* * * *
The Bishop of Clogher vs. James Byrne
THE use of TORTURE, in a variety of ways, appearing to be gaining ground in Great Britain, with a view to aid in bringing the horrible encroachment more fully into view, I shall take a review of a recent case of DREADFUL NOTORIETY, as affording, in more features than one, ample grounds of comparison with the juridical murder of LE BRUN, an [p.511] innocent man, who was tortured to death in the year 1689 at Paris.
So truly barbarous is the spirit of all the ancient codes of laws that are still in use in Europe, and so generally subversive of the only legitimate end of legislation, that a close observer of their mischievous tendency might conclude their sole object was to demoralize and brutalize mankind. And surely it was some fiend that first whispered into the ear of an iniquitous judge, in the administration of justice, to call in the aid of the SCOURGE and the RACK for the discovery of truth! Instead of this foul and cruel mode of procedure leading to the discovery of truth, in nineteen cases out of twenty it has had a contrary effect. During the insurrection of Ireland in 1798, many persons were urged by half-hanging, picquetting, and by excessive flogging, to confess themselves guilty of crimes of which they were innocent, to obtain the favour of being hanged, without suffering the agonies of more protracted torture!
To the enternal injury of revealed religion, and indelible stain to a REFORMED church, a PRELATE, a man of illustrious birth, great connexions, and enormous riches, sunk so far below the plunges of ordinary criminals as to cherish propensities of an unnatural and most loathsome nature. Unrestrained by shame, by remorse, by the defilement he was communicating to the church of which he was so high a dignitary, he followed his secret and hideous vice, till rumour succeeding rumour, complete and full detection burst forth and overwhelmed him.
But what has this to do with the case of LE BRUN? some reader may perhaps exclaim; and to such I would reply, "A great deal, as far as the application of TORTURE is concerned." I shall therefore copy an article which has traversed Great Britain in the public journals, and then connect the ominous occurrence wiht the fate of LE BRUN. It runs thus:
"It appears from a statement in the dublin Herald, that the unfortunate man BYRNE, who was nearly [p.512] FLOGGED TO DEATH in Dublin for bringing a criminal charge, is stillliving, adn that he was not sentenced, as reported, to transportation. He was found guilty entirely on the evidence of the WRETCH, whose theatrical attitude in rising and calling on the God of truth and justice to hear his words, whilst he pledged himself before his country, and on the holy evangelists, that he had been falsely accused, has not yet left the minds of numerous citizens who were spectators. The sentence was two years' imprisonment, and TWO OR THREE FLOGGINGS! the incarceration was fully completed, and under one FLOGGING he bled till the last spark of life had nearly become extinct. When he had recovered, and was on the eve of getting a second flogging, a steward of the MONSTER came to him, and offered a remission of the impending punishment, on the conditio of Byrne's signing a written acknowledgment of his having been guilty of slander and falsehood. Who, that was not prepared to die of the agonies of the rack, could refuse his signature under such circumstances? the poor creature, it may be supposed, was not slow in putting his trembling hand to the paper, and he was MERCIFULLY spared a punishment of which it was a thousand to one he would not have endured the infliction."
The BISHOP of CLOGHER* was not only a dignitary of the [p.513] Irish church, but a member of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, one of the Board of Education, a Bible distributor, and a staunch hater of popery.
[*NOTE: Byrne had heard his fellow-menials whisper that the Honourable JOCELYN PERCY, Bishop of CLOGHER, was a Sodomite: he mentioned what he had heard: was prosecuted and convicted on the single oath of the Sodomite. He was imprisoned, and TORTURED under the pretext of giving him a flogging; and then another menial, a servant of the Sodomite, offers a remission of punishment, if the innocent man would confess himself guilty. The AUTHORITY the menial had for making that offer should be inquired into, and wherever guilty lays, there should the severest of punishment fall. How rapidly will these foul crimes swell the multitudes that are daily and hourly falling away from the belief in religion; and chiefly from the profligacy of the priesthood.]
Now for the context: the case of LE BRUN presents an afflicting and distressful instance of a set of French judges, who, to strike terror into the menials of the great of that day, and utterly neglectful of the straight and direct path of getting at the truth, and which lay open before them, had recourse to the RACK to extort a confession of guilt. An extraordinary degree of fortitude enabled the victim to endure all the studied torments of the rack, rather than confess himself guilty of a crime of which he was innocent.
In the recent case of torture in Ireland, poor Byrne had been scourged by a gigantic executioner six feet high, till his back-bone was laid bare, and some accounts state that his bowels were uncovered of skin and muscle! At all events, he was tortured till he lay bleeding, lacerated, and apparently expiring. When the MITRED CRIMINAL had thus gluitted his infernal spirit of vengeance, when he had suffered an innocent man to linger out two long years of imprisonment, the fear of the miscreant led him, and the DREAD of expiring under the lash enabled him, to wring from the unhappy victim of his power and influence a CONFESSION OF GUILT! Here then exists the parallel between the two cases: Le Brun was sacrificed to the safety of the [p.514] voluptuous and profligate nobility of the court of Louis XIV. Byrne, who was also a menial, by a process that cannot be too severely condemned, was made a sacrifice to the safety and reputation of a NOBLEMAN and a PRELATE! Torture having more power over him than Le Brun, he confessed guilt thought he was guiltless. Now, though I will not say the judge and jury by whom byrne was condemned, were as guilty as the members of the French tribunal by whom Le Brun was murdered, yet, before the exculpatory oath of the plaintiff had been received, there should have been instituted a rigid inquisition by the PRELACY of England and Ireland, into the private life and character of the BISHOP of CLOGHER; and if this had been done, the taint would have been easily traced. The notorious profligacyi of many former dignataries of the Irish churhc leaves the less excuse for the court or the jury. A criminal, guilty of any very infamous act of FELONY, would seldom be seen to hesitate to perjure himself, when, by so doing, he might not alone escape punishment, but destroy his accuser!
Many terrible acts of injustice, in case of ex-officio informations, have arisen from this practice of our common law courts. In 1805, the secretary to an admiral in a southern port betrayed confidence, adn robbed a gentleman thereby of many thousands. The person injured wrote an intemperate letter; the secretary, under sanction of this law, superadded perjury to fraud, and by perverting a law bad in its principle, completed the ruin of the person he had betrayed and cheated! It ought therefore to be abolished. The Bishop of Clogher, whether he proceeded by indictment or an ex-officio information, ought not to have been permitted to appear as a witness, till a rigid examination of his domestics and most intimate friends had been executed by a commission appointed by the prelacy. If this wise and necessary inquisition had taken place, such presumptive proofs of the hideous taint must have appeared [p. 515] as would have suppressed the prosecution, and saved the wretched being from the aggravation of his infamy b the daring appeal, and horrible perjuries he committed. If he had been innocent, this inquisition, after the conviction of the slanderer, would have cleared off every stain; and if Byrne had really been guilty of maliciously slandering, he ought to have been transported for life; but not TORTURED. Such is the view I have taken of this lamentable instance of human depravity: and now for the sacrifice of Le Brun, the French valet. . . . [p.516]
ILLUSTRATIVE SKETCHES OF THE SUFFERINGS OF
J A M E S B Y R N E,
AND THE MATCHLESS DEPRAVITY OF
J O C E L Y N P E R C Y,
LATE LORD BISHOP OF CLOGHER.
