§ The House having again resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House to inquire into the Conduct of the Sheriff of Dublin, sir Robert Heron in the Chair,
§ By Colonel Barry.—What is your situation?—A jeweller and Tunbridge warehouseman, in Grafton-street, Dublin.
§ Do you recollect being present at any party, at the house of Mr. Sibthorpe?—I do. On the 17th of December there were present, 152 Mr. Sibthorpe, jun., Mrs. Sibthorpe, Miss Sarah Sibthorpe, Mr. Thomas Sibthorpe, sheriff Thorpe, Mrs. Thorpe; William Graham myself, and John M'Connell.
§ Did you hear sheriff Thorpe make use of the expressions, that he had an Orange panel in his pocket, or any words to that effect?—I did not.
§ You are very confident that no such expression was made use of that night, as long as you were there?—Perfectly so.
§ Did sheriff Thorpe talk any thing about the forming of a jury or a panel, or any thing else of the kind?—Not a word on the subject.
§ Do you suppose M'Connell could have heard any expression which you did not?—I am sure he could not.
§ By Mr. Jones.—At what time did this party begin in the evening?—About½ past 8; I remained till about ½ past 11.
§ Do you mean to say, that for all those hours you sat nearer sheriff Thorpe than M'Connell did?—I mean to assert it.
§ Were there cards playing in this room?—Some part of the night.
§ Do you mean to say that you heard every syllable that sheriff Thorpe tittered on that night?—I am very certain I heard all that could have been said, unless it was whispered.
§ By Colonel Barry.—Such a remarkable expression as that must have attracted your attention if it had been made use of?—Most undoubtedly it would.
§ By Mr. R. Smith.—Was there any conversation whatever respecting the trials about to come on?—It could not be possible. It was not known whether the trials would commence or not, at that period.
§ Was there no conversation at all about the riot?—There was.
§ Did you hear sheriff Thorpe utter any sentiment of approbation, or of commendation of what had been done?—I did not.
§ Did you hear any body say a word about marquis Wellesley?—Not one person.
§ Do you recollect holding the knave of clubs in your hand?—I did not, on that occasions.
§ Do you know any body who did on that occasion?—I do.
§ Do you recollect his playing it?—I do.
§ What did he say?—He made a reflection upon the lord mayor. I believe it was tantamount to damning the lord mayor.
§ Do not you recollect that some person said, "I wish I could have a lick at him?"—I do not recollect that part.
§ What sized man was he who used that expression?—Short.
§ What was his name?—William Graham.
§ Did any lady remind him that he was a very little man?—I believe I do remember an expression of that import.
§ What did the lady say?—That she thought his expression was very extraordinary for a man of his stature to make use of respecting the lord mayor.
§ By Mr. Brougham.—During the whole of the time, are you certain there was no person, except Mr. Graham, between you and Mr. Sheriff Thorpe?—No, there was no one.
§ What called your attention particularly to that night, and to your relative position?—From a question I merely asked of Graham, relative to the transactions at the theatre.
§ What was that question?—I asked him if it was a fact that a bottle was thrown; and his answer I do not precisely recollect.
§ How do you happen so particularly to recollect their positions?—They were standing with their backs against the piano.
§ How do you happen to recollect that so particularly?—From an expression that M'Connell made use of.
§ What was it?—He made use of some gross reflection upon the misconduct of those that were termed the rioters at the theatre.
§ By Mr. R. Smith.—How long was it after this evening, that you heard M'Connell had stated such an expression to be used at Mr. Sibthorpe's, as has been put to you?—I am confident it was less than a week.
§ By Mr. Plunkett.—Did you pay more attention to sheriff Thorpe than to any other person in the room, during that evening?—No, I did not.
§ By Mr. Goulburn.—Will you take upon you to say, that no person in the room, during that evening, could have said any thing without your hearing it?—I think it is impossible.
§ Did you not hear some person say, "I wish the devil had the marquis Wellesley?"—I did not.
§ By Sir G. Hill.—You heard, within a few days after you had been in this company, that it had been stated by M'Connell, that sheriff Thorpe should have made this declaration about his having the Orange panel in his pocket?—I did learn it, in a very few days after.
§ Did that tend to call your attention more particularly to all that had passed in that company?—It led me to endeavour to recollect more minutely than I otherwise should have thought necessary.
§ By Mr. Thompson.—Who commenced the conversation about the riot at the theatre?—SherifFThorpe and Graham first commenced a conversation upon that head.
§ By Mr. F. Buxton.—What was the gross expression, relative to the conduct or misconduct of the rioters, that M'Connell made use of?—I do not recollect it; but I considered it so at the time.
§ What was the question you asked Graham respecting the rioters?—Whether a bottle had been thrown.
§ What was Graham's answer?—I think he said not: that it had not been thrown.
§ How happens it, that you forget the gross expression made use of by M'Connell; you are not certain to the answer of Graham; and yet, 154 are sure you recollect every expression made use of by sheriff Thorpe, during the evening—I am not certain to every expression.
§ By Mr. Brougham.—Did you come into the room with sheriff Thorpe?—No: I preceded him, I rather think; I am not certain on the head.
