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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Reis's Chambers, The 1916 Rising, the Execution of Francis Hynes and Charles Reis - Part Two


James Caffrey, the second in charge of the protection party stated that there was no one in the billiards room when they got there which would have been the correct procedure as the jury were to have no contact with other members of the public while they were on the jury. George Strong reported that there was one man in the billiard room apart from Mr. Martin but then Jury member Edward Hamilton stated that when they walked into the billiard room there were two members of the public but that they left as the group walked in but that two more men entered shortly after. These men were Major Wynne and Doctor James Cusack and that Charles Reis introduced Major Wynne to the others. Reis and Wynne then played a game of billiards while more drink was ordered. With the order was placed an order for cigars but after lighting one up, Reis seemed unhappy with the quality and rang the service bell and complained. The porter fetched more cigars but shortly after Reis rang the bell again but when the porter arrived Reis said firstly that he had not rang the bell and that his complaint did not matter now and the porter was sent off much to the quiet amusement of some of the other men in the room.

Shortly before 9.30p.m. James Campbell returned and inquired of his son who had a drink in his hand, if all was fine and after satisfying himself there he went up to the dining room and checked with the other guards on the rooms floor and left again. As Campbell was arriving night porter Robert Ennis was coming on duty. He found it strange and questioned Campbell junior whether members of the public should be socialising with members of an active Jury. Campbell said that his boss and his father were upstairs and he had said that it was fine. At 11p.m. waiter Patrick Tobin delivered another round of drink to the billiard room with drink now being ordered for the non hotel guests. The drinks list for the billiard room was as follows
William Barrett              2 Glasses of Sherry
Charles Reis                 2 Glasses of Brandy and Soda
William Wardropp        2 Half Glasses of Whiskey
William Gibson             2 Glasses of Beer

The Billiard Room, Imperial Hotel

 Charles Reis is by now showing the effects of the alcohol he has consumed in what was by now a very long eventful day. He leaves the room without intervention and sits on a seat in the hall of the hotel opposite the constable on duty outside the door of the billiard room George Strong but he is approached by the Hall Porter Francis Brady who explains to the juror that it is against hotel policy to smoke in the hallways that there are rooms including the billiard room provided for smoking. Reis tells Brady to mind his own business and
            ‘you would do best to keep your eyes shut’

The protection detail also continued to drink as they were served supper.
George Strong              A pint of Ale
James Caffrey               A pint of Ale
James Donnelly             A pint of Ale
Robert Young               A pint of Ale
Michael Carey              A pint of Ale

                                                               Friday August 11th 1882
Green Street Court House, Dublin

After a coroner’s inquest by Mr. John Frost in Ennis and an investigation by Captain Hamilton RM, Francis Hynes was charged with the murder of John Doolaghty. He would be tried under new legislation enacted by the House of Commons, The Prevention of Crime Act that allowed for major criminal cases to be transferred from the court jurisdiction of the crime to a special court in Green Street, Dublin. The British authorities believed that in the climate in the rural parts of Ireland and the nationalist fervor being whipped up that they would get a better chance of an impartial jury in Dublin away from the country courts. The Nationalist and Catholic leaders rallied against the legislation and believed that Juries were being loaded as they called it that only Protestants were being selected to try the cases giving the Crown a better chance of conviction on limited evidence. It was here on Friday 11th August 1882 that the trial of Francis Hynes began in front of Mr. Justice James Anthony Lawson. This new legal system would see nine trials completed in ten days within the courts. Two hundred business men and merchants with property and assets in excess of fifty pounds were called and forty nine of them were assigned to this murder trial. Of twenty challenges to jury members allowed to the defense they only used up eleven. They prosecution then used their unlimited amount of challenges to object to twenty six more potential jurors until there were twelve men sitting in the jury box. They were then escorted to a room at the back of the court room and a jury foreman was elected. All except Charles Reis, a Scottish born Grafton Street jeweler were Church of Ireland, Methodist or Presbyterian. Reis was Jewish.