Disgusted with the theme, the muse recoils
A British prelate caught in the loath'd act
Which SODOM and GOMORRAH overwhelm'd,
And in their sin, by fire from heav'n, consum'd!
Imperial Britain! bow thy lofty head!
The arm of vengeance o'er thy guilty sons
Behold outstretch'd and bare. Thy king, superb,
That sways thy sceptre, should his garments rend,
And humbled to the dust, cry out aloud
For mercy! Crimes dark and foul as these
A nation's fall portend. E'en now perchance,
Thy realm blood-bolster'd, and by rapie stain'd,
Stands like some tow'ring column, whose hoar head
The clouds yet kiss, but long by storms assail'd,
Its deep foundations, sapp'd on ev'ry side,
Shall sudden yield, and spread a ruiin vast
As when imperial ROME's proud empire fell,
To rise no more the mistress of the world!
IN the introductory part of the very extraordinary narrative of LE BRUN, page 511, I drew a parallel between this case and that of JAMES BYRNE, a domestic servant, [p.589] who wrongfully suffered a punishment worse than any death unaccompanied by torture, at the instigation of a protestant bishop, who had in vain attempted to convert [p.590] that poor man, not from the errors of the church of Rome, but to become O shame! the prelate's mate in a sodomitical rencounter! The sheets to which I am referring were worked off before I was aware that the selections I had made from the leading Irish journals were erroneous. The ensuing selections will correct those inaccuracies.
The account of Byrne's sufferings I shall take from Cobbett's Register, differing, however, very essentially from that gentleman as to the motive which led the Orangemen of Dublin to treat the innocent victim of the Sodomitical bishop with so much severity.
It will be seen in the narrative subjoined, that JAMES BYRNE, after his escape from the pollution offered by the bishop of CLOGHER, spoke freely of the gross outrage which had been offered. It is too well known to need illlustration, that slanders fly on the wings of the winds, and this foul imputation spread with the inconceivable rapidity all over the city. Byrne being a Catholic, it is natural to suppose the Catholics of Dublin, particularly in the lower ranks, were loud in their reproaches and execrations: indeed so foul a stain never did before befal our established church, as this clerical monster has induced. I am by no means an advocate for Orange Clubs, considering all those associations criminal that have a tendency to perpetuate heredity animosity, and, above all, dissensions upon religious subjects. The Irish Orangeists are too much addicted to cherish the remembrance of all the cruelties inflicted upon the Protestants, when the Roman Catholic was the established church of the land; forgetful of the horrible persecution, and the dreadful RETALIATION inflicted upon Catholics, after the reformers of that day had acquired a complete ascendancy. On those grounds I should be happy to see, not alone the order of Orangemen put down, but their persecuting spirit extinguished. So far I can go with Mr. Cobbett, but far am I from believing that the ORANGEMEN of Dublin persecuted and tortured JAMES BYRNE because he is a Catholic! No!! [p.591] they hated and detested him because they implicitly believed in the INNOCENCE of the bishop, whose character Byrne had loaded with the most foul and loathsome of all possible crimes. It is reasonable to suppose some of their leaders had communications with the delinquent, and that the lost wretch was impelled, by their interference, to act as he did in prosecuting Byrne, and in making the daring the impious appeal to the Almighty to attest his innocence. These are facts as likely to have proceeded from fear as from malice: no doubt those powerful impellers had nearly an equal share in leading to the prosecution in question, and the stupendous blasphemy attached, a blasphemy so enormously offensive, as to leave at an immeasurable distance the guilt of the most depraved villain whose name is to be found in the annals of infamy. And when the tainted siner had lifted his scathed front towards heaven, and made the impious invocation in question, what could be more likely to provoke and goad the Orangemen to act with all the ferocity described by Mr. Cobbett, than that full and entire belief they reposed in the innocence of the bishop? And if Byrne had been as guilty as he was generally estimated after this solemn abjuration, if he had been capable of casting such an imputation upon an innocent, upright, and virtuous man, horrible as was the torture he endured, no one could say he suffered underservedly.
If I were to be asked where and when the unhappy wretch first contracted the detestable taint, I should point to the monastic solitude of the college, where nothing female is suffered to be seen, and where the bed-makers are males, as the most probable source of his propensity. Those who are intimately acquainted with our universities know, that within the last twenty years, several members have become addicted to this abhorrent practice. At Oxford the son of a respectable innkeeper was selected by one of these as his prey; the boy told of the horrid attempt, unconscious of its enormity. The father visited the culprit, [p.592] and gave him only an hour's notice to disappear. It was eagerly embraced, and the offender was seen no more in Oxford. The example of past ages ought not to be followed when circumstances are wholly changed. In the public seminaries of the United States of North America, and in most, if not all the Protestant universities of Europe, the students lodge in the houses of the citizens. In our two principal universities, they live in chambers, as in monasteries.
But wherever the first taint was imbibed, and the first sin against God and Nature committed, it is an inherent principle in crime that every offence multiplies the chances of detection, and, when dangers impend, urges the criminal to venture new and deeper plunges to screen his guilt, and elude the stroke of justice. . . . [p. 593] . . . And when Jocelyn Percy [sic] falsely affirmed his innocence of the foul crime imputed to him by James Byrne, it is not at all improbable that he was wholly unprepared for the tast enjoined, of criminally prosecuting James Byrne; and that it was as little in his power to avoid that additional offence, without an instantaneous admission of his own guilt . . . .
Before I commence with the narrative written by Mr. [p.597] Cobbett, I think it due to the individuals whose aberrations are recited in the ensuing paragraphs to disclaim, in the most pointed manner, the most remote design to degrade their characters, even by a comparison with the deep perdition which overwhelms the name of Jocelyn Percy; and equally foreign to any part of my intentions was that of offering any pallation of his guilt. All I aimed at accomplishing was a spirited delineation of the rapid march of crime, and to demonstrate the imminent danger of the first step, from the fearful results to which it oftentimes leads.
EXTRACT FROM "COBBETT'S REGISTER."
'HORRID PUNISHMENT OF JAMES BYRNE,
In the city of Dublin, in the year 1811.
WMY readers have before received some information this subject; but, as yet, the thing has not been placed before the public in that full and regular manner that I think it ought to be.
