(An excursion into Ireland)

The Dublin Scandals, 1884

INTRODUCTION: The "Dublin Scandals" were first brought to light by the Irish Nationalist William O'Brien, editor of the militant Irish Home Rule journal United Ireland, and were part of his campaign against Dublin Castle, the seat of the English Government in Ireland. This political context is important for understanding the vigour with which the various sides pursued their case. The first object of O'Brien's attack was James Ellis French, 50-year-old Director of the Detective Department of the Royal Irish Constabulary, whom he exposed in October 1883 as being at the centre of a network of homosexuals. French took out a suit against O'Brien for libel, but French had a nervous breakdown and failed to pursue the prosecution, which accordingly failed. O'Brien had hired a rather disreputable private detective, Meiklejohn, to gather evidence for the case, which was now directed towards the other main perpetrator, Gustavus Cornwall, well-paid Secretary of the Dublin Department of the General Post Office. Four young men were prepared to testify to "the foulest offences" in which they themselves participated. Two articles were published in United Ireland, and O'Brien, a Member of Parliament, publicly accused French and Cornwall in Parliament.
          Cornwall perhaps unwisely decided to prosecute O'Brien for libel, who promptly made a plea of "justification" – i.e. he proposed to present evidence supporting the claims that Cornwall (along with others) was guilty of indecent acts including sodomy. In due course, a fashionably-dressed young man, named Alfred M'Kernan, a clerk in the Munster Bank for sixteen years, claimed he had first been introduced to Cornwall in 1876, at a friend's house, and gave evidence that they had sex together. It was revealed that Cornwall allegedly made pick-ups in the Botanic Gardens, and often invited men home with him, where they sat on his lap while he kissed them; and more. He and several of his friends often attended musical concert parties. Many of his sexual partners were found through his friendship networks, but he also picked up men at urinals and at male brothels; he was also introduced by others to soldiers, and he kept a photograph album of handsome soldiers.
          The jury believed the defendant, O'Brien, and brought in their verdict against Cornwall. This was widely applauded by the spectators in the court, and elsewhere. In Cork, the verdict was celebrated by the Nationalists "by several bands playing national airs, followed by several thousand persons, some carrying blazing tar barrels and others lighted torches". Because Cornwall had lost his libel suit, actions were taken to arrest him and charge him with sodomy and with procuring others to commit sodomy.
          Cornwall left Dublin and fled to Glasgow, where he stayed with his brother-in-law Sir Robert Dalziel. O'Brien's newspaper complained that the authorities had been familiar with these crimes for a long time and that Lord Lieutenant Spencer and Chief-Secretary Trevelyan had made efforts to screen the criminals, and calls wre made for their resignations from the government.
          Three of the witnesses who had appeared against Cornwall in the libel case were arrested: the aforementioned Kiernan, Malcolm Johnson, a young man of independent means, son of a wealthy baker who left him a considerable fortune; and George D. Taylor, "a fine, fair-complexioned youth of middle height, with large, fair, well-trimmed moustache, was a clerk at 60 a year in the service of the British and Irish Steam Packet Company", and they gave their depositions against Cornwall. Cornwall was arrested, and was charged with the commission of unnatural acts over a period of eight years, or as his defense attorney put it, "an abominable crime – a crime so foul that it would be better, ten thousand times better, that he should be charged with one which would send him to an ignominious grave". One news reporter observed that although Mr Cornwall was a married man, the couple had had no children. Cornwall was described as "a man of splendid physique and tall, distingué appearance, being fully six feet high. His hair and beard are tinged with grey, and his moustache always carefully waxed." Cornwall was denied bail, and a black cab took him from court to Kilmainham Jail: "As the procession was passing the gate of the court-yard a few of the bystanders hooted and hissed, and a few children ran after the cavalcade shouting loudly."
          The police then began gathering their evidence for the trials of a total of eight men involved in this criminal confederacy. The men from whom they took depositions included the aforementioned Kiernan, Taylor, and Johnstone Little, aged 22, distiller's clerk, plus Patrick Molloy, 23 years old, of no occupation; Michael Magrane, aged 24, of no occupation; William Clark, a cooper; Daniel Considine, a blind basket maker; a man named Pentland; and James Pillar, a 60-year-old tea and wine merchant. Pillar was charged with sodomy and attempts to commit unnatural crime with men over the past six years. French was arrested and was also charged on several counts of sodomy and attempted sodomy, and various indecencies. Pillar was a member of the Society of Friends (a Quaker) and had a large family. William Hughes, a lodging-house keeper, was charged with soliciting a law clerk to commit an unnatural and abominable offence. Several gentlemen promptly left Ireland, including two clergymen. Two more arrests were made: of Captain Martin Oranmore Kirwan, of the Dublin Militia. Another man implicated, Constable Esmond, deserted. Surgeon-Major Fernandez, of the 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards, was charged with unnatural offences, as was Private Odell of the 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards (Chelsea Barracks). Two Dublin salesmen were arrested, Patrick Ferguson Barber and Charles Brown. The manager of an extensive drapery establishment in Dublin was brought to the Castle for questioning, and on the evening he left the country. Richard Boyle, stockbroker, of Dublin, against whom a warrant was issued, absconded and was residing in Spain in mid-August. Two young male prostitutes from London, James Daly and Jack Saul, who had been frequently mentioned in the trials, gave depositions, but in the end their evidence was not used in the trials.
          The trials began in July 1884 and carried on into August. According to one report, "Such was the nature of the details revealed before the police magistrate that counsel, both for Crown and prisoners, stated afterwards they felt ill."
          Alfred M'Kiernan, the chief witness, was aged 30, "with brown hair, and wears a carefully waxed moustache, his beard being cleanly shaved. He moved in good society, and had a reputation for his musical ability." Malcolm Johnstone "deposed to having given a ball at his father's house in the absense of the family. The guests were all of the male sex", and the Rev. Paul Keogh, Catholic clergyman, and Rev. Thomas Hutchinson, Protestant curate. "Several of them were in female attire, and the host wore a pink dress." He said he was known by the title "Lady Constance Clyde", nicknamed "Conny", and that all his companions had female names except for Pillar, who was called "Papa". Gustavus Cornwall was known as the Duchess; Kirwan went by the name of "Lizzie", Taylor was sometimes called "the Maid of Athens". Dr Fernandez was found not guilty, for insufficient evidence (and the disreputableness of those who gave evidence against him). In late August, Cornwall and Kirwan were then tried for conspiring together to procure persons to commit immoral offences. Johnstone testified that in 1876 a Mr Gardner, an English Member of Parlilament, gave him a letter of introduction to Captain Kirwan, and that Kirwan in 1881 introduced him to Cornwall. Taylor said that Captain Kirwan had accosted him in the street about six years ago. In cross-examination he "said he never knew whether these practises were either legally or morally wrong." The jury could not agree that the two men had conspired together; the judge said they had to find both men guilty or not guilty (they wanted to find just Kirwan guilty); after long deliberation the jury failed to agree, and were discharged, meaning a new trial was necessary.
          Robert Fowler, an Englishman and retired school teacher, and Daniel Considine, a blind basket-maker were charged with keeping houses of ill-fame, and eventually convicted.
          In late August Cornwall was acquitted of the commission of sodomy, mainly because the jury did not like the "abandoned wretches" who gave evidence against him, evidence that implicated themselves, and because Cornwall had an alibi proving he was not in Dublin at the time of one of the crimes alleged against him, but he was then tried for having conspired to procure persons for immoral purposes. Michael Magrane in his evidence "said he had no fixed occupation, but was occasionally engaged in theatres. He partially lived on money received for committing offences." Fowler and Considine were convicted of having kept disorderly houses, and sentenced to two years' imprisonment with hard labour. During their trial, evidence was given seriously compromising Lieut. Sankey, 5th Dragoon Guards, James Pillar, Captain Traynor of the merchant service, and Mr Boyle, stockbroker, and others.
          A new set of trials began in October 1884. James Pillar pleaded guilty to one out of eight counts of sodomy against him, and was sentenced to 20 years' penal servitude; the other counts against him were dropped. The judge observed that Pillar's name cropped up in every trial involving the scandal, implying that he was the main organiser of the network. Cornwall was acquitted. Surgeon-Major Fernandez was acquitted, as Malcolm Johnson was the only one who gave evidence; the Crown abandoned prosecution of Johnstone Little for the same reason. Fowler and Considine were found guilty of keeping disorderly houses, and sentenced to two years' imprisonment. "It was stated that the men who visited the houses assumed female names." Cornwall and Kirwan (being re-tried for conspiracy) were acquitted, the jury adding that the evidence produced by the Crown was "not sufficient".
          In late December, James Ellis French, who had claimed inability to plead due to insanity at two previous trials, at his third trial was found guilty on one count, that of conspiracy to procure persons to commit immoral practices, and sentenced to two years' imprisonment with hard labour from the time of his arrest (meaning he would serve nineteen months).
          The evidence against Cornwall was sufficient for him to lose his libel case, but it was not sufficient to convict him of a felony punishable by life imprisonment; all the charges against him were made by his (alleged) sexual partners, with no third-party observers of the illegal act. Although Cornwall was officially acquitted, he lost his job at the Post Office, and was even denied a pension after more than forty years of service.
          The full details of these cases are not known, because the Irish archives (including all legal records) were burned in the fire at the Four Courts when Dublin governmental buildings were attacked at the beginning of the Irish Civil War on 30 June 1922. So we depend almost entirely upon the reports from newspapers, from which the following are a selection. But several of the court cases were held in private, and the judges often asked reporters not to report any details. So there are gaps, mainly of specific details "too disgusting to be reported".

Augustus Cornwall, Secretary of the Dublin General Post-office

10 May 1884

Our Dublin correspondent states that a grave scandal is becoming the subject of conversation in Dublin, and the names of some well-known men in the city are mixed up with it. The allegations are of so gross a nature as to be unmentionable; but it is believed that private detectives have been specially employed to sift the matter thoroughly, and that several persons are shaking in their shoes. (South Wales Daily News)

5 July 1884

On Wednesday the most extraordinary interest was manifested in the case of Cornwall v. O'Brien, which came on at eleven o'clock, before Mr. Justice O'Brien and a special jury in the Nisi Prius Court. The Court and its precincts were crowded from an early hour, and there has seldom if ever been an occasion in this country when any legal proceeding was watched with more painful excitement than this. The action is to recover 5,000 damages for libel – The plaintiff being Mr. Gustavus C. Cornwall, Secretary to the General Post Office, Dublin and the defendant Mr. William O'Brien, M.P., Editor of United Ireland. The defence pleaded is a justification. . . .
          Mr. Kisbey opened the pleadings. The plaintiff was Mr. Gustavus C Cornwall, Secretary of the General Post Office in Ireland, and the defendant was Mr. William O'Brien, who was the publisher and editor of the newspaper called United Ireland. The action was to recover damages for libels contained in publications which appeared in United Ireland. The defences were that the publications were not libels, and that they were true in substance and in fact; and a counter claim had also been filed by the defendant to which the plaintiff had put in defences.
          Mr. Sergeant O'Brien, in opening the case for the plaintiff, said the action had been instituted by Mr. Cornwall to vindicate his character from as false and as foul a libel as ever brought sorrow to the mind of man. The commission of loathsome crime had been imputed to him – crime so loathsome that it was said it should not be named amongst Christian men. He had been charged with having abandoned himself to a vice from which, in the words of a distinguished statesman and writer, "History averted her eyes." Approaching the close of a long life, having spent forty-three years in the public service, he came into court to vindicate his character from a charge so foul that he asked at the hands of a jury of his fellow-citizens one thing – justice. He (Sergeant O'Brien) was for his part persuaded that, notwithstanding the scandalous efforts that had been made to prejudice the fair trial of the case – notwithstanding that the defendant during the pendency of the litigation had attempted still further to vilify the man he had already traduced – notwithstanding the attempts which had been made to raise party passion, in order that the defendant might escape the penalty of his mis-deeds, but one sentiment would prevail in the jury-box – namely, a desire to do right, and that prejudice should have no part in their deliberations – prejudice which was the deadliest enemy of that fair investigation which had neither ears nor eyes for anything but justice. Mr. Cornwall had spent a long time in the public service. He entered the employment of the General Post Office in London in the year 1840. In '42 he was appointed secretary to Colonel Maybury, one of the principal secretaries of the Postal Department in London. Afterwards he was appointed private secretary to the Earl of St Germains. In 1850 he was appointed by the then Postmaster-General to the post of Secretary of the General Post Office here, and he had since conscientiously fulfilled the important duties of that responsible position. There were some matters which it was necessary to state, because it was allged in one of the libels that Mr. Cornwall was about to leave the country through fear of exposure. Towards the close of '81 or the beginning of '82 Mr. Thompson, who was associated with Mr. Cornwall in the Post Office has his principal assistant, stated that he would resign. Mr. Cornwall besought him not to leave (as they had been so long associated in the public service) until June of the present year, 1884, when he himself had determined to retire. Mr. Thompson agree to that proposition, and they remained in the discharge of their common duties until the present year. Now that arrangement was made long before slander uttered one whisper against the character of Mr. Cornwall. Subsequently a Mr. Humphreys called on him respecting the sale of his house, and first offered five hundred pounds, but Mr. Cornwall said he could not give the house for that, as he did not intend to leave the country until June, 1884. Mr. Humphreys offered 400, provided he could get possession of it in 1884. Mr. Cornwall consulted with Mrs Cornwall, a lady of distinguished birth, the daughter of Sir Robert Dalziel; and she advised him to consent to leave in June as her brother, who was in court, had given her a present of a furnished house. Thus it was arranged that Mr. Cornwall, who was now 62 years of age, should retire before one word of disparagement had been uttered against him, and his contemplated retirement, as the jury would see, had nothing watever to do with the charge that was subsequently brought against him. An action was instituted against the present defendant by a Mr. Ellis French, towards the close of last year for a libel, the libel complained of being the imputation to Mr. French of the practice of unnatural crime. It seemed to have been the object of the defendant to connect Mr. Cornwall's name with Mr. French's name. That seemed to be the early object with him, and lately an attempt was made to work out that object. In January, 1884, a Mr. Taylor, with whom Mr. Cornwall was acquainted – a gentleman in some social position at the time – called upon Mr. Cornwall, and he said that a detective whom he called Brown – a man that the learned counsel would have to say a great deal about later on in his statement, and tell them what manner of man Brown was – who wished to call upon Mr. Cornwall with reference to his connection with Mr. French. Mr. Cornwall was somewhat astonished at this requst, and consulted Mr. Bailie Gage, and he said that Mr. Cornwall might see Brown, but advised that he should be seen in the presence of some third party. It appeared that Taylor did bring Brown to the General Post Office, and he saw Mr. Cornwall, and asked him if he knew Mr. French. Mr. Cornwall told him, as the fact was, that he never saw Mr. French in all his life but once, some years ago – that he called at the Post Office to make some official inquiry, and he saw him then, counsel believed, in the presence of Mr. Thompson, an official. This Brown went away after hearing this, and after a short time elapsed it appeared that Mr. Miley, of the firm of Chance and Miley, called upon M. Bailie Gage, solicitor for the Post Office. Mr. Miley must have known him, and was, no doubt, on terms of friendship, and he said that he was in possession of some information that affected Mr. Cornwall, and dealt with Mr. Gage in rather kindly spirit – in a sould-be candid spirit, – and he asked Mr. Bailie Gage if Mr. Cornwall would object to see him. Mr. Gage communicatedwith Mr. Cornwall, and Mr. Conrwall was somewhat surprised at this, and that a detective had called upon him. He became astonished, he could not realise the position of things, and upon the advice of Mr. Gage, a gentleman of character and intelligence, he called at the office of Messrs Chance and Miley. Upon going there he saw Mr. Chance, who put him some questions about whether he knew French. Mr. Cornwall told him that he never saw him except on one occasion; that he had never seen him before nor since. Mr. Chance said upon that occasion "Oh, you could give us an account of what is called the missing link. There was a blank in the career of Mr. French when he was down in Cork, and" (said Mr. Chance) "you could give us informationn abot that." Mr. Cornwall repeated that he had never seen Mr. French except once. Upon this occurring Mr. Chance said to Mr. Cornwall "Oh, I have a compromising correspondence with reference to yourself; I have a letter that you wrote to a man" – counsel would not mention the man's name – let the odium of mentioning names not rest with him. Only two names were memtioned to Mr. Cornwall. Reams of filth had been spoken about Mr. Cornwall on the statement of these men. Mr. Cornwall's reply to this statement of Mr. Chance was that he might hang it up on the first lamp post – that he did not regard it as it was untrue. Upon stating this he left the office. It was said before he left that the second person had made statements implicating Mr. Cornwall; and Mr. Cornwall replied that it was utterly and entirely false. Next day or the day after it appeared that Messrs Chance and Miley wrote to Mr. Bailie Gage, statement that they had made further inquiry, and that that further inquiry developed further evidence against Mr. Cornwall. That further inquiry, it would be seen, had been made in a day or two. Mr. Gage communicated with Mr. Cornwall, but Mr. Cornwall had nothing to fear – was absolutely innocent of all the charges made against him. At the request of Mr. Gage he accompanied that gentleman to Messrs Miley and Chance's again, and heard what was to be said. The statement was then made that one of the two men (whose names counsel would not mention) had accused Mr. Cornwall of indecency. Mr. Cornwall denied it on the spot, indignantly. Before he sould read the libel he would allude to a letter referred to in the counter claim. They said – "Oh, he wrote this letter; therefore we will expose him." Why was that? Perhaps it was because for forty-three years he had been a faithful public official. Perhaps before the case was over the jury would be abundantly satisfied of that. The letter was as follows:–

I have no intention of being mixed up even indirectly in any disgraceful scandal which is now being arranged in Dublin. You are aware that French has an action for libel which he has brought against a Dublin paper. In order to reduce damages and ruin French, the proprietor and the parties to whom the paper belongs are now endeavouring to establish a charge against him and others.

