|Clare County Library||
|The Delahunty Family History:
From Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland to Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand
by Catherine Delahunty
Chapter 4: The Trial of Francis Hynes, Dublin, August 1882
The trial of Francis Hynes, charged with the wilful murder of John Doolaghty, commenced at the Commission Court, Dublin, yesterday.
The Attorney-General, MP Mr Peter O’Brien, QC, and Mr Sullivan, instructed by Mr Murphy, Crown Solicitor for the County Clare, prosecuted. The MacDermott QC, and Mr John Roche, instructed by Messrs Walton and Frost solicitors of Ennis, defended the accused.
The Attorney-General, in opening the case for the prosecution, said it was one of a character unfortunately too well known in this country as an agrarian offence, and which had brought disgrace and dishonour on many parts of the country, and which would not have occurred but for the demoralised state of Ireland. The crime with which the prisoner was charged was of a most aggravated and cruel character, and the history of the case was shortly as follows: The prisoner was one of the sons of a Mr James Hynes, who is living at a little distance from the town of Ennis. Hynes, it appeared, had a farm the grass of which he let in 1878 and 1879 to a person named Lynch, and the deceased, at that time was herdsman to Hynes, and in the latter year Doloughty transferred his services to Lynch, and served him as loyally as he had served his previous master. In 1880, Hynes was evicted from the farm, and Lynch took the farm. The deceased remained in his employment. On 4 February 1881, the deceased feared violence so much from the prisoner, that he had been bound over the keep the peace. When the Hynes’ could not induce Doloughty by threats to leave Lynch’s employment, they tried to bribe him but ineffectually. On 9 July deceased attended Mass with his wife. On his way home he was fired at, and mortally wounded. The prisoner was arrested about a mile from the scene of the occurrence. Between the place of his arrest and where the murder was committed, was a stream, that should be crossed to reach the place of the arrest. The trousers and boots of the prisoner were wet when arrested, suggesting that he must have walked through this stream.
Mr Hugh McTernan R.M. deposed that the prisoner had been charged with
having intimidated Doloughty, and was admitted to bail; subsequently
both came before witness, and the deceased swore an information to the
effect that, on the night of the Parnell meeting at Ennis, a party of
men came to his house, and warned him not to herd for any except for
former tenants; on the following day Mr Lynch brought 23 head of cattle
to the farm, from which Hynes had been evicted, and after he had left,
three sons of James Hynes, and a fourth man, also named Hynes, drove
the cattle off the farm onto the road, and they would not allow any
cattle to be there until a settlement was arrived at; they asked the
deceased was he going to continue in Mr Lynch’s employment, and
then added that he had lingered long enough, and that he was a b---y
schemer; in consequence of that witness bound the prisoner over to keep
the peace, and he accordingly entered into the required securities;
witness saw Doloughty on the day he was shot; after he was shot witness
said “who shot you?” Doloughty replied, “Francy Hynes,”
I said “you say Francy Hynes shot you,” and he said “yes.”
Witness then wrote the following on a slip of paper. Asked deceased
was it true, and deceased yes. “I John Doloughty believing that
I am dying, declare that Francis Hynes killed me by firing shots at
me.” Deceased died the following night.
The widow of the deceased deposed that she was not with him when he
left Ennis on the day he was shot. She was present when the magistrate
asked her husband questions, but did not hear the answers. Last autumn
a number of men with blackened faces broke into her husband’s
house, told him to prepare to meet his Lord, that he should die, and
they placed him on his knees that he would “leave off herding
for Lynch.” She never heard the prisoner threaten her husband.
They were very “great” and prisoner had made her husband
several presents during the past two years.
Constable Doyle deposed to having arrested the accused; his trousers were tucked up to the knees, and the boots were grey, as if the blacking had been washed off by water; he was slightly under the influence of drink; two packets of shot were found in his pockets.
The following letter has been addressed to the Editor of the Daily Express.