"We know, that, in July last, the Right Reverend Father in God, the Honourable PERCY JOCELYN, Doctor of Divinity, Lord Bishop of Clogher, Commissioner of the Board of Education, a Member of the Society for punishing Vice and Immorality, Brother to the late Earl of [p.598] Roden,* and Uncle of the present Earl of Roden;
[*NOTE: "On Sunday morning, in Ely Place, Dublin, aged twenty-four, died Lady Ann Jocelyn, only sister of the Earl of Roden, and niece of the wretch who has been allowed to escape the punishment he has so well deserved." Could any editor believe, even for a moment, that the miserable man has escaped, becxause he has been allowed to elude the stroke of legal justice, and preserve an existence that cannot be otherwise than the bitterest and heaviest of curses! It it impossible a man of his education, however warped may be his mind b the infernal habit he contracted, should be so callous as to be wholly dead to the compunctious visitings of shame and remorse! Wherever he may drag his carcase, in whatever guise endeavour to hid himself from mankind, Providence has placed in his bosom a moral rack that tears and lacerates his soul; that inflicts, by the incessant upbraidings of his tortured conscience, anguish incomparably more keen than the hangman's scourge inflicted upon poor Byrne! Without doubt, as he is the most loathsome and abhorrent of criminals, so are his mental sufferings the most exquisite. Wholly ignorant as I am of the cause of the death of this young lady, his niece, in the blossom of youthful life, I have no right to assume she drooped and died from grief, induced by her uncle's infamy, but the inference is reasonable. And I regret, when her decease was announced, that the name of the depraved and lost man, her uncxle, was coupled with it. Too probably, it is that young lady who has "escaped" the shame and grief occasioned by this foul disgrace attaching to her family, and which may have pressed too heavily upon, and broken an innocent, benevolent, and too susceptible heart! [p. 599]
we know that this 'venerable' person was, on the 19th of July last, detected with John Movelley, a private soldier in the Foot Guards, in a back room of the White-Lion public-house, in the parish of St. James's, Westminster, in the actual commission of that horrid and unnatural crime, which drew down God's vengeance, and brought destruction by fire and brimstone, on two whole cities, in times of old: we know, that the Father in God and his mate were, amidst the execrations and the peltings of the indignant populace, taken to the watch-house with their middle garments hanging about their heels, just in the situation in which those garments were, when the parties were seized by the witnesses, who had bursted open the room-door and rushed in upon them: we know, that after being [p.599] kept in the watch-house during the night, they were brought to the police-office at Marlborough-street, and before a public justice of the name of Dyer, a lawyer of the name of Alley, attending in behalf of the Father in God, whose attorney was a man named Wingfield: we know, that there were seven witnesses to the fact: we know, that this fact was of a decided character: we know, that Dyer, upon the representation of Alley, admitted the Father in God to bail, himself in five hundred pounds, with two sureties in two hundred and fifty pounds each: we know, that some weeks afterwards, the Fathe rin God's mate was admitted to bail, himself in two hundred pounds, with two sureties in a hundred pounds each: we know, that the New Times told us, that the Law Officers of the Crown had received order to prosecute the offenders:* [p.600]
[*NOTE: I am not prepared to say that the magistrate acted illegally or corruptly, but in a case of such enormity, where the worst felony in the power of man to commit appeared to be so unequivocally proved by overwhelming and incontrovertible evidence, I cannot help thinking the offender should not have been bailed. Mark the result of it as respects the character of the administration of justice, exemplified on the trial of Mr. Waddington for publishing a blasphemous libel! namely,
"In defence, Mr. Waddington, who had a desk and box full of booiks with him, made a long address to the jury, which was repeatedly interrupted by the judge as irrelevant. He asked by the Diavolus Regii (meaning Regis Diabolus the Attorney-General) had brought him here? An ex-officio was one of the relics of the Star-chamber. There was the Society for the Suppression of Vice at the head of all this; and who were they? The BISHOP OF CLOGHER was one of them: and who was he? a man who had done more to profane the Christian Religion than all the blasphemers and Deists that had ever lived; yet this bishop was permitted by the government to escape, while he (Waddington) was prosecuted. . . . [p.600]
we know, that they were indicted at the last Middlesex Sessions, and the bill was returned a true bill: we know, that they have not been tried: we know, that they have not appeared: we know, that the Law Officers of the Crown have not brought forward Movelley, though he was and is a soldier in the Guards, and though his regiment was and is quartered in London: we know, that the public has had a particular eye upon this: we know, that Movelley must be with his regiment now, or must have been discharged, or must have deserted: we know, that there is an Alien-Act, which renders it very difficult for any man to get out of the country without a passport: we know, that, in a recent case, Corporal George, when he was to be even a witness, was kept in confinement to the day of trial: in fine, we know, that there has been no trial either of the Father in God, or of his mate, both of whom, as was before observed, were detected in the full and complete commission of the horrid act, and were taken [p.601] to the Watch-house with their middle garments hanging down to their heels.*
[*NOTE: Whilst I acquit the Government of having, from the motives imputed by Mr. Cobbett, connived at the indulgence shown to this tainted wretch, it forms the most dangerous feature of the whole case, holding out to high-born Sodomites the prospect of impunity and person safety! At a recent execution of two Sodomites at the Old Bailey, in London, namely Holland and Green the populace hailed their appearance under the gallows with a storm of execration, not more loud and fierce than the nature of their crime deserved, but which was calculated to add to the sufferings of their less guilty associates, and disturb their last moments. The universal cry was, Where's the bishop? Where's Clogher? It is said that when George III. asked Lord Mansfield whether Doctor Dodd might be pardoned, his lordship replied in the affirmative, but added, If that offender is pardoned, the Pereaux have been murdered! Then, as to the question of bail, the law should be peremptory. The act of taking bail, in the face of such evidence as was adduced against the Bishop of Clogher and Movelley his mate, forms a breach of the law of the land, and inflicts a wound on the character of its administration, almost as fatal as the hideous offence committed by the fallen prelate and his suborned associate to the established church. . . . [p.602]
"Thus far we know, and we shall long remember. But [p.602] this affair of the Father in God has brought us English people acquainted with a former affair of his, in which the cruelly-punished James Byrne was a party. The facts of this Irish affair are these: that, in the year 1811, the Father in God being then the Lord Bishop of Ferns, had Byrne in a parlour (in Dublin) to pay him some momey; that he began by talking filthy language to him, then put his arm round his neck, and then endeavoured to proceed as with the beastly Movelley: that Byrne repulsed him with indignation, and left him: that Byrne spoke of the matter: that he was brought before the Lord Maor of Dublin, under a charge of libel: that the Lord Mayor sent him to gaol, and would not admit him to bail: that he was brought to trial in October 1811: that the Father in God was one of the witnesses against him: that the Father in God being shown a paper, containing Byrne's charges, and being asked, whether the contents of that paper were true or false, 'arose, and, in the most impressive and dignified manner, placed his hand upon his breast, and said, false!' We know, that the 'counsel' for poor Byrne declined to cross-examine the Father in God, and that they here gave up the case! We know, that the counsel for the Father in God (which counsel is now Chief Justice in Ireland,) said the Father in God was one of the most benevolent, most virtuous, most spotless, most pious of human beings, and that he sprang from a stock that was nobleness itself. Lastly, we know, that the judge, Fox, after reproaching poor Byrne as a 'horrid and unprincipled villain,' sentenced him to be imprisoned for two years, to be publicly whipped three times, and at the expiration of the two years, to be held to bail, himself in five hundred pounds, with two sureties in two hundred pounds each; which, as the reader will see, is, within one hundred pounds of being as much as the police-justice, Dyer, took from the Father in God himself, though he had actually been detected in the horrid act itself, and had [p.603] been, with his mate, taken to the watch-house, the middle garment hanging down about his heels.
