longford News-Leader,

Thursday 22nd. August 1841 - Volume V11 - No.31

Note:- This is a true and unabridged copy of the various proceedings as reported in the above named newspapers and as typed out during Jan.1997.

Nature of Offence. - Administering an Unlawful Oath.

Patrick Connor was indicted for that he on 7th. March last, administered an unlawful oath to one James Mahedy, and put him in dread for his life, he presenting a pistol at him and compelling him to to take said oath.

James Mahedy:- Sworn. Lived at Rathowen on the 7th. March last, and was from home that night ; was returning home between seven an eight o'clock, when he met Connor, the prisoner, with another man, at quarter of a mile from Rathowen; the prisoner desired him to stop ; Connor then took hold of him by the breast and said 'What talk have you about the burning of Daniel Farrell's house'. I replied that I had said nothing at all about it ; prisoner said I did talk about it ; prisoner then said 'For fear that you should say any more about it, take this', (handing witness a book at the same time, saying, 'On your oath, on this, the Holy Evangelist, while you are a living man you will never speak of the burning of Daniel Farrell's house or any such persons you saw there that night'. Witness had the book all of this time in his hand, and the prisoner had a pistol presented at him ; witness took oath and had kissed the book.

** Witness answer to a Juror - It was through fear that I took the oath.**

Did not know the man that was with the prisoner, but when witness was going away the stranger said, 'He hoped he would not have to pay (witness) another visit'. Knows of a man's house of the name of Farrell having been burned in Rathowen ; Farrell's house was within three dwellings of witnesses' ; it was burned on 29th. November last ; witness was at home at the time ; there was a noise in the witnesses' garden at the rear of the house ; did not speak about it ; gave information in Police Station six days after.

Malby Crofton,Esq., R. M. - Sworn - Was a Magistrate of this County at the time he took the statement, now produced, received a communication from the Gaol, to the effect that a prisoner wanted to make an information ; on going to the Gaol, I went to the Board Room ; the prisoner was brought in soon after ; I cautioned him not to state anything that might incriminate himself, unless he chose to do so ; he stated to witness after the caution what is written down in this statement ; there was no hope nor threat held out to him ; committed to paper what he stated immediately on the spot ; (the paper was not read all through, as it contained other material not actually connected with the present trial) ; but it contained a full statement of what Mahedy swore against him, and that he belonged to the Order of Blacklegs since last May,twelve months ; it gave the names of many others in the Towns and neighbourhood of Rathowen and Edgeworthstown, as being also connected to the group know as the Ribbon Confederacy.

Defence: - Michael Flood - Sworn Prisoner was hired as servant boy with witness, and slept and slept in his home on the nights of 4th.,5th. and 6th. of March last ; he can't recollect that prisoner slept in his house on the night of the 7th. ; prisoner had gone to a hunt that was held in the neighbourhood. Prisoner found guilty.

Westmeath Examiner and Longford News-Leader for Thursday 12th. August 1841 Malicious Burning - 29th. November 1840

*** William Reilly placed at Bar, indicted for maliciously setting fire to the house of Daniel Farrell,at Rathowen, on the 29th. November last. Daniel Farrell ,Sworn - Lived in Rathowen November last, there were stables at the rear of his house, which were set on fire that night ; he was in bed at the time, and on being alarmed he went out and saw the stables on fire ; was assisted by some townspeople and police there ; knows the prisoner, who had been working at his potatoe digging a short time before, and lived convenient.

James Doran, Sworn - Knows the prisoner for some time ; remembers the night of 29th. November last ; did not see the prisoner that day, but saw him that night ; had conversation with him before that night ; he asked witness several times to go with him to earn five pounds ; witness asked prisoner how it was to be earned, and then prisoner said in reply, that he had five pounds to get from Nally's son for burning Farrell's house ; witness declined joining him in this. Pat Nally is son of Peter Nally, who keeps a carman ???? in Rathowen, and so did Dan Farrell, with both just opposite each other ; Nally purchased another at Ballinafad, about six miles from Rathowen ; saw prisoner at about 10 o'clock on the night of the burning ; he came in search of me and found me on the street ; he said he was looking for me, and asked where I was all night ; we walked up the street until we were just opposite to Farrell's kitchen door, when prisoner walked up and had a look in Farrell's window which looks into the ???? (could be street) ; witness was standing on the street all the time ; the prisoner had nothing in his hand at the time ; when he came back from the window, he said, 'I could see no light, they are all in bed'. Prisoner then said, 'I am now going to do the job that I was talking about' ; he had a coal of fire in a saucepan, under the breast of his coat, and he told witness to watch for fear that the Police would come on him, and he would do what he was then speaking of and give witness his part of the money ; the prisoner then went to the stairway and and pulled a wisp of straw out of the hatch, put in a turf and gave it a blast of his mouth ; the thatch then began to burn ; ????????????? ------

N.B.????????? (due to black marking all over this portion of the photocopied sheet it was extremely difficult to decipher some of the words) ???????????. ------

I do not exactly know when I made information but it was ten or more days after the occurrence. ??????????? (something about the prisoner here and then being cross-examined by Mr. Radcliffe plus something about loaves of bread and imprisonment and people believed what he had said plus also that he gave information to the Police Captain but was not sent for by him - as stated above, extremely difficult to decipher words) ???????????? ; saw a Magistrate about a month ago ; did not hear of the award being offered until after I gave information ; I heard it from some of the Police the day I was sworn ; yes, I would take the award but did not covet it ; knows the prisoner a long time and an old time acquaintance ; did not ask the prisoner if he got the five pounds, nor for any part of it ; I came froward for the Crown at once to give evidence against him ; I am in the Mullingar Police ???? January last, and stop at John Fielding's ???? .