§ Did you leave the room before sheriff Thorpe?—No, after him.
§ You are not certain whether sheriff Thorpe was in the room when you arrived there, or whether you were there first yourself?—I am pretty sure he was.
§ Was Mr. M'Connel there before you arrival?—No.
§ Are you now as sure Mr. M'Connell came into the room after you, as you were about a quarter of an hour ago, that sheriff Thorpe came into the room after you?—I did not think it of consequence to ascertain whether it was the case or not.
§ Then, having forgotten the gross expression used by M'Connell, and having forgotten the precise answer to your question respecting Graham, how does it happen that your reason for recollecting the positions of the different persons in that room; was M'Connell's gross expression, and your question about Graham?—At the time, I was informed of M'Connell's giving the information that was stated to me, I endeavoured to recollect as minutely as memory would serve me, the relative position of every person, and as much of the conversation as I could recall to mind.
§ You never attempted to recollect the answer to the question about Graham, or the gross expression of M'Connell?—The answer of Graham about the bottle, was, as I said before, that it was not thrown.
§ How long have you been sure that he said it was not thrown?—Ever since he made use of the expression. I have no reason for subsequently recollecting more than I should at the moment when the conversation occurred.
§ Then, is your reason for now recollecting so accurately the position of different person's at that time, the conversation which you had two days after that time, respecting what passed between sheriff Thorpe and M'Connell?—The reason was, I was shocked at the conduct of M'connell, in making use of expressions that never occurred.
§ Which expressions you have now forgotten?—I allude to the information, I allude to the information, I ought to have said, that M'Connell had given, respecting the conversation that night.
§ Then M'Connell did not make use of any expressions that night?—Only such as I considered as applicable to Graham.
§ And those you forget?—I cannot recollect precisely; I considered, at that moment, that it was a gross expression.
§ Did you go away before sheriff Thorpe left the party?—After.
§ Who went away with your—I think Graham and M'Connell and myself went out nearly at the same time.155
§ Did sheriff Thorpe go, away alone or any body with him?—His wife was with him.
§ By Mr. Sykes.—You stated, at the early part of your examination, that you did not recollect the answer, that, Graham gave to your question; you have subsequently stated, that you do precisely recollect what that answer was; to which of those answers of yours do you adhere?—That'the bottle had not been thrown.
§ Then why did you state, at the commencement of your examination, that you did not recollect what that answer was?—If I said so, I must have had made a mistake; I did not intend it.
§ If you do not recollect his expression, which you call a gross one, why do you term it a gross reflection?—If I might be allowed to answer in a general way, I would prefer to forget all gross expressions.
§ What made you term it a gross expression?—I consider all expressions gross, that are not grammatically correct, for instance.
§ Is that the answer you mean to stick by?—It is not a good one, but it is for want of recollecting a better.
§ Do you mean to say, that your credit is to rest upon the credit due to that answer?—By no means.
§ If sheriff Thorpe made use of the expression, that he had an Orange panel in his pocket, should you have considered that a gross expression?—I should indeed.
§ Do you adhere to the opinion, that yon heard, and that, having heard, you must have recollected every expression made use of in that company?—I do not mean to say that I could recollect all the expressions made use of in that company.
§ By Colonel Barry.—What is your situation in life?—A printer.
§ Were you in company at Mr. Sibthorpe's, shortly after the riot took place at the theatre?—I;was.
§ Do you recollect who the company consisted of?r—Mr. Sibthorpe's family, myself, a Mr. Jackson, a Mr. M'Connell, and Mr. Sheriff Thorpe and his lady.
§ Were you or sheriff Thorpe in the room first?—Mr. Sheriff Thorpe.
§ Was M'Connell or you in the company first?—I believe I was.
§ Do you recollect sheriff Thorpe making use of any expression relative to the panel of a jury?—No.
§ Do you think that if any such expression had been made use of in your, presence, it would have attracted your notice?—I, should think so.
§ Are you very certain that no such expression was made use of by sheriff Thorpe, in your hearing?—Certainly not in my hearing.
§ Do you think that if it had been made use of, in the common tone of conversation, you would have heard it?—From the size of the room, I should think so.
§ This was three days after the riot, was not it?—It was.156
§ Did you, or sheriff Thorpe quit the company first?—Sheriff Thorpe.
§ Did you, or M'Connell quit the company first?—We retired together, I think.
§ After you left the room, sheriff Thorpe and M'Connell were not together?—Not that I can answer.
§ By Mr. Brougham.—You had an ex-officio information filed against you, for a riot at the theatre?—I had.
§ Was a bill preferred against you before the grand jury, upon that subject?—Yes.
§ Was it ignored or found?—Ignored.
§ Have you been with the other witnesses at all since you came?—In the apartment in this house.
§ Have you ever, before any person, spoken abusively respecting those witnesses, who deposed against the sheriff?—Yes.
§ Do you know one serjeant Harris?—I have seen him.
§ Did you not speak so of those witnesses, that the serjeant said, u you deserved to be ducked?"—No.