And then it mentions a name. Now, Mr. Cornwall would state on his oath – for he would come into the box – what the real facts were. No doubt plaintiff's counsel could consent to prove the libel and keep back the plaintiff; but in the first instance he would come forward conscious of his innocence and tell the jury that there was not a shadow of truth or foundation for the vile accusation made by the defendant against him. He would tell them that directly or indirectly he never was a party to the letter which he was said to have written, and never knew anything about it. They would have an opportunity of seeing upon what basis, if any, this foul charge was made – that is, if the defendant really had anything of the multitudinous band of filth which they promised to produce. Now, he would tell them who Mr. Brown was. He was a convicted swindler of the most accomplished rascality; his name was Meiklejohn. In a book which he (counsel) had that man was represented in the dock – in the dock, gentlemen. That man, Meiklejohn, was the man who was convicted in connection with the great police frauds. He was convicted, and the only thing that Judge who tried him said with reference to him was that he regretted the law did not enable him to give him a greater punishment. This Brown, the agent of the defendant – for that was what he was – was a man over whom there was at present hanging a charge of felony. The language of the indictment on which he was convicted charged him with subtle devices and contrivances to defeat justice. That was the man who now by clever contrivances was endeavouring to provide evidence – if he was to judge by the reams of filth put on the files of the court. That man was in the city, but it was said indeed that it was not Meiklejohn, but his brother on whom they depended. Counsel would like to know whether the brother had any of the peculiar characcteristics of this his gifted brother? It was quite clear that the defendant and his instruments did not care what became of the plaintiff; but as he was a public official they considered that every effort should be made to secure his ruin. . . . The first libel complained of was printed in the paper of United Ireland of the 10th of May, and the jury would see with what a light and airy grace the defendant wrote, with what joyous hilarity, and what a flippant manner the defendant set out on his business of murdering character. Every line he wrote murdered a character. It was a mere pleasure and business with him. The article was as follows:–

Dublin, it appears, is going to have another loss. Mr Gustavus C. Cornwall, secretary to the General Post Office, says this is no longer a country in which a gentleman can live. We quite agree with Mr Cornwall, when the "gentleman" is such a person as the present Secretary to the General Post Office. Mr Cornwall's discovery of the unsuitability of our humid climate to an official of his tastes dates from certain researches we were compelled to make into the heroic past of Mr. James Ellis French. Soon afterwards he felt that it would be a discreet thing for him to talk about the dampness of our atmosphere and the savagery of modern journalism, although the Damon of the Post Office and a certain military Pythias will find it hard to bear the pangs of separation. We don't know whether Mr Cornwall contemplates demanding a pension for his faithful services, but would should advise him not to apply at present. He will, if he is discreet, wait until the French dificulty in the Castle is settled, and then he will be in a position to know at what rate of retiring allowance gentlemen of his peculiar worth are appraised. If our remarks are hurtful to the soul of so meritorious a public servant, we can only assure him (in the words of Mr. G. O. Trevelyan, when a policeman is proved to have broken the head of one of the lieges), that 'he has his legal remedy,' He will find in the Four Courts a talented and learned bar and highly sympathetic judges; so that it will be his own fault if ample justice is not done him. If he wants to vindicate his character before the public, he would do well and to imitate the indecent haste with which Mr James Ellis French galloped into court and confronted us before a jury! 5,00 damages, however, on the top of his pension, would be a nice little nugget to start in private life with. There's a chance for you. Mr Cornwall.

Afterwards the defendant gave a notice in the House of Commons that he could move for a committee to inquire into certain unnatural pratices committed by public officials; and when he was giving notice to the clerk at the table of the House orf Commons, the clerk would not take the notice without specifying individuals, and the defendant gave three names, and he said that even if he put in the name of the Chief Secretary within ten days he could find evidence to prove that he was guilty of the offence. The defendant said that at the table of the House of Commons. Other people were accused of perjury, and they would see by and by in the witness chair what appreciation he had of the value of an oath. Mr. Cornwall now challenged the defendant to the proof. It illustrated the principle aura sacra fames. Gold had tempted this Meiklejohn and his associates to put in force their artfuld evices against the plaintiff and even the Chief Secretary. The next thing that appeared in United Ireland on the subject was headed "A Precious Trio," in which what took place in the House of Commons was thus put forth as the defendant's notice of motion:–

I beg to give notice that whenever the Government apply for a vote of account I will bring under the notice of the house the charges against Messrs French, Detective Director; Gustavus Cornwall, Sec G P O; and George Bolton, Crown Solicitor, and to the conduct of the Irish officials in reference thereto.

What the defendant said in reference to Mr. Trevelyan was not given there; but that the defendant used the words was a simple fact, as such as the counsel addressed them. On the appearance of that in United Ireland the following letter was written:–

SIR – We are instructed by Gustavus C Cornwall, Esq. of 17 Harcourt-street, to institute immediate legal proceedings against you for the gross and malicious libel published in your journal (United Ireland) of the 10th May, 1884. As long as the libel merely appeared in your journal Mr Cornwall did not think it necessary to notice it. But as you have advantage of your position as a member of Parliament to give wider publicity to the insinuations contained in the article, Mr Cornwal will afford you the earliest opportunity ot endeavouring to substantiate your charges. We have, therefore, to request you will be kind enough to refer us to a solicitor who will accept service of a writ of summons on your behalf. – We are, sir, your obedient servants,
Edwd A Ennis and Son.

The result was to refer them to Messrs Miley and Chance, solicitors. The second libel complained of was a leading article entitled "At Bay," and was as follows:–

Mr Gustavus Cornwall, Secretary to the General Postice Office, having taken thought for a fortnight, has at length been kind enough to commence an action against United Ireland. We return Mr Gustavus Cornwall, Secretary to the General Post Office, our most heartfelt thanks. Having failed to force Mr James Ellis French to tackle this journal in the law court, Mr Trevelyan now puts forward as the Castle's tilting champion the wretched man who is to be the nominal plaintiff in this action. Mr Cornwall, it will be noted, gave no sign until Mr O'Brien declared his intention of raising the whole case of Castle bestiality in Parliament: and we presume, therefore, that Mr Trevelyan intend to resort to the old rue in the case – viz. that he cannot enter into a matter sub judice. . . . By shifts, and schemes, and stratagems of this description the nephew of Macauley, aided by the officials of the House of Commons, avoid the shame of the exposure which must attach to himself and Earl Spencer permitting felons like Cornwall, French, and Bolton to do the work of Government in Ireland – conniving at their crimes, and attempting by means of such instruments to crush a journal that they have good reason to fear and hate. As for Cornwall, the sham plaintiff, we regard him as mere carrion. His share inthe prosecution is simply nil. Our solicitors have had him several times under examination at their offices in the French case, and have anonymous letters since then which clearly shows the state of the unfortunate's conscience. With the poor wretch himself we have no quarrel beyond the disgust of ordinary humanity against his crimes. Our war is with his masters . . .

Mr. Trevelyan and Lord Spencer had nothing directly or indirecty to do with the bringing of the present action. Mr. Cornwall would tell them that he had brought it himself to vindicate his own character. . . . On the 31st of May an issue of United Ireland was published, accompanied with a cartoon, underneath which was written the words "Yours affectionately, Cornwall." This was sold in a great many shops, and it plainly indicated that the plaintiff indulged in unnatural vice. This was after the present action was commenced. On the 7th June another article was published, and in the whole history of vituperation he did not think anything ever exceeded it in abomination. Counsel then read the article headed "A Deeper Depth" as follows:–

We have discovered the real ground of Mr Bolton's soreness, and we hasten to do justice to the man and to reassure him. True, we have designated Mr Bolton a forger, an adulteress, a swindler, a bankrupt, a defrauder of his own wife, a suborner of faslse testimony, . . . But George is not the man to complain of being reproached with ordinary human feelings of that description. But there are depths of villainy at which Mr Bolton draws the line; and that line was passed whn the clumsy Clerk of the House of Commons insisted that, if Mr Geo Bolton's deeds were to be brought under the notice of Parliament at all, he must be bracketed by name with James Ellis French and Gustavus C Cornwall. Mr Bolton brings his action to make it known to all men that, bad as he is, there is as wide a gulf between him and the wretched creatures coupled with his name as there is betweein 30,000 damages and 5,000. It affords us the most unfeigned satisfaction to assure Mr Bolton that, so far as we are concerned, his character in this particular is as stainless as his abhorrence of the crimes that he has no mind to is edifying. This journal has never by word or hint imputed to Mr Bolton the unmentionable abominations which we have undertaken to bring home to Messrs French and Cornwall. . . .

Mr. Cornwall defied his accusers, and would go into the box and appeal to them for justice. The imputation was a most horrible one. It were better that a man were dead than not be able to free himself from it. It was the crime which brought down God's anger on the Cities of the Plain. It would have been better the mother of the plaintiff had made his infant shroud than that he were guilty of it. . . .

Sir Robert A. O. Dalzell was the first witness examined. He deposed, in reply to Mr Kisbey – I reside in Scotland. My sister is married to Mr. Cornwall, the plaintiff. They have been married, I think about 25 years, but I cannot speak to a year.
          Have you read the publications of United Ireland of the 10th and 245h May – the libels that have been read to-day? I read them shortly after they appeared, and I read them also in court this morning.
          Were you able to form an opinion of the offence by the reading of those articles? In my mind I have no hesitation in saying that the offence imputed is the unnatural crime of Sodomy.
          Gustavus Cornwall, the plaintiff, deposed, in reply to Mr. Monroe – I am Secretary of the General Post Office, which position I have occupied for nearly forty-four years. I entered the Post Office as a clerk.
          In what year were you married? April, 1861.
          And Mrs. Cornwall is still alive? She is.
          . . . When you informed him [that you did not know Mr French] did Mr. Chance say anything further? No, except that I could see that he did not believe me. . . . Did anything else take place that you remember at that interview? He read me some statement out of a paper. He called it, I think, an affidavit or some sworn statement.
          Was that a statement affecting yourself? Yes; that I had taken indecent liberties – Mr. Monroe – Don't mention names.
          Witness – With gentlemen in a cab.
          Was it alleged at what time? I think it was on a Sunday or on Whit-Monday.
          At what hour? Between two and four o'clock in the day going from the Botanical Gardens to the Phœnix Park. I said there was a third friend in the cab, and he could prove that the statement was not correct. The tram was full, and we took a cab to the Park gate.
          What did you say to the charge? I said it was absolutely false.
          Was there a particle of foundation for that charge? Not a particle.
          Were the two persons who were with you in the cab at the time you speak of persons moving in respectable society in Dublin? Yes, in my own position.
          Were they persons you have seen in Dublin? One I have known for 25 years; the others I scarcely knew.
          . . . [Re the later meeting with Miley and Chance:] Tell me the substance of what passed at that interview? It was said that they had pursued their inquiries further and had ascertained that in the year '76 I had been guilty of an unnatural crime with a friend. . . .
          Was there one particle of truth in the suggestions made? Not a particle.
          . . . . Mr. Monroe (to witness) – What did they say? They said there was compromising correspondence, and a letter written by me to a friend.
          The gentlemen to whom this letter was written was a friend of your? Yes.
          Have you dined in his house? Yes. He is a great musical man. I have gone to the Italian opera with him.
          You have musical tastes yourself? Yes.
          Is this the letter –

DEAR (SO-AND-SO) – Pray accept my warmest congratulations and very best wishes that you may see many happy returns of your ntal day. I send you a small memento – a copy from the Immortal Bard – to wile away a leisure hour. – I remain your affectionate friend,

Mr. Justice O'Brien – Was that a copy from Shakespeare you sent? Yes. Though I don't quite know – it was a pice of music – a song.
          Is this letter of the 16th May, '83, in your handwriting? Yes.
          Are these the only letters you got copies of constituting the compromising character?
          Dr. Boyd – They are not the only letters in the compromising correspondence.
          Mr Monroe – These are the lettes produced. Are you acquainted with the person to whom this letter is addressed? Yes.
          He was a musical man? Yes. I don't know that he sings or plays, but he is fond of music.
          Mr. Monroe – The letter is as follows–

I am still stopping with my friend, John Hatchell, but on Tuesday next I go to Scotland. – Very sincerely yours,