"So far so good. These facts are all safe in our memory. Nothing can rub these out. And now we come to the execution of this sentence; now we come to the horrid punishment of poor Byrne. On the second of November, 1811, he was taken from the gaol, and, being stripped naked downwards to the waist, his hands were tied with cords to the tail of a car, which had been pressed in the street for the purpose. The hangman, with a dreadful cat-o'-nine-tails, was ready and stripped to the shirt for the bloody work. The two sheriffs of Dublin, James and Harty, were mounted on horseback, and one placed on each side of the hangman. The car began to move from under the gallows near the Dublin gaol of Newgate; and, the sentence being, that the whipping should be from that place to the college, the car was made to move as slowly as possible!
"The crowds of spectators were immense. The hangman was an athletic fellow, and was made to flog with all his strength, taking time between the strokes to put into each his full force. The whole of the distance which the car had to go was nearly an English mile and a half! When about half the distance had been gone over, the cat, owing to the terrible volence with which it had been used, broke, or rather came apart. This cat consisted of nine pieces of the largest and hardest whip-cord, about eighteen inches long, each piece or cord having nine knots in it; and the cords tied to a stick, or a whip-handle, which was about two feet long. The cords of this terrible instrument had, by the efforts of the flogger, become loosened at the handle, and some of them flew off. The car, therefore, stopped, while the cords were gatheed up and re-fastened. And here the poor sufferer describes his torments as having been excruciating indeed! They were fifteen minutes in repairing the cat. The day was cold, raw, and rather wet. The blood was streaming down [p.604] under that garment which had been proof against the assaults of the Father in God. The blood was coagulated on the back, which was all a piece of bloody-looking flesh from the name of the neck to the waistband of the garment so often mentioned. Such a sight! Such a horrible sight! Such horrid; such damnable cruelty! And this, oh remember! inflicted on the oath of the Father in God, who has since been taken to an English watch-house, with his middle garments hanging down about his heels!
"The tormentors having, with all possible deliberation, repaired their instruments of torture, put the car again in motion, but with, if possible, slower pace than before; and the strokes were renewed with all possible force, as far as the strength of the hangman would go. At last, at the end of upwards of an hour, the car came to the end of the prescribed distance. The poor victim, who had uttered neither cry nor groan, was untied. A car is a cart without sides or head, and without tail-board. A mere bed of a cart upon wheels. On this car, his body as raw as a piece of butchers' meat just cut up, and his nether garments all soaked with blood, the victim of the Father in God was thrown, just as they would have flung on a dead pig; and away went the car, jolting over the stones, to the gaol, where the half-flayed carcass was to be lodged for two years!
"Byrne is a Catholic: that is to say, he has adhered to the religion of his forefathers. This circumstance, along with that of the prosecuting party being a Protestant Chief, called forth, upon this occasion, the spirit of Orangeism, which is that of the Spanish Inquisition united to that of Hounslow-Heath and that of Billingsgate. Upon the whole earth there is not, even amongst the Turks and Algerines, so large a proportion of plundering, unfeeling, bloody, and insolent ruffians as the Orange Faction gives to unhappy Ireland, the disgrace, the curse, of which they have been for centuries. The true spirit of this [p.605] faction appeared at the flogging of Byrne. While the multitude expressed sorrow at his suffering, the bloody Orangemen followed him with shouts of approbation of his tormentors, and with execrations on himself. The public, even at that moment, suspected that he was unjsutly punished. The Orange ruffians participated, doubtless, in the suspicion; but it was a Protestant Chief whom he had accused, and he himself was a Castholic. These circumstances were enough to make them exult at his punishment; and, at the close of the infernal infliction, when they saw him flung on the car, a mass of raw, quivering, and bloody flesh, they set up a sort of laughing shout like that of the cannibals when they dance round their roasted victims.
"But the sufferings of this victim of the Father in God were by no means to end here. He was taken from the car, and actually tossed in amongst the thieves, robbers, and murderers in the Dublin gaol called Newgate, without, during the two years, being suffered to speak to a friend, or even to his wife, except through the iron bars. Like the robbers and murderers, he had a little yard to be in, in the day-time, and a cell in the night-time, where, with some of those villains, he had to lie, three or four on a wretched bedstead, with a little straw and a miserable blanket or two amongst them. His food was two pounds of bread a-day, water to drink, and nothing more.
"While he himself was thus suffering, he had the misery to reflect on the sufferings of his wife and four small children, who were reduced to the deepest distress. He was thirty-two years of age; his wife, who, like himself, was of respectable parents, was about the same age; they had been married about five or six years, and had lived most happily together. Mrs. Byrne had to sell even her wedding ring from her finger to purchase bread for her children. She was a pretty woman; and, in the depth of her misery, a monster in the shape of a man, but belonging to a family of monsters, went to her, and actually advised [p.606] her to think no more of Byrne, but to get her living as other handsome young women did! Such an answer as such a monster ought to receive from a faithful wife appears only to have added to the vindictiveness and cruelty of this race of monsters.* [*NOTE: This assertion, if true, denotes a degree of depravity of heart, but little inferior to the monster whose foul propensities led hiim to explore the lowest depth of infamy in search of the most abhorrent of gratifications!] Mrs. Byrne and her children were saved from actual starvation by a tradesman's widow, named Harrington, who is now dead, but whose name is far more worthy of being remembered than the names of hundreds of those, to whose memory this nation has been loaded with the expense of erective monuments.
"During the imprisonment of Byrne, one of his children died! Let the reader, if he be a father, if he have lost a child, think of the anguish of mind that this must have occasioned to Byrned. Such events are sufficiently painful; they require all our strength of mind, even when we are at hand to perform the last sad duties ourselves; when we have the consolation to know that the beloved object has expired loaded with marks of our boundless affection. What, then, must have been the feelings of this father; knowing that his child was expiring, and unable, as he was, to get even a glimpse of that child? What, too, must have been the feelings of the mother? A child expiring in her arms, an innocent husband shut up amongst robbers and murderers! But to describe these sufferings is impossible. To avenge them is what reason, justice, what every thing good in our nature, calls for from every thing bearing the name of man.
"Even whent e two horrible years were come to an end, there was the bail to be given, and the sureties to be found. Who was to be surety for this miserable man, the victim of a Protestant Father in God, and an object of vengeance [p.607] with the whole of the implacable, the perfidious, the merciless, the bloody, the termendously powerful Orange Faction? Who, these things considered, were to be his sureties? He had to remain, for want of sureties, sixty one days longer in gaol, till, at last, Messrs. Edward Kennedey and George Faulkner became his sureties; and, as long as humanity and justice shall remain in esteem amongst men, the names of these excellent men will be held in honour. In giving bail, Byrne was compelled to declare (I believe on oath) where he intended to reside; and, that being in Dublin, he was compelled to declare what part of Dublin! At last, after being remanded two days for non-paymetn of gaol fees, and having made an affidavit that he was unable to pay them, he was once more at large, but without a penny upon the face of the earth, with a wife and three children to maintain, and with a vindictive race to oppresshim, and with the whole hellish Orange Faction to watch his every movement and to effect his destruction!