§ Then what did he say about ducking you?—His words were "If you are heard to say those expressions, you might be ducked."
§ That was with reference to, the expressions you were using touching, the witnesses?—It might have been so.
§ It was after you had been speaking respecting the witnesses?—Not respecting the witnesses generally speaking, but persons similarly circumstanced.
§ To whom similar?—The expressions I made use of were as to a similar description to those in Dublin; that if persons in Dublin heard roe use those expressions, I might be ducked or thrown into the Thames.
§ Were those expressions that you talk of, which created that conversation, in the Serjeant's opinion, applied to the witnesses?—No.
§ To whom were they applied?—Generally to persons of bad character.
§ Then you talked abusively of persons of bad character in general?—Yes.
§ And the serjeant said, that if you went on talking against people of bad character you might, be ducked; was that so?—I should suppose it was meant so.
§ When you were in the witness room, had you a cane in your hand?—Yes.
§ With a sword in it; what is called a sword-stick?—No.
§ No sword-cane or sword-stick?—I had not one of my own.
§ Had you one in your hand belonging to any body else?—I might.
§ Have you any doubt you had?—No.
§ Were not you flourishing, and brandishing it in the witness room?—I might.
§ Did not you say while you were in that conversation, with that sword-cane, that you would do some execution before you left London?—I might.
§ Chairman.—Witness, you do not appear to have a proper consideration either of the place 157 in which you stand, or of the importance of being examined, touching the subject in consideration before the House; I recommend you to give more proper, respectful and direct answers.
§ By Mr. Brougham.—Did you attend particularly to every thing that fell from Mr. Thorpe at Mr. Sibthorpe's that night?—No, I did not.
§ Mr. M'Connell was there?—He was.
§ There was not any conversation about who threw the bottle?—Not that I heard.
§ You heard every thing that passed?—I think I did.
§ Did you hear Mr. M'Connell in conversation with any body?—Not particularly.
§ He never used any gross expression or made any gross reflections upon any body in your hearing?—No.
§ There were cards playing that evening, were there not?—There were.
§ The whole party played together, did they not, at the table?—I think so, I think I did.
§ Whom did you go away with?—I went to the door with Mr. M'Connell and Mr. Jackson.
§ And you left Mr. Sheriff Thorpe in the room?—No.
§ He had gone before?—Yes.
§ M'Connel was in the room before you came?—Yes; I think to the best of my recollection, he was.
§ By Mr. R. Smith.—Do you recollect when you were at cards, playing the knave of clubs, and using any expression when you played it?—Yes.
§ State what your expression was—"There is the lord mayor."
§ Was there not more?—"And be damned to him," I think.
§ Was that all?—Positively no more.
§ Was any observation made to you upon your saying so?—I cannot possibly recollect; there might.
§ You do not recollect any of the ladies saying any thing to you?—There might, I cannot positively recollect.
§ Was Mr. Sheriff Thorpe playing with you at that time?—I believe he was.
§ Did he say any thing to you?—I do not recollect indeed.
§ You are frequently in the habit of damning the lord mayor?—I have done so.
§ Did you ever damn the lord lieutenant?—Never.
§ You did not that night?—No.
§ You did not wish him at the devil?—No.
§ Did any man there wish him at the devil?—No.
§ Did you wish him in heaven?—No.
§ Did you hear his name mentioned that night?—I did not, certainly.
§ Did you hear any conversation about the riot that evening?—No.
§ Did nothing, pass in your company respecting the riot in the theatre?—Most certainly not.
§ Had you any suspicion at this house of Mr. Sibthorpe's on this occasion, that you were charged with having been a rioter at the theatre or implicated in the charge of having been a rioter?—None in my life.
§ How long after this evening at Sibthorpe's was it that you knew you were so charged?—A week.
§ Are you an Orangeman?—I am.
§ Do you know whether the persons who were tried were all Orangemen?—One I know to be an Orangeman, Forbes, and Brownlow.—[The Witness withdrew, and the sergeant at arms was ordered to keep him apart from the other witnesses.]
§ The right hon. W. C. Plunkett, Attorney General of Ireland, examined in his place as follows:
§ By Colonel Barry.—Will you have the goodness to look at that letter—[letter signed T. and W. Kemmis, produced yesterday]—was that letter written by your direction?—Certainly.
§ What was the cause of your directing that letter to be written?—An apprehension that I entertained, that the sheriff, who, according to the routine of office, would have to return the jury, was a partizan, and had made declarations with respect to the mode of preparing the panel.
§ And therefore you wished that the other sheriff should join in preparing the panel?—Just so.
§ What nature of panel would you have wished to have had to try the issue?—I should have wished, if possible, that there should have been a panel of unprejudiced persons; if that was not to be obtained, I should wish a panel composed partly of persons of all opinions, and not confined to persons of any one opinion.
§ Would you have thought, that a man's being an Orangeman, would have been a sufficient objection to his serving on that panel?—I certainly would, it would have been an objection in my mind; I should have thought the return, of a jury of Orangemen would have been a gross violation of propriety, and would have excluded any reasonable chance of justice being properly administered.