Have you seen the particulars supplied to your solicitors of acts alleged to have been committed by you? Yes.
          Given as acts, abominable offences, committed by you? Yes.
          Mr. Justice O'Brien – That is, specific acts, numbered consecutively?
          Witness – Yes.
          Mr. Monroe – It is alleged in No 1 that in November or December, '79, at eleven o'clock at night, you met a young man in Grafton-street; that you walked to 213 Great Brunswick-street; that you then solicited him to commit this offence of ——. Is there any truth in that statement? Not a particle.
          It is alleged (No 2) that in December, '81, at three o'clock in the afternoon, in the Botanic Gardens, you solicited a person to commit the offence, and indecently touched his person. Is there a particle of truth in that? Absolutely none; it is false.
          It is alleged (No 3) that in June or July, '83, in your own residence in 17 Harcourt-street, you solicited a person to commit this offence, and did commit it. Is there a particle of truth in the suggestion? Not one.
          It is alleged (No 4) that in July or June, '83, you met the same person and committed a similar offence, and asked him to meet you again in Stephen's-green? Is there a particle of truth in that? Absolutey false.
          It is alleged (5) that two days after the previous occasion you committed the same offence with the same person. Is there any truth in that? None whatever – all malicious lies.
          It is alleged (No 6) that the day after that you lunched with the same person at Harcourt-street, and repeated the offence? Not a word of truth in it.
          Is there a particle of truth in the suggestion? None.
          It is alleged (No 7) that in the year '76 you met a person at Lansdowne road, took him to a room, and there attempted to commit an unnatural crime, and partly succeeded. Any truth in that? Not a particle. All malicious lies.
          It is said (No 8) that two or three minutes after you met the same persona at the G. P. O. and acted similarly? Not a particle of truth in it.
          It is alleged (No 9) that in September or October, '81, you met a young man and committed an abominable offence in Golden-lane? Not a word of truth in it. I hever heard of Golden-lane.
          Were you ever in Golden-lane in your life? Never.
          It is alleged (No 10) that you committed the same offence with the same person a fortnight afterwards in Golden-lane? No truth in it.
          It is alleged (No 11) that twelve months ago you met a person in the urinal behind the Moore statue, and proceeded thence to a lane-way in Brunswick street.
          I have never been in that urinal in my life.
          Any truth in the suggestion? None.
          It is alleged (No 12) that twelve months ago you met a person at White Horse Cellar, went thence to a house in Brewer-street, and so on? No; I never heard of Brewer-street – you refer to London, I presume?
          Yes. I never did such a thing; it is quite false.
          You have read the two articles which are the subject of this action? I have. You are aware of the offence charged against you in those articles? I am.
          . . . Do you know a person named Cecil Graham in London? I do not.
          You do not? I do not – never heard of him.
          Do you know a person named Clarke in Dublin? I do not.
          Do you know to whom I refer? No, I do not.
          Then you don't know any person of the name of Clarke? No, sir, I do not.
          . . . Did you know a person named Rorke in Dublin? Never.
          . . . Do you know a Mr. Sankey? Slightly.
          What regiment is he in? The 5th Dragoon Guards.
          Or a Mr. Hayward? Yes, very slightly. . . . He was in the 11th Regiment, as well as I remember.
          . . . Do you know the circumstances under which he left? No, I do not.
          Do you know a Mr. Malcolm Johnston? Scarcely. I know him very slightly.
          . . . How often hav eyou met him? I may have met him three times in my life.
          Where? I met him certainly never in any house – not in my own house nor elsewhere. I met him first in the Botanical Gardens, and was introduced to him by a friend of mine.
          Who was the friend? A Mr. Kirwan.
          Where did you meet him again? I think I met him on both occasions in the Botanical Gardens. . . .
          Who was with you in the Botanical Gardens when you were introduced to him? Mr. Martin Kirwan.
          . . . Do you know a Mr. Taylor? Yes I do – Mr. George Taylor. . . .
          Did you meet him at a dinner party in Lansdowne-road? No, I never met him at a dinner anywhere. I met him at an evening party on Lansdowne-road – musical party.
          . . . Was he ever in your house in Harcourt-street? He was, on three occasions in his life.
          Was he ever in your bedroom in Harcourt-street? He was in my dressingroom one day that he lunched with me.
          Was he ever in your bedroom? In my dressing room.
          . . . Is there a bed in your dressingroom? There is a small bed in it.
          . . . You know Mr. Martin Kirwan well? I have known him for twenty-five years, and his family.
          . . . Will you swear that you and Mr. Martin, Mr. Kirwan, and Mr. Taylor did not go to the gardens in 1881? I can't tell you. I don't believe I did. I may have gone in the spring of the year when the camellias were in (a laugh).
          . . . On your oath did you take improper liberties with Taylor? On my oath I did not.
          And if he swears you did will you still deny it? I will.
          Do you recollect leaving the Gardens? Not particularly.
          Did you meet Mr. Malcolm Johnston. Yes, at the gate.
          Did you turn back with him? We left him and Mr. Taylor there, and Mr. Kirwan and myself came away.
          Did you not go back into the Gardens with them? We may have stopped in the Gardens talking to Mr. Johnston.
          I ask you did you go back into the Gardens with him? Very posibly we did for a short time.
          Did the four of you sit down under a bush? Not that I remember.
          On your oath, did you place your hands improperly on him? On my oath, I did not.
          Who is Mr. Johnston? he is a son of Mr. Johnston, of Ball'a-bridge.
          A man of respectability – one in your own position of life? I should say so. I don't know him particularly. . . . You had known him before? Yes, for about three years.
          Did Johnston know Kirwan? I don't know. I can't say whether he was introduced to Taylor on that occasion.
          Did you ever hear young fellows called by girls' names? Never.
          You swear that? I do.
          On that occasion, in the Gardens, when your friends Kirwan, Taylor, and Johnston were there, was there a reference to one another as girls? Never.
          . . . Were you known by the name of Duchess? Never, that I have heard of.
          Among your friends Johnston, Kirwan, and Taylor? Never.
          You swear that? I do.
          Was your friend Kirwan known by the name of Lizzie among your acquaintances (a laugh)? Never; not among my acquaintance.
          Were you in the habit of calling Johnson "Conny"? Never.
          Did you ever know any name that your friend Taylor went by? No.
          Did you know he went by the name of the Maid of Athens? Never.
          Mr. Monroe – This is a pretty romance.
          Dr. Boyd (sharply) – It is not so much romance as bestiality.
          Mr. Monroe – Prove it.
          Dr. Boyd – We will prove it. (To witness) – Do you know did Hayward go by the name of Bertie? No.
          Did you give Taylor a ticket for a concert? I have often done so for the concerts at Westland-row Royal Academy concerts.
          And for a flower show? I may have given him one. I am a member of the Horticultural Society.
          In the month of June, '83, were you at a dinner party in Lansdowne-road? I may have been.
          Do you recollect meeting Mr. Taylor there? Not at dinner.
          Did he come in the evening? Yes.
          There was no dancing? No; it was music.
          Did you and Taylor walk together as far as Baggot-street Bridge? Certainly not.
          . . . Did you ask him to come home to your place and have a drink? Certainly not.
          . . . Did you tell Taylor to take off his coat? He was not with me.
          So you say? Yes.
          Did you ever address him by the words "Dear Georgy"? Never.
          . . . Did you on that occasion or any other occasion embrace him in your house? Never.
          . . . Have you one oldfashioned old chair? I have three, I think.
          Are they very large? Not particularly large.
          Did you remark to him that they were old fashioned and comfortable? I may have done so.
          On your oath, did you pull him down on your knee, when sitting on one of those oldfashioned arm chairs? On my oath I did not.
          . . . Was anybody else in the house? A caretaker and his wife. They slept in the butler's room beyond the pantry.
          When he was there with you had he and you both your clothes on? I had mine on.
          On your oath – I am obliged to ask it.
          The remainder of the question is unfit for publication.
          You say it in presence of all in the court? I never did. He was not ten minutes in my house.
          . . . On any other occasion did the same indecency take place – his putting his hand indelicately on you, and you doing so to him? Never.
          Did you ever kiss him? (Laughter.) Never.
          Did you ever put your tongue into his mouth? Never.
          . . . (On another occasion) Did you go to a press and take out photographs of a group of officers and show them to him? Any photographs I had were round the room.
          Will you swear you did not do so? I won't swear.
          Have you such a thing as the photograph of a group of officers? Yes.
          Did you point out one of the officers and say that he was the handsomest man you ever knew? Dinstinctly not.
          Did you say that you had a row with him, and afterwards you became reconciled? No.
          . . . Did you say that you had a row with him, and that the officer was the only man you ever loved? No (laughter).
          Dr. Boyd – It may be amusing, but it is very disgusting.
          . . . Did you speak of an officer named Money? I did.
          . . . Did you ever dine with him? No; he invited me once, but I refused to dine with him.
          Did you tell that to Taylor? I don't know.
          And that he was a very nice fellow? I am sure I didn't, as he is not a particularly nice fellow (laughter).
          Did you say to Taylor that Malcolm Johnston was Fernandez's spoony man? Never.
          Did you speak depreciably of Johnston to Taylor? I may have done so; I never thought much of him.
          Had he written a letter, calling you a superannuated old gentleman? Yes; it rather amused me than otherwise.
          Do you know a person named Walter Johnston? Slightly.
          What is he? He is in some militia regiment.
          . . . Is he a very handsome man, in your opinion? I think he is very plain.
          Did you say to Taylor that Johnston was a very ugly man? If I had said so I would only have said the truth.
          Did you ever dine with Walter Johnston? He has dined at my house.
          Did you say he was a very gentlemanly man, although an ugly man? Yes, I may have done so.
          Did you tell Taylor that anything improper occurred between you and Walter Johnston? Never.
          There we diverge. Do you know Capt. Joy? Yes, since he was a boy, and his family too.
          Do you know him well? Yes, I know him well.
          . . . Did you speak about Joy to Taylor in connectionn with indecent familiarities? Certainly now.
          . . . When did you first become acquainted with M'Kernan? Eight years ago.
          That would be '76? Seventy-six.
          . . . When did you meet him at dinner? In the autumn of '76.
          . . . Did you often see him after that? For about two months I saw him frequently.
          Whe is M'Kernan? He is a singing man. He moves in society, and he has a beautiful voice, or he had at that time.
          . . . Did the people who lived at Lansdowne-road afterwards live at Raglan-road? They lived at Raglan road.
          Was there a person there named Shanley Fitzgerald? No.
          Charley Fitzgerald? Yes.
          Was he there that night? He may have been, I don't remember.
          Was Fitzgerald a great friend of your? yes, he sings beautifully.
          Where is he now? Well, the last I heard of him was that he had gone to America.
          . . . Did M'Kernan go to your house with you from this house in Raglan-road? He did not.
          . . . That's the man you addressed "My dear," signing yourself "Gus;" you became very gushing? Yes, for we were very intimate, and he used to get up music at my house.
          . . . Witness denied the acts of impropriety charged against him, and said they are vindictive lies.
          Dr. Boyd – It is a strange thing that all your friends are turning round on you.
          Mr. Monroe – Don't assume that they are.
          . . . Did you known an officer named Bully? Yes, I do.
          An ensign, I believe? He was lieutenant – senior Lieutenant when I first knew him.
          Was he staying with him? Once – two or three times. Whenever he came from foreign parts he used to stay with us.
          From foreign parts? Yes. I think the last time he came he came from Bermuda.
          Did he stop with you in 1876? He may have done so.
          Had you any dispute with M'Kiernan with reference to Bully? Certainly not.
          How did it come that after all this gushing connection with him you broke your acquaintance off with him? I found him such a tricky, boastful, and untruthful fellow that I gave him up.
          On your oath, did you ever make such a charge against him efore these proceedings commenced? He was known as the most untruthful fellow in Dublin.
          Did you known that M'Kiernan had been subpoened in Mr. French's case? No. I did not.
          . . . Do you know that M'Kiernan made a statutory declaration about the matters I have been asking you about?
          Mr. Monroe, Q.C. – My lord, we object to this.
          Mr. Justice O'Brien – No, you must produce the document or produce a copy of it, and put it into the witness's hand, and then ask him the question.
          . . . Tbe court then adjourned until next morning at eleven o'clock. . . .

Dr. Boyd, Q.C., then stated the defence. He said it now became his duty in that most painful case to state the circumstances under which the articles complained of had been written, and to adduce before them the facts that they would give in evidence verifying every single charge in these articles. . . .
          And if it were true that in that city of Dublin where they lived there had been those abominable wretches polluting the very atmosphere by their presence it was a commendable thing – he thought they would agree with him – that Mr. O'Brien should hunt them from the land that they disgraced. . . . (Weekly Freeman's Journal)

Tuesday, 8 July 1884



(Before Mr. Justice O'Brien and a Special Jury.)

The hearing of this extraordinary case was resumed. Nothing remained but the speeches and the charge, and as the case approached the close the interest seemed to increase. The approaches to the court were crowded, and the probable result of as painful a case as was ever investigated in this country was eagerly discussed. The learned judge had not commenced his charge until a late hour.
          The sole occupants of the benches alloted to the junior Bar were then only Mr. Perrin and an unknown young gentleman. Various speculations were indulged in as to who the stranger – who was most fashionably dressed – was, but he soon set all doubt at rest. No sooner had Mr. Justice O'Brien taken his seat than this gentleman started to his feet and said – My lord –
          Mr. Justice O'Brien – Who are you? What is your name?
          The gentleman – Charles Fitzgerald.
          Mr. Justice O'Brien – Do you wish to make any statement to me? Do you wish to make any statement before the Court?
          Mr. Fitzgerald – I do.
          Mr. Justice O'Brien – Then I have to inform you you have no right to make any statement on judicial proceedings. You are not called as a witness for either party to do so, and I caution you not to do it.
          Mr. Fitzgerald, who appeared somewhat dazed, continued standing, and Mr. Justice O'Brien continued to say – If you disobey the order of the Court when you have no right to make a statement you are guilty of a contempt of Court. Understand from me that I will punish you severely if you do so. Sit down, sir.
          Mr. Fitzgerald – My lord, my name has been mentioned –
          Mr. Justice O'Brien – Sit down, sir.
          Mr. Fitzgerald continued to keep his feet, and Mr. Justice O'Brien then said to Inspector Keefe, the police officer on duty – Remove this gentleman. Come, sir – you must leave the court at once.
          Mr. Fitzgerald on this sat down.
          Inspector Keefe then went over to Mr. Fitzgerald, and, touching his arm, said – You must obey his Lordship's order and leave the court at once.
          Mr. Fitzgerald immediately on this rose, and, accompanied by the inspector, left the court.
          Mr. O'Riordan, Q.C., addressed the jury on behalf of the defence [i.e. Mr. O'Brien]. He said the learned serjeant who had opened the case for the plaintiff had appealed to the jury to vindicate Mr. Cornwall. He had asked for a judgment for the righteous, and he had described the defendant as vilifying everybody, and in substance as earning his daily bread by calumnies and villifications of all kinds. Now, what about Mr. Cornwall? He had been charged with a crime which, unfortunately, they had heard of as existing in different ages and countries. In Greece and Rome they had heard that people were guilty of this crime. Even recently they had heard of people running away from this country who, they were told, were also guilty. People had been alluded to in the Sacred Book by the greatest voice that ever spoke upon this earth; and he (counsel) had to confess that when he saw Mr. Cornwall in the box – when he witnessed his determined and resolute manner, which enabled him to come before a jury of his fellow citizens and swear that he was absolutely innocent – he was reminded of the whited sepulchre, which outside was beautiful to the eye, but which within was full of rotten bones and filthiness. If they believed the evidence, Mr. Cornwall was the man who represented that whited sepulchre. He had now to allude to the counter-claim which was brought in the letter which went to prove that Mr. Cornwall, if he did not actually write, had full knowledge of it. Mr. Cornwall admitted he went to London on the 25th February with the object of stifling all the proceedings in connected with the French case and the case of Mr. Cornwall. It was written to Mr. Gardner, the brother-in-law of Johnston, in order that the latter might be got rid of. This letter would account for the very mild evidence given by Johnston as compared with what he stated on the 5th of February. His Lordship had remarked that punctuation was introduced into the feigned letter, and that there was none at all in the real ones. That was true, but the jury would see the writing in one was upright and the other was sloping, and therefore it was more likely that punctuation was introduced as a converse. A great crime had been made of the fact that Mr. Chance had been drinking with the witnesses for the defence; but it was well known that Mr. Chance had been for many years a teetotaller. Mr. Chance wished merely to keep the witnesses together. His clients sought justice at the hands of the jury. Let them put their hands on their hearts and ask themselves who was more likely to bring on Dublin the fate of the Cities of the Plains? Was it Mr. Cornwall or Mr. O'Brien? Was it Mr. O'Brien who was likely to do so? He did not think it was. Counsel's friends on the opposite side had put a terrible test question when he asked them to find between Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Cornwall. Did anybody ever impute any immorality to Mr. Wm. O'Brien? Never. But here was imputation after imputation on Mr. Cornwall. Counsel concluded by asking the jury to remember the fate of Sodom, and find a verdict against Cornwall. (Slight applause in court.)
          Mr. Monroe, Q.C., rose to reply on behalf of the plaintiff [i.e. Mr Cornwall]. He said there were some portions in a man's existence when he lived twelve months in a few hours, and he confessed this was the case with him now. From the time this action was brought into court he had found himself besest with a greater sense of responsibility than he ever felt in the whole course of his professional career. The case invovled the life and character of a man who was charged with an abominable crime – a crime so foul that it would be better, ten thousand times better, that he should be charged with one which would send him to an ignominious grave. Was Mr. Cornwall to be sent out to go about the world, pointed out as one would be who suffered from a foul and loathsome leprosy? This action was brought for the purpose of clearing the character of Mr. Cornwall from a libel most foul, most villainous, if untrue. His friend, Mr. O'Riordan, had intimated his fears that Dublin might ere long be, like the Cities of the Plain, destroyed by fire, having become another Sodom. Counsel complained that the plaintiff's legal advisers had not been furnished with the names of the defendant's witnesses. Up to the end of the case they could not be sure that witnesses would not be sprung upon them from the slums of London and Dublin without the least opportunity of being given of investigating their characters. It was better that these cases should be decided in the ordinary way by the properly constituted authorities; but his friend Mr. O'Riordan had suggested the old and more familiar way of meeting libels should be adopted, and, therefore, if such libels were persisted in, and the old punishment was resorted to, Mr. William O'Brien had only to thank his own counsel for the suggestion. Mr. Cornwall had not adopted that course, but had challenged his traducer to this court, and challenged him to produce the evidence in support of it. He had been greatly impressed with the ovations Mr. O'Brien had received. He might have received them as a high testimony to the life and works of a political patriot, but when he (counsel) found that the ovations were shared with Meiklejohn, one of the most imfamous scoundrels who ever existed, he began to despair of the future of his country. It was not to a shouting mob who had come to the Temple of Justice he was now speaking, but to twelve men of intellitence and common sense. The events of the present case commenced in October, 1883, when Mr. OBrien adopted the unusual role of detective and punisher of crime in Ireland. As such the first pereson on whom he made an attack was Mr. James Ellis French, to whom Mr. O'Riordan had alluded more than once. When the libel was published agianst Mr. French he took proceedings in a court of justice. That action was proceeded with until Mr. French was broken down with sickness, and he (counsel) did not know that at the present he might not be on the threshold of the grave. It was then, and not till then, that the action was dismissed for want of prosecution. If he recovered, and he sincerely hoped he would, he would not fail to make Mr. O'Brien answer the charges made against him. However, they had nothing to do with the case except that it commenced the new departure which Mr. O'Brien had entered upon. This was in October, 1883, and they had it beyond all question that up to the time Meiklejohn came over there was no reliable evidence against French or anyone else. It was a shocking thing that a solicitor should be compelled to make an admission that up to the time that Meiklejohn came to this country there was not one particle of legal evidence that could be relied on. Other detectives had failed in implicating Cornwall or French, and Meiklejohn was engaged at a salary of 1,000 a year. He was paid two guineas a day, with travelling expenses. That some person should be engaged in such a conspiracy was necessary, but no honest detective was employed. It was a man who was guilty of sharing in the plunder of burglars, and who was sentenced to the longest period that could be inflicted for his offences. That was the man who was employed to hunt down public men. Why did not Mr. O'Brien employ some one with a little character left? Meilklejohn immediately set to work, and he amply repaid the confidence reposed in him. Within six days he had suborned five witnesses to commit absolute and corrupt perjury. Within that time he had suborned fived witnesses to make false affidavits. Having suborned the five ewitnesses to implicate French, Meiklejohn said, "Now I have French down, and I have witnesses who were intimate with Mr. Cornwall, and I will get them to prove that he is guilty too." A gross and scandalous invention. Meiklejohn must have had some experience of a case tried in Dublin some time ago when he got these affidavits made. They now saw that charges had been trumped up by the teeming imagination of Meiklejohn. He (counsel) would clearly show that a more foul conspiracy was never brought against a public man that this which had been brought against Mr. Cornwall. Meiklejohn got those witnesses in his fangs, and he was determined he would not let them go until he had induced them to assail other men. They failed to connect Cornwall with French; but, then, there had been an interview between them, and that was with reference to letters connected with crime which were passing through the department of which Mr. Cornwall was the had. Was that any reason why his name should be brought before the public and hunted down? Now, before he alluded to the evidence of these young men, he had to refer to Mr. Chance, one of Mr. O'Brien's solicitors, who they found had been closeted with the witnesses and Meiklejohn before the trial took place. In the whole of history, – even in the pages of Harrison Ainsworth – it would not be possible to find a more ghastly company. They had three young men who, upon their own confession, had been guilty of the foulest offences; and they had Meiklejohn – one of the greatest ruffians ever known in history. This company was headed by a solicitor, who drank with them, and read the newspapers, and discussed the evidence with them. The evidence of such a pack of fellows, he submitted, could not be believed; and, in an impassioned appeal, he asked them to give a verdict to Mr. Cornwall, and so vindicate the character of a cruelly libelled man. When Taylor in his evidence had made a most disgusting exhibition, evidence on which he was sure they would not send a dog to a kennel for an hour, a juror had asked the witness whether any charge had ever been made against him. Was it not clear, whatever that creature's previous character – was it not clear that this man Taylor was in the position of an informer, whose evidence cannot be accepted unless corroborated by other evidence? Meiklejohn had got the picture from United Ireland, which, no doubt, he was hawking around all the male brothels – if there be such hells – in London. Yet, after all the plot, Graham in the witness-box denies he ever spoke to the man represented in the picture. Still, on those facts, questions were being asked in the House of Commons, motions were being made, which no reputation – not even that of Mr. Cornwall, with his forty years of public service – could sustain. When the qustion of the celebrated anonymous letter was suggested, Mr. Miley – against whose conduct generally he (counsel) had nothing to say – suggested that the houses of Mr. Cornwall and his friends should be searched. They went to the lodgings of Mr. Cornwall's friends and ransacked them. Day after day, and night after night, this was continued. The men were hounded about all for the purpose of tracing this anonymous letter. Counsel referred at some length to thoses huge and absurd monstrosities, the experts, who he hoped had come for the last time to this country. Mr. Cornwall's acquaintance with the men whose horrid evidence had been heard, was of the slightest character. He met Johnston only three times. M'Kernan he knew most slightly, and cut several years ago. Taylor he met only three times – that was the amount of the acquaintance, and as regards the affair of Johnston Little it was an interview of the merest chance. That was the entirety of the acquaintance, and upon that the jury were asked to convict Mr. Cornwall of the gigantic crime which had been preferred agianst him. But that crime was not proved; no crime was proved. Indecent assaults had been sworn to, but no crime, it should be remembered, was stated. The crime of Sodomy had been charged against the plaintiff by United Ireland, a crime which would subject him to penal servitude for many years. That charge was not proved, and there the only question for the jury was the question of damages. He relied confidently on the verdict of the jury, a verdict which truth and justice required – a verdict for the plaintiff [i.e. Mr. Cornwall], a verdict which the facts of the case required and demanded. The learned counsel concluded his address amid a demonstration of cheers and hisses which was promptly suppressed.
          Mr. Justice O'Brien then proceeded to charge the jury, and dealt in an exhaustive and luminous manner with the evidence, concluding by leaving the issue to the jury.
          The jury retired at six o'clock.

