The Brexit endgame is not that far off and it is important to look-back to other events and the actions taken by the political and royal elite to protect their interests where the Westminster establishment was perceived to be under threat.
An event occurred in Ireland in 1882 the outcome of which shook Westminster to the core and brought about a change of government but failed to bring about change in the mindset of the English elite.
The English press and other media outlets were guilty of feeding the public false information aimed at demonizing inhabitants of parts of the United Kingdom and Ireland that had failed to accept and implement English lifestyle standards and religious beliefs.
The outcome of the event provided proof that Westminster will do anything including perverting the course of justice by arranging` a show trial of eight innocent men (the hanging of three and a near 20 year incarceration of the remaining five) all designed to ensure its survival intact and free of any unwanted change.
Queen Victoria gave voice that had the trial been held in England all eight of those falsely charged would be hung. Her lackey’s heeded her wishes and did their best to accommodate her.
The report that follows provides explanatory information in support of my assertion that little has changed. The “little Eng-lander” mentality of Westminster still drives the thinking of the establishment and Scotland is in for a rocky ride over Brexit and beyond as Westminster “circles the wagons” and denies anyone outside London/England their right, (enshrined in the UN charter) to self determination of their future governance.
17 Aug 1882: The Maamtrasna Murders
John Joyce, his mother, his second wife Bridget and two children were brutally killed in their home at Maamtrasna in Galway. The occurrence, which occurred just three months after the murders of Lord Ardilaun’s bailiffs at Pheonix Park, convinced the English authority it was part of an uprising, when it was in fact a local dispute.
The day following the murders, Anthony Joyce (a cousin of the murdered man), with his brother Johnny and his nephew Paddy, all from a nearby parish, three miles from the murder scene, went to the police with an astonishing tale.
These Joyces, known as ‘the “Malora” Joyces (to distinguish them from the many Joyce families in the area), gave a sworn statement that they had followed a crowd of men that fateful night, they saw them joined by other men, and saw them approach John Joyce’s house at Maamtrasna.
Hidden behind a bush, they heard the noise at the door, and saw some of the men enter the house, while others stayed outside. Anthony heard shouting and screeching. “He could not distinguish the screams of the women from those of the men.”
He named 10 men whom he alleged were out that night as follows: Anthony Philbin, Tom Casey, Martin Joyce, Myles Joyce, Patrick Joyce, Tom Joyce, Pat Joyce, Patrick Casey, John Casey, and Michael Casey.
They were duly rounded up and brought before the magistrates at Cong, and charged.
Westminster justice prevailed. Investigations were swiftly completed and retribution was exacted. The English state actively assisted by the Press, “nipped the problem in the bud”. But the implementation of swift justice, without appeal dammed Westminster for ever when it was revealed that a number of those put to death by hanging or jailed were innocent.
True to form, Westminster politicians refused to issue pardons and/or recompense those who served an unwarranted twenty years in jail.
Westminster Panic- Agitating for Change – The Land League Campaign
The Maamtrasna Murders happened at a time of deep unrest in Ireland.
Three years previously, the most effective protest against the insidious landlord domination of the vast majority of the Irish people found expression in the Land League.
It was established on October 21 1879, in the Imperial Hotel, Castlebar, by a former Fenian prisoner Michael Davitt.
In a sweeping revolutionary statement, the League proclaimed the right of every tenant farmer to own the land he worked on.
Because of the abuses heaped on tenants by some landlords, it had an immediate impact. It also found a powerful voice in its president Charles Stewart Parnell, a Protestant landowner in County Wicklow.
Parnell was initially seen as an unlikely leader of a mass agrarian movement, but Davitt declared him “an Englishman of the strongest type moulded for an Irish purpose.”
Parnell’s policies were so effective that it vaulted him into the unchallenged leadership of the advanced wing of the Irish Parliamentary Party.