The Attorney-General of Ireland, Mr. Peter O’Brien MP, Queens Council, and Mr. Sullivan, instructed by Mr. Murphy, the Crown Solicitor for the County Clare, prosecuted the case against Hynes. Mr. McDermott QC, and Mr. John Roche, instructed by Messrs Walton and Frost solicitors of Ennis, defended for the accused. Much of the case hinged on the testimony of Hugh McTernan and a dying man’s declaration. The defense brought up the timing issue and the Prosecution organised a runner by the name of Fitzmaurice to run the distance between the crime scene across the fields and along the stream to Hassett’s Pub to show that he had time to get to the pub after committing the crime. There was no gun found matching the weapon that killed the farmer. The three men in the bar swore that they were with Francis Hynes struggled under cross examination admitting that they were under the influence of drink and the prosecution claimed that this influence would not allow them to accurate about the timings. Much of the defensive evidence challenged by the prosecution brought a smile to the Judges face who seemed intent on hindering the defense case at every opportunity.  There was a sense of sympathy illicited for the dead man when he was described in court as having a large family and that he was sixty years old and was attacked by the much younger athletic Francis Hynes. The fact was that John Doolaghty was only forty four when he was killed and in excellent physical health. There was no weapon found that matched the gunshot used. There were no witnesses to the crime. There was doubt about the dying declaration whether Mr. Doolaghty was in any condition to make an identification and if he did was he just naming someone he knew he had trouble with on the assumption that it was Francis Hynes. The gunman would have leapt quickly from his hiding place and startled Doolaghty on the quiet road and he fired instantly hitting Doolaghty in the eyes almost certainly blinding him. It was a summer’s day and the sun was in Doolaghty’s face as he walked home also hindering his identification of a suspect. With the RM giving evidence of a dying declaration and the arrest of Francis Hynes, the investigation stopped.

                                             Third Floor of the Imperial Hotel, Sackville St.

Margaret Walsh who was in charge of the bar that evening closed it for the night much to the annoyance of the jury members still in the billiard room and they begin to voice loudly their annoyance. After being refused more drink Charles Reis asked for a deck of cards but he was told that none were available. Fifteen minutes later the last of the men would leave the billiard room and make their way up the two flights of stairs to the bedrooms. William Gibson and William Wardropp were the first to make their way up to the bedroom where they would be sharing number eighteen. As the remaining four men made their way up, James Campbell Junior met Mr. Barrett and said                                                                                         
‘Mr. Foreman will you see these men to bed before you turn in’                                            ‘
Yes sir off course I will’ he replied.                                                                                   
As was normal practice in Hotels in 1882, the jurors had placed their boots outside their room doors for the hotel staff to clean during the night and Reis and Maconchy ran up and down the hall kicking the boots outside the doors and mixing up the rooms that the boots should be located outside.                                                                                       
The men were in loud jovial humour laughing and joking as they went to their various bedrooms. Reis then in search of a single room as he refused to stay in a double room opened the room door of William O’Brien but after striking a match to light his way realized his mistake and left the room. He also opened the door of Gibson and Wardropp but apologized and left the room quickly banging the door on his way out. William O’Brien rang the bell for the night porter and he made a complaint about the noise in the hallway. Margaret Walsh was making her way to her room at the stairwell at opposite end of the hallway when she was spotted by some men in the hallway who ran at her ‘menacingly’. She immediately made her way quickly to her room and locked the door. Reis began to roar on the corridor for someone to bring him a pair of slippers and Elizabeth Carberry complained that someone had been banging loudly on her door to gain entrance but she refused to get out of bed.                              

When no response was forthcoming Reis moved to the edge of the stairs and shouted louder to get the attention of the staff. Having heard the commotion waiter Patrick Tobin made his way to the floor and found Reis and Barrett in the hallway. When he reached the corridor his colleague Elizabeth Ennis, a housekeeper was already attempting to placate Mr. Reis. She had been to the floor delivering a mattress for one of the constables who would be sleeping in the corridor to make sure that the Jury would not be disturbed or interfered with. Patrick Tobin attempted to persuade Reis to retire to bed but Reis asked for a deck of cards and his slippers. Having found a room he returned to the hall in his stocking feet and with a candle in one hand offering light to a dimly lit passageway, Reis knocked over a table with an empty basin for washing and the basin crashed to the floor. Reis picked it up but it fell again cursing rather loudly at the fallen object but Constable Donnelly moved in and picked it up and put it out of reach so that it would not fall again. Shortly after one o’clock in the morning there was silence.