          At twenty minutes to eight o'clock the jury came into court, amidst a scene of the great possible excitement.
          The Registrar (Mr. Monahan) called over the names of the jurors, and said – Gentlemen, you have agreed to your verdict?
          The Foreman – Yes.
          The Registrar handed the issue paper to the judge.
          Mr. Justice O'Brien – The verdict is for the defendant [i.e. Mr. O'Brien]. (Loud cheers.) Let there be silence. Gentlemen, you find that the [newspaper] article of the 15th of May was a libel, and that it was justified. (Cheers.) You find that the article of the 24th May was a libel, and you find that it was justified. (Cheers.) Let there be silence. You find, gentlemen, against the counter claim; the verdict is for the defendant. (Cheers.)
          Serjeant O'Brien – Will your Lordship respite execution?
          Mr. Justice O'Brien – It is not a case for immediate execution.
          Mr. Cornwall left court at the conclusion of the judge's charge, and it is understood that he left Dublin to-night for Glasgow.
          (Belfast News-Letter)

8 July 1884

. . . The jury, it being then five minutes to six o'clock, retired to consider their verdict, and after a few minutes they came back into court and requested to have the exact heads upon which they were to find their verdict.
          Mr. Justice O'Brien said he would certainly do so.
          The first thing to be decided was – Is the article of the 10th of May a libel?
          Secondly – Is it true in substance and in fact?
          Thirdly – Is the second article true a libel?
          Fourthly – Is the second article true in substance and fact?
          Fifthly – Did the plaintiff write and publish the letter relied upon in the counter claim, and what damages, if any, they award?
          In reply to a juror, Mr. Justice O'Brien said if the jury found that Mr. Cornwall wrote the anonymous letter, the defendant would be entitled to damages for it. If they found that either of the articles was a libel and was not justified, they must find for the plaintiff.
          . . . At twenty minutes to eight o'clock the jury came into court, amidst a scene of the greatest possible excitement.
          The Registrar (Mr. Monahan) called over the names of the jurors, and said – Gentlemen, you have agreed to your verdict?
          The Foreman – Yes.
          The Registrar handed the issue paper to the judge.
          Mr. Justice O'Brien – The verdict is for the defendant (loud and prolonged cheers). Let there be silence. Gentlemen, you find that the article of the 10th of May was a libel, and that it was justified (cheers). You find that the article of the 24th of May was a libel and you find that it was justied (cheers). Let there be silence. You find, gentlemen, against the counter claim. The verdict is for the defendant (cheers).
          Sergeant O'Bfien – Will your lordship respite execution?
          Mr. Justice O'Brien – It is not a case for immediate execution.
          The jury were then discharged.
          The announcement of the verdict was instantly carried outside, and the cheers with which it was received by those in court were echoed again and again outside.
          Mr. William O'Brien, M P, on presenting himself outside the court was greeted with the most extraordinary enthusiasm. The crowds who assembled along the precincts of the court and in the courtyard gave vent to a torrent of cheering and applause, such as probably has never been heard at the close of any case tried in the Fourt Courts. The honourable member was seized by a dozen gentlemen who tried to grasp his hands, and who offered him their sincerest congratulations. Cries of "Cheers for O'Brien," "Long live United Ireland," rent the air, and as Mr. O'Brien drove out of the courtyard the roadway was blocked up by fresh crowds of people, who continued the demonstration of delight along the line of quays. The windows along the quays, the bridges, and streets through which he passed were thronged by people, and the news being spread like wildfire, the cheering along the way reached a degree of vehemence and of the most extraordinary kind. On reaching Sackville-street, a vast crowd gathered in front of the Imperial Hotel, and here again the cheers were renewed and continued for a lengthened time.
          Several of the city bands afterwards turned out and played in front of the Imperial Hotel and United Ireland Office. All through the evening Prince's-street was thronged by anxious inquiries as to the reslt, and cheers for the great victory of the member for Mallow were raised again and again. Up to quite a late hour visitors waited at Mr. O'Brien's hotel to convey to him their congratulations, and hundreds of telegrams were received by him from different parts of the country offering him the congratulations of the people.
The result of the trial was received in Dundalk with approbation. Great enthusiasm prevails. The result was very closely watched, particularly in the Young Ireland Society, a body which has been but recently established, and which has done a great deal to improve the National tone of society here. The late editions of the Evening Telegraph were sought for with avidity, and very closely perused. The telegram announcing that a verdict was given in favour of Mr. O'Brien has been received with enthusiasm, and bonfires have been lit in honour of the victory.
The result of the verdict was first announced in the windows of the Freeman branch office. Large crowds collected, and the greatest enthusiasm prevailed. The rooms of the Sarsfield Branch of the National League were illuminated, and a local band paraded the streets. The secretary of the League has issued a circular for a special meeting, to be held to-morrow evening, for the purpose of proposing a resolutionn congratulating Mr. Wm O'Brien, M P, on the result.
Last night, when the tidings arrived at Kingstown that the jury had found a verdict for Mr. O'Brien, M P, the greatest enthusiasm ensued. Tar barrels were lighted in various parts of the town, and crowds might be seen at every corner eagerly perusing the Evening Telegraph. Owing to the lateness of the hour there was not time to organise a popular demonstration, which would have been held if the news came earlier in the evening. Tar barrels were also burnt at Dalkey and elsewhere in the district.
The members of Branch O'Connell held their weeky meeting last evening, Bro J.J. Carrigg C.R., presided, supported by Bro Fox in the vice chair. There was a large attendance. The following resolution was proposed by Br Kavanagh, seconded by Br M'Donnell, and passed unanimously:– "That we, the members of the Brnch O'Connell, heartily congratulate Mr. O'Brien, M P, on his great victory in the cause of morality, and hope that the Irish people all over the world will not be backward in recognising it in a substantial manner."
Bands paraded the city to-night to celebrate the victory of Mr. William O'Brien, M P, in Dublin. Great rejoicing was everywhere manifested over the result, the people having felt that a great political as well as moral triumph had been gained. It is in contemplationn to hold a demonstrationn on the subject. (Freeman's Journal)

Tuesday, 8 July 1884

[EDITORIAL] The crushing completeness of the verdict against the plaintiff in the case of Cornwall versus O'Brien settles for ever the main point of controversy, and – so far as anything can be said to be gratifying in this odious and terrible business – will be accepted with a certain sense of relief by all classes in Ireland. The mixed character of the jury for some time raised doubts as to whether a verdict could be expected at all, and though for the last couple of days few people had any doubt as to what the verdict ought to be, there were many to declare that a disagreement was inevitable. the uanimity of the jury is a matter on which Irishmen, of all classes and creeds, ought to feel a certain degree of pride. Nobody ever doubted that there was any difference between the creeds of Irishmen in their horror and loathing for such abominations as were detailed in the courts for some days past, and it has happily been proved a libel upon the juries of Dublin that political or religious passion could so twist their minds as to make them hesitate for a moment in visiting punishment on such vile offenders. Criticism has been freely passed by many persons on Mr. O'Brien for the action which he has thought proper to take in this revolting business, but the enthusiasm with which the verdict was received proves that the popular instinct grasped the real significance of the struggle to the death which has just been fought out. It was felt that a moral leprosy had been introduced into the city, and that, though the task was odious, a man was required who would meet certain odium and face possible ruin in order that the foul thing might cease. Then it was felt that there were great and momentous issues behind the persons engaged immediately in this combat. We will not be so stupid or unjust as to say that there is any necessary connection between such crimes as Mr. Cornwall has practically been found guilty of and the system of British rule in Ireland. it is, however, justifiable to note as a well-known historical experience, that despotic forms of Government and odious vice have had in the history of the world an association so common as to be justifiably held as cause and effect. The reigns of autocrats have, from the days of the first Roman Emperors to those of the last Napoleon, been remarkable for the growth in rank luxuriance of all forms of unnatural vice, and the same cause which produced these effects in Rome and Paris may be inferred to have been the parent of the same effects in Dublin. To us as journalists the whole business has presented a problem more difficult and painful than any we have ever been confronted with. Our own inclination would have been to pass the thing over in silence, but the duty owed to the public rendered such a course impossible. The vast interests involved in the struggle, the demand of the public that the truth and the whole truth should at last be made known, left the public journalist no choice but to report the case at considerable length, omitting – as we have scrupulously endeavoured to do – anything which might be of a character too vile even to be printed. Meantime it was not their fault that it was in the columns of popular and largely read journals that the charges had to be tried. For months – if not years – the Government must have been acquainted with the existence of the unspeakable horrors in Dublin, especially as the proportion of the population in which these crimes flourished was the section with which the authorities were brought into daily contact, for these crimes belong almost exclusively to the official classes. Then, for the last six months at least, the attention of the Dublin Castle has been called to the matter in the most open manner. Dublin Castle has been urged, taunted, challenged to examine into the guilt of its subordinates, and what has been the answer? It would be scarcely an exaggeration to say that the authorities have made themselves to a certain extent particeps criminis by the efforts they have made, not to detect, but to screen the crimes of these men. The guilt of French and Cornwall has been shouted from the housetops in Ireland; it was even told in the House of Commons. Perhaps the most humiliating and ignominious episode in the career of Mr. Trevelyan – and it is rarely that the career even of an Irish Chief Secretary has had so many days of shame and so many acts of doubtful morality – was the speech he made, or had to make, in defence of French and Cornwall and that company. The debate is still fresh in the memory of the country, and everybody remembers that Mr. Trevelyan could not see the least ground for Governmental intereference. Mr. French was known to have been charged with this crime, was known to have been dared to the fight, was known to have been at last tortured into making a show of a struggle, and then to have run away; and yet Mr. Trevelyan had nothing to offer but plausible reasons for doubting his gulit. The evidence which Mr. O'Brien has brought against Cornwall the Government could have secured at half the cost and a hundredth part of the trouble, and the only thing Mr. Trevelyan had to say was that the case was got up by a detective who had been convicted of a felony in London. The delicacy of the Government against utilising a convicted detective is admirable in face of their own choice mployment of convicted murderers. It will be very hard – it will be impossible – to convict the people of Ireland that the reason Lord Spencer and Mr. Trevelyan did not prosecute these men was their doubt of their guilt. Nor will anyone in Ireland believe that the Government which detected the Phœnix Park murderers could not have detected French and Cornwall; and it will be even more difficult to believe that Lord Spencer and Mr. Trevelyan, after hanging fifteen men in the course of a couple of years, could not have convicted a small nest of odious criminals who committed their offences under the wing of Dublin Castle itself. Everybody in Ireland to-day believes that the reason Lord Spencer and Mr. Trevelyan did not prosecute French and Cornwall was, not that they did not believe in their guilt – it was not that they could not, but that they would not. A system of Government that begets, and then defends with every resource, such officials stands condemned by the common conscience of humanity. As to the unhappy criminals themselves we would not if we could say one word to add to the misery of their position. The most charitable suppositing in connection with a case of unprecedented horror is that their crimes have created in them, or have been the creation of, some diseased condition of the brain. There are certain stages of moral guilt so terrible that they suggest insanity, and though the law cannot take cognisance of that mental condition which seems to love evil for evel's sake, still charity would lead us to think that the men condemned by yesterday's verdict are scarcely to be deemed to be in full possession of the ordinary faculties of ordinary human beings. For the families, connections, and friends of these unfortunates nothing can possibly be felt but the most profound commiseration. We have but one word to add. Mr. O'Brien, in the fearful struggle in which he has been engaged, staked his reputation, his fortune, almost his life. Although the verdict carries with it the taxed costs of the trial, he must have been put to eormous expense in preparing a case of extraordinary difficulty. We cannot think that, whatever Mr. O'Brien's private feelings ma be, the country will tolerate that he should personally be at a money loss in connection with this fearful business. (Freeman's Journal)

9 July 1884

Mr. Cornwall, the plaintiff in the libel action of Cornwall v. O'Brien, left Dublin on Tuesday for Scotland, in company with his brother-in-law, Sir Robert Dalziel. His motion to have the verdict set aside will not be heard until November.
          The Freeman's Journal, commemting on the case, says the crushing completeness of the verdict will be accepted with a certain sense of relief by all classes. It was felt that a moral leprosy had been introduced, and that a man was required who would meet odium and face possible ruin that the foul thing might cease. For months, if not years, the authorities must have been acquainted with the unspeakable horrors, and are to a certain extent participes criminis by the efforts made, not to detect, but to screen the criminals. It will be impossible to convince the people of Ireland that the reason Lord Spencer and Mr. Trevelyan did not prosecute was doubt of their guilt. The Daily Express complains that the uathorities did not, for the sake of public morality, undertake the investigation of the charge in a most searching and unsparing manner.
          Mr. O'Brien is stated to have declared to his Parliamentary coleagues before the late trial commenced that if he failed to make out his case he would never return to Parliament, and never write a line for the Irish press agian. The fact that a number of persons have fled from the country to escape the consquences of the threatened disclosures is undeniable. The Irish members will take Mr. Cornwall's counsel to task in the House of Commons for the language used yesterday.
          The verdict in Cornwall v. O'Brien was celebrated in Cork on Tuesday night by several bands playing national airs, followed by several thousand persons, some carrying blazing tar barrels and others lighted torches. Arrived at the rooms of the Naitional League, they were addressed by prominent members of the organisation. They were told, as the moral result of the verdict, Lord Lieutenant Spencer and Chief-Secretary Trevelyan must resign the government of Ireland, and that a little more determined resistance and co-operation on the part of the Irish people would root out Dublin Castle and leave the government of the country in their own hands. (Western Mail, Cardiff)

