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Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

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Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

Post by Karen on Sat 17 Sep 2011 - 11:01

Mr. John Mallon's Reminiscences of the Phoenix Park Murders.

In next Sunday's issue of "Lloyd's" Mr. John Mallon, one of the most famous Irish detectives, will commence his reminiscences of more than forty years' service in the Detective Department of the Dublin Metropolitan Police.
Mr. Mallon's period of service covered the most stirring times of Irish rebellion, the whole later period of the Fenian movement, the organisation and activities of the murder band known as the "Irish Invincibles," the Land League agitation, the murders and outrages of the "Capt. Moonlight" class, and the arrest of all the most prominent of the Irish leaders in and out of Parliament.
Among others, he was associated with the arrest of the late James Stephens, the late Charles Stewart Parnell, the late Michael Davitt, Mr. T. Sexton, and many more whose names were known over the whole civilised world.
As the Chief Superintendent of the Detective Department, Mr. Mallon had to organise the investigation of the origin, and discover the perpetrators of the murders of Mr. Thomas Burke and Lord Frederick Cavendish, for which a number of the Irish Invincibles were executed nearly twelve months after the crime.
His stories are of thrilling interest, although he suppresses many that are even more exciting than those that appear, and which relate to the score or more attempts that were made upon his own life.

Source: Lloyd's Weekly News, May 30, 1909, Page 3

Last edited by Karen on Mon 7 May 2012 - 18:16; edited 3 times in total

Karen Trenouth
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Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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Re: Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

Post by Karen on Sat 17 Sep 2011 - 13:39



It is not without some qualms, although with the great pleasure that always attaches to the recalling of reminiscences of "active service," that I have acceded to the request that I should tell in the columns of "Lloyd's Weekly News" some of the happenings of a particularly eventful period of Irish history, that was largely coincident with my own service in the Detective Department of the Dublin Metropolitan Police.
With my seventieth birthday only a few days past, it is not unpleasant even to contrast the peaceful, yet absorbingly interesting present with the always exciting, sometimes dangerous, and invariably anxious activities of detective life.
At the moment I am writing in my old home, among my own kindred on both sides, beneath the shadow at one time, and in the grateful shelter at others, of the silent Slieve Gallion Mountain.
It is more than seven years since I resigned my connection with the force, and the whole course of my life is changed as completely as it well could be, yet memory lingers always and gratefully on the kindness of colleagues, on the intense devotion and courage of those working under and with me, and upon the help afforded at all times, and always with the greatest possible kindness, by the officers of the kindred organisations for London and Liverpool, the Criminal Investigation Department at Scotland Yard and the Detective Department at Dale street.
I am told that even the details of my boyhood will be interesting, and as newspaper men have a better opportunity than others of judging upon such matters, I acquiesce.
I was born on May 10, 1839, and I got most of my early education at the Newry Model School, under the National Board, with many of my old-time fellow students at which I have had pleasant meetings, and revival of long surviving friendships.
Leaving the Model School I had two narrow escapes of missing what seems to have been my real vocation in life.
First of all I was apprenticed to one of the largest drapery firms in Newry, and for three years served, I hope faithfully, but without enthusiasm.

An Army Rejection.

Then I came across some men of the Royal Engineers, who were surveying in the neighbourhood of Newry, and, attracted by the uniform, determined to enter the corps. For that purpose I went to Dublin, but found that my education in the drapery business was not regarded as qualifying me to enter the corps as a tradesman, and I was rejected.
But without any effort or desire of my own I was switched from a military to a police career.
Meeting by accident a Colonel Close, who was a county Armagh man, I told him of my rejection by the Royal Engineers.
Colonel Close knew that his friend, Sir Henry Lake, who was then Chief Commissioner of Police, was prepared to find an opening in the Dublin Metropolitan force for likely men, and he took me up and introduced me.
And on Dec. 1, 1858, I entered it as a constable. My education, and, perhaps, the manner of my introduction, attracted the notice of Detective-Supt. Daniel Ryan, and with little previous police duty of the ordinary kind, was transferred to the superintendent's office for clerical work.
The experience in method and practice gained by enforced acquaintance with the chief's work was of the utmost value to me; while the necessity for the most absolute secrecy and discretion taught me the reticence and self-reliance so valuable to an officer in the detective force of any country.
Mr. Ryan, my chief, took the kindest possible interest in me, and from the first treated me almost as one of his own children. That his training was of enormous value the fact that he had been in the detective department since 1842 is ample testimony. He had risen from the ranks, also, which was an object lesson to every man in the force as to the possibilities of the career. He was a King's County man, and, of course, had been through the troublous times of 1848.
But that movement had been almost forgotten in a way, when, without any serious visible indication of its growing power, the Fenian movement began to gain fresh adherents, and to take somewhat ugly shape.

A New Conspiracy.

And by 1861 it was quite clear we were in for new developments. There was little upon which to base any accurate estimate of the character or weight of the force that had arisen - all that could be done was to get and keep in touch with it at every moment and point, and to secure accurate knowledge of every contemplated movement and likely leader of the party.
My good fortune followed me in several special forms. First of all, Mr. Ryan often required some delicate inquiry for which it was necessary to select a man who would not be suspected. And as the work of the office had kept me more of a clerk in appearance than a police officer the duty often came my way. My commercial training, also, unlikely as it at one time appeared, served me in good stead upon those occasions.
When work had been specially strenuous in the office Mr. Ryan would sometimes send me off to London upon an inquiry, and thus brought me in touch with Mr. Williamson, who was then the first superintendent of the Criminal Investigation Department at Scotland Yard. From him, as from my own chief, I received some of the most valuable assistance in advice and training, for he was certainly one of the most able detective officers the department ever had. His attitude was more that of a friend than an official superior, and he used to take every opportunity of having me go with him upon various little expeditions, telling me all the time things he thought would be professionally helpful. By this means I was brought into contact with Mr. Thompson, at Bow-street, Mr. Neame, at Scotland Yard, and other experienced officers, all of whom took an interest in my future. And then when they came to Ireland on professional business I was generally told off to accompany them.
All this time the work in the office continued, but in the meantime the revolutionary movement was quietly reorganising. A number of the 48 men, with others they had got in touch with, were holding meetings in Ireland, while American sympathisers were openly and avowedly working for an Irish Republic and the throwing off of British control.

The American Conspirators.

The trouble recommenced in America, to which country a number of the Irish connected with the '48 movement in their own country fled for safety when their revolution burst up. Mr. T.B. McManus was one of them, and others were James Stephens, and Stephen Joseph Meany, a journalist. Meany was a native of county Clare, but came to Dublin and joined the Metropolitan Police there as a constable. He was subsequently dismissed for some reason, and then took up journalism in Dublin in a somewhat irregular kind of way.
Stephens, who was an extremely good French scholar, was, curiously enough, tutor in this country after his return, teaching in the families of several prominent citizens, among them those of some of the Irish judges. He passed under the assumed name of "Bower."
Some of these men were conspiring to revive the movement, and with the help of Colonel John O'Mahony, who acted as Head Centre, and Colonel Kavanaugh, Stephens established the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Fenian organisation. Stephens was styled the "C.O.I.R.B.," or chief organiser, and as soon as the new organisation was well founded he returned to Ireland and commenced organisation here. He wanted to show the people in America how his work had succeeded in Ireland and England. And in an evil moment he decided to use the remains of a dead revolutionary as a means of appeal to the empathetic and volatile Irish temperament.
Stephens had struck the notion that it would rouse the Irish to a pitch of enthusiasm that would suit his purpose well if he could bring over the remains of T.B. McManus, who had died and was buried in America, and to have a great public funeral.

Archbishops and the Fenians.

One of his schemes was to have the remains lying in state, so to speak, in the Catholic Cathedral in Dublin. But this idea was knocked on the head by the Roman Catholic Archbishop, who absolutely prohibited it, and could not be induced to depart from that decision. The Archbishop of the day, it should be mentioned, was His Grace Dr. Cullen, who afterwards became Cardinal. He had not been living among the Irish people, or in Ireland, for many years, most of his time having been spent at the Irish College in Rome, where he was a great favourite of Pope Pius the Ninth.
From Rome he came to be Archbishop of Armagh, being subsequently translated to Dublin. It was doubtless his residence in Rome, and his intimate personal knowledge of the evils resulting from secret society work there, that made him so determined not to sanction or favour the secret Fenian movement here. He knew also that the Fenians were associated with all the revolutionary leaders, from every part of the world, who were gathered in Paris.
But Stephens was a very persistent and determined man, the advanced men in Ireland were wildly enthusiastic over the idea, the coffin was in due course landed in Ireland, and, although there were those who said it contained no remains, it was received with every possible enthusiasm at Queenstown. The government thought it best to take no notice of the movement, and there was no interference, except on the part of the Bishop there, who, anticipating the action of the Archbishop of Dublin, refused to permit of the church being used.

Drilled Men and Stern.

The coffin was, therefore, brought by rail to Dublin, and placed in the Mechanics' Institute for several days. On the Sunday it was brought out for public burial, and there was an enormous turn-out of the public to see the procession. One thing particularly noticeable was the military precision in marching of those who formed the procession, and one could not help the suspicion that they had been drilled by some of the American officers who were over here. There was also a stern look on the faces of the men that indicated a very bad feeling.
When the remains reached Glasnevin they were placed in a plot of ground that had been specially selected, near which, later on, a cenotaph, bearing the names of the executed "Manchester Martyrs," and of the man Barrett, executed for the Clerkenwell explosion, was erected. The cenotaph told their names and other particulars, but the grave in which the McManus coffin was laid was marked only by a plain slab bearing his name.
In the fullness of time the remains of John O'Mahony were brought to the same spot for interment, he, also, having died in exile.
The Fenians used to march out there every year, on the anniversary of the execution of the Manchester men. The custom has nearly died out now, as there are only a few of the enthusiastic "Old Guard" still alive.
Among those who accompanied the remains to Ireland one of the chief men was Colonel Michael Doheny. And he and his colleagues convened meetings in the Rotunda, at which inflammatory speeches were made, and the idea of a Republic for Ireland openly discussed. Then the Government began to be alive to the force the agitation had accumulated, and it was deemed time the business should be closely watched and kept in touch with.

The "Irish People."

Stephens had a genius for organising, and he enlisted so many adherents that it was decided to start a weekly newspaper called the "Irish People." The office was at 12, Parliament-street, a neighbourhood calculated to keep the sentimental remembrance of the old Parliament ever green and to increase the responsiveness of the members. It was to be edited by Thomas Clarke Luby, who was a very able man and a good writer, associated with whom was Mr. John O'Leary, who has since written a history of the movement. Another of the literary staff was Mr. C.J. Rickham, while Mr. John Haltigan was the registered printer, and the notorious "O'Donovan-Rossa" general manager. The real name of the latter, by the way, was Jeremiah O' Donovan, but there were so many O'Donovans that to distinguish him the name of his native place was added.
In November, 1863, everything being ready, they stated the paper, practically the whole of the contributors were persons professing very violent views. Among others who wrote were Dr. Dennis Dowling Mulcahy and Christopher Manns O'Keefe, who was generally credited with the authorship of the most bitter articles.
The paper went on for many weeks, always very extreme in tone, threatening and denouncing and urging revolt against England in every issue.
In April, 1864, Pierce Nagle, a man employed in the office of the paper, for some reason of his own determined to betray the organisation. Accordingly he wrote to the Under-Secretary, General Larcom, telling him of certain illegal matters that were going on. The Under-Secretary handed on the letter to Mr. Ryan, who put himself in communication with Nagle, took down his statement, which comprised a good many people, and left no doubt whatever of the wild nature of the conspiracy that was being hatched by some of those connected with the paper.
The statement was made before the Under-Secretary, who at once saw that matters were becoming so serious that immediate attention and action were necessary. We had been keeping ourselves informed in a general way of what was going on, but from this time special arrangements were made to secure prompt information of each project arranged, and of each step taken towards the accomplishment of their purpose.
People wondered a good deal where all the money was coming from for the movement, as most of those associated with the organisation were comparatively impecunious. We had our very strong suspicions that it was provided by people in America who were either genuinely in sympathy with the Irish demand for independence or had axes of their own to grind.
At last our suspicions were confirmed in a somewhat curious way.
It was some time in the summer of 1865, and was merely the result of a lucky accident.
P.J. Meehan had been entrusted with a draft for five hundred pounds, which he had brought to Ireland from America, and which he was to deliver to a Mr. George Hopper in Dublin. Meehan lost the draft, or, at any rate, it came into our possession at the detective department in Dublin Castle, and it did not need any ingenuity to extract its story.
It was drawn by John O'Mahony, issued at Belmont's Bank, New York, in favour of Mr. George Hopper, and payable at Rothschild's Bank in London. As Mr. George Hopper was a brother-in-law of Mr. James Stephens, it was no longer a question where the money was coming from. I believe it became known who caused the draft to be drawn and sent over, but it was not our end of the story. The draft was said to have been found by a telegraph boy at Kingstown, who consulted a young lady telegraphist. And as her brother-in-law was a police superintendent she naturally referred the matter to him, and the cat was out of the bag. Of course, there was no secret about the conspiracy on the American side, for the Fenians had an open office in a chief street, and openly asked for money to be subscribed. And there was never any doubt of the fact that the American organisation could always find cash.

Arrest of O'Donovan Rossa.

When Mr. Ryan got hold of the draft he saw the gravity of the matter, and at once laid it before the Government. As a first result he was ordered to proceed to London, where he made inquiries in connection with Mr. Williamson. Immediately upon his return, and as a result of the report he submitted as to the outcome of his investigations, the Government decided to suppress the "Irish People," and to arrest all those concerned in its production in any other capacity than that of mechanics or labourerers. As the authority for this suppression was the Lord Lieutenant's warrant, declaring the paper a treasonable one, all connected with its production would be liable to arrest.
No time was lost, and on the evening of Sept. 15th, 1865, Mr. Ryan and a number of officers entered the offices. There was no one there, so the quiet time was occupied in searching the premises and taking possession of all documents. Among other things found were the original manuscripts of the treasonable articles, signed by the writers, and affording very useful and complete evidence of their complicity in the production of the treasonable paper.
Most of the staff were in the neighbourhood, so the detectives quietly waited for them, and as they returned, one by one or in couples, they were quietly placed under arrest, told the charge against them, and taken away in custody. Among those who found themselves trapped so quietly were O'Donovan Rossa, Luby, the editor, and John O'Leary.
James Stephens must have got wind in time, for he could not be found. Indeed, it was nearly two months later before we got an inkling of his hiding-place, and were able to capture not only himself but three of his confidential associates as well.

Detective Disguised as a Policeman.

A reward of 100 pounds had been offered for information as to the whereabouts of Stephens, and one day a labouring man came to Mr. Ryan, and said there seemed to be some suspicious goings on at a house in Sandymount, in the east suburb of the city. Four people, all gentlemen, were living there, he declared, and they usually came out at night only.
Upon receipt of this information Mr. Ryan sent a detective officer to keep observation upon the house, and for perhaps the first and last time a policeman's uniform was used as a disguise.
The officer, dressed as a constable, went to the house indicated by the informant, which was named Fairfield House. He waited his opportunity, slipped into the garden behind some bushes, and commenced to smoke.
As he had anticipated, in a little while the gardener "discovered" him and asked what he was up to.
The officer explained that he had slipped in out of sight to have a smoke, which was not allowed by the rules of the Service. So sympathetic did the gardener become that he even "gave a watchful eye" for the approach of the sergeant, an opportunity of which the detective disguised as a policeman made full use to ascertain a good many useful items as to the lie of the land.
When the gardener reported that the coast was quite clear there had been set up amicable feelings of comradeship, and the two indulged in quite a long talk. The officer doubtless told stories of strange crimes and criminals, probably bemoaned the harsh regulations, and talked of his own family affairs.

An Early Morning Raid.

Then the gardener also talked, among other things, of "his people," explaining that the family consisted of four gentlemen and one lady. Neither of them, of course, bore the name of Stephens.
But the detective had got all he wanted, took an opportunity to say "Good-night," and went off to Mr. Ryan with his news. And on the morning of Nov. 10, at Fairfield House, Sandymount, James Stephens, the chief organiser; Hugh Francis Brophy, one of the prominent officers of the organisation; Edward Duffy, another of the officers; and Charles J. Kickham (a good name for a rebel), one of the heads of the Fenian movement, were all arrested without resistance or trouble. Kickham, I should mention, was a very powerful writer, and was the author of the poem "Rory o' the Hills" and several popular novels.
It was about seven o'clock in the morning, and still dark, when the party set out to make the arrests. Sir Henry Lake himself, with Mr. Ryan, and about forty other officers, chiefly of the detective department, made their way to Fairfield House without attracting any attention.
They knocked at the door, but there was no response, although they could hear footsteps moving about. Then they forced the hall door and the door at the back.
The first thing they found was half-a-dozen revolvers lying about, an ominously suggestive hint of the reception they would have had if they had come when the desperate men were awake and alert. Then they found Stephens very white and scared, in a room with his wife. The others were found elsewhere, one of them still in bed, and others, evidently aroused by the forcing of the door, just in the act of dressing. There were no warrants out for any of those in the house but Stephens, but they did not know that, and Sir Henry Lake no doubt felt certain that his action in arresting all for the moment would be endorsed. They were all four brought before Sir John Calvert Stronge, the chief magistrate, and remanded until the 17th. They were brought up on that date and further remanded until the 24th.

Daring Escape from Gaol.

On that day they were committed for trial before a special commission which was to open on the 27th November. Stephens was asked the usual question whether he had anything to say. I had noticed when he was first taken before the magistrate on the 10th, as well as at the court on the 17th, that he seemed very depressed. But on the 24th he was animated and defiant, the reason for which the detective department found out afterwards. He replied that he had nothing to say, and when his reply had been entered on the record, and he had signed it, he threw down the pen and said, "You have got me in custody, but no British jury will every try me!"
Upon a remand being ordered, he was taken to Richmond Bridewell. He had by that time found out that many, if not all, of the warders were his friends, and on the morning of Nov. 25 he was found to be missing from his cell. The door was found to be open, although the lock had not been forced, and through that the prisoner had passed into a sort of quadrangle, from which he could pass into the grounds. There he had taken some forms, upon which he climbed, to the top of the wall, then dropped over, and doubtless found friends waiting to receive him.
The escape of Stephens from Richmond caused a lot of feeling, alike among those who were left behind, and those who were still free. He had been the immediate cause of Brophy, Duffy, and Kickham being arrested, as the police had not troubled about them before. And it was felt that if one could be helped out of gaol the others should have a chance as well. It was probably this resentment that led to the opening of new negotiations, and the promotion of new plans, without his aid later on.

Warder's Treachery.