"'God,' to use his own words, 'has taken care of him;' and here he is safe amongst Englishment, while the unnatural and perjured mitred monster, who cause his sufferings, avoids public, general, universal infamy, execrations from the lips, and mud from the hands of a whole nation, only byh assuming false names, and skulking from the face of man! But here we shall not stop. Byrne, by resisting the monster, by exposing him, by his constancy under his unparalleled sufferings, has conferred a lasting benefit on the country. Great good to us all will arise from the heroic conduct of this humble man; and who has ever had to say, that we were wanting in humanity, in gratitude, or in justice? It is for us to take care that Byrne and his family be placed in a way of living with comfort by the means of their honest industry; and that they have a fair start in the world in that middle course in which they would, in all probability, have long ago moved, had it not been for the virtue which resisted the temptation of the [p.608] horrible Honourable Protestant Father in God, Percy Jocelyn.*
[*NOTE: I will not assert, but I can conceive, the possibility of ministers having acted from pure motives, in allowing the wretch to elude the sentence of death awarded on the public gallows to the convicted Sodomite, and even applaud their conduct; but what shall be said of their having hitherto done nothing to indemnify Byrne &150; that is, as far as an emple provision for himself and family can be considered as an equivalent for wrongs so heavy, and sufferings so extreme? All the accounts given of the estate of the delinquent, represent him as rolling in riches, whilst he was indulging in the worst of all vice. Why not bestow a full moiety of all his worldly wealth upon Byrne? The criminal was in the hands of the magistracy; the halter was about his neck; and it cannot be supposed, if the conveyance had been required, the caitiff durst demur. And, if he had not sufficient wealth, then the See of Clogher should have been charged with the equivalent. What is the result of this omission of fulfilling a sacred duty? A public exhibition of the injured man and his oppressed family at a tavern, &*#150; and a public subscription for their succour! Surely it had been a wise course to have prevented such an additional source of irritation, where the regular course of justice had been so widely departed fro, by conferring an ample but not a profusepecuniary provision!]
"Mr. Parkins has most laudably and generously undertaken to set a subscription on foot for this purpose. It was, I believe, at first, intended to give Byrne a start as a keeper of a hackney coach or two in London, he having alwayis been a coachman. We may be well assured, that the money will be safe in Mr. Parkins's hands; and that it will finally, after due consideration, be applied in the most judicious manner. Something must, in such a case, depend upon the character and manners and habit of the man. If Byrne were the most ignorant and sottish fellow that ever existed, it would become us to do something to preserve him from want. But he is the contrary of this. An intelligent, smart, spirited, sober and active little man, of singularly advantageous manners and deportment. Indeed, we have, in his history, since his punishment as well as before, the best possible proof of the goodness of his character. John Jocelyn, the Father in God's [p.609] brother, with whom Byrne lived some time before the trial, gave him the character of being sober and honest, a character which he appears alwayis to have borne. After his imprisonment, he was a few months working in a livery stables. After that he lived two years and a half with a horse-dealer of the name of Grady. From him he went to live with a Mr. Dickenson, a Liverpool merchant, who took him from Dublin to England, near Chester, where he lived two years. After he quitted the service of this gentleman, he drove job horses in Dublin, until the honest fellows at the White-Lion public-house, in St. Alban's place, Westminster, caused the news to be sent over, that the Father in God had been detected with the soldier.
"We have here quite sufficient to satisfy us, that Byrne must be not only an honest man, but a trust-worthy man as to sobriety, care, and dililgence. So that there is no fears that the humanity and liberality of the public will be exerted in vain. Precisely what line it is the intention to give him a start in I do not know. This will depend upon himself in part; for his choice must have some weight with the benefactors. it is the wish of all the parties concerned to make him and his family comfortable, and in England by all means. it is for the just and humane people of England to rub the Father in God's marks out of the victim's back; and to make poor Mrs. Byrne feel, that her husband's honesty and spirit have earned something besides poverty and misery for her and her children.
"It is proposed, I understand, to give Byrne a public dinner in London on the second of next month; that is, as the readers will remember, on the anniversary of the bloody triumph of the Fathe rin God, and the savage and perfidious Orangemen. On the second of November was he, when half flayed alive, flung on a car, like a dead pig, amidst the laughing shouts of the Orangemen. On the second of November, therefore, let us meet to celebrate [p.610] his triumph, to hold hiim up on high, in the metropolis of the kingdom.
"The particulars relative to this dinner will, I understand, be stated in an advertisement. My engagements in the country will prevent me from taking an active part in the arrangements; but no engagements, nothing but absolute bodily indisposition, (which is not likely) shall prevent my attending upon this occasion."
Such is the narrative recently published by Mr. Cobbett. On the second of November the proposed public dinner took place, and such sentiments prevailed, and such speeches were made, as the dreadful wrongs of the sufferer, and the loathsome character of the degraded prelate, were calculated to excite.
With the motive which animated Mr. Cobbett I have nothing whatever to do. The effect of his conduct has been, in the slumber of public justice, to inflict the severest possible punishment upon the malefactor. So far this gentleman has acted the part of a sound moralist. But where was his wisdom, his morality, his charity, when he uttered the following denunciation against foreigners of all nations, including our North American kindred, in common with the Turks? i.e.
"He had before alluded to our intercourse with foreign countries, as the origin of such base and depraved habits; and here he would observe, that though he objected to the principles and motives which induced the enacment of the Alian Bill, yet he (Mr. Cobbett) could not help wishing that a line were drawn round our coasts, preventing the admission of every stranger, until it was fully ascertained that he was free from that vice which was so very much at variance wiht the natural feelings and habits of Englishmen. He (Mr. Cobbett) was "proud of his country."
If Mr. Cobbett were not an abstemious man, I might have imputed this strange sally to the impulse of wine! [p.612] I was disgusted at its coarseness and illiberality the first moment I read it, and the intervention of five weeks has not diminished that feeling.
I have ever understood that the effeminate inhabitants of southerly and warmer climates are, and ever have been found more frequently tainted by this loathsome vice, than the hardy and manly children of the north; and it may, at some veryi remote period, have been imported. It would, however, puzzle Mr. Cobbett to find a period of British history so remote, or an age so innocent, that the crime was wholly unknown.
The satirical pen of Churchill the poet lashed the reigning vices of his day by stating that parents had then more occasion to lock up their sons than their daughters! If Mr. Cobbett were to examine the juridical annals of this empire, he would find that more convictions of Sodomites have taken place within the last half century than are to be found in the annals of all preceding ages. And when he has satisfied himself of this humiliating truism, let him next ascertain the number of foreigners amongst those who have been convicted in our tribunals, and I am confident he would find the proportion of tainted characters under the ratio that the whole number of foreigners then sojourning in Great Britain bore to the gross population. It has long been understood that the park was a place of nocturnal rendezvous for male prostitutes, who were commonly private soldiers, and that such unnatural wretches as Percy Jocelyn were in the frequent habit of repairing thither to select their mates! During the time the Dutch or German Legions were quartered on English ground, Mr. Cobbett would find himself much embarrassed to find any instances of foreign soldiers acting thus infamously.
Mr. Cobbett, as well as his quondam friend, Mr. Miller, the common council-man, well knew how indignantly the late Count Zenobia repelled an attach of a similar nature. How many foreigners were found implicated in the Vere [p.612] Street coterie? in the Mary-le-bone club? in the Warrington gang of Sodomites? I believe to England appertains the honour of having given birth to those monsters. I am informed and the London Directories and Court Calendars, by the multitude of foreign names, seem to bear out the estimate, that one person in every twenty inhabitants is a foreigner!