“Sir - Being one of the jurors in the case of the Crown versus Hynes, I think it right to lay before you what actually did occur at the Imperial Hotel on Friday evening the 11th instant. (Author’s Note: During the trial, the night before the verdict was delivered, the Jury retired overnight at the Imperial Hotel, Dublin. This Hotel was destroyed during the Easter Week Uprising 1916.)
On the court rising at half-past five o’clock the presiding judge directed the sub-sheriff to take charge of us for the night, and suggested that we should be taken to the Gresham Hotel. We were all much surprised when the sub-sheriff told us to choose between the European and Imperial Hotels. Knowing that these were chiefly patronised by the land League and Nationalist party, we all remonstrated, requesting to be taken to the Gresham or Shelbourne Hotel, some jurors stating they would prefer to pass the night in the rooms at the courthouse. The sub-sheriff, however ended the matter by informing us we had no choice, and that, as we refused to go to the European, he would have us at once removed to the Imperial.
On arriving at the hotel we were taken upstairs to a passage at the top of the house, which, we were informed by the sub-sheriff, had been reserved entirely for our separate use. We were then immediately taken down to a room, where dinner had been prepared for us. After dinner some of the jurors asked permission to smoke. I and some others asked if it were allowable that the smokers might go together to another room, as the evening was very close. No objection was raised to this, and the smokers were taken, under charge of sub-sheriff, bailiffs, and police, to the billiard-room of the hotel. There they remained, with the sub-sheriff or his son till they all went to bed together, shortly before 12 o’clock. This, I have since been informed, was irregular; but we were none of us aware that it was so at the time. I can only say that, as the sub-sheriff took us against our will to the Imperial Hotel, he could as easily, with the strong guard of bailiffs and police at his disposal, have prevented us separating as we did. On inquiry from the proprietor of the Imperial Hotel, I find that the whole charge against the jury is that one of their number Mr Reis, was under the influence of liquor when in the billiard-room, and afterwards behaved rather noisily when going to bed.
The foreman of the jury (Mr Barrett, of Kingstown) stated in open court on Monday morning 16th instant that he saw the last of the jurors to bed, which he considered it his duty to do, and that none of them were in any way under the influence of drink. This statement can be confirmed by those who were present at the time - one of them, Mr Phillips, of Grafton Street, being a total abstainer from intoxicating drinks. Major Wynne, one of those gentlemen not on the jury who were admitted into the billiard-room during the evening, also informs me that while there he saw none of the jurors under the influence of drink. The Sub-Sheriff and his son were there. If strangers were admitted into the billiard-room, it was their business to have had the jurors removed, who were under their charge, or to have arranged with the proprietor of the hotel that they should have had the room to themselves. As I have said before, I and I believe all the other members of the jury, were perfectly unaware of what the rules were to be observed under the circumstances. Now, as to Mr W O’Brien’s extraordinary story, I was awake in room No 27, nearly opposite his, when the party from the billiard-room came upstairs. I heard Mr Reis speaking and calling out loudly (I have since been informed for slippers), as is his custom. I heard him knock over a bath and put it up again with more noise than was absolutely necessary. Mr Reis is short-sighted, and I am informed that at the time there was very little light in the passage. I heard someone go to two or three rooms knocking at and opening the doors; but I heard no singing nor did I hear anything that would lead me to imagine that drunken people were stumbling about in the passage. As to the opening of doors, the sub-sheriff had informed us that the passage was reserved entirely to ourselves. We had not all selected our rooms before dinner and I was most astonished that those last upstairs had some difficulty in finding a spare bed, particularly as it appeared that while some of the jury were doubled up two in a room, one had been reserved for the use of the editor or ex-editor of United Ireland. The Attorney General has promised that a full inquiry is to be made into the circumstances of the case. This the jurors one and all are anxious should be made at once”. - Edward Hamilton.