It must not be concluded from the events attending the escape of Stephens that any suspicion attached then or attaches now as to the loyalty of the warders of British prisons as a whole. The circumstances were quite exceptional. Richmond Bridewell was under the control of the Corporation of the City of Dublin, and the prevailing spirit there was that of Nationalism. As a result there was not much difficulty in finding a warder who would betray his trust.
Upon examination and inquiry it was proved beyond a doubt that the door had been unlocked, and it was afterwards learned that by the treachery of a warder a wax impression of the key had been taken, and a false key made by a man named Michael Lambert, a mathematical instrument maker employed by Grubb and Co., the eminent firm of astronomical instrument manufacturers.
He got away safely, but later on we found he was living at Dean-street, near St. Patrick's Cathedral. Our men went to arrest him, but he was not at home. His wife said she would fetch him, but apparently he had taken fright, for he disappeared and subsequently lived most of his time in Paris. Later on, however, he got home-sick and returned to Dublin, where he died recently. Some of the witnesses were dead, others had disappeared, and so the Government let him go quietly to his grave without arrest.
There have been so many cases of betrayal in the various political movements that I should like to place one fact on record to Lambert's credit. His family about this time fell into financial disaster, and he was badly needing money. But, although 1,000 pounds was offered for information as to Stephens' hiding place, which he knew, he never offered to earn the reward.
After Stephens' escape from Bridewell he did not at once leave the country. In fact, he went to hide in a house in Kildare-street, nearly opposite the club of which some of the chiefs of the police forces were members.
A few months later he drove openly through the streets of Dublin, and escaped from Dublin on a collier that was lying at City Quay, his companion being a man named John Flood, who was better known to the detective department as "Smuggler Flood," to distinguish him from a namesake known as "Gunner Flood." The police were entirely "dished" over the escape, for while revenue cutters were on the look-out all round the coast, Stephens and Flood were both on the coal ship, dressed as collier's men, and working the windlass, when the ship was hailed by revenue officers for details of her name, cargo, and destination. They got safely to Paris, where Stephens lived for some time, subsequently making his way over to America.
The whole of the men arrested in September were sent for trial on a charge of treason felony, and after a hearing before a special commission of judges, were convicted, the principals receiving fifteen years' penal servitude each. Many of them were released before they finished their time, however, things having quieted down a good deal later on.

A Gilbertian Revolution.

Of course Stephens' escape put heart into the Fenians, and their organisation grew tremendously, and became more powerful than ever before. They boasted openly that they had rescued a man from the clutches of the British Government, and asserted their ability to do anything that they thought desirable in the interest of their cause, or for the promotion of national independence. But the central body, or "Supreme Council," had very few members, not more, I believe, than ten or a dozen.
The Detective Department did not give them much rest at any time, and after Stephens' escape concealed arms were found, and confiscated under the Arms Act.
But in 1866 there was a curious movement going on that caused the Government a good deal of uneasiness. Reports made by our people showed that quite a number of ex-officers of the United States army had appeared in different parts of Ireland, and that they were more or less associated with the conspiracy.
"So serious was the outlook that the Government found it necessary to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act on Feb. 17, 1868.
In relation to the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, a curious and humourous thing happened.
There were two brothers, named respectively John and James Kelly, both of whom where to be arrested. Each kept a tobacco shop in different parts of the city and lived in the upper part of the premises. One was in Sackville-street, the other in Grafton-street.
Both were arrested the same night without either having knowledge of the other's predicament. The consequence was that James sent a messenger to his brother John to say what had happened, and at the same time John sent a messenger to brother James saying that he had suffered similar misfortune.
The two messengers met at the Bank of Ireland, about midway between the two shops, and having told each other their errand continued their journeys.
When the two brothers met in the hall of Mountjoy Prison each exclaimed simultaneously with the other, "What the ----- brought you here?"
About the time of the suspension of Habeas Corpus Stephens was touring America, and at a monster meeting, attended by several thousands of people, he said he hoped before the year was out to be fighting in Ireland for Irish independence.
Irishmen were impassioned by Stephens' speeches and boasting, and Colonel Thomas Kelly, who afterwards became notorious in connection with the "Manchester Martyrs" business, put himself in communication with the revolutionists of all nationalities, who made their homes in Paris, and arranged with them to assist in a contemplated rising in Ireland.
Cluseret, who recently died in Paris, was appointed Commander-in-Chief because of his military knowledge and of his experiences gained with the French Revolutionary Army.
Octavius Fariola, a Franco-Belgian, was nominated for the post of Adjutant-General of the Forces.
Vifquain was given command of the Western District, with instructions to seize the telegraphs and at once cable to America that the Irish Republic had been established.
Godfrey Massey, who said he had been a colonel in the Confederate Army, was made Assistant-Adjutant-General, with instructions to seize Limerick Junction and tear up the rails, so as to destroy communications with the south.
And in association with these chieftains were a number of Irish-American officers, the whole forming the "Military Council" of the Irish Republican Army.

Mr. Mallon's Reminiscences will be continued in "Lloyd's News" next week.

Source: Lloyd's Weekly News, June 6, 1909, Page 13 & 15

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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Re: Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

Post by Karen on Sun 18 Sep 2011 - 17:11



With this issue Mr. John Mallon, at one time the most famous officer of the Irish detective force associated with the Dublin Metropolitan Police, gives the second instalment of his reminiscences. The first portion, contained in last week's number, told the exciting story of the seizure of the "Irish People," the arrest of O'Donovan Rossa, James Stephens, and other of those associated with it, and the daring escape of Stephens from the Richmond Bridewell. It also included the detailed narrative of the escape from Dublin of the famous Revolutionary leader, on a collier steamer, disguised as a member of the crew. Last week's instalment concluded with the preliminary arrangements for the arming of the Fenian forces, and the seizure of the railways.

Unfortunately for their schemes, there was, as usual, at least one man taking part in the deliberations who was their for purposes of his own. In this case it was an officer in their confidence, named J.J. Corrydon, who promptly put us in possession of the scheme as a whole and of its details as applying to the various officers already referred to.
As a consequence, when the Assistant-Adjutant-General Massey arrived at Limerick Junction, he and a number of others were at once arrested by Mr. Brownrigge, Deputy-Inspector-General of the Royal Irish Constabulary.
Vifquain and others were, as we afterwards heard, in comfortable quarters at Queenstown, in company with Cluseret, but both of them escaped. Cluseret, it may be mentioned, was afterwards a general in the forces of the Communists in Paris. There, also, he seems to have proved a failure, for he was arrested by his colleagues, and charged with mismanaging the supply of arms and ammunition intended for use in the forts around the city.
Fariola was arrested in London, but was subsequently released. Why, we never knew. All we heard was that he was not brought to trial, and that he disappeared.
Colonel Ricardo Burke was in Sligo Bay, on a mission that needs a little retracing of the steps in the story.

"Erin's Hope" Sails Away.

It had been arranged that a ship called the Erin's Hope should be fitted up, and that she should sail with arms for the Republican troops immediately on receipt of Vifquain's cable that the Republic had been set up. But they did not wait for that, and sailing early, were expected in Sligo Bay at any moment. Burke was there on the look out for her, and presumably to tell the news of the collapse of the conspiracy.
But there were others on the look out for her, the Revenue cutters of the Government foremost and most vigilant of all. In due course the ship arrived, Colonel Nagle and others came ashore, and were at once arrested. This gave the alarm to those remaining on board, and the Erin's Hope sailed away into safety. The 5th of March, 1867, was a cruel disappointment to the conspirators, and Massey said to me afterwards, bitterly, "When I found myself betrayed, I knew it was by one of my own officers. I could not fix the man, so decided to throw up the sponge myself, and to give information." He had seen service in, I believe, the militia force of the Queen, and in the American army for a time. He said himself that he was a Colonel in the latter force, but Colonel Tom F. Burke stated during the trial, when found guilty, that Massey had never worn the Colonel's star.
Burke, himself, was sentenced to death for his share in the rising, and had been in the American service. I was in court when he was asked the usual question, whether he had anything to say or any reason to offer why he should not be sentenced. His appearance, and his answer, made a great impression on everyone who saw and heard him.

Rebel's Speech from the Dock.

He grasped the rail of the dock with his left hand, and, holding up his head, made a speech that was probably one of the most eloquent ever delivered. It is given in full in Mr. A.M. Sullivan's book, but, so far as I remember it, he said, "I have ties that bind me to life and society as dearly as any man in the court. I have a sister whom I love, and an aged mother who knew what my mission to Ireland was. And like the Spartan mothers of old, she said, "Go, my son, and return with thy shield, or upon it."
Burke's sentence was afterwards commuted to penal servitude for life, and he was ultimately released at the request of the American Government, in whose service, I believe, he had fought with some distinction.
It seemed strange to many people that about this time there should be such a bitter enmity against England among the ex-American soldiers and so intense an eagerness to cause trouble here. But it will cease to appear so if two things are remembered. First of all, there had been the friction caused by the sympathy of England for the South in the civil war. And secondly, swarms of Irish-American fighting men, estimated by some to number 100,000, had just been disbanded as a result of the termination of the war, most of whom were very loth to go back to their desks or to civil work of any kind. There were also the privateering feats of the Alabama, for which the United States held us responsible by default, a view that was upheld by the Geneva Board of Arbitration. All this, and the influence of the men of '48, who had fled to the States and had conducted a campaign there against England, made it easy to enlist men for an attempt to establish Irish independence, and makes it possible to understand why so many Irish-Americans were found in the revolutionary conspiracy.

Unarmed Rebel "Army" March.

Coming back to the story of the rising of 1867. A military council had been formed, as I have already stated, and as we of the detective department knew perfectly well, and it was openly declared that the year following was to be the time for the rising. So that the Government had plenty of opportunity to prepare any force of military necessary to suppress the movement at its very inception.
On March 5, then, Dublin men, among others, unarmed except for a few pikes, some shot guns, and an occasional revolver, marched out at night, making their way to an appointed rendezvous.
They marched out to Tallaght, which is to the South-East of Dublin, in small detachments, and in something very unlike military formation.
At the time the men were marching I was in the office with Mr. Ryan, and all the others had gone after the rebels, or on other duty. I was naturally anxious to have a hand in the proceedings, and got Mr. Ryan's permission to drive out in the direction of Tallaght.
Upon the road I was stopped by an old countryman, who warned me not to go on, and declared "there was war on up there." But I proceeded, and in a short time met parties of stragglers, many of whom I knew quite well, all of whom were making their way back to the city.

Leaderless Rebels.

General Halpin, who was given charge of the Dublin district for the rising, refused to lead unarmed men out to what could only be certain death or prolonged imprisonment. So that when the misguided fellows started they had neither leader, arms, nor provisions, and the only plan was to reach the hills, and draw the troops out of Dublin so that the city might be attacked from another quarter.
General Halpin, I ought to say, was an educated man, an Irish-American, and had been an officer in the American Engineering Corps. After the futile rising he was arrested at Queenstown on board ship, just about to said for America, and was taken to Kilmainham.
The governor of the gaol at that time was a Mr. Price, and General Halpin, who was a great wit, christened him "The Gorilla," a reflection on his somewhat plain features that was very biting. He also wrote a satirical verse on him, as follows: -

When rebels are caught, pray where is the spot
To "chisel," to hang, or to drain 'em?
Bring 'em off in a trice to old Governor Price,
Whose college is up at Kilmainham.

So far as I knew, there were no military forces disposed so as to drive the rebels back or disperse them. But the District Inspector of the Royal Irish Constabulary and a score or so of constables were in waiting for them, and although absolutely out-numbered pluckily challenged the crowd, and were met with a demand that all should surrender to the representatives of "The Irish Republic."

Shot Dead in the Road.

Probably the challengers had been assured, as was the custom, that the mass of the Royal Irish Constabulary men, as well as the Militia, would either actively join in the revolution, or would not strike a blow against it. And they were probably amazed that their challenge was met by a few sharp orders, and a volley from the police weapons.
One poor fellow fell dead at once, although the police did not aim to kill, and one or two others were wounded. Happily the rebels saw the futility of persevering in their wild project, and without waiting for a second volley they dispersed, and struck off across the fields as hard as they could go.
The news of the rising had been sent into headquarters, and two or three hundred of the 52nd Regiment, under the Hon. Curzon Smith, were sent out promptly, arresting quite a number of the fugitives.
The prisoners were marched back to Dublin, and given a badly-needed meal and drink in the lower Castle Yard, where they were handcuffed in groups of three. The Lord Lieutenant, the Duke of Abercorn, was communicated with, and came down to see them. Some he ordered to be discharged, while the remainder were remanded to gaol for seven days. A lot of these were released after the seven days, but others were committed for trial under the Whiteboy Act.
That ended the Dublin portion of the rising, and no one was more glad that it had been so quietly and easily suppressed than the chief officers of the Dublin Metropolitan Police.
A few of the leaders were tried for high treason, and some others under the Whiteboy Act, most of them getting off with a six months' sentence.
Similar abortive efforts were made at the same time in Cork, where Mallow was the centre. Happily the rebels, who made a better show there, did not face the music.
If they had there would have been a terrible slaughter, for, as we were afterwards informed, the artillery had guns mounted on the rising ground, that would have mowed the men down in hundreds, while Highlanders and Lancers had taken possession of the town, and were waiting the arrival of the rebel army. A few rails were destroyed on the railway, but the men had nothing in the way of weapons, and after taking possession of a small police barracks at Ballyknockane, were led off to the mountains to join an army of many thousands who were said to be encamped there.
The leader of that section of the rising was a young fellow named J.F.X. O'Brien; who was sentenced to be hung, drawn, and quartered, but was respited, and after many years of imprisonment was released, and became member of Parliament for Cork City. He is now dead, so no harm can result from the reminiscence being published.
Colonel Burke was in command of another section of the movement, having Tipperary to attend to, while Colonel Leonard, an American Army officer, was in command of one district, with headquarters at Drogheda.

A Shameful Betrayal.

Perhaps the most sensational double tragedy connected with the Fenian agitation of this period, so far as the whole story goes, was that of Mr. Talbot, who was a Head Constable of the Royal Irish Constabulary at the time; Sergeant M'Carthy, who was in charge of the small fort at or near Carrick-on-Suir; and a man named Kelly, who subsequently shot Mr. Talbot, and only escaped hanging by a technicality.
Mr. Talbot was an ambitious and zealous officer, and when he had reason to believe the information given him as to the organisation of Fenian branches in Carrick-on-Suir, and of plots that involved treachery on the part of men sworn to the Queen's service, he was not the man to let any question of religion or ethics stand in his way.
So he went down to Carrick, no one, so far as I know, having knowledge of his intention. And, with or without the consent of the higher officials, he applied for and secured employment under the Conservators of Fisheries as a water bailiff, actually carrying out the duties for a time.
He was regular - almost ostentatious - in his observance of the religious duties of Catholics, attending their church, and actually partaking of the Sacrament, although he was a Protestant in his heart and by training.
Having thus won the confidence of the people, he applied for admission to a Fenian branch, and was duly enrolled.

Tempter, and False Friend.

It was alleged he was also the means of inducing many others to join, and, in fact, he himself swore several of them to the cause. Among others was poor Sergeant M'Carthy, who thus became foresworn in his oath of allegiance to the Crown, and traitorously pledged himself on his oath to assist the Fenian cause in any rising, and to surrender the fort of which he had charge when asked to do so by a Fenian officer. Mr. Talbot thoroughly won M'Carthy's confidence, posing as his particular friend and nursing his children of whom, I believe, he was passionately fond.
With the information he obtained by these methods, Mr. Talbot was able to secure the trial and conviction of a number of the members, including M'Carthy, who was tried by court-martial, found guilty of high treason, and sentenced to be shot. Happily, the sentence was commuted to penal servitude for life, and he was subsequently released. Chambers and O'Brien, who had both been convicted of high treason, in that they, being sworn in as soldiers of the Queen, had taken the rebel oath, and who had both been sentenced to death, but reprieved, were released on the same day as M'Carthy. Mr. Davitt also returned to freedom on that date, and Dublin gave them all a great demonstration of welcome.
And Mr. Parnell, hearing M'Carthy had been released, and pitying the man who had been so badly betrayed, although himself a traitor to his oath, sent for him, and had him as his guest at Morrison's Hotel. He had only been there a very short time when he died suddenly of heart disease, accelerated and rendered fatal, as was believed, by the excitement and joy of being released.
The manner of the betrayal and the violation of religious sentiment, as well as of his oath of Fenianism, caused the most intense indignation among the Catholic community as a whole, and among the conspirators in particular. Scores of the latter swore to have his life for his treachery, and for some time Mr. Talbot found himself always in danger. By a series of miracles he escaped for a long while, and finally retired from the service.
He was unmarried and something of a free liver, and it was not difficult for his enemies to find a convenient moment for taking their revenge; nor was a single habit of his as to time and plans unknown to them.
His lodgings were in Nelson-street, and one night, as he was returning there, he was shot at from behind, the bullet lodging in the occipital bone at the back of the skull.
Mr. Talbot was taken to Richmond Hospital, and efforts made to extract the bullet, but he died under the operation.
The man Kelly, who fired the shot, was caught almost red-handed, and he was placed on trial for murder, being defended by the late Isaac Butt. Upon the suggestion of a surgeon in sympathy with the Fenians, a curious defence was put up and proved successful.

Peace Meeting Leads to War.

The surgeon who tried to extract the bullet from Mr. Talbot's skull had been in the field during the Franco-German war, where the Nelaton probe was first actually used for wounds. He applied the same instrument in this case, with the result that the defence asserted that death was not due to the shooting but to the unskilful surgery. And as surgeons of repute were brought to give evidence in support of and in denial of that theory, the charge against Kelly was reduced to shooting, with intent to murder. There is no doubt the public feeling was very strong in favour of the assassin, because, as I have said, people of all kinds felt that however guilty Sergeant M'Carthy may have been afterwards, he was tempted by a man of superior education and of stronger will, and was betrayed by a man who pretended to be his friend.
In fairness to the superior officers of Talbot, and the authorities generally, one thing should be stated. In the ordinary course the zeal of Talbot would have been rewarded by promotion. And the fact that no such reward was given may be taken as an indication that his methods met with strong disapproval.
A good many of those who were sent to prison were subsequently pardoned, chiefly as the result of the efforts of the Amnesty Association, started by Mr. Isaac Butt and others who, although Nationalists, were by no means extremists.
But even this peaceable movement, in which Mr. A.M. Sullivan and other constitutionalists took part, led to trouble. One such occasion resulted in the Phoenix Park riots. A meeting had been arranged, and was to be held at the base of the Wellington Monument, which had been erected by the subscriptions of Irish soldiers serving in the Army on the occasion of his victory at Waterloo.

"Killing No Murder."

The Prince of Wales (now the King) was at that time on a visit to the Lord-Lieutenant, and the suggestion was that a deputation should proceed to the Viceregal Lodge at the close of the meeting, and present a petition for an amnesty to the remainder of the political prisoners.
But this meeting the police, who were in great force, would not permit, and there was a tremendous fight, in which many on both sides were injured. There was a great fuss made about the incident, and many of those who got hard knocks from the police brought actions against the Chief Secretary, the Under-Secretary, and Sir Henry Lake, who was then Chief Commissioner of Police. There was a verdict for the defendants, but as the result of the whole business Phoenix Park has been thrown open for political meetings ever since.
After that, for quite a long time, although the Fenian society held together in somewhat loose fashion, and from time to time there were political crimes and demonstrations, no effective organisation existed until Mr. Michael Davitt, Mr. P.J. O'Rourke and Chambers, who had been a corporal in some British regiment, got to work with the Land League. Then we had another party to look after, and one which was of considerable effectiveness in agitation, and caused a lot of work to the detective department and the police generally. But I am free to say now, once for all, that I had never any reason for believing that the organisation promoted or countenanced assassination. They were united for a political purpose, and, although they never concealed their intentions and willingness to break the law, it did not take the form of murder.
But it was very difficult to always distinguish and divide the responsibility. There were the members of the Clan-na-Gael in America, and their agents in Ireland and Great Britain.

Fenian, but Not Murderer.