There was another Crown witness. I also do not know where Nally is now ; I can't ???? before the Magistrate soon ; when the prisoner was going up to the gate he had ???? in his hand which he gave to me to hold ; he then took the saucepan from under his coat and told me to he (from here again the bottom part of the page is just a black mass of either photocopying ink or external light, due to lid not being closed properly which does not enable any further deciphering of the testimony of witness.

James Mahedy, Sworn - recollects the 29th. November last ; when Farrell's stables were burned ; lived in Rathowen at the time ; knows John Doran, brother to James, the last witness ; was in his house in the course of the night, and about nine o'clock William Reilly and the prisoner came in ; asked witness did he see James Doran ; witness said he did not, and witness asked for a deck of cards belonging to James Doran ; witness said he did not know of him to have the like ; prisoner went out and in a few or so minutes later James Doran came in and began to smoke ; had occasion to go out to the garden at the rear of his house shortly after and heard a noise of two men running towards him,stood up and came within eight or nine yards of them, and could see them distinctly ; they were coming from the direction of Farrell's house, which was distant, but three houses from that where witness was ; the persons he saw were James Doran and William Reilly, the prisoner ; positive that the prisoner is one of them as he knew him for years before ; they stood when they came near witness ; saw Reilly stoop to the ground, but could not see him lift anything ; ran into his own house and a stone was thrown after him ; heard further noise by people running through the street and shouting ; heard people say that Farrell's house was burning.

Cross-examined by Mr. Radcliffe. - Was out of situation in November last , and in bad health ; was a post boy at Mr. Murray's in Rathowen ; was out of employment about six months ; is in employment since November last ; got the clothes from the policeman that had him in charge ; said nothing of Farrell's burning until 13th. March last ; saw the prisoner often after the burning ; saw James Doran in many places since and spoke to him, and told him about Connor ; never told Doran the story until after he had lodged his information on the 13th. March ; Doran never told witness of the reward ; heard at the last Assizes that Doran had Reilly a prisoner in gaol ; the house I lived in belonged to a man named Ward ; held the house by the year, and is in possession of it for seven or eight years ; saw Reilly in John Doran's enquiring for his brother James ; gave no information about it at the time ; heard of the Police offering a reward.

Constable George Young, Examined - Is in the Westmeath Constabulary, and still recollects the night of 29th. November last, when he was stationed in Rathowen ; knows Daniel Farrell's house ; it was on fire about ten or eleven o'clock that night, and helped to quench it ; searched the place where the thatch was thrown, and had found two pieces of half -burned turf, showed them to the persons present, and had then brought them to the Barrack ; found the two pieces of turf about a foot apart.

Case Closed for the Crown :

The Defence:- Mr. Radcliffe on behalf of the prisoner, addressed the Jury at considerable length, and commented strongly on the character of the informer Doran and the person put up to support his evidence ; he pointed out the discrepancies in their evidence and the improbability of the story of Doran who got up the case, with the reason being of him then obtaining the reward offered by the Government, he also commented on the impropriety of dressing up witnesses in borrowed plumes, to give some colour of respectability to the persons otherwise devoid of it ; he lamented that he was not in a position to examine any witnesses, as the nature of the charge precluded him ; where a transaction of that nature occurred between two persons, the Jury were obliged to find their verdict on the evidence of the approver, and so far from any of this corrobative evidence being in favour of the approver, in this instance it was at variance in many particulars ; from the full attention the Jury had paid to the case he felt his client perfectly safe in their hands.

Daniel Farrell, the person who's house was burned, was examined.........???? **************

Notes from Matt Mahady, transcriber:
Unfortunately, at this point on the photocopy, the black marking made it impossible to decipher anything else, as was the situation with the previous page, however, as the purpose of the foregoing was only to show the involvement by our James Mahedy then it is really of no great consequence, in this instance.

This ends the Court Evidence and Trial Report as per The Westmeath Examiner at Mullingar and The Longford News - Leader from Longford Town on Thursday, 12th. August 1841 as type copied originally on 17th,.18th. and 19th. January 1997 and now placed on Computer, for distribution,on 19th.and 20th.Feb.1998.

Considering the state and standard of the photocopying, as per this latest viewing,it has really been exceptional that we have been able to transfer as much,and as comprehensive a report, as is laid before us.

Notwithstanding the last paragraph, we are indeed fortunate that these details have been made available as once again this provides us with some understanding, to some degree, of how some lives were lived back in those days and also sheds some light on who and what they were and perhaps help fill some of those small, but important, missing gaps in our Family History, and filed for future reference.

Contributed by Matt Mahady



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