“I Robert Boylan, coffee room waiter at the Imperial Hotel, Sackville Street, 21 years of age and upwards, make oath and say that I gave the jury the principal part of their dinner on the night of Friday the 11th instant. I supplied whisky and gave sherry and claret, to two of the jurors. They all had drinks, but Mr Reis ordered a bottle of champagne, and told me to bring only two glasses, for Mr Barrett, the foreman, and himself, and I supplied them with a large bottle of champagne, which they drank between them. That was at eight o’clock in the evening, in the jury room, where they were dining. Mr Reis asked me in a jeering way could they have a ladder to get down from the window. Shortly afterwards Mr Reis left the jury room to go down to the billiard room. Several other jurors left to go to the lavatory, and several remained in the jury room. They were then divided into three different parties in three different parts of the house, I went away for the night about nine o’clock, and know no more about it.” - Robert Boylan
“I Patrick Tobin, aged 21 years of age and upwards, coffee-room waiter in the Imperial Hotel, Sackville Street, Dublin, make oath and say that during the evening of Friday, the 11th instant the jury in the Hynes’ case were staying at the hotel. I remember having brought a couple of drinks to the billiard-room as ordered. One was for Mr Campbell, son of the sub-sheriff, who was in the billiard-room, apparently in charge of the jury. I also brought drink to Mr Reis, one of the jurors. Four or five of the jury were in the room at the time. Some ten or twelve persons were there, including a number of strangers. The billiard-room is on the ground floor of the hotel. The corridor to which the jury were directed is situated on the third storey. When I brought down the drink Mr Reis was very noisy and impudent. I think it was about 11 o’clock. The drink which I brought to the jury consisted of some glasses and half a glass of whisky and another glass of gin. It included a bottle of ginger beer and a glass of gin ordered for Major Wynne, a stranger not stopping in the hotel. I went upstairs, and my attention was again attracted by the jury at between a quarter and half past 12 o’clock at night. I went upstairs in consequence of a disturbance created upon the landing to which the jurors had gone to go to bed. The sound of a man’s voice could be heard through the house. I tried to prevail upon the juryman to return to the jury room, or to go to bed. I did not succeed. I came downstairs then, but went upstairs again to the lower end of the corridor on which Mr O’Brien and the jurors had rooms. Mr Reis was standing there with another juror whom I can identify, but whose name I do not know. Mr Reis ran down as far as where I was standing, and let some shouts, and asked where was his bedroom. That corridor had been cleared for the night for the accommodation of the jurors, and the only person outside the jury who slept there that night were two lodgers, Miss Ca... (illegible).and Mr O’Brien. Reis was drunk at the time. He shouted and kicked the boots from the landing along the passage. He shouted along the passage three or four times. I tried to entice him to stay in a bedroom into which I had brought him but he jumped out again. Finding that the man was drunk I could do nothing else to induce him to retire. I have heard that the foreman of the jury stated that the last of the jurors had retired to bed before 12 o’clock. That statement is not correct. The bar as a rule is closed at 12 o’clock; but, on the night of the 11th instant the bar was kept open an additional quarter of an hour, till a quarter past 12 o’clock; and it was subsequently to the closing of the bar that night that I saw the man knocking about the hotel on the landing.” - Patrick Tobin
The trial of the unfortunate Francis Hynes, so prolific in startling incident; has now developed into quite a harvest of extraordinary and unprecedented consequences. While the miserable man in the loneliness of his prison cell counts the fast ebbing moments quite a storm of controversy has been raised in the outer world with reference to the several episodes connected with his fate. The well-merited condemnation passed by Mr Justice Lawson upon the High Sheriff of Dublin, is, in noted importance, a mere bagatelle compared to the still more serious questions which arise with reference to the disposal of the jury by the Sub-Sheriff and the incidents, be they what they may, which took place in the Imperial Hotel on Friday night week. The letter of Mr Edward Hamilton, one of the jury, which appears in our columns, narrates with obvious veracity the whole story. Whether the bringing of the jury to the hotel in question, was a pre-arranged movement on the part of the sheriff and under-sheriff, and that something in the shape of a pitfall was laid for them, we will not aver; but certain it is that to say the least of it, the conduct of the under-sheriff upon the occasion was most reprehensible. The Act of Parliament with reference to the treatment of jurors in criminal cases when trials are not concluded within the day, is most emphatic. It distinctly states that the sheriff shall be responsible that the jury shall have no communication with any person whatsoever during the night.