There were those who agreed with Patrick Ford and the "Irish World" in their advocacy of a policy of striking a blow at England whenever it could be done. There was also the Fenian organisation, which, while disavowing a policy of murder, regarded killing as a necessary evil, and an act of war, in the case of anyone who endangered their success in the struggle. And there was the Land League. Often it would happen that one man arrested for a crime, such as conspiracy to murder, or murder itself, or for causing explosions, would be found to be a member of one or more of these, and, later on, of the Invincibles, so that all the organisations became more or less generally regarded as much of the same kind.
The difference was brought home to me particularly in the case of John Walsh. He came from the North of England in 1881 to form the Invincibles, and got hold of James Mullet, Ned McCaffrey, and others. But he approached a very prominent Fenian leader with the request that he would join them. The answer he got, as I learned from my informants, was, "I am a Fenian, not a murderer: leave my house!"
That he meant what he said I had occasion to prove later.
Walsh escaped to France, but was arrested in Havre.
I sent for the gentleman I have just referred to, and said to him ------
"You are ------ -------?"
He replied, "I am."
"And you are a member of the Fenian organisation?"
"I am."
"But you do not believe in murder?"
"I do not."
"And you have said you would help to identify a man guilty of murder or accessory to it?"
"I have, and I would."
"Would you help the British Government to prosecute such a man?"
"I would."
"Then will you come to Havre with me and identify John Walsh?"
"I will," he said, emphatically, and he did. He went to Havre with me, and identified Walsh, who was in custody of the French police. The French Law says that a man to be punished as accessory must have been on or near the scene of the murder when it was committed. So they let Walsh go, and he slipped off to America, where another of the chief organisers of the Invincible murder society had preceded him, leaving their tools to be hung or sent to gaol.
After the collapse of 1867, Stephens resided in Paris until 1885. In that year the French authorities arrested him, a man named Eugene Davis (one of the chiefs of the European dynamite party), and others of the same school, and expelled them. Some of the Irish party brought the case of Stephens to the notice of Government, and he was permitted to return to Ireland. Some of his admirers purchased a cottage for him near Dublin, and made provision for his maintenance, but he only survived a few years. His funeral was a quiet affair.

Hundreds of Rebels Bagged.

A somewhat humorous incident occurred in England in connection with the 1867 rising. At Chester, which is a quiet old-fashioned town, with only sixty or seventy police there was a large store of arms in the Castle, with no one to guard them. In February, 1867, it was arranged that the Fenians of Machester, Liverpool, and other large towns in the North of England, should proceed to Chester, force their way into the Castle, seize the arms there, and join the rising in Ireland.
The scheme, so far as the seizing of the arms was concerned, could have been carried out with very little trouble indeed, but J.J. Corrydon, who was one of the Irish-American officers engaged under Massey for the rising, and who betrayed those plans to the police, also gave information of the Chester plot to the authorities, who at once took steps to counter-plot, and prevent the success of the raid.
When the Fenians reached Chester on the appointed day they were informed that their plans were known, and that the arms were under strong guard. Some of them returned to their native places, but others were determined to join the forces of the rebels and take a hand in the rising. These latter took passage for Dublin, landing at North Wall, but found the police there in large force, and were arrested in batches of thirty or forty each and placed in gaol. In all, I think, 100 or 200 were bagged, and were kept in gaol for varying periods and then sent back to their homes.

Mr. Mallon's Reminiscences will be continued in "Lloyd's News" next week.

Source: Lloyd's Weekly News, June 13, 1909, Page 15

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Re: Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

Post by Karen on Tue 20 Sep 2011 - 5:07



With this issue Mr. John Mallon, at one time the most famous officer of the Irish detective force associated with the Dublin Metropolitan Police, gives the third instalment of his reminiscences. The first portion told the exciting story of the seizure of the "Irish People," the arrest of O'Donovan Rossa, James Stephens, and others of those associated with it, and the daring escape of Stephens from the Richmond Bridewell. It also included the detailed narrative of the escape from Dublin on a collier steamer of the famous Revolutionary leader, disguised as a member of the crew. Last week's instalment told the story of the abortive rising of 1867, the "battle" in the night, the betrayal of the Fenians by an officer of the Royal Irish Constabulary, and his murder in later years, concluding with the "bagging" of English sympathisers in large numbers upon their arrival at North Wall to join the revolution.

The collapse of the 1867 rising was the cause of the Clerkenwell explosion. "Ricardo," or Richard, Burke, was one of those connected with the "Erin's Hope" fiasco, but he escaped arrest at the time. A warrant was issued against him, the charge being treason felony, and he was subsequently arrested in London, and placed in the House of Detention, in Clerkenwell, to await his trial.
A lady, who had given me information in other matters, asked me to meet her, and told me that an attempt was to be made to rescue Colonel Burke.
It appeared that the conspirators had ascertained in what portion of the prison yard Burke usually exercised, and had arranged to blow down the wall while he was there to enable him to escape.
The colonel was informed by some means of the arrangement, and it was agreed that a white ball thrown into the air was to advise him that the moment for the attempt had come. When the information was given me the exact day and time had been arranged, and the prisoner notified.
We at once conveyed the information to the London police authorities, but apparently they did nothing more than remove Burke to some other portion of the prison, and put on extra police outside.
So ineffective were the precautions taken that the conspirators were able to place their explosives in position in the evening, fire it without any interference, and kill and maim a number of people in the narrow streets round the prison. No one was apprehended at the time, but later a man named Barrett was arrested in Glasgow, convicted of complicity in the murder of the victims of the explosion, and sentenced to be hanged.
Coming back to the Amnesty Association and its work, it should be stated that, constitutional as were its members and legal as were all its objects, Mr. Isaac Butt unwittingly brought together some of the most troublesome gentlemen who ever compelled the Dublin Castle detective department to offer their special, if unwelcome, attention.

Mr. "Pat" Egan's Beginning.

I believe I am right in saying that it was in connection with the amnesty movement that Mr. William O'Brien first became associated with Mr. Patrick Egan, who, subsequently, as treasurer of the Land League, was responsible, with Mr. Michael Davitt and the others, for the renewal of agitation at a moment when it seemed possible that we were going to have a time of peace.
Mr. Egan, by the way, was a very remarkable man, although he did not take so public a share of the work as some others. It became my duty to know all that could be known about every man of importance in the new movement. And the first thing I discovered was that he had fought hard luck and humble beginnings in a very plucky fashion.
His father and mother had, in the long before, come to Dublin with their family, intending to emigrate to America. But means failed them to get any further than the metropolis.
Mr. Egan, in his difficulty, went to the owner of a mill in the city, who had owned premises in the town from which the Egans had come, and was set to work, young Egan getting a sort of "all-work" job in the same firm.
From that he was gradually promoted to the important position of chief manager, then opened in business as a baker, and was finally in the way of becoming a very wealthy man. I emphasize this part of his story as an illustration of the strong character even of those in the movement who did not impress the public as being very powerful.

Lord Leitrim Murdered.

Another side of his character, the religious element, was revealed in its full strength in a remarkable way. He was a very sincere and earnest Roman Catholic, but by some means, probably because his real character was not known, one man got in with the heads of the League at the time when most of them had found it wise to escape from our too pressing inquiries by a flit to Paris.
The other man to whom I refer was a blustering atheistical fellow, with a foul mouth, which was a very rare thing among the leaders of the Irish Revolutionists, whether of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (which was the Fenian organisation) or the Land League.
One day this fellow launched out in a volley of blasphemous abuse of the French and all other Catholics. To the surprise of everyone present, Mr. Egan, who was a very gentlemanly, quiet man, took up the quarrel, and, threatening the bully what he would do if he continued to attack his religion, so frightened him that he afterwards took the opportunity afforded by the arrest of several of the leaders, including Mr. Parnell, to quit the League and political work altogether.
For a time the Land League and the Amnesty Association, both of which used all the powers of eloquence possessed by their members to keep the extremists quiet, certainly lessened the amount of bad crime.
Comparatively free from the more murderous form of conspiracy though the country was during the seventies, there were local murder groups continually terrorising others into acting with them, and occasionally there would come some new story of the brutal slaying of an obnoxious landlord.
Lord Leitrim was one of the victims, and his secretary and car-driver were all shot in one attempt, the assassins escaping. The news reached us in April, 1878, and it was quite apparent the murderers were a band of very desperate men, for the attack was made within a few yards of Lord Leitrim's house at Mulroy Bay, co. Donegal, and in sight of his servant.

Shot with His Own Revolver.

Apparently, judging by the wounds, the murderers were armed only with shot guns, but when Lord Leitrim fell he dropped his revolver, and one of the assassins used it on him, for his arm was fractured as if by a bullet, and the weapon had been emptied from every chamber. The police got to work promptly, but although his lordship's servant could say he saw two men in grey coats struggling with the murdered men, and two others, or the same with turned clothing, who were dressed in black, rowing across the bay after the attack, the police obtained no assistance from the people thereabouts, and the men got away. The whole of the counties of Derry and Donegal were enclosed by a chain of police and detective officers, and though many arrests were made it was found impossible to get evidence of a convincing character, or to secure conviction.
One curious incident came to my notice with regard to the murdering of Lord Leitrim and his companions. The fact that no evidence could by procured was due, as in other cases, only more so, to the fact that his lordship was hated bitterly by almost everyone in the district. Indeed, there were facts in the case that brought against him the religious and moral, as well as political feelings of the people. But the fact to which I refer as curious was that Lord Leitrim left his home to keep an appointment an hour earlier than he was expected to. As a result one of the three men enrolled for the assassination was sent by his companions to a neighbouring public-house to get some drink. When he returned he found the crime had been completed. He was arrested with the others, but never convicted, as I think he died in prison before he could be brought up for trial.

Hostile Crowd at Funeral.

After the inquest Lord Leitrim's remains were brought to Dublin, to be interred in the family vault at St. Michan's Church. But the feeling in the city was almost as bad as in the country, and there was such an intensely hostile demonstration that the police had to keep back the crowds, a feat they only performed with the greatest difficulty, while those in charge of the body got it to the church. This was in entire opposition to the Irish character and practice, the formula being that the dead, whoever they are, must be undisturbed, and it is the only instance in my knowledge of such a proceeding. It is not generally known that the man who supplied, or drove the car, I forget which, in which the assassins went to the murder place, was the father of a very high dignitary.
But the Home Rule agitation, and that of the League, kept our department always very busy; and although the Home Rule conference of 1873 got hold of the hot-headed ones and quietened them, things had become so bad again in August, 1882, that the Government found it necessary to send over Royal Marines to strengthen the military force available.

Boyd Assassination.

As if in defiance the very next day, which was a Sunday, came news of an attempt on the lives of Mr. Boyd, a landowner, and his two sons and a fourth man.
They were attacked suddenly on the main road by an equal number of men to themselves. The assassins were armed with modern rifles, and had bayonets fixed upon them, as if they were the military weapon of the time.
The four were disguised, and as they jumped out from a ditch in which they had been hiding, they poured a volley into the little group in the carriage, Mr. Charles Boyd, one of the sons, dying of his injuries.
Notwithstanding the disguises, the police arrested four men and a woman, all tenants of Mr. Boyd's, but failed to secure a conviction, the jury holding that the evidence as to who fired the fatal shot was insufficient. At that time, in country districts, it was almost impossible to get justice done, and when two brothers who were believed to have been concerned in the outrage were arrested it was felt to be absolutely futile to try them at the Assizes, then about to be held at Waterford.
After the murder the man who alone escaped unhurt frequently called to see me in Dublin. The Boyds were solicitors, land agents, and land owners, and as in their legal business they sometimes acted for the Crown, they combined in their firm all the objectionable elements that the murder gang denounced. They were also men of very independent spirit, who would not submit to dictation by any organisation, and they were very straight in all their dealings.

Lord Mountmorres Murdered.

In the next month poor Lord Mountmorres also met his death, his body being absolutely perforated with bullet wounds. He was living at Ebor Hall, near Ballinrobe, and had become bitterly hated by the people of the district because he would make no reduction to his tenants, and was believed to be about issuing eviction orders on those who could not or would not pay. He was found about nine in the evening, lying on the road, quite dead, and the removal of his body offers a grim comment on the state of mind of the peasantry.
There was a cottage two or three hundred yards from where he was found, but the occupier refused shelter even for the corpse of the dead landowner. Lady Mountmorres and her orphan children were included in the vindictive "punishment" by this lawless and criminal community, and so rigid and continuous was the boycotting with which they were tortured that they had to leave Ireland. I believe the late Queen Victoria, personally interested herself in their welfare, and provided them a home in Hampton Court Palace. An offer of 1,000 pounds reward upon the usual terms proved absolutely useless, and although strong suspicion attached to several of the tenants, the assassins were never punished.
A fortnight or so after this murder County Galway was "proclaimed," and Mr. Parnell retorted with one of the most defiant and provocative speeches he ever made. He went to Galway in October, sixteen days after the county had been proclaimed, and at his meeting gave the Chief Secretary the nickname of "Buckshot" Forster that stuck to him until his death. He also told those present that if Ireland appealed to America she might be sure of her assistance, and would have trained and organised help in throwing off the British yoke.

Proceedings Against Parnell.

On Nov. 2 Mr. Parnell, Mr. John Dillon, Mr. Biggar, Mr. T.D. Sullivan, and Mr. Tom Sexton, all of whom were members of the House of Commons, appeared, with others at the Court of Queen's Bench to answer allegations of conspiracy made at the instance of the Attorney-General. A jury was empanelled, but were unable to agree upon a verdict, after several weeks' hearing, and the accused were released.
In the meantime the Land Leaguers were "making history" and adding a verb to the English language by their treatment of Lord Erne's agent, Captain Boycott. So absolutely dominant had the people become in the neighbourhood of Lough Mask that the crops were rotting as late as November of that year (1880) because no one would work at their harvesting.
Ulster men offered to send down men to do the work, and the offer being accepted they set out for Lough Mask to do the work.
Imagine the possibilities of that little combination. On the one hand farmers and peasantry who held the law in defiance, who had been accustomed to success and immunity from punishment, and were prepared to fight with any and all weapons. On the other, the "invading" harvesters from Ulster, most, if not all, of them armed, opposed to the people among whom they were going in religion was well as politics, and as keen for a fight as the others. And with them an ex-Army officer, who had defied the League and its leaders, and had defeated all the carefully-laid plans of the organisation. And between them, to keep the peace, a handful of police officers, hampered by the usual and necessary restrictions, and by constant criticism in Parliament. Here, indeed, were all the elements of civil war. And if one may criticise so long after the event one may doubt whether the proper policy was not to increase the police force as much as necessary, and to keep the military in the towns.
The time was an anxious one for the police in the immediately affected area, as well as at Dublin Castle. But Mr. Forster decided to use the military, and late on the night of Nov. 9 several squadrons of the 19th Hussars marched out from Dublin. Fortunately the people did not know the mission upon which they had been sent or there would probably have been bloodshed. At any rate, the Dublin Metropolitan Police and the detective department were equally relieved when the movement had been accomplished without any conflict. Two or three infantry regiments also sent men, and the arrival of the Army Service Corps and the Army Hospital Corps men made the whole business appear very ominous. Fortunately the force was enough to overawe the dangerous community, and the crops were all reaped and the "alien" harvesters sent safely back to Ulster by Nov. 26.
Soon after the Lough Mask danger had passed there came news of a process server named Mulholland having been shot dead by a small farmer, at a place near Cookstown. And at the same time Baron Dowse, in charging the grand jury at Galway, declared that in five counties only thirty-nine persons were able to be charged, in connection with nearly 700 offences, owing to want of evidence. Of those Galway and Mayo each had between 200 and 300 each, which will give some idea of the difficulty of obtaining evidence to back up known facts as to the perpetrators.

Parnell Prosecuted.

The Land League was working with the energy of a volcano, and meetings were being held everywhere, at which "boycotting" was ordered or urged as a first duty and an irresistible weapon. So well did the people respond in the historical case of Mr. Bence Jones, of co. Cork, that thirty employees and domestics left him in fear of being murdered, having received threatening letters. He was refused supplies by the shopkeepers, no one would shoe his horses, and when he shipped his cattle for conveyance out of the country, the shipping company was threatened with a loss of trade if they carried them, and had to refuse them. Even when Mr. Jones got his cattle to England by another company, the people to whom they were consigned refused to receive them, and they had to be sold in some other town.
The Irish question was kept well alive by the commencement of the prosecution of Mr. Parnell and the other Land League leaders, which opened in Dublin on Dec. 28, 1880, and by the Queen's Speech at the opening of Parliament on Jan. 6, 1881, with the promise of a Land Bill, and the threat of a "Coercion" Bill. On the 24th Mr. Forster introduced the last-named, stating that he proposed to introduce another measure giving us power to search for arms. The same evening the jury disagreed as to the Land League prisoners, and they were all released.

Arrest of Michael Davitt.

In the meantime it fell to my lot to arrest Mr. Davitt in connection with the violent speech he had made in Sligo. He was a man for whom I had very great respect, and he was always most courteous to me and never gave any trouble.
He was staying at Amiens-street, Dublin, when I went to execute my warrant at seven o'clock in the morning, an hour I usually selected if possible, as people were not then about in the streets.
When I had told him my business, he asked to be allowed to have his breakfast, and I assisted him by cutting up his chop, a task that his loss of one arm made difficult.
I had to take him to Sligo, and when we had accomplished about half the journey I invited my prisoner to leave the carriage and walk upon the platform a few minutes to stretch his limbs. His reply was indicative of his thoughtfulness even for the police. "I won't do that," he remarked, "its' fair day here, and the boys might notice this (tapping his stump on the left side), and then there would be trouble for you. I don't want that."
Mr. Davitt was some time afterwards lodged in Kilmainham, in connection with a speech he had delivered on the previous day, and once more the people of Dublin, and, indeed, of the whole of Ireland, were in a state of excitement that was more or less dangerous. Probably, as a result of this, some of the extremists a few days later made an attempt to blow up Chester barracks. There was actually an explosion in the neighbourhood of the guard-room, at the main gate, but no great damage was done. A constable found a bundle of flaming substance, which was probably the remains of the material used, which was of an unscientific character. There was no proof that Irishmen were responsible, but all the circumstances pointed to it.

Attempted Outrages.

Towards the middle of the month following a similar attempt was made to destroy or severely damage Liverpool Town Hall. An iron tube, filled with explosive of some kind, was found, but did not explode until later, fortunately without injuring anyone. Two men had been noticed in the neighbourhood just before, and were later on smartly tracked and arrested by the detective department. They were captured without the slightest hint of what was about to happen, which was particularly fortunate, as both were found to be in possession of revolvers, and would, without any doubt, have made a tough fight for liberty. Both were convicted of the attempt and sent to penal servitude.
Some time later an explosive manufactory was found at Birmingham, but the police and the Government were alike puzzled as to how the miscreants were obtaining large supplies of material without any record being obtained or brought to us. By a curious coincidence on the very day the House of Commons was discussing the Liverpool outrages the police made two seizures of dynamite on separate vessels that had arrived, the material being consigned as cement. From one of them was taken six boxes of explosives and a quantity of clockwork mechanism for exploding it at the will of the operator. This gave some clues as to the people employed in the traffic that greatly helped in checking the trade in bombs, and the profession of dynamiter.

