Trial of James Mahady, Rathowen, Ireland 1841

Trial of James Mahady

dividing bar

No.3 Patrick McCarthy - Bail found - Summer 1841 - These two traversed - Both admitted to bail - The recognizance extracted at these Assizes.

& Thomas Massey - (Ditto above)


Hugh Quigley -(Age 31) & James Mahady - (Age 34) Traversed.

These two bailed also and appeared at this Assizes to take their trial.

Indictment -- 29th. June 1841 at Currygrane being then and there assembled and did wilfully,maliciously and unlawfully break into the house of Patrick Farrelly ??????? ??? against peace and sleep.

2nd. Count - Breaking into habitation???.

Evidence for the Prosecution - Patrick Farrelly -
In June last, witness lived at Currygrane and remembers 29 June. Witness was at home that night - Shortly after 12 o'clock at night witness was in bed - His wife was with him - Heard some noise at the outside door - His wife got up and went to the door - Asked who it was there - They called to open the door - Witness heard some talk between them at the door and heard a blow against the door -Witness then got up and went in his shirt to the door - Another blow was then given - Witness then put a bolt of deal against the door - His daughter assisting him to place it and witness lay down upon it to keep it steady - More blows were then given from the outside which he thinks must have been given with an iron crow bar or sledge - After a long time and a great deal of blows the door was broke in Thinks it was three quarters of an hour from the first attack that it was broke in - bout seven or eight men came in and immediately attacked witness beating him and giving him many blows -

Witness held up his hand to protect his head and got one blow on the arm that made it quite powerless - Witness then got more cuts on his head - Thinks they were given with a heavy stick He also got a severe cut on his foot - His daughter was near him - Two of the party then seized him and dragged him out of the house and threw him into the gutter outside the house - Leaving him mother? naked - He craved mercy from them and that they would not kill so old and weak a man - One of them said =Lay on the old rascal and let him take that for the boy= - The night was fine and bright and witness saw the men plainly - Identified the prisoners Hugh Quigley & James Mahady

He also knew two others who were there but they were not in the Court now -

When witness begged them not to kill him until he got his Clergy one of them said think you are very well paid for the boy - They made a search for witness's son and did find him at which time they set up a great shout calling out that they had found their young chap - several of them beat his son - Thinks there were thirteen or fourteen men in all - They then threw witness back in the house and put the door to - And one of them said Now be a good neighbour and don't bring us back here again

Cross - Examination.
The prisoners live about three miles from him - Witness had in the house his wife,his son and two daughters - The men were in the house about a quarter of an hour that night - There was no candle in the house - It was outside the house that he saw and knew the two prisoners and could not know any of them in the house - The voice that spoke the words to witness was strange to him - It was not either of the prisoners that said the words - Witness knew Mahady well before that and Quigley also and had spoken to them before and would have known their voices.

Bridget Farrelly.
Is daughter of the last witness and lived in the house with him - Remembers the the night of the attack, in June last - The first noise she heard was the blows to the door - Witness being in bed at the time - Witness rose up and went to the door and was lying against it to try and keep the men out - They broke in the door and then eight or nine men came in and fell to beating her father - She heard one of the men say 'Lay on the old rascal and let him take that for the boy - They knocked her father down and witness threw herself upon him to save him and she got three cuts and a bruise on her arm - Witness never saw Hugh Quigley but once before that night - One of the men she saw standing at the door was a tall man - Witness thinks it was the prisoner Hugh Quigley, but she cannot be sure of him. Witness's brother Patrick Farrelly was hiding under the bed.

Cross - Examined.
Witness did not go outside the house - Witness saw her father the entire time they were beating him, inside the house - She did not see her father beat outside the house and does not know of any injury done to him outside the house.

Patrick Farrelly (The Younger)
Witness is son of the first witness - He was in bed and asleep when he was then suddenly awakened by a great noise at the outside door - There was also a stone thrown which broke his window - Witness then got up and hid himself - Witness then heard the men beating his father and he was crying for mercy - After beating his father they then went looking for him, found him and brought him out,two of them holding his head low and beat him - Witness does not know any of them.

Case Closed For The Prosecution.