12 July 1884

On Saturday the libel action of Cornwall v. O'Brien, M P, was continued in Dublin. A fashionably-dressed young man, named Alfred M'Kernan, deposed he had been a clerk in the Munster Bank for the last sixteen years. He was first introduced to Mr. Cornwall in 1876, at a friend's house. He then gave evidence which admitted his own complicity in the offence charted in the libel against Mr. Cornwall. Meiklejohn frequently had drunk with him, and only on Tursday night Meiklejohn and Chance were drinking with him. Evidence was given as to the handwriting of a letter charging O'Brien with concocting evidence with the aid of Meiklejohn. The case closed for both parties, and the court adjourned.
          The hearing of the action was resumed in Dublin on Monday morning before Mr. Justice O'Brien and a special jury. A gentleman named Charles Fitzgerald rose at the opening of the court to make a statement. The judge cautioned him against doing so, and said that if he disobeyed the warning he would punish him severly for contempt of court. His lordship ordered him to sit down, and, as he did not do so, Fitzgerald was removed by the police. Mr. O'Riordan, Q.C., then addressed the jury for the defence. Mr. Munroe, Q.C., replied for the plaintiff. The libels in United Ireland had brought shame and sorrow to many a home, and he advised the first person whose character was again imputed in that publication to take the law into his own hands and horse-whip Mr. O'Brien, M P, the editor. – Mr. Justice O'Brien, in charging the jury, said undoubtedly the defence of justification in regard to the second article complained of, and which charged the plaintiff with the commission of criminal offences, had failed; but the question as to the indecent practices imputed in the first publication was one entirely for the jury. The main and important question they had to consider was that with reference to the amount of damages the plaintiff was entitled to, if any. Still he would not withdraw any of the issues from the jury, and hoped they would perform their duty without prejudice or partiality, political, person, or social. The plaintiff was of high social rank, and was in the most eminent station; but what was more precious than all the other things he possessed – his honour – was now at stake. If the jury believed him to be a person who dishonoured his own years, and rank, and station, debauched others, who in their turn corrupted their fellows, and so spread this foul and terrible vice, then indeed they could allow no consideration of the consequences to Mr. Cornwall to prevent them from coming to a true verdict. – The jury retired at five minutes to six o'clock, and at 25 minutes to eight o'clock returned into court with a verdict for the defendant, finding that the pleas of justification had been sustained in each instance. On the counter claim they found for the defendant. The result was received with loud and prolonged cheering.
          Mr. Cornwall is an Englishman of good family, and has been for 45 years in the service of the post-office. His position as secretary of the Dublin Department was worth over 1,000 a year, and it is expected he will now lose this as well as the superannuation allowance to which he was entitled. In view of the reports which are being so industriously spread of an intention to arrest Mr. Cornwall, the "Central News" Dublin correspondence is authorised to say there is no truth whatever in the rumours.           . . . (Weekly Mail)

14 July 1884

Three of the witnesses for the defence in the recent action of Cornwall versus O'Brien, were arrested by the Dublin police on Saturday evening, namely, Alfred M. Kiernan (late clerk in the Munster Bank), Malcolm Johnson (of independent means), and George D. Taylor (clerk in a shipping firm). Taylor, it is reported, has made a statement to the authorities. A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Mr. Cornwall.
          A later telegram from Dublin states that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Mr. Cornwall, secretary of the Dublin General Post-office, charging him with having committed abominable and unnatural crimes. A clerk, named James Taylor, has become a Crown witness. McKerman and Johnston, who gave evidence for the defendant in the libel action Cornwall v. O'Brien, are under police surveillance.

A Dublin telegram states that Mr Cornwall was arrested on Saturday evening, at the residence of his brother-in-law, near Linlithgow, by two detectives from Dublin. He will, it is expected, arrive in Dublin to-day (Monday). (South Wales Daily News)

Tuesday, 15 July 1884


Yesterday morning, about 25 minutes past six, Mr. G. C. Cornwall, who was arrested on Saturday evening at Linlithgow, arrived at Kingstown on the mail boat Leinster. Mr. Cornwall, who had a somewhat worn appearance, and evidently was inclined to avoid notice, was the last to leave the saloon, and walked on shore in company with Mrs. Cornwall and his brother-in-law, Sir Robert Alexander Dalyell. Mrs. Cornwall was accompanied by her maid. Detective Officer Simmonds, by whom the arrest was effected, was in charge of the late Secretary of the General Post Office. At the shore end of the gangway Mr. Cornwall was met by Mr. John Ennis, junior, member of the firm of E A Ennis and Son, who shook hands with Mr. and Mrs. Cornwall, and proceeded with them to a first-class compartment which was reserved for the party. The greater proportion of the passengers on the boat seemed to be aware of the identity of Mr. Cornwall, and he was the object of some attention; but on the pier there were few spectators, the ordinary officials, and two or three policemen. The detective officer escorted his prisoner to the carriage without any apparent notice. Chief Superintendent Mallon and other officials connected with the police were awaiting the arrival of the boat, and they proceeded to town in the train. On arriving at Westland-row terminus, Mr. Cornwall, his solicitor, and Detective-officer Simmonds entered a cab and were driven to Store-street station. Here a formal charge against Mr. Cornwall was entered, and it was intimated to him that he would be brought up during the day before a magistrate. Subsequently Mr. Ennis and Sir Robert Alexander Dalyell visited Mr. Cornwall at the station.
          During his stay in the station he was supplied with breakfast, and, later on, with other refreshment. Shortly after three o'clock Detective Simmonds and another officer came to the station in a cab, and in a few minutes later took Mr. Cornwall in the vehicle to the police court. The Northern Court, where it was expected the case would be heard, was, before three o'clock thronged with many people who were curious to hear the proceedings. The authorities gave no information as to the course of the proceedings or the professional persons who would represent the prosecution, but it was pretty generally understood that the preliminary investigation would be brief, and after some evidence had been given that a remand would be asked for. Mr. Kisbey, Q C (instructed by Messrs E A Ennis and Son) was early in the morning retained for the defence. The brother-in-law of the prisoner awaited his arrival outside the courts.
          At five minutes to four o'clock Mr. Gustavus Cornwall was placed in the dock in custody of Detective-officer Simmonds, who had made the arrest on Saturday evening. The prisoner, who was elegantly attired and perfectly self-possessed, smiled at his borther-in-law, who was standing beside Mr. Ennis, jun, and bowed slightly to the presiding magistrate, Mr. C J O'Donel. He then took a seat at the back of the dock. the court was greatly crowded, and the inquiry appeared to excite the liveliest interest.
          Mr. Kisbey, Q C, with Messrs E A Ennis and Son, appeared for the prisoner.
          Mr. Ronan, of the Munster Circuit (instructed by Mr. Samuel L Anderson), said – I appear in this case for the Crown. The charge against the accused is in writing, and founded upon information.
          Mr. Kisbey, Q C – Let me see it.
          The Clerk of the Court read the charge – "That Gustavus Cornwall did, at divers places within the Metropolitan Police District of Dublin, on several occasions, commit the crime of Sodomy."
          Mr. Ronan – All I purpose to do to-day is just to prove the arrest of the prisoner and give formal evidence to justify a remand.
          Detective-officer Simmonds was then sworn and examined by Mr. Ronan – Do you produce the warrant on which you arrested the prisoner? I do.
          When did you obtain that warrant? On Friday evening, the 11th inst.
          Did you arrest the prisoner on that warrant? Yes.
          When? On Saturday, the 12th inst, between six and seven in the evening.
          Where? At a place called "The Binns," at Linlithgow, in Scotland.
          And you brought him over here? Yes.
          Mr. Kisbey – I wish to see the information on which the warrant was obtained.
          Mr. Ronan – Certainly.
          (A copy of the information was handed to Mr. Kisbey.)
          Mr. Ronan – The information was sworn by Mr. Reddy, the Superintendent of the G Division, who will now be examined.
          Mr. Wm Reddy, the head of the Detective Department, was then sworn, and counsel read his information as follows–

I am Superintendant of the G Division of the Dublin Metrepolitan Plice. I was in the Four Courts of Dublin during a portion of the hearing of an action brought by Mr Gustavus C. Cornwall, secretary to the Post Office, against Mr William O'Brien, editor and business manager of United Ireland. I also read the evidence in the case which was reported in the Dublin papers. The action was one for libel. The libels imputed that the plaintiff [i.e. Mr Cornall] had committed unnatural crime. The evidence for the defence [i.e. Mr O'Brien] proved many acts of indecency on the part of the plaintiff, and although the witnesses did not actually disclose so doing, the acts testified to were quite consistent with the commission of so doing, and scarcely reconcilable with innocence of that felony. The jury found a verdict for the defendant, and thereby gave credit to the witnesses for the defence. Mr Gustavus C Cornwall left Dublin, as I believe, for Belfast and Glasgow on the 8th inst, and proceeded to "The Bins," Linlithgow, where I believe him to be now. I have no hesitation in swearing that to the best of my knowledge and belief evidence can be procured to sustain a charge of unnatural and felonious cime against the said Gustavus C Cornwall, committed with different persons, and on various occasions within the Dublin Metropolitan Police District during the last eight years. Some time may elapse before the police can get the informations of the witnesses in the case, and as I think and believe Mr Gustavus C Cornwall may at any moment fly from the country to evade justice, I pray for a warrant for his arrest.
                              WILLIAM REDDY.
Dated this 11th day of July, 1884.

          Examination of the Superintendent by Mr. Ronan – Are the contents of that information true? They are.
          Are the Advisers of the Crown at present engaged in obtaining evidence? Yes.
          You believe it justifies an application to obtain a remand? I do.
          Cross-examination by Mr. Kisbey – Mr. Reddy, I uppose when you made this inforation on the 111th July you were aware where Mr. Cornwall was? Yes.
          I suppose you inquired at the hotel where he had been living and found out where he was? Yes.
          And you found out that he had left his address for letters, or anything else, to be forwarded to him? I had not.
          You had inquiries made and found out where he was? Not through that channel.
          You were not there yourself? No, I was not.
          It is a pity you did not go. You did discover where he was? Yes.
          Did you get information that Mr. Cornwall had telegraphed to the Postmaster-General in these words:–
          "From Gustavus C Cornwall, Binns, Linlithgowshire.
          "I am here waiting such proceedings as may be directed. I court the fullest inquiry.
                              "G C CORNWALL."
          That's the first I heard of it.
          Mr. Ronan – What is the date of that?
          Mr. Kisbey – I have not got the date of it.
          Mr. Ronan – It is since the verdict?
          Mr. Kisbey – Oh, yes, of course. (To witness) I will not ask you anything further at present.
          Mr. Leech, solicitor, said – I appear on behalf of the family of Mr. Cornwall. It never was Mr. Cornwall's intention to leave the country, as was stated in the papers. On the contrary, he was always ready and willing to court the fullest inquiry. If it had been his intention to leave the country instead of going to Scotland he would have gone off to America.
          Mr. Kisbey – Having regard to what Mr. Ronan has said I shall not be able to resist the application for a remand which, I understand, is to be made.
          Mr. O'Donel – Well, Mr. Ronan, you ask for a remand?
          Mr. Ronan – Yes.
          A remand for eight days on the application of Mr. Ronan was granted.
          Mr. Kisbey – I have formally to ask your worship to accept bail for Mr. Cornwall, and I may state that we are prepared to give bail to any amount that may be necessary, and of the most satisfactory character. I think there never was a case in which a client appearing in that dock was more entitled, I may say, to demand bail from this court, because the information on which this remand has been asked and granted is an information of so general a character that it absolutely admits that in all the proceedings no such offence as that charged was disclosed. It says that things were stated in court which, not amounting to the offence charged, were consistent with it. He might as well say they were consistent with murder, or burglary, or anything else. Any one offence may be consistent with any other. You have then only the statement of this witness that he believes they may be able to get some evidence to sustain this charge now made aainst Mr. Cornwall. Up to the present, therefore, they admit they have no such evidence. The only case before you is a case in which the witness says:– "I was present during the hearing of a civil trial, and evidence was given on that trial of acts of indecency." The jury found against Mr. Cornwall. Therefore they seem to have given credence to the witnesses for the defence who gave that evidence, and though it did not amount to anything like what is now charged, forsooth, it was consistent with it. Under these circumstances, I say, there is positively no evidence on which any court could act against Mr. Cornwall for any offence, and I ask you, sir, to accept bail, stating on his behalf that we are prepared to give bail to the fullest amount. You have heard me read the telegram –
          Mr. Ronan – Which is not evidence.
          Mr. Kisbey – You have heard me read it, and I may further say that I could, if it were absolutely necessary, give the evidence of official documents showing that from the moment Mr. Cornwall left here on last Tuesday at two o'clock he has been in communication with the authorities, telling them fully where he was and intended to remain, and saying that he not only courted but demanded the fullest investigation of the case. Therefore, the idea of any person saying that he thinks Mr. Cornwall may fly from justice when he went to the house of his brother-in-law, who sits beside me, and who is here to support Mr. Cornwall in every way, seems to me to be all but absurd. I ask you, therefore, to accept bail, and I tender any amount that the Crown may name.
          Mr. O'Donel – Well, in a charge of this description I could not feel warranted in taking on myself the responsibility of taking bail. No great injustice can be done to Mr. Cornwall in the matter, because here we are in Dublin with the superior courts always sitting, a judge of which can order bail, and specify the amount of it. It could be done to-morrow on application to the Court, or the day after.
          Mr. Kisbey – Unfortunately there is not a solitary judge of the Queen's Bench in town. They are all on circuit.
          Mr. Ronan – Your worship is of course aware that the judge who sits to hear ordinary interlocutory motions also hears bail motions every day he sits.
          Mr. O'Donel – So I thought.
          Mr. Ronan – There is no occasion for a judge of the Queen's Bench.
          Mr. O'Donel – I cannot take on myself the responsibility of assigning bail. It is a charge of felony. I must therefore remand the case for eight days.
          Mr. Cornwall was then removed in custody of Detective-officer Simmonds. Before he left he shook hands from the dock with his brother-in-law. He was taken to the office of the Chief Clerk pending the signature of the committal by Mr. O'Donelk. Meanwhile a small crowd had collected outside the precincts of the Police Court, the yard itself having been cleared of all but a few officials and members of the police force. The cab which had conveyed Mr. Cornwall to court was dismissed, evidently as a feint for the benefit of the curious ones who wished to see the prisoner. After a short time a fresh cab was procured, which was entered by the prisoner and Detective-officers Sheridan and Simmonds. The cab, followed by a car in which sat an Inspector of police and three constables of the Metropolitan Police, drove off rapidly to Kilmainham Jail, where he will remain pending the resumed investigation in the Police-court. As the procession was passing the gate of the court-yard a few of the bystanders hooted and hissed, and a few children ran after the cavalcade shouting loudly.
          The police are now engaged in tracing the ramifications of the scandals. What is absolutely known is that in the course of the day further examinations were proceeded with at Exchange court. Patrick Molloy, already referred to, was examined at length. Michael Magrane, of 17 Moss street, described as of "no occupation," and William Clark, residing at 9 Usher's quay, were also placed under examination. These two men were in the course of the afternoon placed under detention at Chanbery lane police station. Several others also made statements, amongst them Danl Considine, a blind man, stated to be a basket maker, and residing in Ship-street, and another man of the name of Pentland, from North King street. As a result of the inquiries made hitherto the authorities have determined to make several important arrests, and it is not unlikely that one of them will have taken place in the early morning of to-day. Although not stated in the police courts yesterday, it is reported that M'Kiernan, Taylor, and Johnson have made statements in writing, which the authorities hold, and which if used will have a material bearing on the case.
          A correspondent telegraphs that great excitement was caused in the neighbourhood of Kilcrea, county Cork, yesterday, by a rumour that James Ellis French, ex-county inspector, had been arrested in that locality. Subsequiently the report was contradicted authoritatively, but it was stated that French has been subjected to strict police surveillance, in order to guard against any attempt on his part to leave the country.
                    (Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser, Dublin;
The report concludes with a list of contributions to "The O'Brien Fund", which now totals the sum of 104 2s. 0d..)