Concerning the story of the murder of Chief Constable Talbot, by the man Kelly, we have received some interesting particulars as to the nature of the defence successfully offered, from Mr. George Foy, F.R.C.S., from which the following are extracts: -

"It was not until others had declined to take a retainer for the defence that Mr. O'Leary was called in. He told me that on the evidence before him he concluded that Talbot met his death from excessive loss of blood.....The surgeon who had charge of Talbot in the Richmond Hospital was one of the most accomplished operators living, and one of the best read men in the profession. How then did Talbot die of excessive loss of blood? The answer is simple. Talbot had been bleeding for hours before he came under treatment. Dr. Nelaton's probe showed the presence of lead, and a bony prominence under the operator's forceps gave the sensation of the flattened bullet. Further examination detected the error, and to save greater loss of blood the patient was put to bed. It was all too late, however, for he died soon afterwards. The bullet, as afterwards found, had by its impact broken in pieces. From one of the fragments the probe had become marked with lead. Be it remembered that this was before the days of skiagraphy, and that the very delicacy of the most distinguished Frenchman's probe for a moment misled the brilliant young operator. Just allow me to add that Dr. Nelaton invented his probe to examine General Garibaldi's broken ankle, in which it detected the presence of the bullet with which the wound was inflicted on Aug. 28, 1862, at Aspromonte."

Mr. Mallon's Reminiscences will be continued in "Lloyd's News" next week.

Source: Lloyd's Weekly News, June 20, 1909, Page 13

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Re: Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

Post by Karen on Fri 23 Sep 2011 - 9:40



With this issue Mr. John Mallon, at one time the most famous officer of the Irish detective force associated with the Dublin Metropolitan Police, gives the fourth instalment of his reminiscences. The first and subsequent portions told the exciting story of the seizure of the "Irish People," the arrest of O'Donovan Rossa, James Stephens, and others of those associated with it, and the daring escape of Stephens from the Richmond Bridewell. They also included the detailed narrative of the escape from Dublin on a collier steamer of the famous Revolutionary leader; the story of the abortive rising of 1867; the "battle" in the night; the betrayal of the Fenians by an officer of the Royal Irish Constabulary, and his murder in later years; and the "bagging" of English sympathisers at North Wall. Last week's contribution contained the murder of Lord Leitrim, the assassination of one of the Boyd family, the slaying of Lord Mountmorres, the first prosecution of Mr. Parnell, Mr. Dillon, Mr. Biggar, and others, and the arrest of Mr. Michael Davitt.

In spite of many evidences of irreconcilability the Land Bill passed its third reading only four days after the discovery of an explosive factory, and of stores and consignments of dynamite, and it was hoped outrages would be fewer in number, at any rate for the time. Another fact that ought to have operated in favour of new tactics was the release of Mr. John Dillon, who had been in Kilmainham nearly two months. There were celebrations and welcomes arranged to be held, and some violent and foolish speeches provided copy for the newspapers, but otherwise the release of this leader of their party had little real effect upon the progress of events. A week after the House of Lords passed the Land Bill. Instead of leading to any permanent settlement of the difficulties, however, the Land League at its convention in Dublin, at which Mr. Parnell presided, while expressing pleasure at their triumph, as shown in its passing, resolved to continue the agitation for national independence, and the abolition of landlordism. "No rent" became the "battle cry" of the movement, and complaints of intimidation, cattle maiming, boycotting, or similar crimes reached us almost daily.
On Oct. 9 Mr. Parnell went to speak at a meeting in Wexford, and replying to Mr. Gladstone's charges against him declared that the Irish people were unalterably determined to gain their lost independent legislature. On the 12th I was handed a warrant for his arrest, and ascertained that he was staying at Morrison's Hotel.

Arrest of Mr. Parnell.

The next morning, soon after seven o'clock, I called at Morrison's, and asked for him. The porter of whom I inquired was evidently a strong partisan, and he at most said Mr. Parnell was not in. He added that he had gone to get a Turkish bath.
Commenting that it was a curious hour to choose for that operation, I said, "Show me up to number twenty," which I knew to be the room occupied by Mr. Parnell.
I knocked at the door, and he opened it himself. He recognised me, and I told him I had a warrant for his arrest, asking him to accompany me to the police station.
He asked permission to write some letters, and I remarked, "I am only responsible for bringing you to the station, sir. I am not instructed to prevent you writing letters or to seize your correspondence."
"May I post them myself?" he asked, and receiving assurance that he might, appeared content.
But time was getting on, people were gathering in the street, and it was clear that the porter had spread the news that the Superintendent of the Metropolitan Detective Department was with "the Chief," as they called Mr. Parnell, and it was quite possible there would be trouble.
I mentioned my thought to Mr. Parnell, asking him to be as quick as possible, and be, quite considerate of my convenience, suggesting slipping out some other way.
However, I had a cab at the front door, so we walked straight down and out of the building, Mr. Parnell making no sign to the people.
But they ran after the cab in a mob, and I dared not let him post his letters. When I told him so, he said: "Mr. Mallon, you have deceived me!"

The Guards Turned Out.

I replied: "Nothing of the sort, sir." You asked that you might post your letters personally. There is a pillar-box close to the court, and, if there is not, I will bring you back to the post-office myself, at all risks." When we got to the prison, it was just as I had said, and he posted the letters before going inside. I ought to say that halfway to the court several companies of Guards met us, and, closing in as soon as our cab had passed, interposed a barrier between the people and their leader. When I had introduced Mr. Parnell and the Governor of Kilmainham to each other, I left them together and went back to the office. The streets were filling with excited people, and we had very little peace that day until very late in the evening. The papers came out with great placards announcing the arrest, and the public stood in little groups reading them and denouncing the Government for its action.
Warrants were also issued for the arrest of Mr. Dillon, Mr. Sexton, Mr. O'Kelly, Mr. Egan, and others. The first-named three were arrested a few days later than Mr. Parnell, but Mr. Egan got wind of what was coming, and the warrant could not be executed. Later on we knew he had escaped to Paris, taking everything of value in connection with the League with him.
Two separate charges were laid against Mr. Parnell, who was alleged to have urged people to intimidate others, so that they should not pay rent lawfully due; and to have himself intimidated tenants in such a manner as to prevent them taking advantage of the Land Act.
On the night of the day of Mr. Parnell's arrest there was a big meeting at the Rotunda, in Dublin, and Mr. Thomas Sexton caused a terrible hubbub when he announced what had been done. A few days later it fell to my lot to arrest Mr. Sexton himself.
In that instance, again, I found difficulty owing to the intense nervousness of the authorities, and the too great eagerness of some of them to make a display of military force upon every possible occasion.

Disobedience of Orders.

As will have been seen, the arrest of Mr. Parnell caused no public outburst, and I had intended to bring Mr. Sexton to Kilmainham in the same way, choosing an hour in the morning for the carrying out of the arrest when the man might reasonably be expected to be ready to rise.
I had waited a day or two to allow the crowd to get over its excitement about Parnell. Then Capt. ------, who was my superior at the time, told me the authorities were surprised that more of the warrants had not been executed. He added, "You must arrest Sexton today. You will attend here at three o'clock this afternoon, and there will be a company of infantry and a troop of mounted men to act as your escort."
I reasoned with him, but could not convince him that there was no need for, and a very real danger in, making all that show of force. And upon that occasion, I think for the first and last time in my career, I determined deliberately, while obeying orders in the letter, to break them in the spirit.
Accordingly I told two of my men to meet me at a given point with a cab. and crossed over to Mr. Sexton's house by myself. As I arrived Mr. Joe Biggar, M.P., and Dr. Kenny, M.P. left the house. I handed the servant my card: -

Detective Department.

"Give that to Mr. Sexton," said I, "and tell him I have a message from Mr. Forster" (the Chief Secretary at that time). I knew he would understand it, and he did.
Mr. Sexton came to the top of the staircase and called down to me, "Come up, Mr. Mallon," said he. "How are you? - (shaking hands). I am only after just getting well; I have been in bed these four or five days past."
"Mr. Sexton," I replied, "if you say your physical condition renders you unfit to be taken to Kilmainham, it will not be done."
He said, "No, I am much obliged to you; but I may as well get it over," and a few minutes later we walked out unobserved, and I took him by a quiet, indirect route to Kilmainham, presented him to the governor, and got his receipt.
Then I went off back to the castle, and saw Capt. ------. "There's the receipt for Mr. Sexton, " said I, and he looked very hard at me, and a little angrily.
"Where is he?" he asked.
"He's in Kilmainham, "I said. "I arrested him this afternoon."
"You will bring the whole city about our ears," said he tremendously excited.
"I don't think so, sir," said I; "and, in any case, I am quite willing to take the consequences."
The next day Mr. Dillon was arrested by another officer, with a big military escort, and there was a terrible scene of riot and confusion as the result. I never found it wise to challenge conflict, as it always appears to do if you flaunt your forces in the face of the public.
Mr. Sexton was released under medical advice a few days after his arrest. Others arrested were his two chief assistants in the office of the League, Mr. J.P. Quinn and Mr. Doris. Mr. Biggar managed to get away to England. Mr. Arthur O'Connor was actually in gaol, visiting Mr. Parnell, while our men were searching for him, and also managed to get away. Mr. T.P. O'Connor and Mr. Healy went off to America, and Dublin seemed to go mad about the business.
There was a meeting in the Rotunda in the evening, which was the more excited from the fact that the troops had been patrolling the streets all day, the cavalry passing here and there, and the infantry drawn up on the quays. At night the police in the chief thoroughfares were reinforced, and there was some rather rough work before the streets were cleared. In Cork, as the papers and our own reports told us, the shops were closed in token of mourning, Mr. William O'Brien having been added to the number of those in Kilmainham.

Famous "No Rent" Manifesto.

On Oct. 18, the chief prisoners issued to the world the famous "No Rent" manifesto, the essential clause of which may be quoted for the information of those who have grown into manhood since those dangerous and wearying times.

"The executive of the National Land League," it declared, "forced to abandon the policy of testing the Land Act, feels bound to advise the tenant farmers of Ireland from this forth to pay no rent, under any circumstances, to the landlords until the Government relinquishes the existing system of terrorism, and restores the constitutional rights of the people.....Stand passively, firmly, fearlessly by while the armies of England may be engaged in their hopeless struggle against a spirit which their weapons cannot touch."

To those who were not acquainted with the relaxed restrictions under which Mr. Parnell and the other leaders in Kilmainham Gaol were kept imprisoned, it is still matter of surprise how the "No Rent" manifesto got out. But when it is explained that Mr. Parnell had many visitors, including his private medical man and his solicitor, it will be clear that there were ample opportunities to smuggle such a document through. Moreover, there were continuous opportunities for consultation with his colleagues, who met him at frequent intervals.
Of course we could do nothing in connection with such a document as this, but we soon found ample to occupy time and attention in the suppression of the Land League. The Government "proclaimed" it an illegal organisation the same night, but what struck a worse blow at the movement than that was the denunciation of the "No Rent" manifesto by Archbishop Croke.
On the Sunday following the "proclamation" of the Land League police and soldiers in every part of Ireland were ordered on duty, and every branch of the Land League that had premises or held a meeting was broken up, the books seized, and the chief officials arrested as "suspects." In some cases there was violent resistance, a man being killed at Ballyragget, and three people mortally wounded in the streets of Erris, co. Mayo. During the following six days the chief gaols of the country must have been filled with officials and members of the organisation, including members of Parliament, mayors, chief officers of city and provincial bodies, and newspaper men.
For a while there followed a comparative quiet, but the year 1882 brought the news that an old man and his son had been murdered in what was known as "The Joyce country," in Galway, by the Connemara border. They had been engaged by Lord Ardilaun to collect rents in the same district as that in which Lord Mountmorres had been murdered in 1880.
For some time the two men were as lost as if the earth had opened and swallowed them up, although some of their belongings were discovered.
Bloodhounds were taken down to the scene without any good result, and it was only when Lough Mask was dragged that their two bodies were found tied together, and forced into a sack. No evidence could be got sufficient to convict the persons suspected of the murder until nearly the end of the year. By that time there had been another crime, one of the Joyce families being all killed, and it was in connection with information as to that tragedy that evidence was obtained to convict those who had slain the old process server and his son.

"Capt. Moonlight" Arrested.

At the end of the first week of 1882, "Capt. Moonlight" became very active, and a lucky capture of a man charged with being one of a party who had broken into houses and stolen arms, gave the police a complete code of instructions signed with his title. Some of them are not without humour, even in their lawlessness.
Women named were "to be clipped," for dealing with a boycotted man, and their husband and father were to be "shot in the leg."
Another woman was ordered to be clipped for speaking to a policeman.
Others were named to be shot in the leg for paying rent.
On the same occasion several loaded and unloaded revolvers were found, and the man arrested being compelled to write, his handwriting was found to be the same as that in "Captain Moonlight's" instructions. The Irish official return of outrages for 1881, which was issued about this time, showed that the police had had reported to them for the year no less than 7,700 cases. So that there was ample proof that all ranks and every department had experienced twelve months of great trouble and anxiety.
While suppressing the League the authorities also decided to stop the incitement to continued agitation to be found in the Nationalist Press. But "United Ireland," which which Mr. William O'Brien had been connected, was removed to England after suppression in Dublin, and was again stopped and confiscated in Liverpool.
There were one or two matters in connection with the suppression of "United Ireland" that are of interest, and will be news even to some of those who were interested in Irish politics at that time.
It came to my knowledge that they were going to publish the "No Rent Manifesto," and I took steps to obtain early copies of the proofs. There, sure enough, was the manifesto in large headings and big type. But I had my instruction, and went straight off to the office, where I seized all the printed copies, broke up the "forme" of type with a crowbar, and smashed the stereotyped block of the same that had been prepared."
The paper was later on "proclaimed" a treasonable publication, and its further production forbidden in Ireland.
Thereupon it was removed to England, as I was informed, and, as I was not a member of the English force, I did nothing beyond notifying the authorities there.
But a few days later I was watching some people in Liverpool on another matter, and happened to see a parcel of "United Ireland" travelling to a lady whom I knew in Dublin. I had no authority to stop its crossing, but I sent a telegram to my superior in Dublin, and upon its arrival the parcel was confiscated.

Murders and Outrages.

As if in denial of the statement made at the opening of Parliament, that the condition of affairs in Ireland had improved, the newspapers began to fill again with reports of attacks upon life and property.
Some idea of the condition of affairs will best be given by extracts from a bunch of records about the end of the third week of February. Here are a few that came to the police: -

House of a farmer fired into at Kilmhill.
Dromkeen postmaster waylaid and so badly treated that his life was in danger.
An armed party visiting tenants at Newgrove, and administered an oath under which they promised to pay no rent.
Another armed party patrolling the district near Thurles. This lot were ambushed by men of the Royal Irish Constabulary, and shots exchanged, one of the gang being fatally wounded. He turned out to be the son of a small farmer.
A dynamite charge was fired on a Sunday at the house of Lord Clonbrook's agent in Galway; another attempt was made to blow up the house of a farmer at Letterkenny.
Two men, named Carter and Froome, fired on at Benmullet. A reward of 500 pounds failed to bring in the necessary evidence.

Shot Dead in Dublin.

All these cases, and others, I should add, were recorded in one week, and as if to further accentuate their determination to continue the work of the League, although the leaders were in gaol, Mr. Michael Davitt, who was still n prison, was returned to the House of Commons for Meath without opposition.
"Moonlighters" were at work in all parts of the country, and evidence became more difficult to obtain, even in Dublin, because of the fate of those who gave information. A man named Bernard Bailey, for instance, who was guarded with the utmost care, and even kept for a long while in the police barracks, was shot dead in a Dublin street. Every effort conceivable was exerted to secure the assassin, and the Lord Lieutenant again offered 500 pounds reward for information, without effect. In face of such complete immunity, violent and desperate men were, of course, encouraged in their crimes against life.
The Bailey murder case was a very peculiar one. He had been in business with two men named Whelan, and had failed, and he had quarrelled with his partners. After the row he went to Newmarket Police Station, which was the suburb of Dublin where he lived, and told Inspector Fogerty that arms had been concealed in the house by the Whelans.
Inspector Fogerty naturally went to the premises, which were in a large tenement house, and made a considerable seizure of arms. They were not concealed in any way, but were placed in corners, or anywhere that was convenient.

An Informer's Fate.

Of course, the arms were all seized, and the two Whelans were arrested, as well as Bailey, although he had given information. The Crimes Act, I believe, expired just about that time, so they were detained under the Forster's Act, but there was some flaw in the indictment, or in the evidence, and they were released with the other suspects in the following September, when that Act also expired, and was not renewed.
In the meantime Bailey had been denounced by the Fenians as an informer, and it was perfectly well known to us that his life was declared forfeit, and that the men appointed for the "execution" were looking for him. Accordingly he was kept at Chancery-lane Police Station for several days, while arrangements were being made for him to emigrate with his family. But one day, against my advice, for he was an obstinate man, he insisted on going out to complete the arrangements. There was a man who had been an associate of Bailey's, and who, as he was destitute, was collecting money for him.
Bailey went along to see him, and just as his "friend" was handing him the money, at his workshop in Rosemary-lane, he was shot by a third man. It was, I believe, a put-up job to get him where they could murder him. Two men, at any rate, must have known who fired the shot, but no one was ever arrested for the crime.
In County Clare, on Feb. 26, an armed and disguised band visited several houses, terrifying the inmates of one, and killing the farmer in another. A lad was stabbed with a bayonet, and the men made to kneel down while shots were fired all around them. In one Mayo case the poor fellow was accused of having paid his rent, was ordered to kneel down, and his leg bone shattered in cold blood below the knee. The wound proved fatal two days later, while the son of another Mayo farmer was shot dead shortly afterwards.
Next there was a report that the Queen had been attacked at Windsor Station, but it turned out that the man who did it was not right in his head, had no connection with the Irish movement, and being convicted of high treason was sent to a prison asylum.

Mr. Mallon's Reminiscences will be continued in "Lloyd's News" next week.

Source: Lloyd's Weekly News, June 27, 1909, Page 15

Karen Trenouth
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Re: Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

Post by Karen on Sat 24 Sep 2011 - 2:37



The fifth instalment of the reminiscences of Mr. John Mallon, at one time the most famous of Irish detectives, appears this week. In the previous instalments have been described the arrest of O'Donovan Rossa; his escape from Dublin on a steam collier; the abortive rising of 1867; the first prosecution of Mr. Parnell, Mr. Dillon, Mr. Biggar, and others, and the arrest of Mr. Michael Davitt. Last week's issue dealt with the famous "No Rent" manifesto; the capture of "Captain Moonlight," in 1882; and the terrorism of farmers by armed and disguised bands. The proclaiming "United Ireland" as a treasonable publication, and its removal to England, were other incidents of the period.

Some of the crimes during the unrest of 1882 were of the most wanton and savage description, and it may be doubted whether political principles were not frequently a mere cloak for personal passion and vindictiveness. For instance, a young fellow named Andrews, who was an assistant to a hairdresser, was murdered in Tighe-street, Dublin. He was both stabbed and shot, and the crime bore the imprint of vicious blood-lust rather than political "punishment." So far as we ascertained there was no particular reason for killing him, as he had not been a member of the Fenian or any other organisation, and his parents told me that the man who killed him, Matthew Kinsella, was on the best possible terms with him, there having been no quarrel. I investigated the circumstances for myself, and came to the conclusion that what probably happened was what happened in the case of Carey and the young fellow he was believed to have killed on the quay.
Andrews had been brought up as a very devout Catholic, while Kinsella was a violent conspirator. And I think Kinsella asked him to join the organisation, telling him more about it, and the names of some already sworn in. When he refused to join Kinsella probably thought he had said too much for safety, and killed him.
The youngster received an invitation to call up and see Kinsella in Tighe-street, and his body was found the same night in the hall of a house a few doors from where Kinsella lived. Two of my officers, M'Cormack and Cooper, traced the blood from where the body lay along the public footway into Kinsella's house, upstairs, and into Kinsella's room. He was taken into custody, and got, I think, fifteen years, the absence of any proof of malice being held to be ground for reducing the charge to manslaughter. Kinsella, who was a quiet, hardworking fellow, reported himself to me upon his release, and, I believe, gave up his connection with the conspiracy. Arms were found concealed in the dustbin of his house, and evidence was given that his wife was busy trying to wipe away bloodstains.