During the late wars, the proportion of foreign seamen, inclusive of Americans, volunteers, or impressed men, serving in the royal navy, was nearly as one to four of the whole crew. Owing to the absurd severity of the regulations which prohibited or prevented a more frequent intercourse with females, whereby thousands of men were kept on shipboard year after year, the hateful vice grew to an alarming prevalency. More than one naval officer of rank was hung, and many others fled a service they had disgraced. On board a sloop of war which, about 1809, was stationed in the Baltic, of a crew consisting of 125 people, a third part were contaminated many were hung at the hard-arm, others had their lives spared. In consequence of a conversation with Count Zenobia, I inquired into the proportion that the foreigners bore to the British-born seamen who were involved in this foul contagion, and I was assured it was much in favour of the foreigners. I was in Plymouth in 1807, when a 98 gun-ship lay under so current an imputation, that the prostitutes who plied other ships by boat loads, avoided that particular ship, saying, "the * * * * on board her did not want women." In a short time afterwards, as I was informed by naval officers of rank, the infection was found to have become so general, that the ship was paid off, and the crew drafted and dispersed. I made the same inquiries in this case, and received an answer equally favourable to foreigners.
Mr. Cobbett, in his own report of his speech at the Horns Tavern, Kennington Common, closed his philippic against foreigners by exclaiming, "I am proud of my [p.613] country." Without calling the quality of his amor patriae in question, I may, and I hope without personal rudeness, censure his proceeding as being radically cruel, insulting, and, in my eyes, wholly unjustifiable. During the last half of my life I have been much abroad, and have since associated, in my native country, very frequently with foreigners; and the result of all my experience militates fully and decisively agaisnt the harsh, coarse, and sweeping condemnation pronounced by Mr. Cobbett. And if in this country owing to the pollutions introduced by commerce and manufacture, and their demoralizing influence on public morals, the vice goes on unchecked, the more pure and untained northern nations of Europe, and the citizens of the United States, might reasonably wish for "a line" of circumscription to be drawn round the coasts of Britain, to prevent their children having any intercourse with so polluted a nation. But let us nope that the eyes of our rulers may be opened to the soul-corrupting influence of unrestrained and over-driven commerce, of dense and crowded manufacturing towns, of a vast assemblage of soldiers, of converting ships of war into floating prisons, filled with the offscourings of the most corrupted populace of our large towns, and emptied into the navy from our prisons. By diluting and purifying these sources of moral contagion, the executive government might easily produce a gradual and beneficial reform. The more frequent change of the individuals composing our army would be highly useful in retrieving the character of our soldiers from this horrid taint; as also the abolition of impressment. The navy might then be manned with volunteer seamen, and there would be no necessity for marines; and then the discharging the contents of our prisons into the royal navy must of necessity cease.
After all, however, I am far from insisting that the great bulk of the British nation is not sound and untainted by the accursed propensities to which these strictures refer, [p.614] and which prevail most amongst the effeminate and luxurious nobles, and in our dense and crowded manufcturing towns.
In a respectable provincial paper, of the 7th of December, 1822, being the very time when I was composing these animadversions on Mr. Cobbett's attack upon foreigners I met these two paragraphs relative to certain noble and dignified clerical exiles, whom the indulgence of unnatural propensities have driven to a neighbouring country, namely,
"It is much to be regretted that the splendid fortune of the Earl of Bridgewater, and his noble mansion at Ashbridge, are not likely to descend in any very desirable line, his lordship having no children. The hair to his entailed estates, which are very large, especially in Staffordshire, is the Hon. and Rev. Mr. Egerton, now a resident in Paris, and who left England many years ago from a distaste for its habits and customs.
"It is said, that there are no less than six noblemen and dignitaries of the church, now resident in Paris, who have left this country for ever, because the climate is not congenial to their taste."
What Mr. Cobbett may urge in defence of his desperate sally about a line of circumvallation remains to be seen; but if his precious plan for the conservationof British morals were to be carried into effect, it would keep these monsters at home, a result not at all desirable.
With this I take my leave of Mr. Cobbett, and conclude this disgusting subject with the following extraordinary juridical document, reprinted from Bell's Weekly Messenger, of Monday, 11th of November, 1822, to which I have added such illustrative notes as I thought the subject required. [p.615]
BISHOP OF CLOGHER'S CASE
METROPOLITAN COURT OF ARMAGH.
Monday, October 21, 1822.
"The office of his Grace the Lord Archbishop of Armagh, Primate and Metropolitan of all Ireland, at the promotion of Thomas Tilly,the Proctor of said office, against the Honourable and Right Reverend Percy Jocelyn, Lord Bishop of Clogher, and one of the Suffragan Bishops of the Metropolitan Church of Armagh.
"THIS cause of office was this day called on for hearing in the presence of his Grace the Lord Primate, and of four of his suffragan bishops, viz. The Lords Bishops of Kilmore, Derry, Dromore, and Raphoe, and of the Right Honourable Doctor Radcliff, his Grace's Vicar-General, and of other distinguished and respectable personages. The Bishop of Clogher having been thrice called in open court did not appear; and in pain of his contumacy and contempt, the cause was proceede in to a hearing, and to its final determination.
"Sir Henry Meredyth, the leading advocate for the office, stated the case.
"The pleading which has been thus exhibited, and to which full and sufficient proofs have been applied, and upon which the sentence of the court is alone to be founded, contains within it, and in its detail, the many circumstances necessary for its support and establishment, and shall be here shortly adverted to:
"The Bishop of Clogher is an ecclesiastic, and as such subject to the laws of the church. He has been for many years a priest in holy orders. In the year 1809, he was promoted to the united bishopricks of Leighlin and Ferns: on that occasion he was duly consecrated and enthroned, and he then swore canonical obedience to the then [p.616] Archbishop of Dublin, as his metropolitan, and subscribed to the canons of the church. For eleven years he acted as the bishop and pastsor of that diocese, and with a character and conduct which did honour to himself and his high office, insomuch that in the year 1820, and a little more than two months after the accession of his present majesty to the throne, he was deemed worthy of advancement,*
[*NOTE: This eulogy comes with a peculiar ill grace, when it is notoriously known that many years prior to this date, this vilest of human sinners had been openl attainted as a Sodomite; and had, whilst conscious of his own guilt, prosecuted an innocent man, whom he first strove to render infamous by crime, and next by false accusation. The plea therefore that he was advanced on the score of possessing an unblemished character falls at once to the ground.]
and was accordingly translated to the see of Clogher, and to its high honour and advantages. On that occasino he took the oath of canonical obedience to the then Lord Primate of Ireland, his Grace's late and much lamented precedessor.*
[*NOTE: But for the rampant lust of the wretch, and his detection with Movelley, in defiance of the imputations resting upon his character, there is everyi probability, if Jocelyn Clogher had lived, he would, in the course of time, have attained the Archbishopric of Armagh.]