16 July 1884


On Tuesday Inspector Trench [i.e. French], late head of the Detective Department of the Royal Irish Constabulary, was arrested at Atherloe, County Cork, on a warrant charging him with having committed unnatural and abominable crimes in Dublin. He has been for some months past under strict supervision, eminent medical men having pronounced him to be suffering from softening of the brain. (Western Mail, Cardiff)

Thursday 17 July 1884



Yesterday morning Mr. James Ellis French, who had been on the previous evening confined in Bridewell lane Police Station, where he passed the night, was conveyed to the police courts, after partaking of breakfast, which was supplied to him by the authorities. A number of persons congregated from an early hour in the Northern Divisional Court evidently with a view to witness the opening of the case. Meanwhile a rumour spread rapidly through the city that another arrest had been made. This was shortly corroborated. Mr. James Pillar, a tea and wine merchant, holding a most respectable position in his trade, and carrying on business at 56 Rathmines road, was arrested at that address shortly before one o'clock. The arrest was made by Inspector Morrow, of the G Division, who held a warrant granted by the Chief Magistrate on the sworn information of Superintendent Reddy, and similar in the charges contained to that on which Mr. French was arrested. The prisoner who, although showing some astonishment, made no remark, received the usual caution, and after a short search of the premises, which did not, it is stated, result in any important discovery, was carried away in a cab to Chancery lane Police Station, and shortly afterwards to the courts.
          Superintendent Mockler, in pursuance of the magistrate's order, directed every person to leave the court except the members of the Press and those who had business in connection with the case. This order was carried out with promptitude and propriety, and had the effect of removing upwards of a hundred idlers, who had remained in court from an early hour in expectation of being permitted to hear the case, the result being very much to the convenience and comfort of those who had business in court, and, besides, it considerably purified the atmosphere. Two gentlemen having objected to leave court on the ground that they were barristers, though they did not appear in Bar costume, were informed by Mr. Mockler that no distinction could be made unless with the magistrate's permission. The gentlemen in question having made a sharp rejoinder, the superintendent in a very decisive manner intimated that he would carry out his instructions strictly and to the letter, and claimed the right to do so without interference even from members of the Bar present from curiosity. Cards were then sent in to the magistrate, it was understood, who replied that barristers could not establish any such privilege as that put forward. The two applicants were then politely escorted to the door, which was closed behind them.
          Shortly after three o'clock Detective-officer Simmonds entered court, having in charge James Ellis French, was was temporarily placed in custody in a seat to the side of the courthouse. The ex-Director of the Detective Department of the Constabulary Force is a man of about 50 years of age, slightly built, of brown complexion, with close cut hair, and whispers turning grey. He was attired in a suit of green-hued tweed.
          When Mr. O'Donel took his seat,
          Mr. Bourne, barrister, wearing wig and gown, addressing the court, said he had applied to be admitted to hear the case, but the Superintendent told him that his worship had given orders not to admit the public. He (Mr. Bourne) did not think that it was intended to include the members of the Bar.
          Mr. O'Donel – Well, indeed, I think it might include the Bar, and very properly, unless they are concerned in the case.
          Mr. Bourne said he was not engaged in this case, but had a case in the other courts, the Four Courts, and it would not be on for two or three hours (it was then a quarter to four o'clock), and he thought he might as well come over here and listen to this case.
          Mr. O'Donel – Why did you think well to come over?
          Mr. Bourne – Well, the atmosphere over there was not very agreeable (He then retired from court).
          At twenty minutes to four o'clock Mr. French was placed in the dock by Detective-officer simmonds. Mr. French remained standing in the dock during the brief period of the inquiry, his countenance wearing an evident expression of pain and disquiet.
          Mr. David Sherlock (instructed by Messrs Barlow and Orr) appeared for the prisoner.
          Mr. Ronan (instructed by M4r. Samuel Lee Anderson) appeared for the Crown.
          Mr. O'Donel – What is the charge?
          The Clerk of the Court read the charge, which was that James Ellis French had on several occasions, in the Police District of Dublin, committed the felony of sodomy, and also had attempted said felony.
          Detective-officr Simmonds was then sworn and procued the warrant on which he arrested the prisoner.
          Mr. Ronan – You got that warrant for the arrest of the prisoner? Yes, on the 14th inst.
          Did you arrest him? Yes, between six and seven o'clock on the morning of the 15th, at Aberlow, a place about twelve miles outside the city of Cork.
          Where was he when you arrested him? He was in bed. I read the warrant, and gave him the usual caution. He made no statement.
          And you brought him up here? Yes.
          Cross-examined by Mr. Sherlock – Had you any information accompanying that warrant? No.
          You had nothing but the warrant? Nothing but the warrant.
          Superintendent William Reddy, Chief of the Detective Department, was next sworn.
          Mr. Ronan – You made the information on which that warrant was issued? Yes.
          Mr. Ronan read the information, in which Mr. Reddy states that he had been engaged for the last three days investigating a charge of unnatural crime preferred against Gustavus C Cornwall; that witnesses would be produced who made statements implicating James Ellis French, charging him with several acts of indecency, as well as attempts to commit unnatural crime, on several occasions during the past six years in the police district of Dublin. Mr. Reddy further swore that James Ellis French was then residing in the county of Cork and there was danger that he might fly the country and evade justice unless a warrant for his arrest was issued.
          Mr. Ronan (to witness) – On that information the warrant issued? Yes.
          Are the contents of that information true? Perfectly true, as far as my belief goes.
          To the best of your belief will evidence be offered showing the actual commission of sodomy by the accused? Yes, I think so.
          Are the authorities at present engaged in obtaining evidence in the case? Yes.
          In your opinion is it necessary for the end of justice that there should be a remand for eight days? I think it most essential.
          Cross-examined by Mr. Sherlodk – You state in your information that Mr. French may try to fly the country. What is the ground for that statement except the wildest guess? It is not a guess.
          It is not? No. I think any man charged with acts like these – with such a charge hanging over him – and knowing if a warrant were issued that he would be arrested on a charge of unnatdural crime, I believe he would come to the conclusion to leave the country.
          That is your ground for making the statement? Yes.
          Did you know that the charge was made before? I am aware that the Government did not prosecute him.
          Are you not aware that Mr. French has been living in the country since last September to answer any charge made against him, and that he courted inquiry in every way? No; on the contrary, I believe he did not.
          Mr. Roman – I must ask you not to go into this.
          Mr. Sherlock – I beg your pardon. I am in possession of the court, and not exceeding my duty in asking the witness the grounds of his belief.
          Mr. Ronan – If that is gone into we must inquire why Mr. French did not proceed with his action against Mr. O'Brien.
          Mr. O'Donel – It is open to him to state his grounds for considering what he has stated, and he has given an answer to the question.
          Mr. Sherlock – You say your ground of belief is that he did not go on with the action. That is your ground of believing that he would fly?
          Mr. Reddy – No, that is not quite right. My ground is this – Mr. French was aware before that the Government did not proceed, or intend to proceed, against him. Now it became known to him that the Government were going to proceed against him, and when that became known to him, and when he must have known the evidence, the natural consequence was that he might try to fly from justice.
          Mr. Sherlock – Are you aware, sir, that in March last three doctors signed certificates that Mr. French was suffering from a mental disease, and was incapable of giving instructions to his solicitor?
          Mr. Reddy – I do; yes, I know that.
          Mr. Sherlock – And still you swear that you believe he would fly the country?
          Mr. Reddy – I swear I believed he might fly, knowing the circumstances.
          Mr. O'Donel – Very well.
          Mr. Sherlock – I appear, as you are aware, for the accused. I apprehend no good purpose can be served by going further into the case now, but there is another motion that deeply concerns my client, namely – that he be admitted to bail. My grounds for it are legal grounds. I would, first of all, ask whether my friend assents?
          Mr. Ronan – I cannot hear of bail in this case.
          Mr. Sherlock – I apprehend that a magistrate of experience would be guided by legal principles, whether my friend assents or dissents from the proposition. These legal principles are familiar to your worship, and I need not refer more fully to it, than to one case of the Queen v M'Cormack, tried before Lord Justice Coleridge. He lays down the law thus with reference to giving bail – "Three important matters for us to determine on the question of the admission of the prisoner to bail, or detaining him in custody, in order to insure his appearance at the trial, namely – the charge, the nature of the evidence by which it is supported, and the punishment to which the party would be liable if convicted." I need not say that the charge in this case is a very serious one. It is the foulest and the filthiest and the most venomous charge that one man can make against another, and it should be supported by something more than the evidence that has been given here to-day; and there is nothing whatever to show that the witness himself believes the evidence to which he has referred, or that anything will be really brought forward against this man that touches the question in any way. The past conduct of my client is a matter of notoriety. It is well known that he was only prevented, in consequence of sickness and of failing health, from continuing to meet, in the way that any innocent and honest man would have met, the charge brought against him; and he brought his action at the earliest moment that he could in order to vindicate his character. It was only when failing health deprived him of mental capacity to instruct his solicitor that he dropped the action. We have it as a matter of notoriety that he was residing in Cork, and we are aware of the fact, having regard to recent events, that if it was at all his intention to have left the country, or if he believed the evidence stated to be available against him to be true, he could have left. The contrary is the fact; he had no such intention, for he courted the fullest inquiry, and the fact that he had remained here so long sounded trumpet tongued, showing that he did not attempt to fly from justice. Bail to any amount would be given, and I would ask you therefore to exercise your discretion and give him what he law allows and justice demands.
          Mr. O'Donel – No reasoning that you could bring forward – and you have urged the best reasons that are available – could affect the resolution that I have made up my mind to adopt, the same course as I adopted on a recent occasion, namely, that I will not udertake the responsibility of accepting bail. (Addressing Mr. French) – I therefore remand you for eight days, and will not accept bail.
          Mr. Sherlock – I bow at once to your worship's decision. There is only one other matter that I would mention: there is an information which has been sworn and of which we have been refused a copy. I ask your worship to direct that a copy of the information should be given to me.
          Mr. Ronan – You have had everything to which you are entitled. Surely my friend does not want a copy of my brief.
          Mr. Sherlock – There is no use in indulging in any such levity; I simply state that I udnerstood it is customary for your worship to order copies of informations on such occasions.
          Mr. O'Donel – No such thing. I only know of one information in this case; one that has been referred to in the opening of the case.
          Mr. French was then removed in custody.

Mr. James Pillar, of 56 Rathmines-road, was then put forward, charged with having on several occasions, in divers places, committed similar felonies to those charted in the last case. He was also charged with having attempted to commit said felony. The accused is a thin, fresh-complexioned man, but evidently of considerable age. He wears a brown wig. He was most respectably attired.
          Detective-officer Andrew Morrow was sworn and examined by Mr. Ronan.
          Did you receive the warrant for the arrest of the defendant Pillar? Yes.
          When did you arrest the prisoner? Between twelve o'clock and one to-day.
          Where? In his show, at 56 Rathmines-road.
          And you brought him down here? Yes.
          Superintendent Reddy said he prayed a remand in this cas.
          Mr. Gerald Byrne – I am instructed to appear for Mr. Pillar. I won't ask any questions.
          Mr. Reddy, examined by Mr. Ronan – It was on your information that the warrant was issued? Yes.
          The information was read. It was substantially the same as in the last case, Mr. Reddy stating that, during the course of the investigations, relative to Cornwall and French, witnesses to be hereafter produced made statements implicating Mr. James Pillar, of 56 Rathmines road and 63 Palmerston road, county Dublin, in several cases of indecencies as well as of attempts to commit unnatural crime with men within the last six years in Dublin; and he (Mr. Reddy) swore that it is his belief the said James Pillar might try to fly justice before the evidence could be collected. Upon that statement he had prayed for the warrant.
          Mr. O'Donel – Will evidence be forthcoming of the actual commission of the crime of sdomy in this case?
          Mr. Reddy – Yes.
          Mr. O'Donel – That is the result of your investigation? Yes.
          Mr. O'Donel – Do you believe it necessary for the ends of justice that this case should be remanded for eight days? Yes.
          Mr. Byrne – I do not intend to ask you any questions, and after the ruling in the last case I suppose I need not ask for bail. It would be useless.
          Mr. O'Donel (to prisoner) – You are remanded until this day week.
          The prisoner, who looked very dejected, was then remanded.
          When the proceedings in court had concluded the formal committals were made out, and shortly before five o'clock James Ellis French and James Pillar were conveyed in a cab to Kilmainham Jail. A sergent and a constable of police were in charge of the prisoners.
          James Pillar, of Rathmines, is an aged man, having passed his seventieth year. He has a large family, and in his business and social relations was esteemed and respected. It is stated that he is a member of the Society of Friends.
          A warrant for the arrest of a gentleman of good position (who it is rumoured has fled the country) is, it is confidently stated, in the hands of the police.
                    (Freeman's Journal)

18 July 1884

The police authorities, it is understood, have more than one warrant yet to execute in connection with the Dublin scandals. The name of a gentleman, well known in financial as well as social circles, is very generally mentioned, and it is rumoured that he left Ireland some days ago. On Thursday, in the Dublin Police Court, William Hughes, lodging-house keeper, was remanded chraged with having on the previous night solicited a law clerk to commit an unnatural and abominable offence.
          United Ireland says:– There is one thing which will remain engraven upon history in letters of fire, and which nothing short of the root and branch destruction of the Spencer-Trevelyan régimé will expiate, and that is for the sake of vengeance on a political foe a superfine Liberal executive, filled with a fine frenzy against the crime of the desperate and starving peasant, threw the broad shield of England to the last moment over the foulest brood of monsters that English rule in Ireland ever produced. (Western Mail, Cardiff)

18 July 1884

. . .
          The Freeman's Journal says the question is not whether conviction can be brought home to the guilty; not whether a plague spot can be eradicated – for that good is assumed to be accomplished; but why the Government left the duty to Mr. O'Brien, and why, when they first had notice of the evil, they did not immediately deal with it.
On Tuesday Inspector Trench [i.e. French], late head of the Detective Department of the Royal Irish Constabulary, was arrested at Atherloe, County Cork, on a warrant charging him with having committed unnatural and abominable crimes in Dublin. He has been for some months past under strict supervision, eminent medical men having pronounced him to be suffering from softening of the brain.
          At Dublin, on Wednesday afternoon, Mr. James Ellis French, was charged with immoral practices. Prisoner looked very careworn. Formal evidence was given, and prisoner was remanded for eight days. James Pillar, tea and wine merchant, Rathmines, was afterwards charged with a similar offence. Mr. Pillar was arrested only on Wednesday afternoon. He was remanded for a week. (Weekly Mail, Cardiff)

19 July 1884

Mr. Cornwall arrived in Dublin on Monday morning in custody of Detective-Officer Simmon. On Friday last an information was sworn before Mr. C. J. O'Donel, the chief police magistrate, charging that it was reasonably suspected that Mr. Cornwall, secretary of the General Post-office, Dublin, was guilty of a felonious and unnatural crime, specifying particulars, and alleging that he would probably fly from justice. Thereupon Mr. O'Donel signed a warrant for his arrest. The three principal witnesses at the trial of the libel action of Cornwall v. O'Brien are detained in the Prince of Wales Hotel, Sackville-street. They have been questioned by the detective-officer in charge of the case. Mr. Alfred M'Kiernan, the chief witness, resigned his position as clerk in the Munster Bank on Thursday last, and received salary to date. He is aged 30, with brown hair, and wears a carefully waxed moustache, his beard being cleanly shaved. He moved in good society, and had a reputation for his musical ability. Mr. George D. Taylor, a fine, fair-complexioned youth of middle height, with large, fair, well-trimmed moustache, was a clerk at 60 a year in the service of the British and Irish Steam Packet Company. Mr. Malcolm Johnston is also a fine young man, above the middle height, of dark complexion, and wearing a black moustache. He is a son of the late Councillor Johnston, a wealthy baker, who left him a considerable fortune. Besides these witnesses three persons in the lowest grade of life have been brought to the Detective Office, Exchange court, and, as the result of an interview there, told they must not leave Dublin. They are Patrick Molloy, of 20, Mabbot-street, aged 23, of no occupation; Michael M'Grane, 17, Moss-street, aged 24, of no occupation; and William Clarke, of Ushers' Quay, cooper. Mr. Cornwall is a man of splendid physique and tall, distingué appearance, being fully six feet high. His hair and beard are tinged with grey, and his moustache always carefully waxed. He is a son of Mr. John Cornwall, of Brownstown House, County Meath, and in 1861 he married Elizabeth Grace, sister of Sir Richard Alexander Oxborne Dalyell, Bart., deputy-lieutenant for Linlithgowshire. There has been no issue of the marriage. Mr. Cornwall was brought up at the Dublin Police Court on Monday, and formally remanded for eight days.