§ Mr. Wetherell
rose to order, and objected to the attorney-general for Ireland being examined in a case which involved his professional character.
said, that he should not have examined the right hon. gentleman without first obtaining his consent.
§ Sir G. Hill
said, that unless the examination was to ascertain some specific fact, he must object, on the ground of public, convenience, to the attorney-general's examination in this manner. He was the law-officer of the Crown, and had, in some 159 degree, the whole of the police of the country under his observation. It would be most inconvenient to call upon such an officer to state the information which his situation enabled him to command.
had no objection to the examination of the right hon. gentleman, but thought that any inquiry, having for its object the sort of jury that ought to have been empanelled, would be highly injudicious.
felt himself placed in a very painful situation, but painful as his duty was, he would not shrink from it. If the house thought fit, through any overstrained delicacy, to interfere, he must submit; but till they did, he should persevere [Hear, hear]. He now wished to ask the right hon. gentleman whether he had ever had an opportunity of seeing the rules and regulations of Orangemen?
—I do not know exactly what is meant by the question; I have had an opportunity of seeing a printed book, containing the rules and regulations of Orangemen, and I have had an opportunity of seeing extracts from books, containing rules and regulations of Orangemen; in that sense I have seen the rules and regulations of Orangemen.
begged his learned friend's pardon. The present investigation he conceived to be into the conduct of Mr. Sheriff Thorpe, and any question touching that matter he would willingly answer to the best of his power.
§ Mr. Wetherell
repeated his objection, and added, that in the whole course of his parliamentary experience he knew of no case in which an attorney-general, on such an examination, seeing how intimately he must be connected with the prosecution of the inquiry, would not of necessity, be a witness against himself. His objection was to the irregularity and inexpediency of such an examination, and was not founded on any apprehension arising from his fears for the honour, the candour, or the ability of the right hon. gentleman. He was convinced it would be most unadvisable to pursue this examination.
The Attorney General
thought that his right hon. and learned friend, like any other hon. member, was liable to examination by the house, on any topic connected with the pending investigation, unless the question put should be an improper one. As far as the; inquiry. Had 160 yet gone, he had heard nothing that, was objectionable.
§ Sir J. Mackintosh
observed, that they were not called upon prospectively to decide whether such or such a particular question would be an improper one to put to the learned gentleman, but whether, as attorney-general for Ireland, he ought to be examined at all? In his opinion, the learned gentleman ought not to be examined.
§ Mr. Abercromby
said, that the course of the examination pursued in order to ascertain what the conduct of Orangemen had been, was perfectly right; but it was quite a different thing to examine the attorney-general for Ireland, whether he had become acquainted with the oaths of Orangemen, and whether he had adopted any proceedings in consequence. This would be in fact nothing less than asking for the legal opinion of the right hon. gentleman on the question.
said, that, in a popular sense, he had no objection to answer the question proposed to him.
§ Mr. Scarlett
said, it would be best to proceed in the examination, leaving it to the sound discretion of the right hon. gentleman to refuse answering any question when he saw the propriety of doing so.
§ By Colonel Barry.—Do you know whether those extracts were extracts from the books of the lodge 1612?—I really am not able to say.
§ Would you object to stating the nature of those extracts?—I have not the least objection; I have a difficulty arising from want of memory, but I have not the least objection so far as I do recollect them.
§ Were they different in substance from the printed regulations which were laid before you?—No, what I mean by extracts, is names of individuals, and of acts done, resolutions entered into, and things of that description. I have had an opportunity of seeing them, but I cannot undertake to recapitulate them.
§ Mr. Thomas Sibthorpe was called; in and examined
§ By Colonel Barry.—What is your situation?—A medical student.
§ Were you present on the 17th of December when a company was assembled at your father's house?—I was.
§ Who were there?—My father, Mr. Sibthorpe, my step-mother, my sister, the sheriff and his wife, William Graham, and John M'Connell.
§ Was a man of the name of Jackson there?—And. John Jackson.
§ Did you ever hear that John M'Connell made an affidavit that sheriff Thorpe said he had an Orange panel in his pocket?—I did.161
§ Did you hear any such expression made use of by sheriff Thorpe?—I did not.
§ Do you think it could have been made use of without your having heard it?—I do not think it could.
§ By Sir J. Mackintosh.—Was there any political conversation passed in the room that evening?—The conversation principally turned on the riot in the theatre.
§ Did Mr. M'Connell take any part in that conversation?—Not more than the rest; I made no remark on his taking part.
§ Do you remember that he said any thing gross; or threw out any gross reflections on any body in the course of the evening?—I do not recollect that he did.
§ Do you recollect any conversation about the lord mayor?—It was rather an observation.
§ By whom?—By Graham: It was during the time we were playing at cards; on throwing down the knave of clubs, he made use of the expression, "bad luck to you, Fleming."
§ By which he meant the lord mayor?—I suppose so.
§ Was there nothing said about the lord-lieutenant?—There was no conversation about the lord-lieutenant.
§ Was there no observation made about him?—The sheriff made an observation.
§ What was the nature of his observation?—That he wished the marquis Wellesley at the devil.
