Ireland Old News
THE INNOCENCE OF A MAN CONDEMNED TO DIE IN FORTY-EIGHT HOURS, PROVIDENTIALLY DISCOVERED.
At the last Galway assizes Michael Ryan was found guilty of the murder of his wife Bridget Ryan, and a man of the name of Collins was found guilty of aiding and abetting him in the dreadful deed. The evidence offered to sustain the prosecution was purely circumstantial; but every part of it was as perfect as conclusive, as could be produced in a court of justice. The voluntary statements which Ryan made at the inquest, before the coroner and two magistrates of the county, were confirmed in their most important particulars, and were considered decisive as to the guilty participation of Collins in the foul unnatural deed. Ryan was silent as the verdict was delivered; but Collins loudly protested his innocence. Both were immediately offered for execution on the following Monday. But about 2 o'clock on the Saturday a clergyman was seen in earnest conversation with the Judge. It was evident, from the impressiveness of his manner, that he was communicating something of painful interest and of the utmost importance. The Judge retired to his chamber, and by his order to the Sheriff, stayed the execution for a fortnight. In the mean time some most singular disclosures were made by Ryan. The mayor and several other magistrates were in attendance. Ryan accounted so clearly for every circumstance that attached suspicion to poor Collins, afforded them such a clue to investigate and to test the truth of his assertions, that not a shadow of doubt could rest on their minds of the perfect innocence of Collins. The documents, the evidence of the trial, and the result of their subsequent investigation, were laid before the Privy Council at the Castle of Dublin. In the mean time the sentence of Collins was respited; but the law was allowed to take its course in the case of Ryan; he was brought out on the scaffold, and there, in the presence of the sheriff, the Mayor of Galway, and the chaplain of the gaol, he again solemnly declared the perfect innocence of Collins-"That he (Collins) had had neither hand, act or part in the murder;" that he had no knowledge of it. Immediately afterwards he was launched into eternity. Collins was brought out of the "dead room" (condemned cell), and in less than a month an order came down from the Castle for his unconditional liberation. After his liberation a few pounds were collected for him in the town of Galway, to enable him to return home, and enter gain on that life of industry on which a wife and four children depended for support.
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