Continuation Of Trial Evidence :-

Evidence For The Prisoners. - Edward Mahady.
Witness is brother of the prisoner (James Mahady) was living with his brother in June last - Recollects the the night in question,it was bonfire night,Monday night - His brother was in bad health at the time - What he complained of was his heart - He was working the Saturday before,being ??? to work all along - He slept every night in the same house as witness.

On the Monday night he (the prisoner) was to let blood - Witness saw the cut on his arm - The bandage had come off and the witness had assisted prisoner's wife in binding it up - He had gone to the Doctor about threeish - It was later in the evening when he went to bed - His wife was with him and witness helped put him to bed,he being in a weak state. It was quite impossible that he could have gone to Farrelly's house that night or go out the night at all - Farrelly's house was was about three miles distance - It was Mr. Thomas (our steward) who advised him on the Saturday to get himself bled - He was so miserable that he did not leave his bed on Tuesday and he was taken on Tuesday night in his house.

James Norton.
Witness is in the habit of bleeding persons - Witness bled the prisoner Mahady and thinks it was on the Monday 28th. June that he bled him in the arm and as he best recollects it might be about 12 o'clock or something after on that day.

Hugh McFadden (The Governor Of The Gaol) :-
Witness recollects the prisoner Mahady Being committed to the Goal on the 30th. June - He appeared very ill so much so that witness put him in Hospital at once - He was afterwards attended there by Dr. West - It was not from any wound that he appeared ill but being sickly and he remained in Hospital until he was bailed as witness believes.

Case For The Traversers Closed.

Evidence For The Prosecution In Reply. - Mike Connolly.
Witness recollects the night of the attack on Farrelly's house - Witness knows the prisoner Mahady - Witness saw him on the evening of that day - Witness was then coming from the market at Granard and saw the prisoner a few perches from him walking by near his own house - Witness saw nothing particular about him and did not pass any remarks on him.

Case Closed
In summing up the evidence to the Jury their attention was particularly directed to the manner in which the identification of the prisoners had been proved, only by the single evidence of the principal witness Patrick Farrelly (The Elder) - In considering which they would take into consideration the circumstances in which he was at the time and that they should also take into consideration evidence given by Edward Mahady (The prisoner's brother) followed as after by that of Norton (The person who was stated to have bled the prisoner) and more especially that of the Governor of the Goal as to the prisoners state of health when he was committed and they were directed if these circumstances did not lead them to entertain a reasonable and conscientious doubt with the respect to the guilt of both or either prisoners they should give them,or the one to whom such doubt existed the benefit of that doubt by a verdict of a acquittal.

The Jury after some deliberation found both of the prisoners guilty.

They were there upon each sentenced to transportation for a term of fourteen years

Signed :- Charles Burton, Judge.

NOTE :- The foregoing details were typed from records found at the Brisbane National Library, namely National Archives,Ireland Ref.No.CRF 1842 M40. in 1989.

Philip Earl De Gray (Grey)
Dated 21 May 1842 ???? General Governor Of Ireland.
Chief ??? Dublin.
??? Mahady A Convict Kilmainham Gaol.
Humbly Sheweth,
That petitioner was indicted in trial at Longford Assizes in February late for breaking into the house of Patrick Farrelly of Currygrane and ??? ??? ??? together with ??? other ??? that upon that indictment Petitioner was then found guilty and sentenced to fourteen years transportation by Judge Burton.

That Petitioner most solemnly assures your excellency that he is quite innocent of that charge and he feels much aggrieved at having to leave his native land for other parts ??? and has come to the resolution of informing your excellency of all he knows on the subject vis :-

On the day previous to the occurrence in question six men came to me where I was then after having mass and informed me of what they were intended to do, that of going to Patrick Farrelly's house and beating him, urged me to go with them. I told them I could not go being very unwell and they then informed me the following night when they with ??? other ??????

The six men's names who came to me for me to go with them are Patrick Brady, James Brady, James Smith & Bernard Smith of Loughill, Patrick Gallagher & James Kelly of Schooland.

That Petitioner has been living for the last 19 years ??? ??? ????? Thompso n Esq. to whom he begs most (faithfully?) to refer your excellency for his petitioner's character

That Petitioner has a wife and family after him left in a most deplorable situation having no friends to look after them - That Petitioner was transmitted from Longford to Kilmainham goal in the latter part of April and is now awaiting to be sent to ??? shores. That Petitioner would be most anxious should it meet your excellency's approbation to Sir (McTierney?) Court Solicitor for the South West Circuit to whom the Petitioner could mercifully detail the facts connected with the offence.