                             7 a.m. September 11th 1882, Limerick Gaol,  Condemned  Cell

A large crowd begins to gather outside the walls of Limerick Gaol in the cold early morning where Francis Hynes awaited his fate knowing that all calls for clemency had been ignored by the Lord Lieutenant. As the crowds began to gather in the early morning air a large group of policemen under Sub Inspector Henry Wilton and troops of the 70th Regiment arrived and began to patrol the outer precincts of the prison. Another fifteen constables under the command of Constable Kavanagh protected the approach roads to the prison. In the early hours of Saturday morning about 1.45a.m., the executioner William Marwood had arrived in the city and met by a large detail of constables and taken to the prison where he stayed making arrangements for the Monday morning execution. The crowd, unlike the rowdy days of the public execution, were mute and all that could be heard were prayers for the young Francis Hynes.   
William Marwood (1820 – 1883) was appointed executioner in 1872 and referred to his work as a science stating that, 
'having studied my profession that a man dies at my hands with as little pain as I give myself by touching the back of my hand with my finger.’ 
He was a small man just five feet seven and many who attended his executions commented on his restless eyes.   

                              9a.m. August 12th 1882 The Dining Room of the Imperial Hotel

 The jury were awoken by the hotel staff and were all present in the dining room for breakfast at nine a.m. After breakfast had been consumed the William Barrett locked the dining room door and the discussion of the merits of the case began in earnest. While the door was locked the protection detail had their chance to have breakfast but while the jury members had just tea and iced water with their food, the Bailiffs and Constables took a different approach on their last hour in the Imperial Hotel Along with their breakfasts came
John Williams               A Glass of grog*
George Strong              A Glass of Whiskey
Robert Young               A Glass of Whiskey
(Grog was a naval term for Rum)

One commentator after being informed of the amount of alcohol consumed in the Imperial Hotel noted
‘If the published accounts in more than one paper of the amount of alcoholic liquors that jury consumed are correct' and the jurors were not drunk, then' they must be the most seasoned' liquor drinkers in the whole world’

 7 a.m. September 11th 1882, Limerick Gaol, Condemned  Cell
While awaiting his final fate Francis Hynes wrote a poem about his impending demise     
’Within my prison cell I sit penning down those saddening lines,
My age is scarcely twenty-four, and my name is Francie Hynes.
For the awful crime of murder, I am condemned to die,
But I will meet the scaffold without a sob or sigh.
I know that tears of sympathy from many an eye shall fall,
But one request I have to ask of friends and brothers all,
Let no man call me murderer of friends I humbly crave,
When I am cold and silent within my prison grave.
A Dublin Orange jury on that Memorial Day, mad drunk and blind with fury,
they swore my life away,
But I’m prepared to meet my fate, no tear will dim mine eye,
I never injured any man,
I swear by God on high.
My friends, they sought for my reprieve, but eloquence could not avail,
They will hang me in the morning in Limerick County Jail.
I give my blessing to my friends who beside me stood,
There’s no more hope, they’re thirsting for my blood.
My mother who watched me in my tender years,
Oh, joy she’s gone before me,
Her form, it now appears as if in childhood’s happy day,
she did me fondly clasp,
Little she thought she reared me for the hangman’s grasp.
But I’m prepared to meet my fate,
No danger will I falter
For innocence will triumph o’er bloody hitch and halter,
                                And when the star of peace will shine again as in the good old times,                            
Let Irishmen remember the fate of Francie Hynes

Hynes had got up according to the prison staff at five in the morning and donned a borrowed tweed suit. He ate a hearty breakfast and was then greeted by the prison chaplain Reverend James McCoy who celebrated mass in his cell. At 7.30a.m. the Sherriff of County Clare entered his cell and informed Hynes that the appointed hour had arrived. Five minutes later Marwood appeared at the door of the cell and pinioned the prisoner. At a quarter passed eight the procession to the gallows formed with two priests leading the way Reverend McCoy and local curate Reverend McNamara. Following behind them was Hynes with a warder on either side responding to the prayers of the clergymen in front of him.  Behind them followed the Governor Mr. Edgar and deputy Governor of the prison. They moved out into the courtyard where the scaffold had been erected. Hynes ascended the couple of steps and saw the treacherous rope hanging from the crossbeam.  Hynes stood calmly on the trap door and the rope was placed around his neck. He then pulled a white cap over the condemned man’s face and tried his legs together. Hynes clasped a crucifix in the middle of his tied hands.