§ Was he playing at cards, or was it before or after cards, that he made that observation?—It was when going away.
§ Did he make that observation loud enough to be heard by every body present?—Those that were at a distance might not have heard it; those that were near him would.
§ Did you hear any conversation or observation made about the bottle?—No particular conversation do I recollect about the bottle; the bottle was merely mentioned as having been thrown.
§ Was there no question put to Graham, whether the bottle was or was not thrown?—I do recollect any.
§ You are not certain, though you heard that civil remark of the high sheriff respecting the lord lieutenant, that all the other persons in the room heard it?—I can only answer for myself.
§ Then the sheriff might have made remarks respecting the Orange panel which you did not hear also?—I rather think not, because were all seated at that time, but this was when he was about to depart.
§ That was his farewell remark, was ft, his farewell benediction?—I cannot say.
§ How do you happen to recollect so exactly, and correctly the precise time at which that remark was made?—I really cannot say how I can recollect it, but by its striking me and my keeping it in my memory.
§ Do you take upon you to say with absolute certainty that sheriff Thorpe did not use those words about an Orange panel?—I do most assuredly.162
§ Supposing another person in the company to have stated to the committee that they heard that observation, supposing a second witness had said he had not heard sheriff Thorpe made any remark about lord Wellesley, might not the remark about the panel have been made without your hearing it?—I have said that we were all seated together during the time that remark was supposed to have been, made, but that the sheriff, was going away, and we were scattered, and possibly some might have been near and some at a distance from the sheriff when the other was made use of.
§ How do you know when that remark about the Grange panel was supposed to have been made?—I spoke to M'Connell about his having made oath that such conversation had taken place; I waited on M'Connell on the 26th Dec. or the 27th, having heard that he had made such an assertion, and I stated that I had not heard any such conversation take place, nor had any of our family, and that I was willing to make affidavit if necessary; and he replied that he supposed that I thought so or I would not say so.
§ By Mr. Plunkett.—Did M'Connell say any thing to you which enabled you to state the particular time at which that remark on the panel was supposed to have been made?—No.
§ By Sir J. Mackintosh.—Yon have said, that the remark about lord Wellesley might not have been heard by other members of the company, because Mr. Sheriff, Thorpe was then near the door, can you take upon yourself to say, that the remark about the panel might not have been made in the room and you not have heard it; what was the difference of circum stances which enables you to say, that the one remark could not have been, made: without your overhearing it, and that the other might have been made without other members of the company having heard it?—There was no conversation after that.
§ Was there no conversation very long before that?—The whole night.
§ How can you say, that the remark about the panel could not have been made during the whole preceding, period of the visit, by Mr. Sheriff Thorpe at your house, and you not have heard him; what is the difference between that remark, and the other?—On sheriff Thorpe's departure, I stated, that the company were up in various parts of the room, and that no conversation occurred after that; so that it could not have occurred after that, because he went away.
§ Might not sheriff Thorpe have made that remark about the panel before that remark which he made about lord Wellesley?—We were seated; unless in a very low tone, or rather in a whisper, it could not have been made.
§ During the whole period, from the entry of Mr. Sheriff Thorpe into the room, till the moment of his going away, it could not have been made without your overhearing it?—Unless it has made in a confidential tone. The room was so small.163
§ By Mr. Peel.—When you were asked first, how you happened to know the particular part of the evening at which this remark was alleged to have been made about the panel, you went on to say, you had a conversation with M'Connell; what was that conversation; did M'Connell tell you any thing that helped you to fix the time when he stated that remark to have been made?—I said he did not.
§ Did you or hot mean to allude to a particular, time of the evening when that remark was supposed to have been made?—I said that after the observation alluding to the marquis Wellesley, Mr. Thorpe went home.
§ Have you read M'Connell's evidence that he gave before this committee?—I have in the paper.
§ M'Connell states, does he not, that it was made at a certain period of the evening?—Yes.
§ Does not he state that that expression was made use of by sheriff Thorpe, soon after you passed him in the room, and said to him, "When will these poor fellows be brought to trial?"—So I read.
§ At what time did the party begin?—About eight.
§ At what time did you sit down to cards?—Some short time afterwards.
§ How long did you continue playing at cards?—Till about eleven.
§ How soon after the card party had finished did sheriff Thorpe leave the room?—Almost immediately.
§ By Mr. R. Smith—To whom was it that sheriff Thorpe made that observation about the marquis Wellesley, was it to yourself?—It was rather generally, I should think.
§ Was this the first time you had heard the marquis Wellesley's name mentioned that evening?—Except about the riot at the theatre, no conversation relative to him.
§ This was the first observation you heard made in his praise or his dispraise?—Yes.
§ Did not you consider it a little extraordinary that for the first time, just as a man was going out at a door without any thing to lead to it, he should say, "I wish the lord lieutenant was at the devil"?—Indeed, I do not know what I thought of it.
§ Is it to be understood that it was uttered just like a grace after dinner, without anything introducing to it?—Indeed I do not know.
§ Did not you hear sheriff Thorpe express any wish that lord Wellesley was out of the country?—No, I did not.