Murders and Outrages.

Sub-Inspector Doherty was attacked while driving with a young woman, who had, presumably, incurred the enmity of some of the people of her district, shots passing quite close to them; while, on the same day, the son of one of Lord Ardilaun's gamekeepers was brutally clubbed to death, and his mother also maltreated.
Only one piece of good luck fell to our share during all this period of outrage and murder, and it came to use, curiously enough through the shooting of a carman named McMahon in Dublin. Close investigation of all the facts of the case led to a search in a certain direction, and we were rewarded by a discovery of concealed arms, and of treasonable documents that were of service to us in the detection of criminals.
McMahon and a friend named Martin, who was a compositor, both of them being Invincible members, had been concerned in the abortive plot to assassinate Mr. Forster near Ireland's clothing factory on the quay. They were returning from the appointment, and had reached John-street West, when they met a friend named Byrne, and went into Dunlop's public-house in Dorset-street. The two men were, it was said, showing Byrne their revolvers. Suddenly one of the weapons went off, the ball lodging in McMahon's groin. Byrne and Martin were both arrested, and charged with shooting McMahon, and each got twelve months' imprisonment, it being found that the shooting of their companion was not so accidental as was at first supposed. When we searched Martin's house we found a large number of weapons concealed there.

Cruel and Purposeless Murder.

Another of the particularly exasperating and purposeless murder that rankled so in the minds of the law-abiding occurred about this time. A Mrs. Smythe, belonging to Dublin, but visiting at Westmeath, was shot dead near Collinstown, the murderers cmoing quite close, and being undisguised, except for the blackening of their faces with soot. Her husband was nearly maddened by the wantonness of the outrage, and wrote a striking letter to the tenants on his estate, saying that he had appointed a non-resident agent to collect the rents, and that he would have no authority to make any reductions or abatements, as had been the custom. Upon the same day as poor Mrs. Smythe was murdered we were informed that a bomb had been exploded at the Limerick police barracks.

Lord F. Cavendish Assassinated.

For a few days from the date of that double crime there were no serious outrages. Mr. Parnell had been released on parole from Kilmainham for fourteen days in consequence of the death of a relative. Mr. Redmond had introduced an Arrears Bill that was publicly commended by Mr. Gladstone. Lord Cowper, who was Viceroy, and Mr. Forster, who was Chief Secretary, both resigned office, and were followed by Earl Spencer and Lord Frederick Cavendish. Mr. Parnell had also written a letter from Kilmainham, having returned from his parole, in which he suggested that a settlement on lines he outlined of the question of arrears of rent might lead to their united efforts to stop outrage and crime. And altogether things looked more hopeful than they had for a long time, and our department was comparatively at rest.
That the Government were prepared to go to great lengths in a policy of conciliation was proven by the announcement in the House of Lords by Lord Granville that the Irish members in gaol were to be released, that the Crimes Act would not be renewed, and that the case of all the "suspects" remaining in prison was under careful consideration. And if anything was wanting to convince the Irish people of their sincerity it might have been found in the release of Mr. Davitt a few days later.
Yet it was at that very moment, as if the extremists were terror-stricken at the peaceful course events were taking, and at the possibility of the Irish leaders and the Government being brought into co-operation for Ireland's well-being, that they carried out one of the foulest murder-plots ever conceived by man.
Mr. Davitt was released on May 6, 1882. On the same day the newly-appointed Chief Secretary and the Permanent Under-Secretary, Mr. Burke, were stabbed to death in broad daylight, and within sight of the new Viceroy. It is reported, and I can well believe it, knowing his fine character, that when Mr. Davitt heard of the crime he groaned in irrepressible sorrow, and said, "I wish to God I had never left Portland."

Facts About "Number One."

And now, before I tell the full story of the crime, and as a necessary introduction to it, and to the story of the long, weary piecing together of the chain of evidence that led the chief of the group of assassins to justice, let me go back a little in the history of the band of criminals known to us as "The Murder Society," and subsequently, to the public, as the "Irish Invincibles," who had planned wholesale killing of prominent Government officials and others.
A man named P.J. Tynan, claiming to be the mysterious "Number One" of the assassination organisation, has written a great deal about it. And in all of what he has written, and in what he told the American Pressmen, he advanced that claim. All I can say is that we discovered nothing to connect him with the business, and he was unknown to any of those who turned Queen's evidence. I never heard of him in connection with the murders until the trial took place. All we could ascertain about him was that he had been a traveller for Causton's, who were show-card printers in London; that he lived at Brixton; and that he was a member of a Rifle Volunteer Corp, I believe the Queen's Westminsters. He was regarded by myself and my colleagues as a very "bumptious" sort of fellow, talking very big, and frequenting the grill-room at Jury's Hotel. He was never known to us as one of the "dangerous men."
In this connection I may as well explain at once how P.J. Tynan first acquired the reputation of being "Number One" in the councils of the Invincibles.
Carey told me that each member was known by a number, and that his was "Number Two." He declared, also, that he did not know who was "Number One."

How Tynan Posed as "Number One."

Later on, I was shown a photograph of Tynan, and was told he was an Invincible. I showed it to Carey, covering some writing on it with paper, and asked him if he knew the original.
He said he did, and that he was an Invincible.
Of course, this photograph I handed to Mr. Murphy, who was prosecuting for the Crown, and he handed it to Carey, who was then giving evidence as to the members, none of whom, he persisted, did he know by name.
"Was that man one of them?" asked Mr. Murphy of the witness.
"He was," replied Carey.
"Then that's number one," ejaculated Mr. Murphy, throwing the photo down on the table, and Tynan was clever enough to seize upon the misunderstanding, and vain enough (it was one of his chief characteristics) to pose here and in America as the mysterious and powerful chief of the Irish Invincibles, known by that time, the world over, as "Number One."
In this little comedy he was, of course, assisted by the fact that as soon as Carey had identified him as an Invincible, a warrant was issued for his arrest. Others were issued at the same time, for Mr. Pat Egan, who was treasurer of the Land League, and for Mr. P.J. Sheridan, of Tubercurry.
Mr. Egan, by-the-bye, proved a correct prophet. When Mr. Parnell and the others were first being tried for conspiracy Mr. Egan said, "Mr. Mallon, you will never get a conviction against them. What will happen is that they will get off - (which they did) - and the Government will "proclaim" the Land League - (which was also done) - and then you may look out for trouble - (which came in the form of the Phoenix Park crimes)."

Enlisting the Invincibles.

In the formation of the "Invincibles," who, by the way, were only known to us by that name after the Phoenix Park crime, the leading spirit at first was John Walsh, who had been an iron moulder in the North of England, and was well-known at Middlesbrough. While there he went among a gang of men and tried to collect money for the Fenian cause, but was turned out by the contractor, who was himself an Irishman.
Walsh came to Dublin in 1881, and at once commenced to organise what was known by no name except the "Murder Society." It emanated from neither the Irish Republican Brotherhood (the Fenians) nor the Land League, although Walsh, of course, tried to recruit his men from among the most advanced and violent members of both organisations, as well as elsewhere.
He called first on James Mullett, who was a publican in Dorset-street, an intelligent-looking man, well dressed and neat in appearance, and of good general character, although notorious as a politician.
At Mullett's suggestion Walsh took in Dan Curley, who was an educated, good-looking carpenter, taking small contracts.
Next he admitted Edward M'Caffrey, another good-featured, intelligent man, engaged as a mineral water traveller or salesman.
One of his recruits next suggested James Carey, who was a builder in Denzille-street, but for a time they would not approach him. Whether it was intuition or what I don't know, but none of them had any confidence in him, and they would not have had him if they had seen their way clear to do without him. Moreover, he was regarded rather as a man who always looked after himself, and was to the front in anything where money was to be had. As I say, they neither liked nor trusted him. But he had great influence among working-men, and could help in selecting new members of the "Murder Society." So he was enrolled.

The Man Who Struck the Blows.

Then Brady was captured, a very determined man, with close-shut lips and firm jaw, a giant in stature, and a bear in strength. Brady was a stonecutter by trade, and a good workman, as I was told.
Having got in these older men, a lot of young fellows were enrolled. Tim Kelly, a coachmaker, was a mere boy of nineteen; Myles Kavanagh, the car driver, was but two years older; neither probably quite realising what they were being led into by the older men until the oath had been taken, and they were called upon to join in the attack on the selected victims.
The two Hanlons, brothers, were carpenters, and so came under the influence of master-builder Carey, as did Peter Carey, his brother, who was a working bricklayer. Dan and Pat Delaney were also in the building industry, being working carpenters, and, with the exception of Harry Rolls, who was a working tailor, most of the men were in part and at times looking to Carey for employment, and, therefore, the more likely to be influenced by him. Of the others Tom Caffrey was a bricklayer's labourer, and Michael Fagan was a blacksmith.
I should add here, perhaps, that the wording of the oath was never made known, and I have not heard it to this day. But it was a very impressive business, and the new members were sworn on knives instead of upon the Book, which might have aroused their consciences. As one of them said to me before his execution, "If he had kept to his religion he would never have been in trouble, but he had stayed away for twenty years from the Sacraments of his Church, and this was the result."
I have said that the organisation was never known as the "Invincibles, and the method of announcing the title they had chosen was unique in its vain boastfulness. On the Saturday night, after the murders, a card with a black border was put in the letter-box of a Dublin newspaper, with the words on it:

The Deeds
were done by the Irish

Where the Plot was Arranged.

When the enrolments were completed, or sufficiently numerous for their purpose, the gang used to arrange to meet and talk matters over.
They had no special building for the purpose, so that we had a number of places under observation in different parts of the city. Sometimes they would go to a house in York-street, at other times they would meet in the Bricklayers' Club, which was an artful trick, because they were only doing what a number of other people, quite unconnected with any organisation of a political character, were doing every night.
Then Carey was the secretary of the club, and was thus able to ensure a certain amount of privacy for their deliberations and plotting without having to go to a separate room, thereby attracting the attention of anyone who might be watching them. They usually met round the fireplace, and it was quite understood, as one of the members told me when I was searching for evidence against them after arrest, that no one must intrude upon that little group.
Another place they would meet in was a public-house in North King-street, but there was no great need of formal gatherings, for they all worked together or were in touch with each other at a minute's notice. Curley, for instance, whose wife kept a little tobacconist's shop, used to take small contracts for the fitting-up of grocers' shop fronts, and as the two Hanlons were related to him by marriage they were generally engaged by him on these jobs. Of the two Delaneys, one worked at Kelly's, in Thomas-street, and the other at T.C. Martin's, of North Wall. When they wanted to confer they used to go over to where some of the others were at work, or to a public-house in Bagot-street.

Marked Down to be Murdered.

There were not many enrolled, not more than thirty-five or forty, and they could easily arrange to see each other. Of course, no cards of membership were issued, and, I believe, no list of members was kept; but in all other respects they either despised the authorities and did not trouble to conceal their association with each other, or, if they wished to act in secret, they were very clumsy in their efforts. Indeed there was little that went on about which information was not promptly in my possession.
Among other things they did was to draw up a list of names of men who were to be - as they used to call it - "removed." These were the first, so far as I remember the names, and their order: -

Mr. Forster, Chief Secretary.
Mr. Burke, Permanent Under-Secretary.
Judge Lawson, who had already tried some of them, and given very severe sentences.
Mr. Clifford Lloyd, a very distinguished resident magistrate.
Sir Samuel Lee Anderson, a brother of Sir Robert Anderson, of Scotland Yard, who was Crown Solicitor.
Mr. George Bolton, who was also a Crown Solicitor.
And several special jurors.

I had no doubt, personally, as to their intention to carry out their avowed object of murdering these people, and I believe at that time the whole plot might have been nipped in the bud. But the Government and others, including poor Mr. Burke, were not so closely in touch with them as I was, and thought their bark was worse than any bite they were likely to make. Possibly only Joe Brady, of all the principals, had any real determination and pluck. At any rate, their schemes were not generally regarded as worthy of serious consideration, and so they easily found their opportunity. Moreover, the general impression was that Ireland had become pacified. I had no misconceptions on the point, because it was my business to keep myself informed of the intentions of every one of them.

How the News First Came.

The first news of the tragedy came to me in my own house, although it was little of home we used to get in those days. I was living at the time at North Circular-road, and had an appointment to keep at eight o'clock in the evening. It had been a very hot day, and the air was very sultry, even after sundown, so as I was likely to be on duty late I went home to change my boots, leaving my colleague, Detective Simmons, on the way home.
About seven o'clock a detective officer came running to my house, and gasped out that "the Under-Secretary and his brother had been murdered in Phoenix Park." He added a request from the Castle that I would go down to the office at once.
I told him I would go straight on to the scene of the crime, realising that every moment of time missed might mean the destruction or loss of valuable clues as to the perpetrators of the deed, and give them a better start of us in any case.
When I got up to the park I was told that both the bodies were lifeless, and they were just removing them to the St. Stephen's Hospital.
Then, beginning to look around, I saw a hat lying on the ground. I picked it up and examined it, and, to my great regret, found it was one that belonged to Lord Frederick Cavendish. Scarcely believing the evidence of my senses, I looked round again, and picked up an umbrella. That also I recognised as belonging to Lord Frederick. And at once I had to send on the news that it was not the Under-Secretary's brother, but the Chief Secretary, who had only arrived in Dublin that morning, and had been at the Castle all day, who was the second victim of the assassin's knife.
The mistake arose from the fact that Mr. Augustus Burke, the Under-Secretary's brother, was an artist, who had a studio in Nassau-street, and often used to meet his brother in the evening and walk home with him across the park.

Sir Edward Sullivan's Prophecy.

I remained some time on the ground, taking the evidence of those who had seen the cars and the struggle, including two bicyclists who were drapers' assistants, and two men from the Inchicore works. And then commenced the task of unravelling the problem: Who were the guilty men? And it proved to be a very simple one in the end, although the work could only be carried on from point to point, and from man to man, very slowly. But it may be said now that long before it was possible to put the men in the dock, with the necessary evidence to ensure conviction, I was aware of every man who had been concerned in the actual carrying out of the plot.
As an instance of the extraordinary intuition of some men I may relate a prophecy made to me at that time which proved to be correct. I was talking to Sir Edward Sullivan, who afterwards became the Chancellor, and he said, "Mr. Mallon, you will find that the car drivers in this matter were Dublin men, and that they left the city at one end and returned to it by the other." And, it was later on told me by one of my informants, that was actually what occurred.
Well, there were no clues to guide the detective department to the murderers, and although I went to different quarters where I was likely to get information not much was to be got at that time.

Mr. Mallon's Reminscences will be continued in "Lloyd's News" next week.

Source: Lloyd's Weekly News, July 4, 1909, Page 15

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Re: Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

Post by Karen on Mon 26 Sep 2011 - 12:18



The sixth instalment of the reminiscences of Mr. John Mallon, the famous Irish detective, appears this week. In it he tells of the arrests which followed on the Phoenix Park murders, when Lord Frederick Cavendish, the Chief Secretary, and Mr. Thomas Burke, the Permanent Under-Secretary, were stabbed before the eyes of the Viceroy, who stood at a window of the Vice-Regal Lodge, nearby. The work of the "Invincibles," and the events leading up to the most remarkable crime in the history of English and Irish politics, have been already detailed.

Mullett, Curley, McCaffrey, and James Carey, the four members of the Invincible Committee, were placed in custody as suspects, under Forster's Act, almost immediately after the Phoenix Park murders and they were detained in Kilmainham Gaol until the Act expired the following September, when all were released. Murders and attempted murders were of frequent occurrence in the city after the release of certain suspects had been enlarged. Representations were made to Lord Spencer, the Lord Lieutenant of the day, and after consultation with the law officers he appointed John Adye Curran, K.C., then a divisional police magistrate in Dublin, and now a County Court judge, to hold an inquiry under the Crimes Prevention Act. Mr. Curran opened the inquiry at the Metropolitan Police Offices, lower Castle-yard, in the last days of November, 1882, and continued from day to day until Thursday, the 8th Jan., 1883. On that date a friend of mine on whom I could rely came to me in a great state of excitement and assured me that unless certain persons that she named were arrested at once Mr. Curran and I would not be alive to resume the inquiry on Monday morning. I reported this to Mr. Curran, and in due course he consulted the Attorney-General, and by his direction Mr. Curran took a general information from a few detective officers, and issued warrants for the arrest of twenty-three or twenty-four men, and handed them to me for execution. The charge was "Conspiring to murder certain Government officials and others."
But the difficulty then arose that the men could not be safely arrested one by one, and at different times, as the news would spread with the taking of the first man, and the others would be put off. The one chance of getting them all was to strike each one at the same moment, and to allow no man who was to do the work to know what others were going to do.

Nine Principals Safely Landed.

I had the whole of our men who were to be engaged brought together, without any intimation of the kind of purpose for which they were summoned. Then I gave to each pair the warrant they were to act on, and instructed them to execute it at eleven o'clock at night, not a minute before, and to tell none of their colleagues what their work for the evening was.
Another very unusual step was taken in the removal of each man as he was arrested to the police station nearest to the point where the warrant was executed. The usual practice would have been to take them all to the chief station of the division in which the crime was committed. That would have been an extremely hazardous plan in the present case, as the news would certainly have got abroad, and in the state of mind of the extremists, and even of the secret society men generally, there would almost certainly have been terrible trouble, and probably bloodshed.
In all, that night we arrested nine of the men. None of them made any statement, and none resisted apprehension. They probably thought we had no information of a definite character connecting them with the murder, as they were charged with conspiracy to murder certain Government officials and others, and not with complicity in the Phoenix Park business. By the way, it was an extraordinary fact that not one of them when told the officers had a warrant for his arrest even asked what the charge against him was - James Mullett, Daniel Curley, Edward McCaffrey, and James Carey, who had been previously in gaol under Forster's Act, were of this batch.
Michael Fagan escaped arrest for a day or two longer, because his employer's wife lay dead, and a wake was in progress, in which he was taking part. Under the circumstances, it was not felt necessary to wound the feelings of the mourners by proceeding at once in his case.
Tom Caffrey also got a short respite, as he was at work out in the bay, off North Wall.

Marriage Postponed for Murder.