The resident of the Imperial Hotel, William O’Brien was no ordinary guest.                    
                          ‘Home was a back bedroom on the top floor of a Dublin hotel’ 
the Imperial hotel since his release from prison a year earlier on compassionate grounds following the death of his mother. He had been in Kilmainham prison with Charles Stewart Parnell and John Dillon. William O’Brien was born in Mallow County Cork in 1852 and became a journalist after failing to graduate from legal studies in University. After initially working for the Cork Daily Herald he moved to Dublin and joined the staff of the Nationalist Freeman Journal. In 1878 he met Charles Parnell at a Home Rule meeting and despite an offer of £600 a year to staff at the journal he joined Parnell’s United Irishman paper as editor earning £400 per annum. After his release from prison he drafted ‘The Land War No Rent Manifesto’ and was a vociferous supporter of the actions of the peasants and evicted tenants. The introduction of the Coersion Act in the aftermath of the Phoenix Park murders pitted O’Brien directly against those in charge in Ireland. He commented that the British authorities were                                                                                ‘scouring the country for suspects, manufacturing a hideous race of informers by offering rewards for evidence regardless of its character, trying victims of the delatores by ruthlessly packed juries of ‘loyal Protestants’ in Dublin. Convicting by hook or crook.’

Having just been released from prison and a number of libel suits pending against his editorials in the United Irishman, O’Brien thought it would be better to write his letter of complaint to like minded editor Edmund Gray at the Freeman Journal. William O’Brien had unsuccessfully run in the General Election twice in Ennis, the home of Francis Hynes who also had attended a number of Parnell rallies. On both occasions he had lost narrowly in 1879 by just six votes.

Ireland in 1882 was a hotbed of unrest, violence and various nationalist factions with independence as their ultimate aspiration. On May 4th 1882, Liberal party British Prime Minister William Gladstone appointed John Poyntz Spenser known as the ‘Red Earl’ on account of his distinctive red beard as the Queen Victoria’s representative in Ireland, the Lord Lieutenant. Earl Spenser and his newly appointed Chief Secretary Lord Frederick Cavendish traveled to Ireland the next day to be greeted by the Permanent Under secretary in Ireland Thomas Henry Burke. On May 6th after only one day in Ireland Cavendish who was related through marriage to Gladstone and Burke went for a walk through The Phoenix Park from the Lord Lieutenants residence the Vice Regal Lodge. As they walked they were attacked by members of a Fenian breakaway organization called the Invincibles and were both stabbed to death. On the day of Lord Cavendish’s funeral the legislation was rushed through the House of Commons in attempt to arrest the violence that was menacing Ireland. The Act would allow extra measures for the police in search and seizure and allow for the holding of trials without juries although this was never used but the legislation was used to load empanneled juries. Although Parnell came out against the murders which made him popular in both Ireland and Britain, the brother of the slain Cavendish, Lord Harrington who had also been a member of Gladstone’s cabinet split from the British Liberal party over the introduction of Parnell’s much cherished Home Rule Bill and voted it down on two occasions. William O’Brien also came out against the murders but the resultant legislation caused him more anxiety the way in which the Irish poor tenant Catholic population were being treated.   

After the Lord Lieutenant, the Chief secretary and the Under secretary in Ireland, the affairs of the nation were put before the Privy Council, a sort of cabinet with the Chief Secretary as Prime Minter to the Lord Lieutenant. One of the members of Earl Spenser’s Privy Council was Mr. Justice James Anthony Lawson. Justice Lawson was the second highest rank judge in Ireland after the Lord Chief Justice Michael Morris.