And in the month of August, in the same year, he attended the triennial visitation of, and was visited by his Grace the late Lord Primate, as one of his suffragan bishops. These facts are sustained by legal and appropriate evidence. The canons of the church are referred to in the pleadings, and particularly the 42nd of those canons, by which he was, and is bound, as the law of his conduct and adoption. that canon particularly prohibits the commission of those offences, of which he stands charged under the heaviest penalties of the law; and it is for the violation of that canon, and under its authority, that the cause of deprivation is now proceeded in against him. The particular facts, which constitute that offence, are fully detailed in the pleading and the written evidence. That evidence is now permanent and [p.617] recorded; it cannot be departed from or altered.* [*But the stroke of justice was eluded. It wears almost a ludicrous aspect to see soloathsome an offence thus tenderly treated.] Those parts which immediately go to constitute his crime are full and particular. He would not detail them; he was happy to think he was relieved from that painful necessity; in that hallowed place, and before that august tribunal, (where he then spoke,) he would have hesitated long before he would have detailed such facts; even though he should have felt, if it were necessary to do so, for the support or elucidation of that case, whicih he was bound to establish for their satisfaction. [*This sentence contains a strangely confused jumble of discordant assertions.] But he felt thoroughly convinced upon the evidence, when read and considered, there can be but one opinion in respect of those charges. They have been and are fully sustained upon evidence so clear, consistent, and credible, as not to leave a doubt upon them. On that evidence he would make this observation; it fully evinced the existence of those evil habits and propensities, in that unhappy man, with which he then stood charged, and which formed the foundation of that sentence which was to be pronounced against him in this cause.* [*A sentence which, making no allusion to the prelate's cruelty towards James Byrne, nor providing any equivalent for his sufferings, proves that every principle of human legislation was subverted in this case.] That evidence also proved the fatal and depraved purposes for which he associated himself with a private soldier, wholly beneath him in rank and station, as the unworthy and vicious partner of his depravity and guilt. The place chosen by him for tht purpose was also unfitted to him as a prelate of the church, and a man of his high rank and station;* [*It evinced a bad taste to make so many allusions to his high rank. The higher his station, the greater his fall, the deeper his guilt.] it was a common alehouse, situate in St. Alban's-place, in the city of [p.618] Westminster, and county of Middlesex, in England. In his career of vice, he was fortunately, nay, he would add, he was providentailly arrested, before he had perpetrated the last foul act, or crime, which he himself designed; and by which, if committed, his life would be forfeited to the offended laws and justice of the country.* [*This is almost nauseating. The loathsome proofs given of the deep-rooted depravity of the miscreant, leaves it more than likely, after this and other humiliating and irreparable disgraces, that he will seek some obscure retreat, and there shut out for ever from decent society, give the reins to his unnatural lusts, and wallow in his filthy gratifications. It is a crime that, once consummated, leaves neither power nor inclination for reformation.] The many witnesses to his disgrace and degradation, too plainly showed and convinced him of their full knowledge of his base acts and purpose. He then became dejected and desponding, and in terms and tone of agony and despair, he called upon that great God, in whose presence he had so lately and grievously offended, for his protection and deliverance. His prayer was graciously heard,* [*Not by the Almighty surely, whose holy name the wretch had invoked to attest his innocence, whilst he was immolating poor Byrne to his malice and safety.] his life was spared to him, no doubt, for wise and merciful purposes.* [*This is really approaching the very threshold of blasphemy!] He survived the horrors of that night, and he is now enabled, by sincere sorrow and regret, to look for that remission of his sins, ankd forgiveness from his God, which he could have hardly looked for, if his life had been forfeited to the law,* [*Why not? The gallows is generally believed to have saved many a soul!] or he had on that night fallen a victim to the just indignation of the many who witnessed his depraved and vicious conduct, and were with difficulty restrained from ending his existence. He was arrested by the watchmen and others, and in a situation disgraceful and degrading to him, he was made a prisoner, in order that he should be removed to the watch-house of the district in which he had committed his many [p.619] acts of indecency and crime. He endeavoure,d but in vain, to dissuade the persons in charge of him from their purpose. On his removal, and close to that public-house in which he had been detected and arrested, he was seen and recognised by a respectable* [*Never, surely, was such a record seen; the names of the most material witnesses, as well one of the princpals, being omitted!] gentleman of Ireland, who from his previous knowledge of his dress, person, and appearance, has been examined to, and proved his identity. He had upon him, at the time, his usual and proper habit and dress, as a bishop, or dignitary of the church.* [*What fact could possibly have proved the inveteracy of the habits of this monster, than his going,openly as it were, and undisguised, to the resort of male prostitutes to pick him up a mate! Such an instance of demoralization is not to be found in the Newgate Calendars from their earliest date.] There was no disguise or concealment upon his person or appearance.* [*And yet, although so hardened and unrepenting a sinner, Divine Providence cause his liberation!!!] That circumstance had created an early suspicion and observance of him and his actions on that night, and has contributed, with many other circumstances proved in this cause, to the establishment of his identity, which from his conduct in the cause, and under other circumstances, might have been difficult of attainment and of proof. As he was advanced in custody to the watch-house, and was surrounded and insulted by many persons who pressed upon him, and in a situation degrading to himself and his high office, he approached to and passed the gates of Carlton palace.* [*Was this bishop ever in the habit of paying any other than formal visits there? It was surely bad taste to associate the residence of our sovereign with so abominable a transaction.] What his sensation and sentiments were, or must have been on that occasion, may be conceived, but cannot be expressed; he must then have felt that he was "fallen." that feeling he himself displayed at that moment in a strong convulsive, [p.620] but ineffectual, struggle for his release and enlargement, a circumstance, too, that is of value in the ascertainment of his guilt and identity.
Upon his arrival at the watch-house, the bishop and his associate* [*It is singular that the name of Movelley is no where to be found in this anomalous document!] were brought together into the presence of the constable of the watch, a Mr. John Latchford, a principal witness examined in this cause. The bishop had then and again to meet and see those persons who he knew could and did depose against him; in his presence and hearing, and of his associate, the full particulars of their crime were disclosed and detailed; he did not and could not deny their truth; his name and address were asked of him by Latchford; he positively declined and refused to give them. That refusal under its circumstances was natural; the constable had a duty to perform, and after that refusal, and in order to obtain some information as to that person who was thus heavily accused, and yet appeared to be, and was in the habit of a dignified clergyman, he thought it necessary to examine the bishop's person. He then approached to him, and even at that moment the bishop bore upon his person* p[*So vague, obscure, and unintelligible document was surely never sent into the world as this!] strong evidence of, and by his acts and expressions at the moment fully admitted, his guilt; during that search the bishop was observed by Latchford to take from his pocket a paper writing, to tear it with violence, and hastily to throw the pieces or fragments of it, when torn, into the fire-place of the room in which he then stood. This circumstance attracted the attention of Latchford; he did not then observe upon it; he knew that there was no fire in the grate, nor any other paper in it. The bishop was shortly afterwards remoed from the room, and to a cell or place of solitary confinement [p.621] within the watch-house. Shortly after his removal he was heard by Latchford to cry with a loud voice, and to ask him "could he not geet bail;"* [*This too is beautifuly indistinct! If it were the bishop spoke, it should have been, "Will you admit me to put in bail?" If the soldier was inquiring, then it might have stood nearly as it appears.] and no reply being given, he asked for pen, ink, and paper, in order that he should write a note or letter. The pen, ink, and paper, were furnished to him by the directions of Latchford, and with a view that he should be thereby enabled to obtain some knowledge of the bishop's name and address, which were still unknown to him. The note was written by the bishop, and by his desire it was delivered to Latchford, in order that it should be sent to the person and place to whom and where it was directed. Latchford retained the note. It was not his business to admit the bishop to bail* [*Retaining still my opinion that the open trial and promulgation of evidence so abominable would have added incalculably to the national dishonour, I insist he should have been compelled to surrender half his wealth to James Byrne and his family.] he could not do so. The bishop, in an anxious and importunate manner, requested and urged Latchford to send the note as directed. Latchford informed him he did not and could not send it. The bishop again and again called on and pressed him to do so, and in an earnest and supplicating tone of voice cried out and said, "For God's sake send it;" but Latchford retained the note, and it is now in evidence, and before the court. That note has been exhibited to many persons now resident in Ireland, who have been for many years acquainted with the bishop and his hand-writing. They have been examined in this cause, and they have all agreed in their evidence of this note being of the hand-writing of the bishop, and that the initials "P.C." subscribed to it denote his Christian name and title of honour. The note is in the following words: [p.622]
St. James's Watch House Vine-street
And was thus addressed, "Mr. John Warring, 21, Montague-street, Portman-square."
