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Ten men to be Hanged!!! Carlow Morning Post – Address by Lord Norbury – Thursday July 25th 1822


Transcribed by Shirley Fleming, thanks to Michael Purcell

Our Assizes ended yesterday, and contrary to all expectation, there was more business of a real and serious nature, than we recollect for many years. Nor could we have imagined, that where the Calendar, as we said in our last, was so very light as to contain the names of only eighteen prisoners— Ten of the number should have been capitally convicted, and sentenced to an ignominious death!
The trials of these unfortunate persons, have been taken down in detail, by our Reporter; we have commenced their publication this day, and shall continue them in our next; for we deem it a duty which we owe our country, to hold out to society, the moral lesson which these trials must afford; and we should hope, that the awful example which the fate of so many of our wretched and guilty countrymen holds forth, may operate as an antidote to thousands, and call them from their evil pursuits, to seek the paths of rectitude and peace.
It is, indeed, happy for our country that this knot of robbers has been discovered, and brought to justice; besides the injury which has been done, from time to time, to individuals, the character of the entire neighbourhood has suffered; and many of the crimes committed by such men as these, have been attributed to others, and represented as arising from far different motives. Yet while we rejoice in the detection of the midnight robber, and incendiary, we deplore that necessity which consigns them to an untimely grave; — and if there were any other medium, by which the ends of justice might be attained, we should feel more liberty, at this moment, in commenting upon the turpitude of those crimes which have induced the present observations: but we must, at all events, and however unpleasant to our feelings, continue the melancholy subject, til we bring it to its proper conclusion; and it is our ardent wish, that we may never again, in our native country — nor in any other — have to record such “a tale of woe!”
Five of the unfortunate persons, whom we have been writing of, were tried, and found guilty on Monday; the other five on Tuesday; at the conclusion of the second day’s trial, the Chief Barron while charging the jury – in which he recapitulated the entire of the evidence — took occasion to pay a high, and well deserved compliment, to the Rev.Mr.Doyle, Parish Priest of Clonegal, for the admirable line of conduct which he had observed, in bringing about the means by which the offenders, through his advice, had been delivered into the hands of justice. Such a character is an honor, and a blessing, to the country in which he holds and exercises his sacred function; and we present him as a pattern, worthy of imitation! — Were the Clergy, of every class and denomination to perform their duty, as this GENTLEMAN does, we should have less occasion to deplore that state of moral and physical degradation, to which this ill fated island is now a prey; and from which it can never be rescued, except through the instrumentality of faithful Pastors, who will feed their flocks, and not make merchandize of men’s souls and bodies!— We did not intend to dilate thus; but the state of our unhappy fellow creatures, our brethren and countrymen, has drawn us a little beyond our regular limits: — to return, however: when the jury gave in their dreadful verdict Guilty! The Chief Baron ordered five unhappy beings (from the youth of some of them, we cannot call them men) who were convicted on Monday, viz. —
Andrew and Armstrong Anderson, Nicholas and Thomas Troy, and Christopher Dooley, to be put to the bar, together with Michael, Timothy, and Hue Finegan, William Nowlan, and William Walsh.—
The appearance of such a group, in this hitherto peaceable County, and under such circumstances, made an impression that will not be readily effaced from the recollection of the greatest number of persons we ever saw at any one time in our County Court-House.
His Lordship said, when he first entered the peaceable County of Carlow, he did not expect to encounter such an awful scene, as now presented to his view. There were only eighteen prisoners for trial on the calendar — and yet the awful duty devolved upon him of passing the dreadful sentence of death upon ten! It was melancholy to reflect, that neither youth nor age could protect them.—
Some he thought too old to have been found in so degrading and distressing a situation, while if the parents of the others had done their duty, and paid proper attention to their children, some of them ought now be under chastisement in school, instead of standing forward to await the penalty of the law. Year after year, examples have been made that ought to strike terror to the hearts of such offenders, and prevent the commission of such crimes. It was a mistaken view, if they supposed that the law would not sooner or later catch those offending against it, and bring down upon them its just vengeance.
The prisoners, Nicholas and Thomas Troy, and Christopher Dooley, were convicted of attacking and firing into a dwelling-house, and for threatening to sacrifice the life of Timothy Byrne, the proprietor, if he did not quit a farm recently taken. This was a dreadful denunciation, to come from three young persons—instigated to the commission of the crime, (his Lordship had no doubt), by other agents. Instead of being violators of the public peace, it should have been their first and paramount duty to protect those laws from which they derived so much benefit, and not pollute them as they have done.
Andrew and Armstrong Anderson, were convicted of a robbery on the highway. The man whom they robbed was, on his way to market, disarmed, and the means of his existence taken from him. If the honest and industrious were obliged to give up their property to such as were determined not to earn a livelihood for themselves— if such practices, said his Lordship, were allowed to escape with impunity, there would be no security in the County.
Michael Finegan, continued his Lordship, is, according to his own account, the aged father of nine children — and has led such a life, as to put it out of his power to produce a single man to give him an honest character — he has acknowledged that he has promoted the destruction of his own children — and yet implores mercy for them! — but that mercy, now sought for his son, ought to have come from the father — he ought to have inculcated in him moral truths, and taught him to discharge that duty in society, which would not only insure a respect for the laws — but impress him with a love and fear of his God: — but having neglected his own offspring, he cannot now expect mercy from others. His Lordship earnestly entreated the prisoners to turn to the Almighty God — to attend their Clergyman — to implore God to open their hearts, and to lay their sins before him. It was his duty to instruct them, that they had no hope here — that they should look only to the future — as this world would shortly close upon them for ever! His Lordship then (greatly affected — and with tears in his eyes), pronounced in the most feeling manner, the awful sentence of the law. He told the prisoners, when they severally implored a long day, that sufficient time for preparation would be afforded them, provided they made a good use of it. — Here closed the first scene of this awful tragedy!

Michael, Timothy, and Hue Finegan, William Nowlan, and William Walsh, to be hanged on Tuesday, 6th August.
Andrew and Armstrong Anderson, Nicholas and Thomas Troy, and Christopher Dooley, to be hanged on Saturday, the 10th.
Michael Molloy to be imprisoned six months and publicly whipped at Rathvilly
INTERESTING TRIALS. — We shall give a full report of the trial of the Finegans, Nowlan, and Walsh, in our publications of Thursday: and a full report of the very interesting trials — “lessee of Murphy vs Paine,” and “lessee of Bernard vs Dillon” — together with Counseller Wallace’s admirable speeches, will be published in the two ensuing numbers of The Carlow Morning Post.