In its time, through a series of Land Acts, it achieved extraordinary concessions for the Irish tenant, far in excess of what was ever achieved for their contemporaries working on the land in England, Scotland, or Wales.
Parnell advocated peaceful protest, such as non payment of rent, the effective use of ‘boycott’, and solidarity and support for those who were evicted. But passions were high and violence frequently took a vicious turn.
Principle targets for murder were landlords or their agents, many of whom were soft targets.
In January of same year of the Maamtrasna murders, Joseph and John Huddy, who worked for Lord Ardilaun,(a member of the Guinness family, a generous philanthropist who lived mainly at Ashford Castle, Cong ) were murdered and their bodies dumped in Lough Mask.
John Henry Blake, an agent of the despised Lord Clanricard, was shot dead in broad daylight in Loughrea in June 1882.
A Claremorris landlord, Walter Burke and Ballinrobe landlord Lord Mountmorres, were both shot dead.
The British government was determined to stamp out these outrages by whatever means and Parnell and other leaders were arrested on the basis of allegedly seditious speeches and held, without trial, in Kilmainham Gaol.
But what brought England to near hysteria, were the stabbings in Phoenix Park, on 6 May 1882, of Lord Frederick Cavendish, the newly appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland, and Thomas Henry Burke, the permanent under-secretary, the most senior Irish civil servant.
Draconian measures were immediately introduced giving the police much increased powers of search and arrest. New three-judge English language courts were set up and compensation for murder, injury, or damage to property was levied on the jurisdiction in which the crimes were committed.
A tenant evicted
18 Nov 1882: The “Spectator” newspaper Loads the Dice Before and During the Trial
This is what was published:
“The tragedy at Maamtrasna, almost unique as it is in the annals of the United Kingdom, brings out in strong relief two facts Which Englishmen are too apt to forget.
One is the existence in particular districts of Ireland of a class of peasants who are scarcely civilized beings whose approach is far nearer to savages than any other white men.
In remote places of Ireland, on a few of the islands and in one or two mountain areas, dwell peasants who are in knowledge, in habits, and in the discipline of life no higher than Maories or other Polynesians.
They survive for generations, without a rudimentary idea of comfort, or instruction, even in the alphabet, inaccessible to the teaching of any Church.
Men, whose strain of blood is not originally Milesian or Saxon, display a dull bitterness and ferocity of temper such as Englishmen in their own island see only rarely in individuals, the temper of men out of whom circumstances have crushed every feeling, except savage resentment against their lot, against all who come athwart them, against, in fact, all men and things.
Human sympathy seems almost extinguished in them, and when provoked, they perform the most dreadful acts, with that callousness and, as it were, unconsciousness, which Europeans for the most part have lost, but which reappear in narratives from the South Sea.
The Joyces of Maamtrasna, as the papers call them, though they are not all of one name now under trial, clearly belong to this class, utterly wretched, utterly poverty-stricken, utterly without hope of better things, as little under Christian influence as the animals, but when alarmed or excited, dully ferocious and bloodthirsty.
Some of them were implicated, in some way in the murder of Lord Ardilaun’s bailiffs, and knew that the police, with whom they were always at war, suspected them.
They also either knew or suspected that some one member of a neighbouring family, also named Joyce, had given the police the clue, and could, if willing, supply still further evidence.
They did not know, however, which member of the family was the guilty party, and therefore, under the guidance of two of their number, one of whom is just convicted, resolved to remove the danger by murdering them all, those innocent, even in their eyes, as well as the guilty.
The house was remote, they could get rid of all evidence and even if suspected, the new suspicion would not hurt them more than the previous one of the murder of the bailiffs had done.
The plan had about it all the audacity and completeness of the true savage raid, the raid in which extirpation is intended, without respect for sex or age,indeed, without thought of either and it very nearly succeeded.
Ten desperadoes went at night to the house of the suspected family, and shot or bludgeoned them all, John Joyce, his mother Margaret, his wife Bridget, his son Michael, and daughter Margaret. They had intended also to murder one other son but he although sorely wounded, feigned death, and survived.
