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An Honest Industrious Man

James Lynch

by Chris Loudon © All rights reserved
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James LYNCH tells us in his own words[1] ... that his Fathers being a Jobber in Horse Cattle he always did accompany him in the different fairs... James' father Bryan LYNCH was a buyer and seller of cattle and horses, and travelled across Ireland plying his trade at County Fairs, accompanied by his son James.

On the weekend of the Third and Fourth of July 1824, Bryan and James attended the Summer Fair at Mullingar, County Westmeath (see Map), a distance of some 21 miles (about 34 kilometers) from their home near Athboy, County Meath (see Map).

James LYNCH, at age sixteen years and nine months, would have been both excited and happy that he was able to accompany his father to the Mullingar Fair. He would have gained considerable knowledge from his previous experiences at county fairs that would be of lasting benefit in his later life when dealing with both cattle and horses.

However, neither James nor his father could have anticipated the impact that the Mullingar Fair was to have on their lives and that of young James in particular.

On Monday July 5, 1824 having concluded their business at the Fair, father and son called for some liquid refreshment at a Public House in Mullingar, before setting out on their tiresome road journey back home to Athboy. We don't know whether they were walking or riding horses on their journey home, but it is likely, given Bryans occupation, that they were riding.

Bryan perhaps met with some acquaintances and left the premises whilst James, having purchased a beer, remained inside to drink. Having finished his beer, and the premises being somewhat crowded, James went outside to find his father and continue their journey home. Where, as James says ... when an allarm (sic) taking place ... and he was ... looking on as a spectator..[2] . He was a witness to a fracas involving several people concerning the theft of some money taken from the till of the Inn.

According to James, again in his own words, the Inn owner's son,  ... knowing him (James) to be in the house ... accosted and Charged him to be of the party that stole the two notes taken out of the Till.

The owner of the public house, Bridget GLINNIN[3] also confronted James on several occasions. James tells us that she ...did repeatedly said words to him, in that if he would make up two Guineas for the troubles that she mentioned that she would not appear to prosecute as she mentioned, as she sustained no lofs (sic) for the notes that was taken she found in a Garden convenient to her house...

Indignant, James said that he ... would not condescend to give one farthing as he himself was innocent..

Bridget GLINNIS accused James of the theft and had him arrested by the constabulary. He was taken into custody that evening and locked in Mullingar Gaol (built c.a 1820's now demolished) to be tried at the Summer Assizes to take place in August.

Bryan LYNCH was no doubt distraught, but unable to accomplish anything to secure his sons release, returned home to Athboy.

He would have visited Mullingar to see his son several times. On at least one occasion, the Eighth of August, he went to the house of Bridget GLINNIS to plead with and try to convince her to drop the charges against James, and secure his sons release. During this visit by Bryan, Bridget sent one of her children to fetch Thomas BATEMAN, a ‘Writing Clerk' of thirty plus years of age, to witness the discussions.

Thomas BATEMAN tells us ...Bridget Glinnis stated to Deponent (Bateman) how she had compafsion and kinder feelings for the poor Man, and both being introduced into the Parlour on a point of Settlement which was reffered to Deponent and which the said Bryan Lynch without the knowledge or Consent of his Son who was in Custody then in the Gaol of Mullingar advanced to Deponent £ 2, 13 being the sum which she alluded was lost ...[4]

This sum of money was payment for Bridget and her family  ...to her knowledge from Sunday the Eighth until Thursday the Twelfth of August on her undertaking to cease a prosecution and asked the said Bryan Lynch often to spend money in her house promising faithfully that she would not be hostile in her prosecution.

Bryan LYNCH and Thomas BATEMAN took Bridget GLINNIS at her word. Consequently Bryan took no action to secure any Defense Counsel for James, believing that the charges would be withdrawn and the case would not proceed or be dropped by the prosecution.

James appeared in the court on or about August 13, 1824 and was the second case on the first morning of the Summer Assizes.

Acting in good faith on the word of Bridget GLINNIS that she would not prosecute, James went to court without any preparation or Defense Counsel acting on his behalf. Unfortunately the prosecution did proceed.

It was not until the morning of the trial that James and his father found that Bridget GLINNIS, contrary to her previous promises, was going to proceed with the charges, catching James and his father by surprise.

Thomas BATEMAN was that morning appointed by the court to act on James behalf. In his Affidavit attached to James' later Petition explains the circumstances and says that he ... found by the prosecutrix that she was bent to act hostile, Contrary to his usual Expections. Deponent then brought the said Bryan Lynch to the house of the Prosecutrix Bridget Glinnin and there demanded the sum lodged and one of the Girls named Mary Glinnin handed Deponent two pound in notes and the remainder in Silver the said Mary Glinnin handed to Bryan Lynch whose property the same was And by that time said Bryan Lynch had it not in his power to make any preparation for his son this prisoner and was fairly betrayed by the Prosecutrix who by false promises and fallacy, stole in under Colour of pretence.

The presiding Judge Lord NORBURY[5] gave the charges to the Grand Jury and would not defer the case, even though during the trial James ...strongly implored on his Lordship to postpone his trial for a few hours or untill the sitting of the Court next morning. As his principal witnifs was not arrived, nor neither had any Counsel employed. Which entreaties his Lordship would not listen to but Ordered on the trial.

James was found guilty; Lord NORBURY sentenced him to seven years transportation beyond the seas.