24 July 1884

On Wednesday, at the Dublin Police Court, County-Inspector French and James Pillar, wine merchant, were charged with unnatural offences, and, evidence against them having been taken in private, were remanded until Thursday. Malcolm Johnston, a gentleman of property, and George Taylor, clerk, were examined. Johnstone Little, distiller's clerk, aged 22, a witness who had been examined for the defence in the libel action Cornwall v. O'Brien, was arrested in Hagherafelt on Wednesday on a similar charge.
          It is stated that some of the Dublin police are implicated in the scandalous conduct of which Mr. Cornwall and Mr. French are accused, and that one of them has left the city. A soldier has been arrested in connection with the affair. (Western Mail)

26 July 1884

On Wednesday, in Dublin, Mr. French and Mr. James Pillar were brought up on remand, before Mr. O'Donel, police magistrate. Having regard to the nature of the charges, the magistrate, in the exercise of the discretion vested in him, resolved that the preliminary inquiry should be conduicted with closed doors, and had the court cleared of all persons except those directly concerned in the case, and, addressing the representatives of the Press, of whom there were a large number in attendance, he pointed out that the case was not one of summary jurisdiction for him to try; that it was only a preliminary inquiry in which he was empowered to receive evidence that would be taken in the form of depositions, and that these depositions would be sent before another tribunal. The statute which regulated the procedure in such a case prescribed that whenever the public interest and justice required it the magistrate could hold such inquiry in a private room or closed chamber, excluding all persons whatever except those interested and their professional advisers. To extend that law or rule to the representatives of the press was a very strong course to take – in fact, an objectionable course – but if ever a case demanded such an extreme step to be taken, considering that this was a preliminary inquiry, it was the one then before the Court. Unfortunately, it must ultimately come before the public at the Court of Commission, and once would be quite enough for the public to be disgusted with the details. Under these circumstances, he felt sure that the members of the Press would not misunderstand him when he asked them to leave the court. One of the reporters, addressing the magistrate, said that personally the members of the Press were thankful to him for making the order. All the reporters then left the court.
          Malcolm Johnstone and Taylor, who were examined in the libel case, made depositions, but the evidence was not completed and the prisoners were remanded. The prisoners were brought back to Kilmainham, and the witnesses Johnstone and Taylor to the Prince of Wales's Hotel.
          Another arrest in connection with the proceedings has been made – that of Mr. Johnstone Little, one of the witnesses in the case of "Cornwall v. O'Brien." He was arrested on Wednesday morning at Magherafelt, near Londonderry, where he had been staying for some time. (Aberystwith Observer)

26 July 1884

The Dublin scandals are exciting enormous interest, and most shocking rumours are afloat as to the number and character of those implicated. Such was the nature of the details revealed before the police magistrate that counsel, both for Crown and prisoners, stated afterwards they felt ill. As already stated, some of the Metropolitan police themselves are, it is alleged, concerned in the abominable offences.
          Chief Superintendent Mallon, who, with Superintendent Reddy, is investigating the case, will be relieved from the duties of chief superintendent pending the trials.
          On Friday in Dublin Captain Martin Kirwan, of the Dublin Militia, and Johnston Lyttle, distiller's clerk, were remanded on charges connected with the Dublin scandal. The charge against the former was for conspiring to procure persons for the commission of immoral crime, and against the latter the perpetration of unnatural and abominable offences. Bail was refused.
          Constable Esmond, also implicated, and who deserted recently, was a man of tremendous muscular strength and dauntless courage. On one occasion he captured, single-handed, three burglars, and was actually carrying them off in his arms to the police-station when some of his comrades arrived and relieved him of his burden. (Western Mail, Cardiff)

31 July 1884

Mr Cornwall and Mr Pillar were brought before the chief police magistrate, on Wednesday, in the Court of Common Pleas, Dublin. The man Clarke was under examination the greater part of the day. Private Odell (3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards), who arrived on Wednesday morning from Chelsea Barracks, was in attendance all day, accoutred in marching order, except the bearskin and arms. His name was mentioned in the evidence against Pillar. Mr Cornwall was committed for trial at the next commission on four charges – namely, first, of actual commission of the unnatural crime; second, inciting to commit; third, conspiring to incite; and, fourth, of being guilty of filthy and lewd practices. Bail was refused. Mr Holmes, Q.C., for Mr Cornwall, pointed out that there was no such offence as the last-mentioned known in law. The investigation into the charges against Mr Pillar was then resumed, and did not finish. A number of soldiers from the Guards and Hussars were among the witnesses examined. (Soiuth Wales Daily News)

1 August 1884

At the Dublin Police Court, on Monday, Dr. Fernandez, of the Grenadier Guards, was charged with an abominable offence. Some witnesses were examined, and he was remanded. Further evidence was given in the case against Mr. Cornwall and Mr. Pillar. It is that, in addition to the two clergymen, whose names have been freely mentioned, but who have left the country, another clergyman is implicated. (Monmouthshire Merlin)

1 August 1884

Patrick Ferguson Barber and Charles Brown, salesman, were arrested at Dublin on Thursday in connection with the Dublin scandals. The charge against Mr. Pillar was further investigated. (Western Mail)

1 August 1884

In Dublin on Tuesday, Detective-officer Priestley, of the G Division in the Metropolitan Police, effected two fresh arrests in connection with the Dublin scandals. One was that of Richard Fowler, an Englishman, of No. 43, Golden lane; the other that of Daniel Considine, a blind basket maker, residing at 10, Great Ship street. Both these men have been frequently mentioned in the course of the late investigations.
          Mr. O'Donell, chief magistrate, sat on Tuesday in the Court of Common Please, taking evidence against Mr. Pillar. Some soldiers were examined, chiefly Highlanders. One of the witnesses deposed to having given a ball at his father's house in the absence of the family. The guests were all of the male sex, and included a priest and a parson. Several of them were in female attire, and the host wore a pink dress. (Monmouthshire Merlin)

2 August 1884

Major Gardner, adjutant of the 4th Battalion of the Connaught Rangers, writes that Captain Martin Oranmore Kirwan, who was arrested last week in connection with the Dublin scandals, does not belong to the Galway Militia, nor did he ever hold a commission in the regiment. Mr. M'Laughlin, Q.C., has been offered a retainer for Captain Kirwan.
          Mr. French was on Friday committed for trial at the Commission opening on Tuesday, and will be tried by the ordinary petty jury. On behalf of Mr. Cornwall, a ten days' notice has been served to obtain a special jury under the Crimes Act. Mr. M'Inenry, who defended the Invincibles, has been retained for Mr. Pillar's defence; Mr. Webb, Q.C., has been retained for Surgeon-Major Fernandez; Mr. M'Laughlin, Q.Dc., for Captain Kirwan; and Mr. James Campbell for Mr. Johnston Lyttle.
          One of the latest of the persons compromised is the manager of an extensive drapery establishment. He was brought to the Castle and examined, and on the same evening he left the country. The Nationalists allege that the police have now allowed a large number of the worst of the criminals to escape, and complain bitterly that the police did not make a coup, as in the case of the Invincibles, and arrest all the parties simultaneously. It is a well-known fact that persons have been warned to leave Ireland under pain of being taken into custody. (Western Mail)

5 August 1884

On Monday Surgeon-Major Fernandez, 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards, was brought before Mr O'Donel, chief police magistrate of Dublin, charged with the commission of unnatural crimes. Mr Malcolm Johnston was the chief witness against him. At the close of the evidence Surgeon-Major Fernandez was sent for trial at the commission which opens to-day (Tuesday) at Green-street. His brother and brother-in-law were present and took notes. By permission of the magistrate, a shorthand writer took a full note of the evidence for the War Office.
          Fowler and Considine were then charged with keeping houses in connection with the scandal. They were committed for trial.
          No new arrests have been made. It is expected that the trials will not begin till Friday next, before Judge Lawson and a special jury. (South Wales Daily News)

6 August 1884

Baron Dowse, opening the Dublin Commission on tuesday, said that bills were to go before the grand jury against eight persons for an abominable and unspeakable offence, which was punishable by death under the Statute Law from the time of Henry VIII. to the present reign, when the punishment was made penal servitude for life, and the attempt to commit the offence was made punishable by ten years' penal servitude. Pillar would be charged with the felony in several cases, French in two cases, Cornwall in one, Surgeon-Major Fernandez the same, and Johnston Lyttle in two separate cases. In addition, Captain Martin Oranmore Kirwan and Mr. Cornwall would be charged with conspiring to procure the commission of the offences; Fowler and Considine in like manner for a detestable practice, not only to a Christian but a human being, described as unspeakable. These bills were not to be lightly found, but the grand jury should investigate each case on its own merits, unprejudiced by any desire but to do simple justice.
          Mr. Justice Lawson on Tuesday granted an application, on the Attorney-General's certificate under the Crimes Act, changing the place of trial of Surgeon-Major Fernandez from Kerry, where the unnatural crime of which he is accused was alleged to have been committed, to Dublin. (Western Mail, Cardiff)

William O'Brien

8 August 1884

The Freeman's Journal appeals for subscriptions to recoup Mr. O'Brien, M P, except as to the damages and costs against him. United Ireland says:– Having assisted the loathsome criminals to pursue us almost to the point of destruction worse than death, the Executive are meanly turning their accomplices over to justice. It is in Mr. Bolton's power to make the editor of this journal a bankrupt, and to drive him out of Palriament, and this joy Mr. Bolton is heartily welcome to taste, but the ruin of an individual will not save him and his masters. Earl Spencer and Mr. Trevelyan would have shared these men's triumph of they could have triumphed. Either they shall share their dismissal, or they will have to find even deadlier weapons than Orange verdicts to silence United Ireland. . . . (Western Mail)

8 August 1884

Mr William O'Brien, M.P., left Dublin on Thursday night to return to his parliamentary duties. The intention on the part of United Ireland is to pay the fine of 100 damages recovered against the proprietors, including Messrs Parnell, Egan, Biggar, McCarthy, and O'Brien, but to leave Mr Bolton to his remedy as regards the 3,060 damages against Mr O'Brien himself.
          Mr Wheeler (president of the Irish College of Surgeons) and Dr. Gorden (ex-president of the College of Physicians, Ireland) have examined Mr French at the instance of his solicitor, and have pronounced him not to be in a condition to plead to the indictment charging him with unspeakable crimes. French refuses to eat, stares vacantly, and has become utterly negligent of his appearance. The report of the medical commissioners (Drs. Banks, Cruise, and Robert McDonnell) will be presented at the Commission Court on Friday, and the question of French's capacity to plead decided. All the accused will be formally arraigned. Mr Gibson, Q.C., has been retained for Surgeon-Major Fernancez, of the Grenadier Guards. (South Wales Daily News)

9 August 1884

The investigation into the chartges against Capt. Martin Kirwan and Johnstone Little was resumed on Saturday before Mr. O'Donel, the chief police magistrates, sitting on the Common Please Court, Dublin, when both prisoners were committed for trial.
          The notice service on the Crown by Cornwall, that he will require to have his case tried before a special jury under the Crimes Act, has been served too late, ten days' notice being required under the Act; but it is stated to be the intention of the counsel to apply for a postponement of his case for a few days in order that the provisions of the Act may be complied with.
          Surgeon-Major del Fernandez, 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards, and two keepers of houses of ill-fame, named Fowler and Considine, were on Monday at Dublin committed for trial at the next commission for complicity in the Dublin scandals.
          Baron Dowse, opening the Dublin Commission on Tuesday, said that bills were to go before the grand jury against eight persons for an abominable and unspeakable offence, which was punishable by death under the Statute Law from the time of Henry VIII. to the present reign, when the punishment was made penal servitude for life, and the atttempt to commit the offence was made punishable by ten years' penal servitude. Pillar would be charged with the felony in several cases, French in two cases, Cornwall in one, Surgeon-Major Fernandez the same, and Johnston Lyttle in two separate cases. In addition, Captain Martin Oranmore Kirwan and Mr. Cornwall would be charged with conspiring to procure the commissionn of the offences; Fowler and Considine in like manner for a detestable practice, not only to a Christian but a human being, described as unspeakable. These bills were not to be lightly found, but the grand jury should investigate each case on its own merits, unprejudiced by any desire but to do simple justice.
          Mr. Justice Lawson on Tuesday granted an application, on the Attorney General's certificate under the Crimes Act, changing the place of trial of Surgeon-Major Fernandez from Kerry, where the unnatural crime of which he is accused was alleged to have been committed, to Dublin.
          The City of Dublin grand jury found true bills on Wednesday against Messrs. Cornwall, French, Pillar, Johnston Little, and Surgeon-Major Fernancez for the unspeakable felony, and against Mr. Cornwall, Captain Martin Oranmore Kirwan and Fowler and Considine for conspiracy concerning the unnatural crime. They passed a resolution expressing a hope that the press would not publish the details. Mr. Justice Lawson made an order on the Attorney-General's certificate for the trial of French, Pillar, and Johnston Little in the county of the City of Dublin, and not in the County Dublin. (Weekly Mail, Cardiff)

9 August 1884

. . . Doctors Banks, Cruise, and Robert McDonnell examined Mr French as to his capacity to plead, and their report will be the subject of discussion probably to-day (Thursday) before Baron Dowse, at the Commission Court. (Cardiff Times)

15 August 1884

Mr. Richard W. Boyle, stockbroker, of Dublin, against whom a warrant was issued in connection with the Dublin scandals, and who has absconded, has been removed by order of the Lord Chancellor from the commission of the peace. Mr. Boyle is now in Spain. (Western Mail, Cardiff)

18 August 1884

The medical commissioners appointed by the Crown to examine into the sanity of ex-Detective Director French ae as yet unable to agree, Drs. Banks and Cruise being of the opinion he is not in a condition to plead, while Dr. Robert McDonnell has not definitely made up his mind that he is. Under these circumstances, and the opinion of four other men who have examined French on his own behalf and pronounced him to be suffering from softening of the brain, it is stated the Crown will send him to a lunatic asylum. (South Wales Daily News)

19 August 1884

Chief-superintendent Mallon brought from London to Dublin, on Monday, two young men named James Daly and Jack Saul, whose names were frequently mentioned in the scandal cases. Their evidence has been accepted for the Crown. It is stated positively that Doctors Banks, Cruise, and McDonnell have unanimously come to the conclusion that French is shamming insanity. A jury will be empanelled to try if he is fit to plead. Doctors Eames and Curtis will be examined for French, they having certified he is suffering from softening of the brain. Pillar will first be tried. (South Wales Daily News)

21 August 1884

On Wednesday, at the Dublin Commission, on the application of the prisoner's counsel, the case of Inspector French was adjourned until the next assizes, in order that a further investigation might be made as to his sanity.
          The trial of Mr Cornwall, secretary of the General Post-office, was then resumed. Michael Magrane, a fashionably-dressed young man, corroborated Clarke's evidence, as did also a woman named Berry. Mr Monroe, Q.C., then addressed the jury for the defence, and said everyone would be amazed that a man in the position of Mr Cornwall was put on trial on the evidence of such abandoned wretches as Clarke and Magrane. If such a course was pursued by the Crown, no man's liberty would be safe. Several witnesses, including Sir Robert Dalyel, the prisoner's brother-in-law, were examined to prove that he was in Scotland at the time the alleged offences were committed, and medical evidence was given to the effect that it was physically impossible for the accused to have committed the crimes with which he was charged.
          The jury, after an absence of six minutes, acquitted the prisoner. He was then put back, and will be again put on trial charged with having conspired to procure persons for immoral puposes. (South Wales Daily News)

22 August 1884

At the Dublin Commission on Thursday, before Baron Dowse, the Dublin scandal trials were resumed. Robert Fowler, an Englishman [and former schoolteacher], and Daniel Considine, a blind basket maker, were convicted of having kept disorderly houses, and were each sentenced to two years' imprisonment, with hard labour, the Judge regretting he was unable to give them a heavier sentence. Evidence was given during the hearing of these cases seriously compromising Lieut. Sankey, 5th Dragoon Guards; James Pillar, wine merchant; Captain Traynor, of the merchant service; Mr. Boyle, stockbroker, and others. Baron Dowse, in his charge, stated that those who brought this thing forward had conferred a benefit on the public and on the cause of public morality. Distinctly he said that, and he distinctly said it was his own opinion. If it did not do anything else it would probably put an end to these transactions in Dublin. Surgeon-Major Fernandez, 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards, was put forward in custody, and having been indicted with felony pleaded not guilty. Malcolm Johnstone, a fashionably-dressed young man, swore that he met the prisoner in the Phœnix Park accidentally, and an intimacy sprung up between them. Witness gave a ball, which was attended by the Rev. Paul Keogh, Catholic clergyman; Rev. Thos. Hutchinson, Protestant curate, and others. Witness was known by the title "Lady Constance Clyde," and his companions had all female names, with the exception of Pillar, who was called "Papa." For the defence Colonel T. Otter, Grenadier Guards, and Mr. Charles Fernandez, solicitor, gave prisoner an excellent character. The evidence having closed, the jury stopped the case, and returned a verdict of not guilty, giving it as their opinion that the accused left the court without a stain on his character. Dr. Fernandez, on being discharged, was loudly cheered by a number of medical students. The Crown entered a nolle prosequi against Johnstone Lyttle, distiller's clerk, aged 22, and the court then adjourned.
          The Freeman's Journal says:– The jury in the Cornwall case could not have safely come to any other decision in the absence of corroborative evidence.
          United Ireland says the Crown did not unearth a scrap of evidence themselves against Cornwall, and denounces the composition of the Cornwall jury as the most scandalous part of the Crown strategy, by which Mr. Cornwall goes forth into the society he adorns in a new made robe of Castle righteousness.
          A largely attended public meeting, presided over by Mr. Deasy, M.P., was held at Cork on Thursday evening for the purpose of inaugurating a fund to indemnify Mr. Wm. O'Brien, M.P., in connection with the late trials in Dublin and Belfast. The principal speaker was Mr. A. M. Sullivan, who denounced the Government who were screening and sheltering abominable miscreants, whom they should on the first occasion have put in the same position they were so ready to put Connemara peasants in on the whisper of a common informer. One hundred pounds were subscribed and a Collecting Committee formed. (Western Mail, Cardiff)