Pat Delaney was already in gaol, for he had been convicted of an attempt to murder Judge Lawson, and had received sentence of ten years' penal servitude, which he was serving. There was something more than a suspicion that he had purposely failed in the task imposed on him, for he knew that two detectives were following the judge when he went down Nassau-street, and he actually knocked against one of their arms, and by other means attracted their attention just before he pulled out his revolver and presented it at the judge. The attempt was made as he was going along under Trinity College wall, and the detectives were close up when he pulled out his revolver. It was known to me at the time that several men who had been told off to commit crimes of the same kind went away, and kept quiet until after the arrest of the chief criminals.
One of them was told off by Carey to kill a man on the night preceding the day he was to be married. Instead of carrying out his instructions he went off to America, but came back when he thought it was safe, and married happily. It was proven to me over and over again that the men enrolled in many instances regretted their association with the gang, and only remained with them because they feared they would be killed, as we had reason to suspect was the case where members disappeared, and as we knew had happened in at least one instance.
Harry Rolls was, I believe, one of that class. He was selected to give the signal to the intended murderers, when Mr. Forster was to be the victim, but failed them at the last minute. He was one of those arrested in connection with the Phoenix Park murders, but he died in prison of heart disease, and was never brought to trial.

Kavanagh Identified.

Difficult as it was to get evidence against the accused, I had a good deal ready in respect to the more general charges of conspiracy. Two women, named Alice Carroll and Mary Brophy, for instance, identified Kavanagh as the car driver who acted for the murderers who attempted the murder of Mr. Field, one of the special jurors chosen in the Lawson case. They also identified Joe Brady as one of the passengers he carried. At the same time we had no definite evidence that would ensure their conviction by a jury of complicity in the Phoenix Park affair.
I should have said, by the way, that the warrant for the arrest of Egan, to which I have already referred, was issued by the Chief Secretary under the Crimes Act, only operative in Ireland during the period the Act was in force, and was withdrawn when the Act had expired. Mr. Egan's anticipations with regard to the Proclamation of the Land League, and the arrest of its leaders, gave me the impression that they aimed at keeping restraint on the extremists, and preventing crime, which they could not do if in prison. This impression was strengthened by the fact that with two colleagues I was once ordered to Navan to point out to the local police some Dublin extremists, who had arrived with the avowed intention of breaking up a Land League meeting.

Davitt's Licence Revoked.

Talking of arrests reminds me that the duty was not always carried out wisely.
In the case of Mr. Dillon, for instance, upon the second occasion the officers with the warrant went to North Great George-street, where he was staying, taking with them a troop of mounted police. It was a fine summer's evening, the people were in the streets in crowds, and if those responsible wanted to cause a riot they could not have gone better to work.
If they had called on him without any show, and told him they wanted him to go to the Castle, he would have come out at once, and without any fuss at all. I always found the leaders of the movement extremely considerate and desirous of assisting myself and my colleagues in the performance of our duty.
In the case of Mr. Davitt, while the trial of Brady and the others was proceeding, the Government decided to cancel his licence, and Mr. Williamson and another officer from Scotland Yard came over to execute the commission. They were going along to his residence, and the people would have got wind, and there might have been very bad blood indeed.
So I got them to wait while I sent down to tell Mr. Davitt I should like to see him. He came along at once, into my office, and asked, "Do you want me?"
I replied, "I don't, Mr. Davitt, but here are two gentlemen from Scotland Yard who are anxious for your company. This is Mr. Williamson, Chief Superintendent of the Criminal Investigation Department. Mr. Williamson, this is Mr. Davitt, whom you wanted to see." Mr. Davitt at once expressed his willingness to accompany them, and there was no trouble. The people in Dublin and Ireland generally did not know he was re-arrested, until Sir William Harcourt, who was then Home Secretary, replied to a question by Mr. Parnell that the Government did not think Mr. Davitt's conduct since his release was consistent with the terms of his licence, and they had cancelled it.

A Locked-Up Journalist.

I had a bit of fun with one of the Dublin reporters, who was a rather troublesome chap, although we used to work very amicably with them all, and found them very loyal to any confidence we reposed in them.
He came to the Castle just as Davitt was being taken away, and when I was most desirable nothing should leak out until the party had left the city.
"Mallon, is it true Davitt has been arrested?" he asked me, in a tremendous excitement.
"Not by me," says I, which was true.
"But sit you here, and I'll go and see if he has gone."; and as I went out I turned the key in the door, and left him locked in, and in an awful state of mind.
"By-and-bye I returned to him, and told him London officers had fetched Davitt away, and when he complained of being locked in I blamed it on to some bungling fellow in the office.
The suspects were first brought up at the Central Police Court, upon the general charge. Robert Farrell, who gave information as to the conspiracy generally, was in the dock on that day, but no evidence was called except so far as was necessary to justify the remand we asked for a week.
The accused treated the matter almost as a joke, and Brady, especially, who was quite a good-humoured villain, seemed to find and made a lot of fun out of the business.
And even on the next occasion, although they must have foreseen their danger, they made no sign of depression.
When they marched into the dock on the second occasion they found their number was one short. You could see the question they were asking individually and collectively: Where is Bob Farrell? And, indeed, it ought to be explained here that so great was the fear of traitors in their own ranks that upon each occasion when they were placed in the dock together their first act was to look anxiously whether all were still there.
Their doubts as to Farrell I soon set at rest by having him called to the witness-table. Witnesses did not go into a box, as they do in the English courts, but sat in a revolving chair, which was firmly fixed to the table, enabling them to turn about, and to face the person to whom they were speaking.

Strange Hiding Place for Arms.

The hearing was very short that day, and we got a three-day remand as soon as Farrell had finished.
In the meantime there was grave danger in bringing them to the court from Kilmainham each time, although we could always have a mounted military escort for the asking. So it was determined that the Lord Lieutenant should be asked to issue a warrant making the Kilmainham County Court, which adjoined the gaol, available as a police court, and from that time we were able to produce the prisoners through a connecting passage without showing them in the streets at all.
When I arrested Bob Farrell he caused a bit of fun. I knew that he had been in possession of a revolver, although it was illegal to carry one. So I asked him what he had done with it.
He told me it was hidden in the seat of old --------, the shoemaker, who had his shop in Ship-street
I sent for one of my officers, told him what Farrell had said, and sent him off to Ship-street to see if it was true.
When he explained his errand to the cobbler, who was a pale-faced, very little man, he almost jumped off his seat, and the officer lifted it and pulled out the revolver. I don't believed the little man knew it was there, and when my man said, "Now, we know all about you, --------," he almost fell down with fear, protesting he was innocent of any felonious intent.
When we had got the suspects in gaol we had some curious experiences. We knew who the guilty men were, but it was almost impossible to get evidence to convince a jury. And without independent evidence to corroborate the story of an informer the information he might give was of no use. The jury would be told they must not accept it, and the prisoners would be acquitted.

A Clever Trick.

But at last I developed a scheme that I thought would work, and with the assistance of the medical officer of the prison infirmary and the governor, it was put in operation.
Mrs. Peter Carey, who, by the way, was the daughter of a sergeant in the British Army, stated to me that her husband had told her that he was going to give information and would get Kavanagh, the carman, to do the same if he had an opportunity of talking to him. It was usual for the medical officer to see the prisoners each morning in the surgery at the end of a long corridor. Peter Carey and Kavanagh were there one morning and were allowed to converse freely up and down the corridor, and the governor arranged a position for me from which I could overhear every word that passed between the two.
"I've a good mind to see Mr. Mallon, and tell him all about the murders," said Kavanagh, and he added, "He has been very good to me, and not only to me, but to the little mare as well." Kavanagh, I ought to say, was very fond of his mare, and was very grateful when some of his visitors told him I was having her well-treated in his absence.
Carey says, "I'd do that, but don't say Jem (his brother) was there."
Then Carey asked, "Who was with you on your car when the job was done?"
And Kavanagh just named the four, or described them in such a way that I knew who he meant. So that at last there was something to upon that would help me.
"When the infirmary doctor thought sufficient time had elapsed, after telling the doctor about his health, he sent a warder to fetch Kavanagh.
Kavanagh said, "I want you to send for Mr. Mallon."
"What Mr. Mallon?" says the doctor, knowing well who he meant.
"Mr. Mallon, the head of the detective department," said Kavanagh.
"But his office is in the Castle Yard," commented the doctor, and when Kavanagh insisted he said, "Very well, I will send for him; but you will have to wait a bit," and he put him back again.

Kavanagh's Confession.

After waiting long enough I entered the surgery and the doctor sent for Kavanagh, who said, "I want to tell you all about the Phoenix Park business, Mr. Mallon."
But the regulations would not permit the taking of such a statement without the express permission of the authorities, so off we went on a car to Lord Spencer.
He at once gave the authorisation, and in a few minutes more Kavanagh was telling me all he knew, or, rather, all he thought well to tell me., not knowing how much he had revealed to the listener behind the perforated zinc panel. when he began to lie to me, and I was able to pull him up because of the information obtained, he was awe-stricken at the knowledge displayed. He remarked, "Sure, Mr. Mallon, there's nothing at all you don't know."
That night I went along to Mr. Murphy's house with the confession of Kavanagh, and he sprang up as soon as he had looked at it and offered his congratulations on the coup. And when he said, "Sit down and have some refreshment," for the first time I realized the fact that nature was feeling the strains of prolonged effort, and greatly needing food and drink. Mr. Murphy got me some champagne and food, which was just the stimulant required to meet the need.
He had to conduct the case against the prisoners, who up to that time had only been charged on a vague general count of conspiracy to murder.

Conspirators in the Dock.

On the next day, Feb. 10, when the prisoners went into the dock, they were defiant and jocular, as they had been all along. In fact, their behaviour, in face of the awful character of the crime, and the terrible penalty that would follow if they were convicted, was so callous as to call forth the comment from Mr. Murphy that they would not be so lively at the end of the day's proceedings.
And when Kavanagh went into the witness-box to give his evidence they understood what was meant.
Nine in all were charged on the new count, which alleged that Joe Brady, Tom Caffrey, Pat Delaney, and Tim Kelly were guilty of murder; and that James Carey, Daniel Curley, Michael Fagan, James Fitzharris ("Skin-the-Goat" was the nickname by which he was known), and Joe Hanlon were accessories.
Perhaps I may interrupt here to explain how "Skin-the-Goat" got his nickname, as, if the story is true, it throws a lurid light upon his temperament, revealing him as a passionate, vindictive, and cruel man when roused.
Goats, as is well known, will eat almost anything, and Fitzharris's animal was no exception. So that when one day he laid down a collar that had a hole in it upon the under side, it was scarcely a matter for any surprise that his goat carefully picked out the whole of the straw stuffing, enlarging the hole as much as was necessary to do it in comfort, and make a clean job of it. It was alleged that when Fitzharris saw what had happened he seized the poor brute, and, taking up a knife, flayed the beast alive.
"Skin-the-Goat" plied for hire from the car "Hazard," in Dame-street, close to the Palace-street entrance to the Castle, and as he was a cheery old soul I frequently employed him.
On the day on which I formally took him into custody we were driving about a good deal, and after paying him his fare at my office door I told him he should find someone to go home with the cab, as I was going to bring him before the magistrate on a charge of being an accessory before the fact to the Phoenix Park murders.
"Arrah what's that?" said he.
I explained, and he then said, "Begorra! I always took you to be a sensible man, but divil an ounce of since you have when you bring such a charge against poor "Skin."
I took him before Mr. Curran, and said, "Your worship, I have placed "Skin-the-Goat" in custody."
"Skin" said somewhat warmly, "I have been christened as well as you. My name is James Fitzharris."
When my depositions were read over, and just as I was sworn, Fitzharris remarked, "I wonder it didn't choke you."
After he was released from prison he went to America, but the Government there would not allow him to remain, and he was sent back as an undesirable. When I heard of him last he was employed as night watchman in Dublin.
But coming back to the scene in the court when Kavanagh was missed from the group in the dock. They whispered and nudged one another, and "Where's Kavanagh?" ran from mouth to mouth like a murmur of the wind.

A Bomb Among the Prisoners.

As I anticipated, his turning Queen's evidence burst like a bomb among the conspirators inside and outside the gaol. Indeed, men who were implicated in a minor degree almost begged that their evidence might be accepted on behalf of the Crown. And I will say this for Kavanagh, he tried to leave out certain names, and to minimise the guiltiness of others, but the information I had got through that perforated zinc panel enabled me to detect at once when he was telling lies. And the second time was when he asked me to take him as a witness.
He stuck to his guns, and from that time he never tried to back out of his story.
As I had anticipated, the first effect of his action was to bring James Carey to offer to tell everything. He followed almost as soon as Kavanagh had left the court after the day's proceedings.
Even up to that time the majority of the prisoners maintained a defiant air.

An Awful Moment.

When next they went into court, and each one glanced at his neighbour, and then along the line, there was an awful stillness. Even those who knew nothing of Carey's confession could see that something dramatic was being enacted, although they did not at first understand what it was. But the prisoners knew. In the first glance they counted one of their number missing. In the second they noted that it was Carey.
The awful silence deepened, if possible, for a second, then was broken by the muttered curses of some of the braver, while the less courageous of them went ghastly pale, and clung tremblingly to the dock rails.
At last the time had come to call the informer, but he was tottering and shaking, as if stricken to some numbing disease. He could not walk, and asked for brandy. I gave him a few spoonsful to steady him, but it had little effect. Then I gave him a little more, and as his pulse quickened under the spirit he said, "I am ready now." But he had almost to be pushed through the door into the court; even then, and as he appeared Brady, who was in the corner of the dock, hissed out a bitter curse at him, and went for him with both arms outstretched, and a shouted threat to "tear his false heart out of him."
Carey, curiously enough, seemed to gather courage every moment after he had once taken his place on the table, and he never hesitated once to answer the questions put to him. His training as a member of the Dublin Town Council had given him a very useful kind of platform courage for such an occasion as this, and as soon as he had taken his seat the familiar sight of faces all around him gave him confidence and self-control.

Sacrament After Murder.

If I may interrupt the story of the proceedings for a moment, I should like to say something about Carey himself, and about what I gleaned of his previous crimes - in connection with which it must be remembered that he was a leading citizen of Dublin, a respectable tradesman, and a regular attendant at his religious duties.
On the morning following the murder of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. Burke he took his wife and children to church, taking the Holy Sacrament.
Carey was about as bad a lot, in most ways, as ever breathed the breath of Heaven. Indeed, facts came to my knowledge that made me suspect he had been personally responsible for a deliberate murder before. But I only had an informer's evidence and we could not obtain corroboration. It was a pity that he, one of the worst of the old gang - one who had lured others into crime, should have been the one to escape conviction.
The story of the murder referred to was a sad one. Carey left a situation he occupied, and was succeeded by a bright, intelligent young fellow, a good man in every sense of the word. When Easter came round this young fellow went to his home in the country, so as to take the Easter Sacrament with his mother and father in his native village, and from his own priest. On Monday night he returned by train to Harcourt-street Station, in Dublin, and was met by James Carey, and some others of the Fenian extremists. They tried to induce him to join the organisation, but the young fellow had just come from the solemn celebration of the Sacrament, his religion was very fast upon him at the moment, and he declined to have anything to do with it.

Carey Alleged to Have Murdered.

The walked on together down to the quay on the south side of the river, almost opposite the Custom House, and turned towards the O'Connell Bridge. My information was that the others walked ahead, while Carey and the other young fellow dropped behind. Whether Carey thought he had compromised himself and told his companion too much, or what it was, I don't know. But it was alleged that he suddenly put his hand in his pocket, pulled out a stonemason's hammer and struck his companion dead with a vicious blow on the temple.
The body of Carey's alleged victim was found floating in the Liffey, near the Custom House, and it was Carey who reported to the police that the man was absent from his work. When the body was recovered he managed to get appointed foreman of the coroner's jury that inquired into the case, and the verdict was "Found drowned." The wound on the temple was said to be post-mortem and caused by collision with some passing boat.
Carey's real character was not known until after he had given evidence in the Phoenix Park cases, because, up to that time, he was regarded as a respectable man.
I never knew what influence was brought to bear on him to induce him to become a witness, but I do know that he was a difficult man to deal with. He told me that he wouldn't leave Dublin, that he didn't see the necessity as he was betrayed, and he merely saved himself. He swore nothing that the Government did not already know.
Yet that man, James Carey, was a leading citizen of Dublin, occupying a seat in its council, respected by his neighbours, and unsuspect. A traitor even to his dupes and comrades he for a moment escaped their fate, only to meet death in Africa at the hands of a man who would never have even known his name but for his boasting. It has been generally believed that O'Donnell, who shot the informer, was sent after Carey by the Invincibles. Indeed, I believe some of the latter have allowed that statement to go uncontradicted for the purpose of terrorising others who may at any time turn King's evidence. The fact is, however, that O'Donnell had been in South Africa and had done fairly well there. But he was a somewhat dissolute fellow, and after a holiday in Ireland booked passages for himself and a lady for the return voyage. But that passage was booked a month before it had been decided where Carey was to be sent to, or when he would sail. O'Donnell did not know who his fellow passenger was, until Carey, in his boastful fashion, hinted at the business. And it was after a drinking bout that O'Donnell shot the man who had betrayed his fellow-conspirators, being himself hanged for the crime.

Mr. Mallon's Reminiscences will be continued in "Lloyd's News" next week.

Mr. Mallon writes us that an error crept into the account of his reminiscences published in our issue of June 20. The following statement occurred in that portion of his narrative: "It is not generally known that the man who supplied, or who drove the car, I forget which, in which the assassins went to the murder place, was the father of a very high dignitary."
This statement was incorrect. Mr. Mallon writes, "The assassins crossed in a boat from the opposite shore of Mulroy Bay and returned by the same means, not employing a car, of course."

Source: Lloyd's Weekly News, July 11, 1909, Pages 13 & 15

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Re: Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

Post by Karen on Wed 28 Sep 2011 - 5:37



In the seventh instalment of his reminiscences Mr. John Mallon, the famous Irish detective, continues his narrative of the trial of the Phoenix Park murderers, and recalls many interesting incidents connected with that terrible outrage. Mr. Mallon describes the continued plotting of the Invincibles following the Phoenix Park arrests; and says that at the moment the crime was committed the participants were "mad drunk." Mr. Mallon's reminiscences will be concluded in next week's issue of "Lloyd's News," when some further interesting disclosures in connection with his work among the Fenians will be given.

Concerning the trial of the Phoenix Park murderers, we were in this position. We had the evidence of two informers, and might have had more of the same class. Both they were both confessed accomplices, and the law is clear, and rightly so, that no man may be convicted on the unconfirmed evidence of such a witness.
Moreover, we had not found the weapons with which the foul deed was accomplished, and from them we had reasonable expectation of getting an indication of the direction in which we should search for further evidence.
I confess I was more than anxious. A long time had elapsed since the murders were committed, and although I knew we had got the right men the legal evidence was wanting.
At last I got it. I had examined the whole of the car drivers of the city, but all could account for their movements on the day of the murder expect Kavanagh, who said he was drinking.
Every person likely to know anything of the movements of either or all of the conspirators was seen, but either could not, or would not, assist.
One whom I knew had knowledge of a great deal that had gone on had bolted to London, and was working in the Royal Victualling Yard, at Deptford. I fetched him over, and thrust him hastily through a door into the exercise ground where the accused were, and where they must see him. Then I hastily withdrew him, and that night the men were in a terrible state of apprehension. They had imagined this witness safely across the water, yet here he was, in charge of the police, and probably to be called against them.

Where the Knives were Hidden.

