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When this debate, and the feelings it evoked, were still recent, an outrage committed in Tipperary led to the following correspondence between thé magistrates of Tipperary and the Government :
To his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant and Governor
“ General of Ireland, &c. &c. &c.
“ CASHEL, 7th April 1838. “ We the undersigned magistrates of the county of Tipperary, this day assembled at Cashel, at a very short notice, beg leave respectfully to state to your Excellency that it is with feelings of the deepest horror we communicate to your Excellency the dreadful and atrocious attack made by some villains upon
the lives of Samuel Cooper, Esq., J.P., Austin Cooper, Esq., and Francis Wayland, Esq., on the 5th day of April.
" It appears that these gentlemen were proceeding to the fair of Tipperary on that day, the two Mr Coopers in a gig, and Mr Wayland on horseback, when they were fired upon by four men ; Mr Samuel Cooper and Mr Wayland returned the fire, but it is horrifying to relate that Mr Austin Cooper was shot dead by a ball passing through his head, and Mr Wayland was severely wounded in the hip.
“There are circumstances connected with these horrible facts illustrative of the state of society in this county, which we, the undersigned, deem it our duty to represent to your Excellency
“ It appears that it was known for some time previous to this attack that it was the intention of the miscreants of the country to assassinate these two gentlemen, that a committee of villains had met and determined on the death of Mr Austin Cooper, that his friends had warned him repeatedly of his danger; yet, notwithstanding the precautions he took, he was unable to avoid the fate to which he had been doomed. Mr Wayland's house was attacked a few days previous with the intention of shooting him.
“Comment upon these events we feel to be unnecessary. We beg leave to state to your Excellency that the large additional force of police and military ordered into these districts, in consequence of the memorial addressed to your Excellency by the magistrates assembled at Tipperary last November, has not been productive of those effects which your Excellency then calculated upon.
“ This scene of slaughter occurred in the barony of Kilnemanagh, on the borders of the barony of Clanwilliam. The magistrates of that meeting declared that neither life nor property was safe in that part of the country. We, the undersigned, declare that in that district neither life nor property is safe. We therefore respectfully trust that your Excellency will put in force the strongest powers which the laws of the land permit in those districts.
“We consider it our duty to state to your Excellency that we believe the result of the late assizes for this county has proved how terrible is the state of intimidation which exists, or seems to exist, among the juries of this county, an effect which the Crown can at all times prevent by again resorting to the old and wholesome practice of challenging, which, properly acted on, would be productive of the best effects.
“We beg leave respectfully to hope that her Majesty's Government will bring in a bill to Parliament for the purpose of inflicting a heavier penalty than that now in force on persons for having unregistered arms or ammunition in their possession. We also recommend that licenses granted for keeping arms be renewed annually, and that additional powers for searching for arms be given to magistrates."
This letter was signed by Lords Glengall and Lismore, and by thirty other Tipperary Magistrates. The answers of the Government, which are subjoined, were addressed to Lord Donoughmore, the Lord Lieutenant of the county.
“DUBLIN CASTLE, 18th April 1838. “MY LORD, I am commanded by the Lord Lieutenant to acknowledge the memorial of several magistrates of the county of Tipperary, assembled at Cashel on the 7th inst.
“ His Excellency heard with the deepest concern of the
lamentable occurrence to which the magistrates have called his attention, and has not failed to direct the most prompt and vigorous measures to be adopted with a view to bring to justice the perpetrators of so atrocious an act. His Excellency has reason to hope that these measures will be speedily attended with success.
“His Excellency will not now notice the other topics contained in the memorial, further than to observe, that he deems them deserving the most serious attention. They are so much at variance with the official information which has come to his knowledge, that he considers it necessary to institute an immediate and careful inquiry, with a view to ascertain, in the clearest manner,
the actual extent of the evils which the magistrates represent to exist, and, so far as may be possible, the immediate causes to which they may be attributed.