§ John Crosby Graves, esq. was called in; and examined
§ By Colonel Barry.—What is your situation in life?—I am a barrister and magistrate of the head office of police in Dublin.
§ You recollect the riots that happened at the theatre; on the 14th December?—Yes, I attended at the theatre on that night.
§ There were certain persons accused of having been active in those riots?—Yes.164
§ First of all there were two persons taken up for that?—I understand three, two Handwiches and George Graham.
§ Did you commit those persons?—No; those persons were carried to the office of the sixth division; the police division in which the theatre is; they were there examined, and the informations taken in that office.
§ Do you recollect, when Forbes was first named as a rioter?—He was first apprehended in the theatre by myself.
§ Was he detained then?—He was not then detained; he was taken to the watch-house; he there gave bail, under my direction; and on the following morning, there were no circumstances at the time of sufficient importance, to be considered a foundation for any serious charge.
§ He was afterwards accused of rather a serious charge; do you recollect what that charge was?—The charge was of a conspiracy, to kill and murder the lord-lieutenant.
§ Was not the state of public feeling in Dublin considerably exasperated?—It was very highly excited.
§ In a case of high exasperation of public feeling, do you not think there is a considerable difficulty in obtaining a panel of fair and impartial men to judge a question of that nature?—I should conceive so.
§ Do you think the committal of Forbes, for that capital crime, tended to increase that exasperation?—It was one of many circumstances that might so contribute.
§ Did you commit Forbes for that crime?—I did not sign the committal for Forbes.
§ Was it ever proposed to you to sign his committal?—No; there were grounds why I think it was not proper for me to sign that committal, nor the other two committals for the capital charge. The two informations respecting the other prisoners, and the facts respecting them, were deposed to in the sixth divisional office of police, the College-street office; the informations against one of the Handwiches, Henry Handwich, and George Graham, against whom there were capital charges preferred, were sworn in that office; the informations not being before me, it was not for me to sign them; I sent for the magistrate of the office, before whom they had been sworn; he had the informations before him, and he signed the committals against those two men; in the case of Forbes I was myself a witness; I had apprehended him, I haft made an information which was part of the evidence to affect him, and it did not strike me as at all proper for me to be the committing magistrate.
§ Had you any other reason for not signing that committal?—I had made a statement in the way of deposition against him, on facts coming within my own knowledge at the time of his apprehension; and I mentioned it to my brother magistrate, as a reason why I should not be the magistrate to commit.
§ Did you subscribe the information upon the 165 capital charge?—I subscribed one or two informations, which seemed to me afterwards, when attending upon the trial before the petit jury, to be one of the principal informations affecting hi in, with respect to a conversation taking place after the performance at the theatre, and giving a more serious colour to the case than it had struck me in, when I had apprehended him.
§ Did you subscribe the jurat of the information upon which the capital committal took place?—I cannot say that; I subscribed one information, as to a transaction taking place in Essex-street, after the representation was over, which I believe was of as serious a nature as any other information sworn, except that another party, who was present at the same conversation, and who did not swear the information before me, did recollect that conversation, I believe, more fully, and did state something which more considerably affected Forbes, than did the informants who gave the information before me.
§ Did any information which you subscribed warrant a committal on a capital charge, In your opinion?—If I had had the case before me in the ordinary way, simply upon the informations that were sworn before myself individually, I should not have shaped a capital committal on anything which had been deposed to before me.
§ Was it proposed to you to commit upon the capital charge upon those informations?—I got no immediate direction upon the subject; one of my brother magistrates came into the office and stated, that it was directed that three of the persons charged were to have capital committals made against them; he came from the council-chamber, and he stated that it was by the attorney-general, or by the law officers, I do not know which.
§ Were you required, or desired, to sign those capital committals?—No, that was all that passed upon the subject, in the way of a direction; the committals were then framed accordingly.
§ Would it be likely for a sheriff to talk of his having a panel in his pocket, before the offenders had been committed?—I should think, speaking â priori, it would not have been likely.
§ William Leadour called in; and examined
§ By Colonel Barry.—Did you know a man of the name of James Ormsby?—I did; he is dead.
§ Shortly previous to his death had you any conversation with him?—I had; in the beginning of March, I called upon him for the purpose of getting a book of mine which I heard he had: I found him in a very dangerous state of health; when alone in his room, and speaking with respect to the termination of the trials for the riots at the theatre, he said, "The lads have come off much better than might have been expected, they little knew that it was poor James Ormsby, who will be soon going to Davy Jones, who threw the pieces of wood."166
§ Did he die shortly after?—In the course of a month.
§ Was he a low sallow man?—He was.
§ Do you know whether he had made that communication to any body else?—I have heard he told it to George Graham, the person who was accused of having thrown those missiles.
§ Do you know why your friend supposed those lads had got off better than might have been expected, if they were not the persons?—I should presume by their not having been found guilty.
§ At the time you had the conversation with Ormsby, did he appear to you to be apprehensive of his approaching dissolution?—I am decidedly of opinion, that it was under that impression he made the declaration to me.