Recollection of the cruelty of the mode of murder, completely overcame the Judge when passing sentence, but murder is never gentle, and except as illustrating the callous savagery of which we speak, the method adopted is unimportant.
Having (as they thought) destroyed the entire family, of whom most were guiltless of even an imaginary offense, and four were women or children, the murderers retreated, their leaders, doubtless, congratulating themselves on a final release from fear.
There seemed no possibility of evidence, except from one of the guilty accomplices, and they could be relied on, even if they did not fear the secret society which, Mr. Justice Barry hinted, must in some way have prompted the deed.
It is more probable that the ten themselves constituted a secret society but at all events the leaders thought themselves secure, both as regards the murdered Joyces and the murdered bailiffs.
They had not reckoned, however, on two circumstances, the fact that their crime would stir the horror naturalis which in most countries makes of every man the murderer’s enemy and that their tyranny, which had lasted years, had roused the silent detestation of their neighbours.
Even fear for their own lives seems unable in Ireland to rouse the people to form Vigilance Committees, and suppress terrorism for themselves, as would happen anywhere else, but three neighbours, themselves in terror of murder, and aware that “the Boys” were in movement, had nerve enough, if not to defend the victims, at least to watch the murderers.
They did not warn the threatened or shoot down the threateners, but they stalked the ten as Maories or Red Indians might have done, noted their persons, saw them break-in the doors, heard the shouts and shrieks, and gave evidence to the police and when the leaders were arrested, one of their followers turned Queen’s evidence, and made the proof legally as well as morally complete.
The badly injured child, who could have given the account of an eye-witness, was not examined, for he had been left so devoid of the most rudimentary training that he could not comprehend the obligation of an oath, and, therefore, could give no evidence.
One leader has been sentenced to death, and if all his accomplices share the same doom, there will, even in Ireland, be no sympathy for their fate. They had gone beyond even the awful secret code of the Western peagantry, which teaches that the loss of a bit of land, or of a little profit, or the telling of plain truth in a Court of Justice, justifies execution, without trial or opportunity of defense, by the bludgeon or the revolver.
We have no intention of deepening in any way the horror of this incident in English eyes, for terribly as it has affected English imaginations it is, among the crimes which have disgraced Ireland, one of the least truly horrible.
Not only were all concerned, victims as well as murderers, of a type below civilization, but the crime was punished, and punished by the help of Irishmen, by the aid of neighbours, through their testimony, and by the verdict of an ordinary jury.
No one in Ireland has defended it, no one has threatened the witnesses, no Member of Parliament has attempted to extenuate it. It is the unpunished murders, in which the witnesses are silent, and the jurors are perjured, and the journalists talk as if Christianity had never been heard of, of the “wild justice of revenge,” and as to which a whole land seems either sympathetic or cowed, which are so truly horrible, and for which, as the Catholic Canon told his audience, the retribution of Heaven will arrive.
But we would with this case before us, ask those Irishmen who still believe it needless to make the law executive, whether they can devise or suggest any substitute for its action, whether they believe any other agency than Law, steadily enforced till it becomes part of the order of things, can awaken conscience in men like these murderers?
Would one of them have murdered, if he had known that retribution would be certain ; that every Irish- man would, as against him, be a policeman. That he would arouse the instinctive horror not only of the good, but of all, bad and good alike?
We do not believe it. We believe that the law awakens conscience as nothing else save the direct grace of God, not often given to murderers can • and it is therefore we support in England the penalty of death.
In Ireland every obstacle to the certainty of legal retribution, even if that obstacle be an institution like the jury, or a personal right like the freedom to walk about at night, should be swept away.
The apologists for agrarian crime, though not for crimes like this Joyce murder, hope one day, or say they hope, to rule Ireland for themselves.
