The Bishop of Clogher, 1822


An Irish Prelate, the Right Honourable Percy Jocelyn, Bishop of Clogher, and brother to the Earl of Roden, has been charged, at the Police-Office in Marlborough-street, with an atrocious offence; and after a private hearing before Mr. DYER, was allowed to go at large on putting in bail to the amount of one thousand pounds. The man charged as a partner in his guilt, (a soldier in the guards) not being able to find bail, was committed for trial. The evidence was complete. The White Lion public-house, in St. Alban's-street, St. James's, was the spon from whence the culprits were taken to the watch-house, where they were shut up all night. Their examination at Marlborough-street took place on Friday week. As might have been expected, the Bishop, as soon as he obtained his liberty, hurried off with his family to the Colntinent. He is a man advanced in years.
          A correspondent, who happened to be a contemporary in the University of Dublin with a certain individual of high rank, who stands accused of a horried crime, has furnished us with the following account of him while he resided there:– The Honourable Mr. P. J. was, in 1785, a fellow commoner of the Trinity College, Dublin. He was then a tall thin young man with a pale, meagre and melancholy countenance, and so reserved in his manners and recoluse in his habits, that he was considered by everybody to be both proud and unsociable. It was usual at that time for young men of rank and fortune to be engagted in Bacchanalian revels and nightly sprees in the streets of Dublin. They would often, in a state of intoxication, rush out of the College, or out of the taverns, armed with bludgeons or swords, and be engaged in terrible conflicts with the watchmen; and one of the heroes who distinguished themselves in that way is now a Right Reverend Bishop in Ireland. But Mr. J. was never known to have joined any of those parties. He confined himself chiefly to his chambers; and he would have incurred the imputation of what was called a book-worm, had he gained any academic honours; but so far from having done so, he was never distinguished either for talent or learning. He passed through his course like a mere machine, and had it not been for his birth, his name would have hardly been remembered. – Morning Paper.

The Morning Chronicle has published the following Letter on this subject:–

"To the Right Honourable C. Kendal Busher, Lord Chief Justice of his Majesty's Court of King's Bench in Ireland.
          "MY LORD, – A recent detection of a horrible crime here impels me to obtrude upon your Lordship with a suggestion, which your character for humanity and a strict sense of justice gives me reason to hope you will adopt, even though it come to you anonymously. – On your appointment to the office of his Majesty's Solicitor-General for Ireland, sixteen or seventeen years ago, you were said to have determined to confine your future practice to the Court of Chancery, except in particular cases. In a very few instances did you depart from that determination, and one of them was when you appeared in the Recorder's Court of Dublin, about ten years since, as leading Counnsel in teh prosecution of —— Byrne, for ikmputing to the Honourable and Right Reverend Percy Jocelyn, the Lord Bishop of Ferns, an attempt to commit a certain crime. – Your fee on that occasion was, I believe, exactly one hundred guineas, and I remember your warm eulogium of the Rt. Rev. Lord, for his courage in coming forward to prosecute under such circumstances. I msot religiously believe that you then considered his Lordship an innocent and an injured man – Byrne was convicted. I will not say that conviction was entirelky owing to the ability and eloquence of Mr. Buishe; but I well recollect the effect produced upon the Court, the Jury, and the auditory, by your powerful appeal to their feelings. Most ceertainly it insured to unfortunate byrne no mitigation of punishment; for, having been sentenced to be publicly whipped through the streets of Dublin (fom Newgate to the Royal Exchange, and back again) the sheriff, in the zealous discharge of his duty, sukperseded, for that day, the common executioner, and procured from the Barrack a drummer, nearly six feet high, whose strength and dexterity were fully proved by the manner in which he lacerated the back of the unhappy culprit – Byrne bore the punishment without a groan – on his being carried into the gaol from the car, to which he had been tied, he solemnly declared his innocence, and burst into tears. I forget thwether his sentence did or did not include transportation; if it did not, the sense of degradationdid that which the Judge decreed not. Byrne left the country, and has not since been heard of.* – Such are the circumstances of Byrne's case, I find, precisely – I know they are substantially correct. You will, I am sure, recollect all this with pain – it will, I trust, operate as an example to future lawyersm, torefrain from exaggerating charges, or exciting prejudice against prisoners, intheir statement of cases – and the fate of Byrne will, I trust, have the salutary effect of rendering Jurors still more scrujpulous in the discharge of their duty, when deciding upon the life or character of their fellow-man. – I now come to the suggestion of which I spoke in the commencement, and which my intimate knowledge of the excellence of your heart induces me to think you may have anticipated, after learning the detection here, to which I alluded, namelky, that you will cause strict enquiry to be made after unfortunate Byrne, and (if he still lives) cause such reparation to be made for the torture of his person and the destruction of his character, as may be within your power; and in making such reparation, you will, no doubt, be munificently assisted by the noble and highlky respectable family of his prosecutor. – I trust it is unnecessary for me to apologise for this appeal to your Lordship's justice.
                    "I have the honour to be, &c. &c."

[Footnote:]* He was sentenced to transportation. – Exam.

(If "the Church" be in danger, who can wonder? For these several weeks past, we have had to notice various offences committed by Members of the Establishment, each rising in the scale of iniquity. First, there was a drunken Divine, who wanted to play the pugilist in the pulpit, in the face of the whole congregation: – next came an account of a Rector, who, in broad-day ran naked after a carriage in which females were taking the air: – and now comes forth this mitred miscreant, making one almost ashamed of our nature with his unutterable depravities! But the subject is not one on which we chuse to dilate – to be obliged to mention it at all is painful enouigh – and we sincerely hope that it may never gain be our duty to record such a detestable transaction.)

SOURCE: The Examiner (London), Sunday, 28 July 1822; Issue 757.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "The Bishop of Clogher, 1822", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 12 April 2012 <>.

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