§ By Mr. Goulburn.—Had your friend Mr. Ormsby been long ill?—He had been in a bad state of health a good while, nearly a year.
§ Was he in the habit of attending the theatre?—I cannot say.
§ Had you seen him frequently before this?—I had seen him as a visitor in the prison of Newgate, where the traversers were confined; I went to see Mr. Forbes at the time he was confined there.
§ Did Ormsby go there for that purpose?—No but for the purpose of seeing the Handwiches.
§ Do you suppose he would state to Handwich that he threw the rattle?—Indeed, I would suppose so.
§ Do you think it likely Handwich would keep that secret?—I think it probable he would.
§ Was not it possible to get evidence, that Ormsby had thrown the bottle?—I was not in the theatre, and cannot state what passed there that night.
§ Do you remember making any inquiries about a person of the name of Farrel?—I do perfectly.
§ Who was examined as to the throwing the bottle?—Yes.
§ What inquiries did you make concerning him?—Sometime in the last week of December, a person called on me and stated, that he had heard Farrel say, at the door of the police office, in College-street; that, thank God, his oath was taken, and now they should have satisfaction of the bloody Orangemen. I having a wish that matters should be set in a fair way, and that the parties accused should be honourably acquitted, inquired who Farrel was, I found out his occupation and residence; and the person who made this communication to me, I requested he would go to his abode to recognise him; on the day of the trial, he went there, and returned to me, and told me, it was the same person; and that if he would come forward and swear that Handwich was the person who threw the bottle, he was ready to swear that he had made use of this expression at the door of College-street police office.
§ Was that person examined?—He was not called.167
§ By Mr. Brougham—Were you intimate with the prisoners?—I was particularly intimate with Mr. Forbes, Mr. W. Graham, and Mr. Brownlew.
§ You are what, is commonly called an Orangeman?—I am.
§ Are you a purple-man?—I am.
§ You have taken the Orange oath?—I have.
§ And the purple oath?—Yes.
§ Were you intimate with Mr. Ormsby?—was not; I had seen him about a year back; but I never spoke to him in my life, till the time the traversers were in confinement.
§ At that time Mr. Ormsby was very ill?—He was but was able to be out.
§ Then when he talked about the Mr. Jones, in the way you have described, he had not the prospect of death?—I did not mention Mr. Jones.
§ Davy Jones?—Yes; that was in the month of March; I am speaking of the last week in December.
§ When had you that conversation with him?—The time he made use of that expression to me, was the first week in March.
§ Was he very ill then?—Very ill indeed; he was sitting up to have his bed made, he never left his room after that.
§ Was he in that state of mind, that a person usually is in the prospect of dissolution, when he used the expressions which you have just stated?—I consider him to be perfectly in that state of mind, so much so, that a clergyman had been with him, I believe, an hour before.
§ What made you so anxious that the prisoners should be honourably acquitted?—Being a particular acquaintance, I felt sorry that an imputation of the kind should be made against them.
§ You felt no peculiar interest in consequence of their belonging to the same system as yourself?—Certainly; I considered that the same odium would be brought against the system, and that, together with my individual feeling for them, roused me to exertion in their favour.
§ Robert Gilbert called in; and examined
§ By Colonel Barry—What is your situation in life?—I am the under gaoler of Newgate in Dublin.
§ Do you recollect any person coming to the gaol of Newgate, for the purpose of seeing the prisoners who were confined for being concerned in the riot at the theatre on the 14th of December?—I do.
§ Do you recollect any person pointing out one of them, as the man that threw the rattle?—I do.
§ Who was that person?—I have heard since that it is a Mr. Lewis.
§ Whom did he identify as the person who threw the.rattle?—A man of the name of Ormsby; a man in the last stage, as I thought it the time, of a consumption.
§ Major Tandy was present at this?—He was. When did this take place?—I think the day or the day but one after the prisoners were by committed.168
§ Lewis pointed out Ormsby as, the one Who threw the rattle?—He did; there were about ten prisoners in the yard where the man was; I was asked to show the prisoner Graham which I declined doing: I said it was not my practice to show any man singly, but I would show the yard where he was; I brought them up to an eminence and said, "Gentlemen, the prisoner is in that yard." Ormsby was talking to Matthew Handwich, and he pointed over his finger and said, "That is the man." I was greatly astonished, and after some little delay, said, "Sir, I think you are mistaken, for that man is not one of the prisoners." He then seemed to be more positive as to his dress than to his features.
§ You are sure that major Tandy was in a situation to hear all that passed?—Certainly, he was not further than this gentleman from me.
§ Did not you point out Graham to Lewis?—Not till after he had asked me if I would show him, and I said I would then.
§ You are positive he pointed out Ormsby in the first instance?—Certainly.
§ What passed when Lewis pointed out Graham?—There was some conversation between him and major Tandy, which I did not mind; Mr. Tandy being a magistrate I did not interfere between him and Mr. Lewis.
§ Did not Mr. Lewis say something to you upon the subject?—No, I think not.
§ Did any other persons apply to you to point out Graham to them?—No, not Graham.
