Freeman's Journal
12 March 1793

'Dundalk Assizes commenced yesterday. A number of those infatuated wretches, called Defenders, are to be tried.
The Right Hon. the Speaker left town on Sunday morning, to be present at the assizes in Dundalk, where he is obliged to attend.'

'A rescue of the Defenders to be tried in Dundalk being spoken of, a reinforcement of military from Drogheda was sent hither, whom those that marched from our barracks on Sunday morning are to replace.'

Freeman's Journal
16 March 1793

'Extract of a letter from Dundalk, March 14.

"At the assizes, yesterday, the Crown Court did not break up till seven o'clock at night. - Judge Boyd and Downes presided on the bench alternately, relieving each other in the fatigue of the business.
Three of the wretches called Defenders were capitally convicted before the first mentioned Justice, and two more before the latter. One of those found guilty before Judge Boyd, Peter M'Bride, was executed at eight o'clock last night, having went from the Court to the gallows, and the other two next day.
Those convicted before Mr. Justice Downes are not yet sentenced. At the beginning of the assizes, there were to be tried 120 persons, most of whom were Defenders.
It is imagined business will not terminate here until next week. The Judges have been so wearied, that they were obliged to write to the Lord Chancellor for aid upon the bench; in consequence of which, Counsellor Caldbeck arrived here yesterday with a commission of association, which was opened accordingly, this day, and six of the Defenders capitally convicted before him.
Yesterday, a bill of indictment was found against Napper Tandy, for dispersing about here a libellous paper called Common Sense, at the time the Rt. Hon. Speaker's warrant was issued against him from the House of Commons. A special messenger set off from hence yesterday, with a Judges warrant, to bring him down here."'

Freeman's Journal
23 March 1793

Many erroneous fragments of the business transacted at the above mentioned assizes having appeared in some of the Dublin newspapers, we think it necessary to give the following particulars which may be depended upon as a true statement of the proceedings.
Arthur Boyle, found guilty of a burglary and felony in the house of Elizabeth M'Neal, of Ballagan - to be hanged on the 22d of April.
A great number of Defenders, indicted in said burglary, are not yet taken.
John Gilmer, Thomas Keenan, and Pat Conyngham, (all Defenders) found guilty of highway robbery, on John Flanagan - to be executed on the 1st of April.
James Plunket, found guilty of a burglary in the house of Charles Cravan, Esq: - also, found guilty of three other capital felonies under the Whiteboy act - to be executed the 22d of April.
Thomas Dowdall, James Flinn, and Peter M'Bride, for a burglary in the house of Lord Clermont, and several other capital felonies; Peter M'Bride was hanged on the 14th instant, being the day he was found guilty, and the other two were ordered to be hanged the next day; but at the gallows, Dowdall confessed he did not go into the house at the time of the robbery, and the Speaker seeing he was very young, humanely interfered with the Judges, and had him respited. - Flinn was hanged.
Bryan Smith, Philip M'Ardle, Bryan M'Elerny and Mathew Gregory, found guilty of several felonies, under the Whiteboy act - to be hanged on the 1st of April.
John Kirk, found guilty for said felonies - to be hanged on the 12d of April.
Patrick Bollard, for several felonies, under said act - to be hanged the 25th of March.
Laurence Halfpenny, found guilty with him for said felonies - to be hanged on the 22d of April.
Samuel Slator, John Dungan, and Thomas Reath, for robbing the mail at Flury-bridge, county Louth, of eleven bags of letters; Reath pleaded guilty; the trials of the other two lasted the whole of the day - all to be hanged on the 25th of March.
Arthur Hagan, for assuming the name of Defender - to be publicly whipped through the town of Carlingford, and give security of his good behaviour for seven years.
George M'Daniel, found guilty of administering the following oath to one Peter Mathews, 'that he should be true to his brothers; be true to his Captain or Committee; never to defraud them, and to be ready at all calls to assist them,' - to be transported for life.
Peter Mathews, Thomas Mathews, Peter Markey, William Taaffe, Henry Rider, William Johnston, Terence Lee, Francis Connor, James Mathews, William Hughes, James Murphy, Thomas Foggy, James Hinds, Pat Hoey, Thomas Coffey, all found guilty of taking the above oath, and ordered to be transported for seven years.
Five others were acquitted of taking the oath.
Laurence Harvey, found guilty of a most wilful perjury, whereby three persons escaped for murder - to be twice pillored, imprisoned three months, and afterwards transported for seven years.
Christopher Nugent, Stephen M'Guigan, Thomas Finegan, Arthur Hagan, James Cravan, Edward M'Ardle, Bryan M'Ardle, Peter Crilly, Michael M'Cabe, Pat Wall, Barny Grimes, James Byrne, Pat Mathews, and Laurence Quigly - all acquitted of offences under the Whiteboy act.
All the prosecutions were carried on by the Crown, in which the Attorney and Solicitor Generals were indefatigable, and their conduct distinguished with great humanity.
There are a great number of persons yet untried, and the Judges have adjourned to the 11th of April, to finish the rest of the business.
The candour and impartiality of Mr. Justice Downes on the Bench are highly applauded. Mr. Caldbeck proceeds from Downpatrick of finish the business, during which, as a Judge, he has experienced the severity of very long sittings, from nine in the morning till ten at night, which he bore with laudable patience.'

Freeman's Journal
30 March 1793

'Monday, Samuel Slater and John Dungan were executed in Dundalk, pursuant to their sentence, for robbing his Majesty's mail, near Flury-bridge: they were launched into eternity about four o'clock, and behaved in a manner truly penitent - also, Patrick Ballard, for robbing the home of Mr. Bailly, near Dundalk - Laurence Halfpenny, who was concerned with Ballard, in the above robbery was respited.
A respite for ten days was obtained for Thomas Reath, on of the parties in the mail robbery.' [See Dundalk Assizes 23 March 1793]

Submitted by Brendan


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