Saturday August 12th 1882, Special Commission Court, Green Street, Dublin

The Jury and their escorts were taken by carriage back to the Green Street Courthouse and once again sat in the wooden jury box watching Mr. Justice Lawson open proceeding with the prisoner Francis Hynes in the dock. The foreman of the Jury requests that the Reverend Loughnane be called to the stand to give evidence with regard to how much of the act of contrition given to the dying John Doolaghty was able to follow. Neither the prosecution nor the defense had called the clergyman to the stand to give evidence and neither had James Lynch been called to the stand to give credence or disprove the prosecutions alleged motive for the murder. After the Reverend had completed his evidence, the jury went to consider their verdict. Less than an hour later the jury foreman was on his feet and when Justice Lawson asked for the verdict                  ‘Guilty’ came the reply.

 8.10a.m. September 11th 1882, The Courtyard of Limerick Gaol

The bolt was drawn quickly and the body of Francis Hynes fell through the trap door. A master of the long rope technique, the prison doctor quickly pronounced the prisoner dead and the sentence of the court had been carried out. Outside the walls the prayers of a crowd of now over two thousand people continued and a black flag was slowly hoisted on one of the flag poles indicating that the execution had been carried out. William Marwood remarked after that “I never executed a finer man, nor a man with so much nerve. He walked to his doom with the utmost composure and I cannot but admire him”. Marwood quickly left Limerick being escorted from the Gaol to the railway station and boarding a train for Dublin.

August 16th 1882 Green Street Courthouse The Sentencing of Edmund Grey

William O’Brien wrote a letter to the editor of the Freeman Journal newspaper Edmund Gray a former Mayor of Dublin and currently High Sherriff and therefore ultimately responsible for the actions of juries in his jurisdiction. William O’Brien was a guest in the hotel that night and wrote of the jury’s drunken behaviour and cast doubts on the legitimacy of the verdict and therefore the sentence of death. The Freeman Journal in publishing the letter brought a swift reaction from the legal system and Edmund Gray now found himself before Mr. Justice Lawson on a charge of contempt. No jury was summoned for the trial of Mr. Gray. The jury foreman was brought before the court and he swore that there was no drunken behaviour at the hotel by the jurors. Gray also a Member of Parliament pleaded his case but it fell on deaf ears. Mr. Justice Lawson took a dim view of his publishing the letter and the editorial comment that went with it saying that Catholics had been rigorously excluded which was against the law and the direction of the legal powers in London. . Mr. Justice Lawson sentenced Mr. Gray MP to three months imprisonment in Richmond, and to pay a fine of £500; also at the end of the three months, to give bail for his good behavior - himself in £5,000, and two sureties in £2,500 each.

 December 12th 1882 Ennis Court House. Compensation

 For the loss of her husband Eliza and her seven children sought compensation of three thousand pounds under the Crimes Act. At a sitting before Mr. Monaghan QC she said that after the conviction and execution she was shunned and boycotted by neighbours and shopkeepers making it almost impossible to live in her native Clare even her son was unable to get work. The Crimes Act was compensation given with the payment recouped from the local rate payers hoping that this would dissuade someone from committing a crime. There was no report if she received the entire three thousand pounds but when she used some of that money to pay for the family’s passage to a new life in Australia on March 3rd 1883 arriving in Dunedin New Zealand on June 2nd 1883. The Mercury newspaper in Hobart reported that she had received £154 from an appeal in the Mail newspaper and a further £50 from a Clifford Lloyd.

Some years later a Royal Irish Constable who was stationed in Ennis at the time believed that Francis Hynes was innocent. He recounted a different tale to the one that was both related in court and in the newspapers of the day. He stated that instead of lying by the roadside, or in the schoolhouse or being brought home immediately that John Doolaghty was taken by car to the local hospital. He was visited there by the local RIC Inspector Colonel Turner and it was he who identified Hynes as the killer by asking Doolaghty to squeeze his hand as he mentioned a number of suspects. There were other suspects including Francis Hynes brother but that Francis faced the hangman to save his married brother and allow his young family he have a father. Another suspect was a worker at the railway station in Ennis who had a run in with another member of the Doolaghty family.

Another prime suspect was a harness maker from Ennis who it was rumoured was paid five pounds to kill the farmer as part of the intimidation that was associated with the Land League. Immediately following the murder, this man fled the country to the United States. An anonymous letter also appeared in the Freeman Journal which is printed below with intimate details of the crime.

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