At last I got hold of one man, out of whom my second-in-command, Supt. Smith, obtained the fact that he had seen Carey's son hiding something in the water-spout of one of his father's houses. My colleague went to the spot indicated, and there found thrust into the pipe a Winchester repeating rifle and two large knives.
At first we thought the latter were the instruments with which the actual blows were struck, but I learned later that these were smashed up in Edward M'Caffrey's house. Indeed, it was only a notion that he would keep mementoes of the crime, which he would probably have boasted to others were the actual weapons, that caused Carey to keep any, and, as the incident shows, his son's effort to conceal the incriminating tools was the means of getting Carey so far in the toils that he owned up.
The knives bore the name of a Strand firm and the rifle the name of Oxford-street makers. Accordingly, after the next adjournment, I went across to London, saw Mr. Williamson, and with him went to the surgical instrument maker and showed him the knives.
He recognised them at once as some of those (nine in all) which he had sold to a Dr. -------, a wild, heavy-drinking medical man, who was, as we afterwards ascertained, in very low water at the time. They were the largest kind of amputation knives he had ever known made, said the expert; and he explained that they were made for work on the battlefield.

A Lady Carries the Knives.

At the time of the Russo-Turkish war a large number of medical students and surgeons from the London hospitals volunteered for service in the field, and ordered the necessary outfit. Among other things left over were these knives.
Next we ascertained that the weapons were conveyed to a Dublin by a lady living in London. And, although we never arrested her, having no legal proof of guilty knowledge, her connection with the Land League of Great Britain caused considerable suspicion. The knives having been traced to Carey, I began to pick the knot to pieces with much more facility and speed than before, and for the first time felt quite safe as to result of the trial so far as my part of the work was concerned.
A curious point about the choice of weapons was the fact that Carey selected knives instead of revolvers, as being more silent and less dangerous to the owners.
With regard to Kavanagh's information as to the murders, people said I delayed too long in charging those under arrest and implicated by his statements, upon the more serious indictments of murder or being accessory to the murders. But it was not known then, and has never been told until now, why that delay occurred.

Conscientious Police Work.

I have already said that the law requires corroboration of an informer's allegations before action upon it can succeed. Moreover, it was always taught to me that detectives and constables, from the lowest rank to the highest, should be more anxious to elicit the truth than to secure a conviction. And I determined to sift every one of the statements he made as to the movements of the party on the day of the crime.
He told me, for instance, that while they were in Kildare-street, watching the Vice-regal procession, a a "red-headed" superintendent put them back farther from the line. And, although the superintendent there denied that he did anything of the sort, I found that he was certainly a red-headed man, and so far confirmed Kavanagh's story.
Then he told me that while they were waiting for the procession to pass, outside Wren's public-house in Dame-street, they were again put back behind the police line. And I found a brother-in-law of Kavanagh's, named Cummins, who was up paying for his pawnbroker's licence, had watched Kavanagh pass on the south side. A Mr. Mottley was also there, and saw the incident. He used to go to Brown's, at Redmond's Hill, where Kavanagh used to meet Tim Kelly, and knew him well by sight.
It was a little curious how one thing worked in with another. At the time of the attempt on the juror, Mr. Field, one of the gang lost his hat, which came into my possession. It had Mr. Mottley's name in it, and was identified by him as one he had sold. That commenced my acquaintance with Mr. Mottley.
Kavanagh also told me that before the murders Carey was sitting on a seat in Phoenix Park, near the polo ground. We advertised for such a person, and got the evidence of a very respectable man, of Carey's own trade, who entirely corroborated that portion of Kavanagh's statement.
Another point in his story was that at one part of the route they took after the murders there were two turns in the road, which, together, formed, roughly, the outline of a letter "S." That was entirely confirmed by a park-keeper named Godden, who told me that as the car approached him on one hook of the "S" he was able to notice one of the men on the car on that side, and as it made the other turn it gave him a good view of one of the men on the other side of the car, both of whom he was able to identify.

Ran Over a Dog.

The pace was a very fast one throughout the run, and Kavanagh told me that as they crossed the Liffey bridge they killed a dog. That I was able to check by the evidence of an independent witness, who could tell me that the car than ran over it was carrying four men beside the driver.
As to the pace of the car and the general demeanour of the men, one gentleman said, "They were like fellows out for a day's spree, and I think I know the face of one of them." This gentleman was a corn merchant, and Tom Caffrey was a worker in the corn trade at North Wall.
And as to the latter stages of the homeward rush, Kavanagh said they dropped Tim Kelly at Palmerston Park, after driving along the Highfield-road, and that he made a short cut for home to Redmond's Hill by taking the tram. That I was able to verify by the evidence of a very prominent Catholic clergyman who rode with Kelly from the point at which he left the car right into Dublin.
And so I was able, after a good deal of effort, and great expenditure of time, to obtain corroboration of Kavangh's story at a score of points.

Prisoner's Dying Baby.

It has never been made known before, I think, but I took Kavanagh out of prison, and drove with him over the whole route. This quickened his memory in details that had escaped him for the moment, and he was able to clear up matters that were still somewhat obscure to me. If the Invincibles had got to know what was on, neither he nor I might have returned alive. For they laid all sorts of plots, one of which, as he afterwards told me, was for Brady to kill me in the street, at my office, or at my home in North Circular-road.
Even after the arrest of so many of the Invincibles others continued to plot, one of their schemes being the murder of myself.
The wife of one of the prisoners came up to the office, and said that since her husband's arrest her baby had been born. She added that, as a result of the terrible worry of the case, the child was unlikely to live, and she wanted its father to see it. Might he be released for that purpose?
After consultation with some of my colleagues it was decided that the man should be allowed to come home on parole, a not altogether disinterested concession, as we had it in mind that we might get some information out of him in return.
When he had gone home two of us went down to his house, and his wife showed us the baby in proof that she had not hoaxed us. Her husband was taking a lot of drink, and began to talk a good deal. But he would not make any definite statement that night, but promised if we would meet him at a certain public-house in the morning he would do so.

Heavy Drinking Before the Murders.

Next day myself and a colleague went to the rendezvous, but our man did not turn up. While we were waiting we met a man who told us it was a Fenian house, and refused to enter it. Later on, just as we were going away, we saw two car-loads of Fenians drive up the road, and from a hiding-place saw them enter the house. We at once suspected a trap, and went back to the city. We came across our man, who mumbled something about not being able to come, but was now very anxious for us to go to the appointed place with him. Subsequently we got it from another man that it had been planned to get me there and to murder me. Of course my colleague would have joined in the fight, and would have been murdered with me. As we had reason to suspect our man of treachery, when his parole expired we let him go back to prison.
The carrying out of the murder plot, as we pieced it together little by little, showed that drink had a good deal to do with it, the men who had it in hand calling at a number of public-houses. Indeed, I formed the opinion that at the moment the crime was committed the whole party were well on the way to what is known as "mad drunk." Indeed, Kavanagh told me that he was so far gone before the finish of the day that he took his mare home and put her in the stable, but did not take the harness off, badly as she needed the relief after her very hard day's work, and that when he awoke next morning he found that he had thrown himself down in the stable and gone to sleep.
The meeting place on the morning of the day appointed for the murder was at Westland Row Railway Station, where the conspirators hung about until the Viceregal procession had entered Dublin Castle.
Then they went up to Wren's, in Dame-street, and from there drove through Dame-street, Parliament-street, Essex Quay, Wood Quay, and out to King's Bridge. There they crossed the river, had a drink at the Royal Oak public-house in Park Gate-street, and drove into Phoenix Park, where they remained until an opportunity came for the assassination.
The order of procession was that Kavanagh's car went first, with Joe Brady, Tim Kelly, Pat Delaney, and Tom Caffrey; "Skin-the-Goat's" cab followed, containing Dan Curley, Michael Fagan, and Joe Hanlon.

Brady Watches the Play.

James Carey, with Joe Smith, who was employed by the Board of Works, and was the only man among them who knew Mr. Burke by sight, took up their position near the polo ground, the share of the latter in the business being to point out Mr. Burke when he entered the park. They were, of course, anticipating that he would be alone. The actual murderers were, in the meantime, gossiping and strolling about, Brady going over to watch the playing until fetched back by Carey, while "Skin-the-Goat's" cab was standing opposite the Viceregal lodge, on the side nearest to it. There was nothing to attract special attention about this, as there had been polo and cricket matches going on, and it was the custom to have cars and cabs in waiting.
Mr. Burke by-and-bye entered the park on a car, unaccompanied, except by the driver. Lord Frederick Cavendish had entered on foot before him, and as soon as the car caught him up Mr. Burke got down, paid his driver off, and walked with his new chief towards home.
As Mr. Burke got off the car Smith whispered hoarsely to Carey, "'Tis Burke that's after getting down from the car - the wan in grey," and Carey, with a handkerchief, signalled the car, which approached and walked slowly by them for a second or two.
Brady was the man nominated for the actual striking of the blow, and Carey, addressing him, and looking towards the approaching figures, said: "Here they come; mind, the one in grey is Burke," and the car passed on. A minute or two later Brady and his companions slipped away from the car, the four of them walking back towards Lord Frederick and Mr. Burke, two in front, and the others following, Brady passing on the side nearest the Under Secretary.
He had evidently received very careful instructions, probably from the villainous medical man who had procured the knives for them, and he did not adopt the amateur's method of striking at the heart from the front. Instead, he passed his victim, stopped, pretending to tie up his bootlace, turned quickly round, and forced his knife into Mr. Burke from behind, at a point where the stroke could not fail to be fatal.
There was no need for more than the one blow, as was afterwards testified by Mr. Thomas Myles (he is now Sir Thomas, and an ex-president of the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin), who made the autopsy under the direction of Sir George Porter. The blow had been struck with the whole force of the giant Brady's strength, the direction had been almost scientifically accurate, and the weapon had penetrated nine and a half inches.
But young Kelly, probably maddened with drink, and desiring in his insanity to share in the "glory" of the deed, knelt or stooped as Mr. Burke sank towards the ground, and fell down dead - and with his own weapon slashed him across the throat.

How Lord Frederick Fell.

Lord Frederick Cavendish was one of the kindest and most sympathetic men towards Ireland I ever had the privilege of speaking to. Indeed, his last official act at the Castle, on his first day of office, and just before being murdered, was to sign the warrants for the release of a large number of those imprisoned under Mr. Forster's Act. But although so kindly a man, he was endowed with the courage of a lion, and he turned on the assassin with a cry of horror and scorn, and struck at him with his umbrella.
But Brady had nothing to lose and everything to gain by killing this witness of his crime, and maddened by his fear, as well as by drink, he slashed at his assailant with all the vigour of his splendid strength, and managed at last to reach a vital part. That Lord Frederick fought splendidly I had demonstration that could not lie. His umbrella was slashed by the assassin's knife, while the bones of the arm were cut by the keen blade as if they had been pieces of soap. At last, weakened by the earlier wounds, his guard failed him, and he fell dying with wounds in his breast that left absolutely no hope.
Having completed the awful crime, the four men climbed again on to the car, which Kavanagh had kept close by, and drove off at a fast pace in the direction of the Hibernian School westward. And when once they set their faces in that direction one of two things became clear. Either they were seeking some quiet railway station from which to catch a train unobserved, or they were going to work through a labyrinth of suburban roads back to Dublin.

Route of the Murderers.

From the first I thought the latter was their game, and when the full route became known to me it proved to be a very clever one, evolved by a particularly good mind for tactical reasons, the first of which was immediate safety, and the second absence of observation.
For the latter reason, while running Kavanagh's little mare at a good speed, they never worked her to a canter, but just kept her at a good gait.
Leaving the park by the Chapelizod gate, they struck the Dublin and Lucan road at a very quiet spot. At Chapelizod they crossed the river Liffey, and as soon as they had done so got on to an elevation, from which they could see clearly whether anyone was in pursuit.
The view being quite reassuring, they continued up the road from Chapelizod, went under the bridge of the Great Southern and Western Railway, crossed the main road, and turned to the right along the Naas-road. When nearly three miles out of Dublin they crossed to the Tallaght-road, leading to Greenhills-road, and then turned to the left into Terenure.
Continuing along that road, they drove into Dublin by way of High Fields-road, Rathmines, and Palmerston Park, and so city-wards through Leeson Park, to Upper Leeson-street, where they entered a public-house, and, having drunk congratulations to each other on the unexpected double success of their effort, went their different ways. They had, even then, no knowledge that the second victim was so important a personage as Lord Frederick Cavendish, or their rejoicings might have been continued until midnight.
Reverting to the trial, I ought to say that after Kavanagh had gone into the informer's chair Carey was visited in Kilmainham by Dr. Carte, the prison doctor, who had to attend to all of them. He told the doctor he was inclined to give information, and the suggestion was handed on to me, and by me to the Attorney-General. The latter instructed me to go to the prison, and if Carey was of the same mind still to take any statement he was willing to make.

Carey's Bogus Statement.

When I got to the gaol I was shown into the office, and a little later Carey was brought to me.
"Well, Carey," I said, "I understand you want to make a statement."
"I do," was his reply.
"Well," I continued, "I am authorised to take it down as you make it."
Then he commenced to tell me all about the organisation of the Invincibles and their meetings, and so on. And at last I could see he was disinclined to tell me what was really important. Indeed, I thought he was trying to mislead me. So I said to him, sharply, "Carey, all this you are telling me is ancient history and ancient knowledge. Your statement is worth nothing," and I tore it up before him, and flung the pieces into the fireplace in his presence.
That was on a Wednesday, and on the Thursday he was placed in the dock with the others, who would have strangled him if they had known that only twelve hours before he had made even a part confession. He was in a tremendous state of excitement, his features working, and his face grey and anxious. He besought me at the close of the proceedings to see him again, and I consented. When we met I said, "See here, Carey, if you want to make a statement I am willing to take it from you. But I warn you that I have known the Fenian organisations longer than you, and, perhaps, better than you, although I am not a member of either, and it is no good you trying to mislead me."

Who Found the Money?

I cross-examined him as he went on, when I thought he was holding something back. For instance, he volunteered no definite information as to the source of the money he admitted they received. So I put the question to him bluntly.
"Since I have known anything of any of you," I said, "you have never had enough money to buy an old gun or a revolver without pawning something. And now you tell me of the receipt of 10 pounds, 20 pounds, 30 pounds at a time. Where did it come from?"
And at last he gave me the name of a leading member of one of the organisations, a telegram from whom I had intercepted almost immediately after the murder. I had also in mind that while this man was a teetotaler, Mullet, who was a publican, had always been particularly intimate with him. But I never managed to get sufficient evidence to connect him with the conspiracy, and soon after he left the country.
The example of Kavanagh and Carey would have been followed by others, and, as a matter of fact, the result was never really in doubt, except in the case of Tim Kelly, and he, with Brady, Curley, Fagan, Caffrey, and Delaney were all sentenced to death, after being tried separately. Delaney's death sentence was subsequently commuted to penal servitude for life, and later on he was released.

Mr. Mallon's Reminiscences will be concluded in "Lloyd's News" next week.

Source: Lloyd's Weekly News, July 18, 1909, Page 13

Karen Trenouth
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Re: Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

Post by Karen on Thu 29 Sep 2011 - 8:18



In this, the eighth instalment of his interesting reminiscences, Mr. John Mallon, the famous ex-chief of the Dublin Metropolitan Police Detective Department, concludes the series of articles which he has specially written for readers of "Lloyd's News." Below will be found some dramatic incidents that preceded the executions for the Phoenix Park murders, as well as thrilling stories of fighting in the streets between rival bands of conspirators, and of the later history or death of other of the chiefs of the "Murder Society."

Continuing the story of the Phoenix Park murder trials, Tim Kelly's case was one of the most trying, for the jury twice found it impossible to agree. There is no reason now for concealing the fact that his youth - he looked almost boyish - made some of the jury only too glad to see any flaw in the evidence that would satisfy their conscience if they saved his life. But in the third trial additional evidence was produced, and the poor lad's fate was sealed. Officers of the detective force are sometimes regarded as hard and unsympathetic, but my own feeling for him was that I would more gladly have proved him innocent, if it had been possible, unnecessarily brutal as his share in the crime was.
Curley's trial was also a specially saddening one. He was a handsome, good-featured man, with black beard, in early manhood, with a head that showed good general characteristics, and considerable ability. Unhappily, his poor wife and children were in court, and while he said the few words after being found guilty the whole court was choked with emotion. Judge, jurymen, reporters, everyone was stricken, and the scene was intensely dramatic. Tom Caffrey gave least trouble, pleading guilty, and taking the sentence with no great emotion. Brady was "game" all through, as everyone who saw his strong eyes and closely compressed lips felt he would be. When asked if he had anything to say he sprang to his feet, like a soldier called to attention, and said, in a kind of husky growl, "I have been convicted on lying information."

Other Sentences.

Edward M'Caffrey pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy, as did James Mullett, each of them receiving sentence of ten years' penal servitude.
Joe Mullett pleaded not guilty, but was convicted, and received a sentence of fifteen years. He was released on licence after a long period had been served. All the others, I believe, did their full time.
Hanlon and Fitzharris ("Skin-the-Goat") both received sentences of penal servitude for life, while several of the minor criminals concerned in the conspiracy got off with five years' each. The two principals were subsequently released, after, I think, serving about fifteen years, and one is working in Dublin at the present time. The other is dead.
Most of the men who were sentenced to death, and who suffered the penalty, appeared quite resigned to their fate, to be penitent, and to receive the services of the priest who attended them in a right spirit.
Brady, especially, behaved well. But one incident just before his execution upset him a great deal. A lady who lived in the city, and who was a relative of Mr. Burke, called at the prison, and saw the man who killed him. She told him she wanted to make his end peaceful by an assurance that those whom he had so terribly grieved entirely forgave him. Brady was much moved, and very grateful for the kind words from a quarter where he had no right to expect them.

No Forgiveness for Carey.

And the lady, seeing how gentle he was, asked him if he also had forgiven everyone, as he hoped to be forgiven.
He assured her it was so, but she hesitated a moment, and then pressed home the question that was troubling her sympathetic mind.
"Is there no one against whom you still have harsh thoughts?" she asked, "No one who you have not forgiven."
"I have forgiven everyone everything I have against them," was Brady's answer.
"Even James Carey?" came the final question, almost in a whisper of dreadful apprehension as to the answer.
And in a flash she saw the reply in the condemned man's glittering eye, and his clenched fist and terrible agitation.
"Even James Carey?" she pleaded again. But she got no answer except the eloquent silence and awful expression of hatred that clouded the poor fellow's face.
A day or two after the priest who ministered to Brady deplored the fact that the visit of this tender-hearted lady had nearly upset the effect of all his work, having awakened the sleeping volcano of hatred and revenge which the sacred work of the good father had only so recently sealed. One would like to feel that Brady was able to say "Yes," to the question at last, but at the moment it was more than he could do, even with the door of the hereafter opening slowly before his very eyes.
Brady and most of the other condemned men said "Good-bye" to me, and thanked me for the manner in which the duties of our profession had been carried out. And it is always something of consolation to feel quite sure now that although the duty was so sad a one, and so awful in its consequences, none of the convicted men harboured resentment against those of us who were responsible for hunting them down.

A Battle in the Streets.

A story worth telling in favour of the military occurs to me in connection with the events subsequent to the Phoenix Park murders.
The conspirators, generally, were, of course, considerably disorganised. Moreover, they commenced quarrelling among themselves, split into two sections, and each blamed the others for what had happened, and accused them of being in league with the informers.
The two rival sections used to meet at separate public-houses in Abbey-street, and I had appointed officers to watch all the men of each. One Saturday night the members of the two parties left their public-houses at the same time, and at once commenced quarrelling. Shots were flying like hail when I got there; in fact, the whole lot must have been firing at one time, although, luckily, most of them were too intoxicated or too excited, or both, to shoot well, or there would have been an awful loss of life.
As it was, a police-constable was killed with one ball, and a man named Dowling was so badly injured that I sent him in a cab to the hospital by one of my special officers, Sergeant Stratford. Even then a man named Poole, who was afterwards hanged for the murder of an alleged informer named Kenny, at Seville-place, hung on the cab door, trying to get an opportunity to shoot one or both of the men inside.