§ Or Forbes?—The prisoners in general, I was asked to show them all; I recollect on new year's night there came the crown solicitor to the gaol, with a gentleman whose face was covered so that I could not see, an he asked me to bring the prisoners, and to place them in a situation with other persons, that they should be inspected. I brought them all down into one of my own apartments, and placed them in a room, and the gentlemen walked up into the room, and the gentleman who came to identify them, I recollect, identified a man of the name of Davern, who was in custody for forgery for a length of time before; I then told the gentleman he must have been mistaken, for that person was in custody for a long time before the riots in the theatre; he then requested I might bring down Forbes and show him; I told him I did not think that would be right, that he was in a most conspicuous place in the room, and I did not think it would be treating him well to show him singly.
§ Did you afterwards learn who that gentleman who was muffled up was?—A Mr. Vignoles, one of the lord-lieutenant's aide-de-Camps.
§ Did not you consider it a circumstance of some considerable importance, when Lewis pointed out Ormsby as the person who had thrown the rattle?—I did.
§ Was the circumstance of its being in major Tandy's hearing, a circumstance that made you think it was unnecessary to make it known to persons in authority?—Yes.
§ Major Tandy is a police magistrate?—Yes.169
§ On what day did this take place?—I think a day or, two after the prisoners were fully committed.
§ By Lord Milton.—Do you know who Lewis is?—Sub-sheriff of the county of Kildare.
§ When Lewis stated, that Ormsby was the person who had thrown the rattle, did he state it upon his own knowledge or common report?—On his own knowledge.
§ Did he state, that he had seen it?—He did; that he was in some situation in the boxes, that he could see him and had a clear view of him.
§ He was quite certain Ormsby was the person who threw the rattle?—Yes, he seemed to be quite certain at first; but when I told him, he was not one of the prisoners, he seemed not to be so certain as to his features, but more certain to his dress.
§ When you told him, that Ormsby was not one of the prisoners, some doubt was thrown upon his mind whether he was the person?—Certainly: and I thought him quite mistaken myself at the time.
§ Did not Mr. Lewis ask you whether Graham had not changed his dress?—He did.
§ Did you ever mention to the Handwiches, or any of the prisoners, the fact that Mr. Lewis had pointed out Ormsby?—I went down immediately, and said, "What is your name?" He said, "My name is Ormsby." I said, "There was a gentleman after pointing you out as the person who threw the rattle; were you at the theatre that evening?" He said, "I was at the theatre." I observed while I was talking to him he seemed a good deal agitated. I said, "When you were at the theatre, had you this coat on?" He said, "No, I had not this coat upon me." I asked him this, in consequence of the gentleman seeming to speak more to his dress than to his person.
§ Did you ever mention to the prisoners that Ormsby had been pointed out as the man?—I did.
§ Did sheriff Thorpe ever visit the prisoners in gaol, the traversers?—He did.
§ By Mr. Ellice.—Can you account for the reason of your not having been called on the trial, after having acquainted the Handwiches and other prisoners of this error in Mr. Lewis in pointing out any improper person; were you summoned on the trial?—No, I was not, but I attended the trial almost every day.
§ You were not called?—No; they told me, if that gentleman was produced, it would be then necessary to call on me.
§ They did not think it necessary to show that Ormsby had been pointed out as the person who threw the rattle?—I suppose they did not, or they would have produced me.
§ Do you mean to say, you communicated to them before the trial, that a gentleman brought there by major Tandy, had identified another person as the person who threw the rattle, but that they did not produce you?—Yes.
§ Were the prisoners visited by their counsel or agents between the day of which you are 170 speaking, and the trial?—They were; and their agent was in possession of that fact; I told it to the agent.
§ Who were they?—Mr. Fearn was one; and Mr. Chambers was the other.
§ You were in court when the case was before the petit jury, in February?—Yes; I am obliged to attend all the trials.
§ Was any thing said about this on that trial?—No, not a word.
§ By Mr. Denman.—Were Graham and Ormsby like in person?—They were alike in height, but Ormsby had a stoop; the other was a strait stout little fellow.
§ Who told you that the person who pointed out Ormsby was Mr. Lewis?—It was Mr. Stodart, a police magistrate.
§ Henry Cooper, esq. called in; and further examined
§ By Sir J. Mackintosh.—At the time Mr. Poole came to you, to ask to be put on the grand jury, did you tell him to go to Mr. Sheriff Thorpe?—I referred him to Mr. Sheriff Thorpe.
§ Did you and Mr. Sheriff Thorpe settle the panel immediately after the receipt of Mr. Kemmis's letter?—I attended the Sheriffs office, and retired into a room from the public office, and there we examined the panel which he produced.
§ Was that immediately after receiving the letter of Mr. Kemmis?—I think it was the day after I received it; but I cannot be particular as to dates.
§ Have you reason to believe, that you lost no time in settling the panel after receiving that letter?—The regulation of the panel Was for the purpose of giving it to the sub-sheriff for his record panel; I think there was no alteration from that, whatever.
§ Was not that panel settled before Mr. Poole came to you, and had that conversation with you?—I am almost certain it was not.
§ The House resumed. The Chairman reported progress and obtained leave to sit again.