Thomas BATEMAN, after the trial, proceeded to further examine the circumstances of the prosecution and came to the conclusion that Bridget GLINNIS was full of duplicity and lied unashamedly ...the said Prosecutrix is not a woman of any Credit or Respect paid her by the Public. And her Father and Brother and entire family were often charged with burning their Own Crops and hanghing their own Cattle, any Contigious(?) to Mullingar and presumably said lofses on the County, and the lives of other individuals at stake for what the family of this Prosecutrix themselves has done as Deponent heard.

BATEMAN goes on to state that Bridget GLINNIS  ... often advised and consulted with him on the subject of evading the prosecution in question... and that James LYNCH ... got no chance of Justice by the Tubigur and false promises of the Prosecutrix made to his Father Bryan Lynch ...... And had not for such promises said Bryan Lynch would have employed an Mr. and Counsel in had not for Deponent through the promises the said Prosecutrix made and had as lies in same to provide without Apportion and to get Compensation for such Conviction as Deponent heard and believes.

As a result of the duplicity of Bridget GLINNIS, BATEMAN believed that  ... if the Prisoner had his defence and Counsel employed and Deponent duly Summoned, would prove the same in Afize Courts to the nature of the foregoing Circumstances than as will allow for Justice make on part of the Convict. He was thus also somewhat scathing of the court process.

The Petition which James made to the Governor on September 16, 1824, pleading his case, sates;
... your Memorialist likewise states to your Excellency in his age Seventeen years, and that he always supported an unblemished character without the smallest charges or mischief brought against him (save the present) which more strong oppines to your Excellency by the annexed respectable Gentleman.

The annexure had several character references, along with a statement from James that;
...Your Memorialist therefore maketh application to your Excellency praying that your Excellency would be Graciously pleased to take his case into consideration, and look on his youth and never impeached with any charges before the present, Which charge your Memorialist utterly deny's let the Consequence be what it will.
Under these circumstances your Memorialist most humbly implores that Your Excellency would look with an Eye of pity on him. And through your Excellency's most accustomed humanity give such direction as you think most expedient on the Subject in your question to mitigate or alter that sentence imposed by the Law.
And your Memorialist is in duty bound and will for ever pray
Signed ............ James Lynch

The people who supplied the character references for James in support of his petition, had all handwritten their references and each of them personally signed the petition document.

James Lynch has been a resident of the Parish of Athboy for a considerable time and I have never heard of any thing to affect his character, and believe him to be an object deserving attention (particularly in consequence of his youth being but 17 years of Age).
Signed ............ Robt Hanso(e)n, Rector of Athboy
Also under signed by ............ John Murdoch (or Murdock)

I have found the above person to be an honest boy.
Signed ............ John Walsh

From every thing I Have been able to collect, I think the above is a true statement.
Given under my hand this 6th Sept 1824.
Signed ............ Thos Kenni(e)dy pp

I know the above named person to be of good character
Signed ............ James Boolen

I believe the above named Jas Lynch to be an Honest Industrious Man ------
Signed ............ Patrick Bannister (or Baniswald)

I know James Lynch and live in the parish of Athboy this five or six years past, and there never heard any thing to affect his character before.
Signed ............ Thos Walsh

I know the above to be the fact.
Signed ............ G Thompson (signature very hard to read, could be McDonald)

Although James was accused of theft and convicted at his trial, going on the evidence tendered by James and his supporters on September 16, 1824 (his seventeenth birthday) his appeal to the Governor, which was referred back to the trial Judge Lord NORBURY, had a reasonable chance of success. James remained in the Mullingar Gaol pending the outcome of his appeal.

The appeal was rejected and James was transported to Cork to await his fate.

James LYNCH was subsequently transported as a convict on the ship Asia 1 (3) departing from Cork on November 22, 1824 arriving at Port Jackson on February 21, 1825.


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Sources & Notes

[1]  National Archives of Ireland - Prisoner Petition and Case (PPC) No. 2380 of September 13, 1824. Memorial (petition) of James LYNCH, "To His Excellency, The Most Noble The Marquis of Wellesley, Lord Lieutenant General and General Governor of Ireland"The Marquis of Wellesley was Richard Colley Wesley (Wellesley) (1760-1842), previously Governor General of India (1798-1805) and brother to John Colley Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington.

Ireland - Australia Transportation Database - Search Online for details of Convicts Transported

[2] ibid

[3]  or GLENNON

[4] Affidavit from Thomas BATEMAN in support of James LYNCH's petition to the Governor, also included in PPC 2380

[5] Lord NORBURY - John TOLER, 1st Earl of Norbury (1745-1831) - Infamously known as "The Hanging Judge". Petty larceny was punishable by hanging in the late 1700's early 1800's and Lord NORBURY was particularly harsh in his sentences. Many, including other Lords of the British Parliament, considered him to be incompetent and unfit to sit on the bench. He was responsible for many executions being carried out in Ireland, including those associated with the 1798 uprising. One particular case being that of Robert EMMET (1778-1803) in 1803 as a result of his involvement in the unsuccessful, some say farcical, Irish uprising in that year. Tried for high treason EMMET was sentenced by NORBURY to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Lord NORBURY was the object of petitions to Westminster for his removal, but retained his post until 1827 when removed as a result of senility. Such was his reputation that one jest circulating at the time by a peer, Lord Curran, relates that when at lunch he was asked by Norbury "Is that hung beef?" Curran replied, "Not until Your Lordship tries it"

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 October 2016 17:34

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