Martin Oranmore Kirwan

23 August 1884

The trial of Gustavus Cornwall and Captain Kirwan was resumed to-day. T. Macdermott, replying for the Crown, relied on the association of the prisoners with young "Catamites," and a clerk with 60 a year as strong presumptive evidence in support of their direct testimony. He implored the jury not to be swayed by the resp0ectability of the accused,and urged them to do their duty,and cut deep atthe cancer affecting Dublin.  After three hours' deliberation, the Jury came into Court,and the foreman intimated that there was no chance of agreement, but they were sent back again.
          James Pillar, who had pleaded guilty to felony, was then put forward and sentenced to 20 years' penal servitude.
          The Jury again disagreed and Cornwall and Kirwan were admitted to bail in 2,000 to appear at the next Commission. (Echo (London))

23 August 1884

On Friday, at the Dublin commission, Mr Cornwall (secretary of the General Post-office) and Captain Martin Kirwan (of the Dublin Military) were put on their trial, charged with having conspired together to procure persons to commit immoral offences. Malcolm Johnstone stated he was in Hamburg in 1876, he being then 14 years of age. He met there Mr Gardner, an English member of Parliament, who gave him a letter of introduction to Captain Kirwan. Three years ago he introduced witness to Cornwall. – George Taylor said that about six years ago he met Captain Kirwan in the street, and was accosted by him. three years since he was introduced by Kirwan to Cornwall. In cross-examination witness said he never knew whether these practises were either legally or morally wrong. At the suggestion of Meiklejohn, witness wrote a letter to County-Inspector French to try and get a compromising reply from him. – Colonel Trotter, Grenadier Guards, addressing the presiding judge, said every soldier whose name had been mentioned during these trials had ceased to belong to the army. – The cases had not concluded when the court adjourned. (South Wales Daily News)

23 August 1884

Chief Superintendent Mallon arrived from London in Dublin on Monday with James Daly and John Saul, who were frequently mentioned in the scandal cases, and they will be examined at the trials.
          At the commission (before Baron Dowse) the trial of the prisoners who are charged in connection with what is known as the Dublin scandals was commenced. County-Inspector French, of the Royal Irish Constabulary, was first placed in the dock, and indicted with having committed a felony in May, 1883. On the application of his counsel, who stated he was not of sound mind, a jury were empanelled to try whether he was competent to plead. The constables who had been protecting the prisoner before his arrest, and two doctors, swore that in their opinion he was insane; while the three medical men who had been deputed by the Crown to examine him deposed that he was only feigning mandess. – The jury after a lengthened deliberation, were unable to agree, and were discharged.
          James Pillar, aged 70, wine merchant, was indicted with the same crime. He pleaded guilty, and sentence was deferred.
          At the Dublin Commission Court on Wednesday the trial of Mr. Cornwall, secretary of the General Post Office, was resumed. Michael Magrave, a fashionably-dressed young man, was examined, and swore to having seen Clarke and the prisoner together on one occasion. In cross-examination witness said he had no fixed occupation, but was occasionally engaged in theatres. He partially lived on money received for committing offences. He was sent to London by Meiklejohn and Mr. Chance, solicitor, and paid 25s. a week. He had interviews in London with Meiklejohn about the prisoner. – The case against the prisoner having closed, Mr Munroe opened the defence, in which he promised to establish an alibi for the accused, and also to prove by medical testimony that the act alleged by the principal witness was physically impossible. – Sir John Dalyell proved that the prisoner – his brother-in-law – was with him in Scotland at the time the alleged act was sworn to have occurred. – Mr. Whelan, President of the College of Surgeons, and Drs. Rawdon, M'Namarn, and Hamilton proved the act was physically impossible. – Mr. Holmes addressed the jury for Mr. Cornwall, and The M'Dermott replied for the Crown. – The jury, after an absence of six minutes, acquitted the prisoner. He was then put back, and will be again put on trial charged with having conspired to procure persons for immoral purposes. (Weekly Mail, Wales)

23 August 1884

Mr Rochard W. Boyle, the Dublin banker whose name is associated with the scandals at present under investigation in Green-street, is a gentleman who prefers a 'castle in Spain' to a residence in the Irish metropolis. It is announced this week that Mr Boyle has made his home beyond the Pyrenees. (The Nation)

25 August 1884

On Saturday, what may be considered the first act in the Dublin scandal cases terminated at four o'clock, Mr Baron Dowse and the Dublin county and city special jurors having been engaged during the week in their investigation. Mr James Pillar, aged 60 years, an extensive grocer in Dublin, was put forward. He was, it is stated, a Quaker, and he had pleaded guilty of felony.
          – Mr Baron Dowse said: James Pillar, you have pleaded guilty to an indictment charging you with an abominable crime. You originally pleaded "not guilty," but afterwards, as I am willing to believe, at your own suggestion that plea was withdrawn, and a plea of guilty entered by you with a full knowledge of the consequences of the act. I will not take into account in this case the other indicments found against you. I believe in all they amount to eight, in at least three or four charging you with felony. The Crown have entered a nolle prosequi in the others, as I believe they were bound to do. More horrible offences I have never head in the whole course of my life. There is not a single trial at the adjouned commimssion that your name has not cropped up in. Never in the whole course of my life have I heard a more eloquent or more touching address than the one your eloquent counsel has just made. I cannot conceive for myself a more painful duty than that which devolves upon me. The sentence of the court is that you be kept in penal servitude for twenty years.
          – The trial of Mr Gustavus Cornwall and Captain Kirwan for conspiracy to corrupt the morals of others was continued. It had been adjourned from the previous day. The jury retired at twenty-five minutes to one o'clock. At thirteen minutes past two o'clock they returned into court, and the foreman said: We find a difficulty in agreeing. Will your lordship read a portion of the evidence which connects the prisoners together on the conspiracy charge?
          – Mr Baron Dowse having again given a brief summar of the evidence, said: All this, if you believe the witnesses, is cogent evidence to persuade you that these men met one another for the purposes indicated. To believe the evidence is one thing, to understand it is another. It appears to me you do not understand it.
          – At ten minutes past three o'clock the jury came into court, and the jury said there was no possibility of their agreeing.
          – A Juror: Our difficulty is whether we can believe the witnesses.
          – The jury again retired.
          – Baron Dowse: I will give the jury a quarter of an hour for further consideration. I would keep them longer if there was any chance of a verdict.
          – At half-past three o'clock the jury again re-entered the box, and having intimated that there was no chance of their agreeing, Baron Dowse discharged them. the prisoners were allowed out on bail, 2,000 each, and two sureties of 500 each. (South Wales Daily News)

30 August 1884

The pleadings in the case of Mr. Cornwall and Captain Kirwan were ended at Dublin on Saturday and Baron Dowse, in charging the jury, directed them that if they believed the evidence, both the prisoners were undoubtedly guilty, while the guilt of Kirwan was proved by a number of letters which he had written. The jury retired shortly before one. They returned into court at half-past two,when the ofreman intimated there was no chance of their agreeing to a verdict. They were, however, sent back by the judge. At a quarter-past three the jury again returned into court, and stated that there was no chance of their agreeing to a verdict. The Judge having explained the questions submitted to them, directed the jury again to retire. the Foreman said the question on which they were divided was as to the credibility of the witnesses. At half-past three the jury were sent for, and as it appeared there was no chance of their agreeing they were discharged, and the prisoners were put back. After the jury had been discharged, on the application of the prisoners' counsel, the accused were admitted to bail until the next Commission, themselves in 1,000 each, and two sureties in 500. A number of the friends of the prisoners shook hands warmly wtih them. It is stated that the jury were unanimously in favour of acquitting Cornwall, but were unable to do so, owing to the dictum of the judge, that they must either acquit or convict both together. It is further stated that eight of the jurors were disposed to acquit Kirwan. – Mr. James Pillar, 60, a grocer, who had pleaded guilty to the charge of inhuman practices, was sentenced to twenty years' penal servitude. (Weekly Mail, Cardiff)

1 September 1884

An inquiry is now commencing at Dublin that bids fair to become a "cause celébrè." Some time since Mr. O'Brien, M.P., the editor and owner of United Ireland, a print of more than usual violence and animosity to the English public, brought a charge of the grossest indecency against Mr. Gustavus Cornwall, the secretary of the Irish Post Office. A number of persons were implicated in the accusation, some in good positions and some in the very lowest class of life. On this charge Mr. Cornwall brought an action against O'Brien, but failed to sustain it in the opinion of the jury, and, by consequence, the suspicion thrown on his conduct is so great that he was suspended from office, and has been arrested on a charge of unnatural crimes. Besides Mr. Cornwall, Mr. J. E. French, late director of the Detective Department of the Royal Irish Cosntabulary, has been likewise arrested, and also an old man, a grocer over seventy, and said to be a member of the Society of Friends, and father of a large family, has been charged on suspion. It seems perfectly incredible, but it is alleged that the police have got a vast quantity of evidence together against the accused persons, and are now busily engaged in sifting it. it must be admitted anything originating from the office of United Ireland must be received cum grano salis, on account of the ferocious bigotry and hatred of its editor to all officials of the Government, but nevertheless the facts at present look black, and if Mr. O'Brien has really good grounds for his imputations he will have done good service by exposing a band of scoundrels who must have been carrying on malpractices for a considerable time. Mr. Cornwall was arrested in Scotland at the residence of his brother-in-law. He had already telegraphed his locus to the auithorities, and courts the fullest inquiry into his conduct. (Taranaki Herald, New Plymouth, New Zealand)

18 October 1884

The trial of the prisoners charged in connectionn with the Dublin scandals, Green-street, has commenced. Ex-Detective Inspector French was the first arraigned, but a jury of "triers" had to be emphannelled to give a verdict as to his mental condition, the defence having set up a plea that he was insane. The medical evidence was conflicting, and the jury having been sent back two or three times were unable to agree, and were discharged, the prisoner being ordered to stand down. James Pillar on being placed in the dock pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 20 years. Mr. Gustavus Cornwall was acquitted. An alibi was set up for the defence, and the jury returned a verdict of "Not Guilty." Surgeon-Major Fernandez, of the Grenadier Guards, was also indicted for felony. Malcolm Johnson was the ony witness against the accused, and at the conclusion of the evidence Baron Dowse advised the jury that, Johnson being an informer, and his evidence being unsupported, there was no case against the prisoner. The jury returned a verdict of "Not Guilty," the foreman remarking that he was requested by his fellow jurors to express their opinion that Dr. Fernandez left the court without a stain upon his character. Johnstone Little was then placed in the dock on a similar indictment, but counsel for the Crown announced that the evidence for the Crown being the same in this case, they would enter a nolle prosequi. Baron Dowse expressed approval of this course, and the court adjourned. (Evening Post, Wllington, New Zealand)

18 October 1884

Up to August 22 the result of the Dublin scandal trials had been as follow:– The defendants were before Baron Dowse on August 19. The Court was first occupied with the question of the sanity of Inspector French, one of the prisoners. Medical evidence was taken of a contradictory character, and the jury being unable to agree, the prisoner was put back. James Pillar was put forward and indicted for felony. Mr M'Inerney said on behalf of teh prisoner he had to withdraw the plea of not guilty and pleaed guilty. Mr Serjeant Hemphill said the Crown would withdraw the other counts against the prisoner. Sentence was deferred. The case against Gustavus Cornwall was then proceeded with. Witnesses were called to prove that at the time the alleged offences were committed he was not in Dublin, the case for the defence being that the whole story against Cornwall was a concoction by persons who would swear anything for half-a-crown. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty. The prisoner was, however, put back, as there are other charges against him. The trials were resumed on August 21, when the two men Fowler and Considine were found guilty on a charge of keeping disorderly houses, and were each sentenced to two years' imprisonment. It was stated that the men who visited the houses assumed female names. The judge said that he was sorry he could not inflict a heavier sentence on the prisoners. Surgeon-Major Fernandez, of the Grenadier Guards, was then put on his trial for felony. He pleaded not guilty, and was defended by counsel. Several jurors were challenged on behalf of the prisoner. There being no corroboration of the accomplice Johnstone's evidence, the prisoner was acquitted. (The Star, Canterbury, New Zealand)

29 October 1884

At the Dublin Commission Corrt on Tuesday Gustavus Cornwall and Martin Kirwan were put on their trial charged with conspiracy to commit certain offences. Malcolm Johnson and George Taylor deposed to acts, principally by Kirwan, substantiating the indictment. The witnesses admitted in cross-examination that Detective Meiklejohn induced them to give information. Mr. Monroe opened the defence and the court adjourned. (Western Mail)

1 November 1884

At the Dublin Commission, on Wednesday, the trial of Mr. Cornwall and Captain Kirwan terminated. The jury, after deliberating for twenty minutes, returned a verdict of "Not guilty." They added that the evidence produced by the Crown was not sufficient. The speech was received in court with loud cheers and a few hisses. (Weekly Mail, Cardiff)

27 December 1884

On Saturday morning, in the Court House, Green-street, Dublin, Mr. Justice O'Brien resumed the trial of James Ellis French, the head of the Detective Department in Ireland, for felony. This was the third trial, the prisoner having previously been tried twice as to his sanity to plead. The evidence having been given, the jury, after an hour and a half's deliberation, found the prisoner guilty on the second count, that of conspiracy to procure persons to commit immoral practices.
          Judge O'Brien, in passing sentence on the prisoner, said that he had been found guilty, and the verdict had his unqualified concurrence. He regretted that all the rewards the prisoner in his official capacity had gained, which were the results of a long and honourable service to his country, were now lost – his reputation, his pension, his character, his liberty. It was his duty to sentence the prisoner to the highest penalty the law allowed for this offence – that was two years' imprisonment with hard labour from the time of his arrest. The prisoner, who will thus have to serve nineteen months' imprisonment, received his sentence without making any observation or any outward sign of concern. (Weekly Mail, Cardiff)

Saturday 7 February 1885

James Ellis French, ex-Detective Director, and County Inspector of Police, will spend his Christmas in gaol as a convicted criminal. Nemesis has overtaken him at last (says the Nation). He has lost, in Judge O'Brien's words, "position, reputation, pension, character, and liberty." French's trial at the commision in Green-street ended on Saturday, 20th December, in a verdict of guilty. Judge O'Brien then passed upon him sentence of two years' imprisonment with hard labour, the sentence to take effect from the date of the arrest. We trust we have now heard the last ot these revolting trials. (The Advocate, Melbourne, Victoria)
[Note that he was only convicted (in December) following two consecutive trials which each ended in the jury's disagreement.]

13 February 1885

At Green-street, Dublin, on Tuesday, Gustavus C. Cordwall [sic], late secretary to the Post Office, and Captain Martin Oranmore Kirwan were placed at the bar at the Commission Court, before Mr. Justice Harrison, on an indictment charging them with conspiracy to procure the commission of felonious offences. Mr. Cornwall was accompanied into court by his brother-in-law, Sir Robert Dalzell. The proceedings were adjourned. On Wednesday the trial was resumed. The jury retired at four o'clock, and at twenty minutes past, returned with a verdict of not guilty, adding that the evidence produced by the Crown was not sufficient. The verdict was received with hisses and applause. The defendants were then discharged. James Ellis French was next put upon his trial, and Dr. Boyd, Q.C., for the prisoner declined to plead, on the ground that his client was mentally unable to do so. On Thursday an investigation took place into the sanity of ex-Inspector French of the Irish Constabulary. The accused is charged with unmentionable crimes, and it is contended by his counsel that since the charges were preferred against him he has become insane. On the other hand, it is alleged his is shamming. Counsel handed in a long letter written by the prisoner from Kilmainham Prison last month, which was dated August 30, and addressed to a Mr. Richard Good. Therein the prisoner complained of the way in which his defence was being prepared, and said if he went over to Mr. Parnell and Mr. O'Brien he would drive the Government out of Ireland, and that he would be better paid by them. (Laughter.) French in the same letter advised that no risk should be run in getting a verdict in his favour. He added if the Government wished to make terms with him he would not take less than 20,000, with a pension, as he could put them out of ireland. He then referred to the part he took in finding out the Phœnix Park murders. He said it was not known that there were more than one car and four persons at the murder until he found it out. He thought the Press would take up his case, and he would bge a regular hero. This letter a medical witness believed was consistent with French suffering from softening of the brain. The jury found that he was sane and fit to plead, and he will, therefore, be put upon his trial on the charge of having committed felonious offences. (North Australian, Darwin – summarizing events from the previous year)

SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "The Dublin Scandals, 1884", 13 March 2019, updated 9 Jan. 2023 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/1884dub.htm>.

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