“The Dublin Evening Mail” of last evening says - We are compelled to return today, much against our will, to the indecent attempt which is being made to arouse a morbid sympathy for the murderer Hynes. Now, we have the greatest respect for the persons who entertain conscientious scruples on the subject of capital punishment, and, therefore, we have not a word to say against any efforts which they may deem it proper to take for a commutation of the sentence upon Hynes. But there is another class which desires to see Hynes respited - the class whose vile behests he so unhesitatingly and unflinchingly carried out. It is perfectly plain to this Class the execution of one of their most efficient officers would be a fatal blow, and, therefore they leave no stone unturned to obviate that dire consequence. In all that has been written and said in the way of sympathy for Hynes, not a syllable has been breathed, not a note of pity expressed for the widow and seven helpless children of his victim. No, their sorrow and their want are nothing in comparison with the shock which the execution of Hynes would have upon the sensitive feelings of the Moonlighters and their abetters, clerical and lay. Poor Doloughty’s widow may appeal for bread, but it will be in vain. The public mind is too engrossed with the sufferings of Francis Hynes to spare a thought for them. Is this as it ought to be? The ostentatious parade of sympathy shown for the murderer of Doloughty reminds us that we ought ere this to have shown some material sympathy with the widow and orphans of Hynes’ victim, who are at this moment in abject poverty. We now invite all whose hearts are moved in pity for these poor creatures who have been so ruthlessly and cruelly deprived of their support to join with us, in alleviating their more pressing wants and to give as they can to:
The following reply has been received to a letter sent by the Lord Mayor to his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant last night, forwarding a copy of the resolution passed at yesterday’s meeting at the Mansion House:-
Viceregal Lodge, 8 September 1882
“My Dear Lord Mayor - I am desired by the Lord Lieutenant to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship’s letter, asking his Excellency to receive a deputation to present a resolution in favour of the commutation of the sentence passed on the convict Hynes. I am to say that it is not the practice, either for the Home Secretary in England or for the Lord Lieutenant in Ireland to receive deputations on the subject of the commutation of the death sentence. His Excellency is not prepared to deviate from this rule, and must, therefore, decline to receive the deputation referred to by your Lordship. I am to add that the resolution itself shall be carefully considered by his Excellency. I have the honour to be your Lordship’s obedient servant.
On receipt of this reply the Lord Mayor proceeded to the Castle, and, in the absence of the Lord Lieutenant and the Chief Secretary, had an interview with the Under Secretary (Mr Hamilton), to whom he pointed out from the record in the “Freeman’s Journal”, that in December 1867, the then Lord Lieutenant (the Duke of Abercorn) received a deputation on the subject of the commutation of the sentence on General Burke. It is understood that the representations thus made will be communicated to his Excellency. The Lord Lieutenant late last night sent a reply to the memorial. His Excellency regrets he is unable to alter his decision, and that the law must take its course. The Mayor has received the following reply to the memorial of the Limerick Corporation, adopted at its meeting on Thursday last, praying that the sentence might be commuted -
Dublin Castle, 8 September 1882
“J Counihan, Esq, Mayor of Limerick, Limerick, - Sir, - With reference to your letter of the 7th instant forwarding a Memorial from the Corporation of the City of Limerick on behalf of Francis Hynes, a prisoner under sentence of death in Limerick Male Prison, I am directed by the Lord Lieutenant to acquaint you, for the information of the Memorialists, that his Excellency has carefully considered the Memorial, and regrets that he cannot see any reason for interfering with the course of the law in this case. I have the honour to be, sir, Your obedient servant,
Marwood, the executioner, arrived in this city this morning by the 1.45pm mail train from Dublin. He was received by a large party of constabulary, who escorted him to the County Gaol, where he is now staying. The Sub-Sheriff of the County Clare (Mr Charles Mabon) has made all the necessary preparations for the execution, which will take place at 8 o’clock am. sharp on Monday morning next. A large force of constabulary will be drafted into this city to preserve peace and good order during the execution and subsequently.