If they do, they will be the worst pests even unhappy Ireland ever had, if they do not beforehand learn that the sanctity of Law is the safety of the people, and that there is such a crime in the divine system of the world, if not in human legislation, as “bearing the sword of the Lord in vain.”
Not involved but hung just the same
20 August 1882: The “Times” newspaper was not to be upstaged and commented:
“No ingenuity can exaggerate the brutal ferocity of a crime which spared neither the grey hairs of an aged woman nor the innocent child of 12 years who slept beside her. It is an outburst of unredeemed and inexplicable savagery before which one stands appalled, and oppressed with a painful sense of the failure of our vaunted civilization.”
10 Dec 1882: The Judgement
Of the ten men arrested, two (fearing for their lives) decided to become informers in order to escape punishment. Eight men were convicted, Three were hung and the other five were imprisoned.
Two of the jailed men died in jail while the other three spent 20 years in custody for a crime they did not commit.
It later transpired that they had been pressurized to plead guilty in return for a reduced sentence as opposed to hanging.
The man suspected of having been the actual ring leader of the killings – moneylender John Casey was never arrested.
A Serious Miscarriage of Justice.
1. The defendants were were convicted on perjured evidence: Eye witnesses were paid 1,250 pounds sterling – equivalent to about €160,000 today in “compensation” for testifying for the prosecution.
2. Lord Spencer, the Lord Lieutenant, (an ancestor of Prince William and Prince Harry) said the payments were for: “courageous and praiseworthy conduct in the pursuit and prosecution of the murderers”. later recantations were never properly considered.
3. The prosecution case was a farrago of deceits and the defense lawyer was lamentable – simply went through the motions.
4. The trial was conducted entirely in English before a Dublin-based English-only speaking jury, but the defendants only spoke and understood the Irish language and translation for the defendants was ill provided.
5. Both Patsy and his older brother, Martin, (who was away in Clonbur on the night of the murders) gave statements to the investigating police but these were not submitted in evidence. They were also detained against their will, in the police station in Ballybough for the duration of the trial.
6. Facing the hangman’s noose at Galway Prison, one of the accused, Patrick Casey signed a declaration before the prison Governor, George Mason, that, of his own free will “as a prisoner under sentence of death….Myles Joyce is innocent in this case.”
7. An urgent telegram containing a plea for mercy was sent by Governor of Galway prison to the lord lieutenant of Ireland, Earl John Spencer and was returned with a scribbled note on the reverse side stating: “the law must take its course”.
8. It was also noted that there was substantial evidence that could have proved the innocence of some of the men, but it was hidden away from court and evidence given in Irish had not been translated correctly.
9. The accused men’s solicitor, a 24-year old novice from Tuam, Co. Galway, had graduated from Trinity College Dublin only two years previously and, as a non-Irish speaker, was unable to communicate in any meaningful way with most his clients.
10. An inquiry was refused soon after the trial and for a long time thereafter despite clear evidence showing that justice had not been done.
Charles Stewart Parnell
12 Mar 2018: The Irish to Have the Final Say on the Matter
Irish President, Michael D. Higgins revealed that the Government has appointed an expert to examine the case for granting posthumous pardons to the innocent men convicted of the historic murders.
In an interview he said he is looking forward to hearing that expert’s opinion and the Government’s advice on one of the most famous miscarriages of justice in British and Irish legal history.
“At that stage, I will be returning to this issue to see what I can do. If it were up to me, the formalities aside, I would be happy to accept that the injustice which occurred should be recognized.
My view is that the moral issue is clear. Everything that happened at the level of the State was horrendous. There was bribery involved. The accused didn’t get a proper chance to defend themselves. There wasn’t an atmosphere of equality and there was no equality as regards legal processes.”
The President also said that the British authorities, did not treat citizens outwith England as equals: “They viewed them as a race apart who were not on equal footing with ordinary civilized people.”
Comment: The last comment from the President of Ireland is an accurate reflection of the mindset of the British elite, at Westminster, with one word change: Delete “were” Insert “are”.