“When his Excellency has received the information which he expects to derive from such inquiry, he will communicate fully to the magistrates his opinion as to any steps which he may in consequence deem it his duty to adopt or recommend. - I have, &c.,
T. DRUMMOND. “ The Earl of Donoughmore.
“ DUBLIN CASTLE, 22d May 1838. “ MY LORD,-- In the communication of the 18th of April, which I had the honour to make to your Lordship by command of the Lord Lieutenant, in reference to the memorial of several magistrates of the county of Tipperary, your Lordship was informed that his Excellency considered it necessary to institute an immediate and careful inquiry, with a view to ascertain, in the clearest manner, the actual extent of the evils which the magistrates represented to exist, and, so far as might be possible, the immediate causes to which such evils might be attributed; and that when his Excellency had received the information which he expected to derive from such inquiry, he would communicate fully to the magistrates his opinion as to any steps which he might in consequence deem it his duty to adopt or recommend.
Before proceeding to state to your rdship the nature and result of that inquiry, I am directed by his Excellency to
observe, that he certainly read with great surprise the statement put forth by the memorialists, in which they declare that the juries of their county act under a feeling of terrible intimidation, and refer to the proceedings at the last assizes for proof of that assertion. For the first time since the government of Ireland was intrusted to his Excellency, had such a statement been made to him, and his Excellency found great difficulty in believing that, if such a state of things had existence, no report of it should have reached him from any of the numerous public officers engaged in the administration of justice, under whose cognisance it must necessarily have come in the performance of their duties; nor could his Excellency suppose that a matter of so much moment, so vitally affecting the administration of the law, and the consequent security of life and property, should not have become known to the judges in their intercourse on their respective circuits, not only with grand jurors and magistrates, but with sheriffs and other ministerial officers, or indeed could have escaped the discernment of those learned persons themselves while presiding at the trials of offenders.
“ His Excellency could not for a moment doubt that, if any of the officers of the executive, or any of the learned persons to whom he has alluded, had witnessed, or even heard on credible authority, that juries had ceased to be capable of discharging their important functions, from the apprehension of danger, he would at once have brought so serious a matter under the immediate notice of the Government.
Though no such statement had been made to the executive, his Excellency, nevertheless, in deference to the representation made by the memorialists, and with a desire that a matter so serious should not rest in vague conjecture, or on opinion not sustained by facts, deemed it his duty to direct, among other inquiries, letters to be addressed to the several stipendiary magistrates of the county, calling upon them to state whether any and what instances of injury to the persons or property of jurors had come under their observation, which could be distinctly attributed to verdicts given by such jurors. In the answers received from all these gentlemen, they uniformly declare that not a single instance of the kind has ever occurred to their knowledge.
Major Carter says,—There are no records of such events in this district; and occurrences of that nature could not have passed my observation, or that of the sub-inspector, formerly chief constable for twenty-seven years, with whom I have conversed on this subject.'
“ Mr Willcocks—'I am not aware of any instances of injury to the person or property of any juror, distinctly attributable to any verdict which he may have given.'
“Mr Vokes-'I do not remember an instance in any county where a juror was injured on account of any verdict he may have given.'
“Mr Singleton—No instance of the sort at any time came under my observation.'
Mr Tabuteau—No instance of the kind has come under my observation, nor has any complaint been made, or information given to me, of any juror having in any way suffered for any act done by him in the execution of his duty as a juror.'
Captain Duff—None such have come under my observation; and I may safely add, that none could have occurred in this district without coming to my knowledge, nor that of the chief constable, whom I have questioned on the subject.'
“ Captain Nangle—' In no instance that has ever come under my observation has any juror suffered injury attributable to any verdict he may have given.'
“ His Excellency also directed a similar communication to be made to the Crown solicitor of the circuit, and has received from that officer the answer that
“« No case of the kind has come within the knowledge of the Crown solicitor.'
“In reply to a similar communication to Mr Barrington, Crown solicitor of the Munster Circuit, three out of the four counties of which adjoin Tipperary, he states
“No instance has occurred on the Munster Circuit, while I have been Crown solicitor (now nearly twenty-five years), of injury suffered by any person in consequence of having found a verdict of conviction in any case.'