Come to me directly, don't say who I am, but I am undone. Come instantly, and inquire for a gentleman below stairs, 12 o'clock I am totally undone.
This note affords strong proof of the material facts of this case; the crime of the bishop his consciousness of that crime and of his then alarming situation and his anxiety to conceal his name and high station. It also affords, in addition to the other circumstances adverted to, powerful and persuasive evidence of his identity. During the remainder of this unhappy night,* [*Unhappy night! How sentimental! One might really suppose it applied to some penitent Calista, speaking of the amorous triumph of a Lothario! Pshaw! the subject is really rendered more offensive by these laboured attempts to sweeten its stinking odour.] this lost and degraded man was intent upon, and engaged in prayer. Those prayers were sincere and contrite; and were, it is hoped,graciously heard and received. His supplications and ejaculations throughout the night were loud and unceasing.* [*This is unreasonably offensive to common sense. The bishop certainly thought of his lawyers and his bondsmen before he thought of his Maker!] He was visited occasionally by Latchford, in the cell, and he was found at all such times upon his knees, and in a posture of devout prayer and devotion.* [*Mr. Latchford proved himself a courageous man to venture near such an unnatural monster. Lo! when the prelate could not get either his man "John," or his bondsmen, then he bethought himself of his Creator, and fell heartily to prayer!!] After the removal of the bishop to his cell, Latchford took up and collected thefragments or pieces of the torn paper; he joined or pasted them together so as to make the writing perfect and legible. He preserved it carefully, and also the note which had been written by the bishop, and [p.623] retained both of them until the occasion on which they were afterwards shown to the bishop, and hereafter particularly mentioned. In the forenoon of the following day, the 20th of July, the bishop was removed incustody to the police-office of the district of St. James's, Westminster, in which district he had been guilty of and charged with these offences. Soon after his arrival there he was brought before Mr. Dyer, the sitting magistrate, and one of the justices of the peace for the county of Middlesex. In the presence and hearing of the bishop and the soldier, the several persons who had charged them with their offences were severally and apart, and upon their oaths, examined. It was viva voce examination. The bishop was then professionally assisted. They deposed to and detailed the same facts against him which they had stated in the watch-house, and are now in their sworn evidence in this cause. The bishop did not contradict, or deny, the truth of these charges. He was particularly called on and required by the magistrate to attend to him, and, in order to give him a further opportunity for denial or defence, he read to him and to the soldier,* [*Can this possibly be a legal dethronement of this unworthy prelate?] a private and short note of these examinations, which he had taken for his own information and guidance; but the bishop and the soldier remained silent; they sought not any evidence, they relied not on any facts for their acquittal, or proof of their innocence. The bishop apepared before the magistrate and his chief clerk, Mr. Fitzpatrick, (a principal witness to this transaction,) in the dress of a dignified clergyman. The letter which the bishop had torn, adn endeavoured to destroy the preceding night, was then produced by Mr. Latchford, and given to Mr. Dyer; Mr. Dyer read it. It was of a private nature. The bishop by himself and his counsel claimed that letter as his own, and requested it to be given to him. It was done so [p.624] accordingly, and immediately upon the bishop's getting possession of it, in the presence of Mr. Dyer, his clerk, adn of Latchford, and of his own counsel, he tore and destroyed that letter so that no fragment could have been then saved, or can be now produced in evidence. That letter was addressed to the Bishop of Clogher. It bore the signature and subscription of his much respected and amiable nephew, the Earl of Roden. It was of a private nature. Its contents have not been disclosed. But it may be fair to pronounce upon them that they are such as did honour to the head and heart of its writer, and of the man to whom it was addressed. The note which had been written by the bishop in the cell was then produced, and read before him by the magistrate. The circumstances under which that note had been written and detained were fully detailed by the witness Latchford. They were admitted by the bishop. He was then informed by the magistrate that his offence was bailable, and that bail to the amount of 500l. himself, and two sureties in 259l. each, would be required for his apeparance at the next Clerkenwell Sessions, and his trial for the offences then imputed to, and sworn against, him. His bail were in attendance. He was then called on by Mr. Fitzpatrick, as chief clerk of the office, and in order to perfect his bail, to give him his name and address. The bishop hesitated, and for some time refused; he wsa then informed, and in the presence adn hearing of his intended bailsmen, that it was necessary for him to give his true name and address; and that without it his bail could be effected, or himself discharged. He then, of himself, and in the presence and hearing of the magistrate, his clerk, and Latchford, freely and voluntarily did state and declare, and for the first time, gave them to know that he was the Honourable and Right Reverend Percy Jocelyn, Bishop of Clogher, in Ireland; and that he wsa then residing, or lodging, at 21, Montague-street, Portman-square, the house to which his [p.625] note of the preceding night had been directed. His bail were then, and in his presence adn hearing, duly sworn to their proper qualifications, their names and residences; and one of them, a Mr. John Fay, swore and qualified as the proprietor of the house, No. 21, Montague-street, in which the Bishop of Clogher had previously, in his presence and hearing, declared he was a lodger; the bail was then perfected according to the course of the office, and the bishop was accordingly discharged and retired. These facts are fully detailed in the evidence of Fitzpatrick and Latchford; and Fitzpatrick has confirmed his testimony by the production of the book in which, at the time, he made an entry of the names and residences of the bishop and his bail, and his entry perfectly agrees with, and confirms the parole testimony."
The closing paragraph being wholly uninteresting, it is omitted. There remains no more to say of the wretched miscreant to whom these pages refer, than that he was expelled the priesthood; but ages must elapse before the foul stain he has entailed upon the Protestant church shall be washed out of remembrance, or the wounds healed which he has inflicted in the vitals of revealed religion.[p.626]
SOURCE: John Brown, The Historical Gallery of Criminal Portraitures, foreign and domestic,
Manchester, 1824, Vol. 1, pp. 511-516, 589-626.
CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "The Bishop of Clogher vs. James Byrne" Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook. 5 April 2010 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/clogher2.htm>.