Petitioner therefore most humbly hopes your excellency will consider my case as being banished from my country innocent of those charges for which he was convicted and humbly implore your excellency to do something for him by commuting his sentence and Petitioner as is duty bound shall ever pray.

Letter signed by James Mahady,
Kilmainham Goal, May 17 1842.

** Words underlined thus were seemingly marked this way by someone either before, during or after the petition had been presented to the General Governor.

** N.B. Underlined words did not register during printing. 1997:- Upgraded from 1989 typed copy of reply from Judge Burton in response to a request from General Governor for further comment as a result of receipt of Petition from James Mahady.

Stephens Green
22 May 1842

with reference to your letter of the 21st. Inst. with the memorial of James Mahady a prisoner from the Goal of the County Longford (and which I return herewith). I have the honour to acquaint you for the information of the Lord Justices, that the prisoner (together with another person of the name of Hugh Quigley) was tried before me at the last Assizes for the County of Longford on an Indictment found against them and two other persons (whose recognizances were extracted) at the preceding Assizes for wilfully, maliciously and unlawfully breaking into the house of Patrick Farrelly, to which they both appeared (having been admitted to bail) and traversed and upon their trial were both found guilty and sentenced to be transported each for the term of fourteen years.

It did not appear to me that there were any mitigating circumstances in the case (it being one of those offences known by the appellation of wholeboy or ribbon).

The offences committed on the property and persons of others as a punishment for any conduct in disobedience to their assumed authority and therefore requiring exemplary punishment.

But it did appear to me as a question in which the identification of the two prisoners (and particularly that of the Memorialist) might lead to some doubt upon the whole of the evidence . That question was however brought to the attention of the Jury who were very intelligent men and who after some deliberation found both of the prisoners guilty. The memorial itself seems to state that the prisoner was not wholly unconnected with the transaction though it denies the fact of his being there at the commission of the outrage. I send a transcript of my notes at the trial and have the honour

To Remain Sir,

Your most obedient humble servant
Letter signed - Charles Burton.

Note :- The words wholeboy and ribbon as stated by the Judge were classed as offences and in actual fact were directly related to Ribbonism or those Members of a secret society which fought for the rights of the oppressed Irish tenant farmers whose English overlords had dispossessed them of their rightful land & properties.

Notes in response to the above letter from Judge Burton :-
Queen versus Hugh Quigley & James Mahady
Breaking into dwelling house - 14 years.Judgment 26th. February 1842
Gaoler informed on 25th. May of decision on 26th. Feby. by Judge Bruton
The Law Must Take Its Course

As at the date of typing 24 June 1989 no further details regarding James Mahady were available, however, various letters had been and were being sent to various locations requesting further information. These have been received and recorded.

Note:- This was a one page sheet found amongst the Trial Records.

National Archives Ireland - File No. CRF 1842 M40

Queen V Quigley & Mahody
Judge Burtons Notes Of The Trial
M 40 James Mahody & J Quigley
Breaking into D/House - 14yrs Tr.
The Law Must Take Its Course.
Signed - (Indecipherable)
Judgement Saturday26th.Feby.1842.
Gaoler Informed 25th.April 1842.
1989 Typed copy of deciphered details from National Archives,Ireland
Reference CRF 1842 Misc. 10

To His Excellency
Dublin Castle
The Lieutenant Governor
29th.April 1842
Of The Van diemens Land
Hobart Town


I have the honour to send herewith for your Excellency's information by the direction of their Excellencies,The Lord Justices of Ireland,the Warrant for the Transportation of one hundred and eighty-five ???? male Convicts also separate Warrants for twelve Military Convicts with two children embarked on board the ship Isabella Watson and I enclose Captain McDonalds'receipt for the bodies.

I have the honour to be
Your Excellency's most Obedient Humble Servant ,
Signed ?????

Note:- The above,and following,was recorded whilst seeking for, and prior to finding out, the name of the ship on which James Mahady was transported to Australia.

1997 - Upgrading of 1989 typed copy of the trial details for James Mahady from the Longford Lent Assizes on 26th. February 1842 :-

Contributed by Matt Mahady