Shaughnessy Trial Report

28 February, 1822: Court Report from Limerick Chronicle 3 March, 1822 re incident at house of Mr Fosbery, Adare.
Thomas SHAUGHNESSY, an able stout man, was put to the bar, charged with being an idle and disorderly person under the Act, having been out of his home at half past ten o’clock on the night of the 28th ultimate.
William JOHNSON, one of the Adare Yeomanry, deposed that he saw a house burning belonging to Mr. FOSBERY on the 28th ult; when he first saw the fire he was two miles distant from it; accompanied by a detachment of the 42nd Regiment, and a policeman hastened to the place; when he arrived there, it was all in flames, being a thatched house; there was one woman in the house at the time it was set on fire; and she was got out; some of the 42nd from Kildimo had arrived there before his party; he and his party then searched the adjoining houses to see it the inhabitants were within; they went into SHAUGHNESSY’s house and saw an old man sitting by the fire; while they were interrogating the old man the prisoner rushed in from the back door in great heat, as if after a chase, and on being asked where he was, he said that he was feeding the cow, upon which witness to ascertain the truth and found the cow in the yard without any food before it, but saw another man in the stable, where there were two horses; the distance from the back door to the cow was not more than eight or nine yards. (The prisoner addressed the witness from the dock, denying having said he was feeding the cow, but that he was feeding the horses).
Daniel ROSS, a soldier of the 42nd Regt. was in the house of the prisoner on the night stated, and saw him come through the back door; he seemed in a great heat, as if after running-the witness put his hand upon the Prisoner’s side, and felt his heart palpitate.
COURT: Witness, you know what it is to run after an enemy, and not from
him-was it a state of heat similar to that he was in?
WITNESS: smiling-“Yes, my Lord, as if he was after a chase.”
Prisoner told witness also, that he had been feeding cows. Francis MAGINAS, a soldier of the 42nd deposed that prisoner told him after he had come in, that he was feeding horses; Prisoner said that after the yeoman and soldier had interrogated him.
The Prosecution closed, and for the defence was called Patrick SHAUGHNESSY, brother to the Prisoner, who stated that he was not long in bed when the army came in; that he had given directions to his brother to put the cow in the stable; his brother was not long gone when the soldiers were searching the house. On his cross examination, he could not tell whether four or five minutes or three or four hours in bed, before the soldiers had arrived, but he believed four or five minutes; he had no watch and how could he tell.
The Prisoner was found Guilty, and sentenced to seven years Transportation. The Court and Magistrates were of opinion that the Prisoner was at the burning of Mr. FOSBERY’s house. The Court observed, that a report had been currently circulated that New South Wales was a comfortable place to be transported to, but the Prisoner would find, and the Public may be assured, that an Island not so comfortable would be selected by the Government.