Man of War as Peacemaker.

The battle was just at its height, and everyone appeared to be losing their heads, and firing promiscuously. But in a second the shooting ceased, the row subsided, and the rioters were drawing sulkily away. All that had happened was that a dapper little soldier of the Military Train, a regular little dandy, armed with nothing but his walking-out cane, strode into the midst of the combatants. One would have expected that the sight of the Queen's uniform would have maddened the combatants still more, but, with a few angry words of command, and by sheer force of character and will, he had quieted the whole pack of them.
There was a mystery about the murder of Kenny, to which I just referred, that was never quite solved. He was a great friend of Poole's, and one day the latter took him to his brother-in-law's place to have some refreshment, afterwards proceeding to Kenny's house, near Seville-place.
After a bit Poole rose to go, and Kenny said he would accompany him part of the way. Poole tried to dissuade him from doing so, but Kenny insisted, and was stabbed within a few yards of his own door.
The argument of the Crown was that Poole, under the influence of the terrorists, was told off to kill Kenny for some reason, but that he repented of his task before it was too late, and, knowing accomplices were lying in wait who would be likely to kill Kenny when they saw him leave the house alive, endeavoured to stop him doing so. But he was found guilty of conspiracy to murder, or of being an accessory, and was hung for the crime.

The Humourous Sidelights.

One of the most amusing incidents during the Home Rule agitation was the seizure of "United Ireland." This was not one of my jobs, nor was it instigated by the Government or the police.
Mr. William O'Brien was its editor at the time, and vigorously supported the late Mr. Justin McCarthy as leader in place of Mr. Parnell. So the latter, and, I think, Mr. Clancy and others, went off to the office one night in December, 1890, and seized the whole office and furnishings.
Mr. Murphy, who was running the paper, applied for police protection (a somewhat ironical situation for us to smile over), but the Chief Commissioner, or whoever the officer was to whom the application was made, gave instructions that the police were not to interfere unless the peace was broken.
But instead of a fight the evicted Nationalists set to work and produced a rival paper, which they called "Suppressed United Ireland." Mr. Parnell got an injunction against them, and the next issue came out as "The Insuppressible."
But as its tone was hostile to Parnell, the Parnellites waited on its next issue, and held up the vans, stole the entire issue, and either burned them or threw them into the Liffey. It was a beautiful morning, and our men enjoyed the joke heartily. So they did the spectacle of proprietors and editors "knocking smoke" out of each other in the office.

A Whole Family Murdered.

One of the most atrocious crimes of the period was the murder of the whole Joyce family, who lived at Maamtrasna. The father, mother, and three other members of one family were found in their house either dead or dying, having been shot or bludgeoned. A boy who afterwards died was able to say that four masked men, who came to the house at night, were responsible for the deed. For this awful deed four other Joyces were hung.
At first it was reported that the murders were an act of agrarian or political character, but after I had investigated it I came to the conclusion that it had nothing to do with the agitation or with the organised revolt against landlordism and England.
It should be explained that the whole neighbourhood for miles round was known as "the Joyce country," and was practically peopled by families all of whom bore that name. They were a wild, fierce lot, scarcely a person among them speaking anything but Irish, and their sheep mixing and grazing on the Connaught hills in one indistinguishable flock of huge dimensions. At the end of the season they were brought down from the hills and sold, and the proceeds divided among the whole community on some principle and by some particular method of their own. My inquiries, which were difficult, owing to the language trouble, led me to believe that the wholesale murders were the result of a private quarrel over the dividing up.
A development of criminal enterprises that startled and mystified Dublin suddenly produced a crop of explosions, some of which, at any rate, were similar to those in London and other parts of the kingdom that had preceded them.
The first was at the office of the Chief Secretary, in Dublin Castle, in 1892 or 1893. It occurred about midday, or from that to two o'clock. Fortunately, the Castle was in the hands of the workmen for repairs, and things were somewhat disorganised. Not far off was the office of Sir Frederick Cullinan, who was the head of a kind of Treasury financial department. He had nothing to do with the political movement, or the prosecution of suspects and rebels, and it is extremely doubtful whether there was any desire on the part of anyone to do him harm.
My impression was that none of the explosions were intended to kill people, but, rather, to create a sensation. Indeed, I was satisfied by my inquires that there was in no instance a desire to kill, and that the perpetrators of the outrages were neither authorised nor permitted to act as they were doing by the Fenian, or any other political organisation. There were probably simply an off-shoot, possibly instigated by some agent provocateur, who was receiving money. Indeed, I had reason to know that very considerable sums of money were passing, and soon after I had communicated particulars of one such discovery a certain lady and gentleman very hastily left Dublin, and I never heard of them again.

Chief Secretary's Narrow Escape.

But before that there had been other explosions in the city, and it may be mentioned in passing that there was reason to believe from the position in which the explosive was placed for the explosion that wrecked the Chief Secretary's office, that the attack was really intended for the Privy Council chamber. But I never had reason to believe that it was intended to take life in these efforts, although Sir Frederick Cullinan had only just left his room when the explosion occurred. He had gone to the Under Secretary's office, and the fact that the castors upon which the table stood in his own room were blown right into the ceiling showed that he must have been instantly killed if he had remained in it. But, as already indicated, although there was brutal carelessness as to what might result, there was an apparent desire to damage and terrorise, rather than to kill.
Colonel Majendie, who investigated the circumstances and the remains of the bomb, or whatever it was that was used, found fragments of a metal case driven into the wood, and came to the conclusion that the explosion was brought about by a fuse, as in other cases, and not by a clockwork machine. He also came to the conclusion that nitro-glycerine, or some of its products, was the agent used.

Abortive Outrage.

There was another attempt made soon after at the Four Courts, Dublin, which front on to the quay. In that case the explosive was thrown into or placed in a short area, quite close to the entrance from the quay. The explosion took place about ten or eleven o'clock at night, and that again was a time when no one might be expected to be in the building except a housekeeper. As it fortunately happened, no harm was done beyond the shattering of a few score panes of glass.
Another reason for thinking that this series of outrages was the work of amateurs or unscientific persons, was the fact that Colonel Ford, who made the examination for the Government, came to the conclusion that the bomb, or containing vessel, was made in so clumsy a form that one part of it was of glass, and therefore offered no resistance, and that on the side where that part faced there was no damage, for that reason.
The next attempt was made on our own detective department in Exchange-court, on Christmas Eve, 1892, a little seasonable attention for which we were by no means grateful.

Detective Murdered by Explosion.

The effect of the explosion was terrible, and the whole place was shattered. Poor Detective Synott was just going to bed, it being eleven o'clock at night, and twenty-five men slept quite close to the office. Several people had seen what looked like a small candle flame, but had taken no notice. Synott saw it, and at once guessed the nature of its cause. With pluck that I never found wanting among my colleagues he seized the weapon with the intention of throwing it into some place of safety or of blowing out the fuse. But before he could do so it exploded with awful effect, severing his hand and forearm, and embedding the remains in the woodwork. The building was an old stone one, and it was almost a miracle that more men were not killed.
I had not long left the building, but I did not have any real cause to think it was an attempt on my life, although I knew of twenty other cases in which my death was intended and plotted.
There was yet another attempt, this time aimed at the military. An explosive was placed where it might be expected to destroy the headquarters of the Army Service Corps, at Aldborough House, but the fuse fortunately missed fire and no harm was done.
We of the detective department knew the author of one of the explosions, but we could not obtain evidence upon which we could rely to convict. And apparently after the Aldborough House matter the gang dispersed. The fate of all them was tragic, as befitted the closing of their criminal careers. One died on board ship, on his way home from America, and was thought to have been poisoned. About the same time his brother died in a Dublin hospital, and in his case, also, poison was suspected.

Fate of Conspirators.

A third was shot in the streets of Dublin, and two others met the like fate in America. The sixth was concerned in the attempt to blow up the Welland Canal in Ontario, and is now serving a sentence of penal servitude for life. As soon as I saw the report of his arrest, I communicated some particulars of his character to the authorities there.
It was a point worth notice that the material used from the London Bridge explosion, about December, 1884, and for the double explosion at the House of Commons on Jan. 24, 1885, was of the same character, so far as we could judge, as that used in Dublin. And in all three instances we had reason to believe the explosion was caused by a time fuse. At the House of Commons a police officer nearly met the same fate as Synott. He saw the blazing material, picked up the package, and took it towards the open. But in Westminster Hall he had to drop the package, which burst into flames, and it exploded, causing a huge hole in the stone floor.
About the same time another explosion occurred in the House of Commons itself, doing a lot of damage; while a third outrage of the kind was perpetrated at the Tower of London. Two men, named Burton and Cunningham, were sent to penal servitude for connection with the Tower business, but Capt. Lomasny (whom I knew under another name), and Fleming, who both came from America, and who were suspected of the London Bridge outrage, were never seen again.
We had no conclusive proof of it, but there is little doubt that they were themselves the only victims of the explosion, and that the boat from which they operated was blown to pieces, the two conspirators sharing the same fate. For years after that the wife of one of them, who was living in Cork, under an assumed name, was in receipt of a pension, which was believed to come from the Clan-na-Gael.
The man who lured Bailey to his doom was one of the witnesses examined at the coroner's inquest, and, of course, the hands of the police were to some extent tied thereby. After this inquest was over instructions were issued to the police not to execute the coroner's warrants of committal.

New Light on Murders.

There is a point about one of the crimes, the murder of Mr. Blake, that has never been mentioned, and that to my mind closely connects it with the killing of Mrs. Smyth, to which I have already referred, and with the Invincibles. Indeed, they were the only two crimes of the sort, committed outside Dublin, that could in any way be connected with them.
Mr. Blake and his Dragoon escort were shot dead on June 9, after he had been to the Catholic Church where he worshipped.
Mrs. Smyth was shot dead under precisely similar circumstances.
Dan Curley, the man who was subsequently hung for the Phoenix Park murder, was a native of Loughrea, where Mr. Blake was murdered. We had information that the rifles used by the assassins were brought to Dublin, consigned as stair-rods to Curley's father-in-law, who was a builder, and that Curley himself brought them over to Loughrea.
In Mrs. Smyth's case the crime was planned in a smith's forge owned by Michael Fagan's father, and Fagan himself was afterwards also hung for the Phoenix Park crime. The rifles used on the occasion of the killing of Mrs. Smyth were of the same peculiar "converted" pattern used against Mr. Blake and his escort, and were brought to Mullingar on the Easter Monday by Fagan and Curley.
As my work was clerical or of a specially confidential character up to the middle of 1874, when Mr. Ryan retired, and I was promoted in his stead, I was little concerned with ordinary crime. Of course, when I became superintendent, I had to assume the responsibility of the entire working of the department, but my task was made easy by the zeal and fidelity of my subordinates, and the intelligence with which they carried out their instructions. Cases in which I was directly concerned, and prosecuted successfully, were forgery on Ball's Bank, the forging of 10 pound notes on the National Bank, the crimes known as "The Dublin Scandals," Theobald Wolfe Keating, a clerical impostor, and Harvey McDonnell and Co., bucket shop keepers.

Mr. R. O'Carroll, general secretary of the Ancient Guild of Incorporated Brick and Stonelayers, writes from Dublin to say that James Carey was not secretary of that or any other bricklayers' trade union.


Source: Lloyd's Weekly News, July 25, 1909, Page 13

Karen Trenouth
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Re: Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

Post by Karen on Sat 1 Oct 2011 - 23:15


Public officials, as a rule, delight in keeping the Press at arm's length. Mr. John Mallon, however, as head of the Criminal Investigation Department in Ireland, came to the conclusion that criminals when at large were close students of the newspapers; and he therefore admits journalists to a certain amount of confidence, and seeks their co-operation. Under the recently added responsibility and title of Assistant-Commissioner of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, he is none the less approachable, and thus, when the representative of THE WESTMINSTER BUDGET desired an interview with him, there was no difficulty.
"Come up and see me at seven o'clock this evening," said Mr. Mallon. He did not say where, for he is practically always on duty in his office in the Lower Castle Yard, which lies beneath the shadow of the picturesque Chapel Royal, the only thing picturesque about Dublin Castle. There is no official formality in Mr. Mallon or his surroundings. The room is a small one, and a bright fire in the grate gives much warmth and cosiness. A firm grasp of the hand, a kindly smile, and a pleasant salutation greet the interviewer, who is soon seated at the desk with pencil and paper, whilst his subject chats freely, now walking about the room, and then leaning over the desk to relate a good story. Thirty-four years of official life have left but little mark upon Mr. Mallon. He is turning grey - as most men do at fifty-three; but his figure, though without the phenomenal height and breadth which are the peculiar boast of the Dublin police, is erect and lithe. No one meeting him casually would detect the detective; his whole manner is easy and natural.


"Where shall we begin now?" said the interviewer.
"At the beginning, of course," replied Mr. Mallon.
"Year of birth 1839 - "the year of the big wind." Wise women say that all born in that year are bound to make a noise in the world. I am an Armagh or Ulster man, and a Roman Catholic. My early days of youth were spent in the drapery business in Newry; but, finding it too humdrum, I joined the Dublin police."
"What turned your thoughts in that direction?"
"Nothing more nor less than a newspaper advertisement for recruits."
"The date of your entry into the force?" - "November, 1858. I was then nineteen years of age. Of course, it will be necessary to explain the difference between the Dublin Police and the Royal Irish Constabulary for your English readers, who usually imagine they are one and the same body, whereas they are separately and variously organised."
"The Dublin police are, of course, a less military body than the Royal Irish?" - "Yes; although both are under the control of the Irish Government."
"What was your first post?" - "Sir Henry Lake took a liking to me, and placed me in the office of the Superintendent of the Detective Department as confidential clerk in March, 1862."
"Just at the commencement of the Fenian excitement?" - "Yes, and I was in the thick of it."
"How did your part start, and when, in it?" - "In the famous raid of September 15, 1865. At midnight O'Donovan Rossa, Thomas Clark, Luby, and John O'Leary were arrested, and The Irish People office was seized. We acted on the information of Pierce Nagle, an informer who was posing as a Fenian leader. The arrests were made by a party under Superintendent Ryan, and I was one of those with him. By the way, Judge Lawson, who was afterwards very prominent, was then Attorney-General."
"Did you also take part in the arrest of James Stephens, the chief of the Fenian Society?" - "Yes, we caught him and some of his friends at Fairfield House, near Sandymount, Dublin. He was living under the assumed name of "Mr. Herbert."
"How was he discovered?" - "Curiously enough. One of our plain clothes men disguised himself as an ordinary policeman and hung round the premises. He gained the confidence of the gardener, with whom he smoked and chatted until he learned all that was wanted. Resistance was expected, but they were evidently taken by surprise. Stephens was brought in here to the room adjoining this, now used as a telegraph room. It was in this same room that Mr. Curran held his inquiry into the Phoenix Park murders. When remanded by the magistrate, Stephens said, "I will never be tried. As a matter of fact, he was committed for trial on November 15. On the 25th of the same month he escaped."
"In the rising of 1867 where were you?" - "I was a clerk in Superintendent Ryan's office, and through curiosity went out to Tallaght, near Dublin, where some of the insurgents were found in arms, and one was shot dead. We took many prisoners, and I had a stiff task taking down all their names."
"You were also at the riot of 1872 in the Phoenix Park?" - "Yes, but Superintendent Hawe was in charge. It was a most unfortunate affair. A public meeting in favour of amnesty was to be held in the Park. The Prince of Wales was staying at the Viceregal Lodge in the Park at the time, and the authorities were informed that it was the intention to present a petition direct from the meeting to His Royal Highness. The meeting was therefore dispersed. That was the last serious disturbance of the peace in Dublin, and it is now twenty years ago."
"Now, turning to a more pleasant topic, Mr. Mallon, let us trace the steps of your promotion?" - "I never passed through the ordinary grades; in 1867 I became acting inspector, in 1869 chief inspector, and in 1874, on the retirement of Superintendent Ryan, I succeeded him as superintendent of the Detective Department. I was engaged in several commercial cases, in which my early commercial training stood me in good stead. I had also experience of secret societies from my youth. In the North there was a considerable amount of "Ribbonism," which was a Catholic society in opposition to the Orangemen."
"And your reading, what direction did it take, for I have heard that you were always a great reader?" - "I have read up not only standard authors, but I devoured every book I could get bearing on the history of Ireland, from the "Annals of the Four Masters" to Mr. A.M. Sullivan's "New Ireland." What may be called detective literature I also read eagerly. Pinkerton's "Molly Maguires in America,"Butler's "Secret Service in America," and Gaboriau's novels were my delight."
"Who among recent political leaders did you arrest?"
"It fell to my lot to arrest at different times Mr. Parnell, Mr. Davitt, and Mr. Sexton."
"A remarkable trio. How did you and they manage?" - "Exceedingly well. When I had Mr. Davitt in charge I proposed that we should leave the train at Boyle. It was fair day, and he pointed out that if he left the train he would be recognised, having only one arm, and that there might be trouble. "I will wait here till you come back," he said. On this undertaking I left him, and he kept his word."
"The story of your arrest of Parnell is a piece of history. Let me take it from your own lips?" - "He was arrested, as you remember, for a speech against the Land Act of 1881. It was in October of that year. Mr. Forster, who was then Chief Secretary, arrived from England by the morning boat, and as soon as he arrived the warrant of Mr. Parnell's arrest was handed to me. I knew he was staying at Morrison's Hotel, Dublin. I said to Detective Sheridan, "Come with me; we are going to arrest the King of Ireland." Between half-past seven and eight o'clock we were at the hotel door. I said to the boots, "Is Mr. Parnell in?" He replied, "No." "Where is he?" I asked. "He has gone for a bath," was the answer. I said, "It is very early for a bath - where did he go?" He said, "I don't know." In the meantime, I saw written on the slate, "Mr. Parnell, No. 20 room, to be called at nine a.m." I then asked the boots to show me to "No. 20" room. He made some excuse about seeing the manager, and I went there myself. I knocked at the door, and from inside Mr. Parnell said, "Wait a minute." In a minute or two he opened the door. He was partly dressed. I at once introduced myself and my business to him. He did not appear surprised. "May I have a cup of coffee?" he asked. I said he might. Then he asked if he might write some letters. I consented. He returned to the room, and I remained outside. Meanwhile, a crowd was gathering outside, and becoming apprehensive of trouble i asked Mr. Parnell to make a hurried toilet, as a crowd was gathering, and if it became large I would be much embarrassed. He said, "All right," and said I could bring him out by the lane at the back of the hotel, and that the cab could be brought round there, I paused and said, "No; I cannot allow it to be said that I stole you out by the back door." Soon afterwards the cab was brought to the front, and we entered together, he having had his coffee and having written his letters. At several points on the road he wanted to post his letters, but I refused to permit him, fearing he would be recognised and that a riot would ensue, as his arrest had by this time caused great excitement in the city. As we neared Kilmainham Gaol, he grew suspicious of my good faith, whereupon I assured him that he would be allowed to post the letters. We posted them at last in a receiver which is close to the gaol door. As I handed him over to the Governor of Kilmainham Prison, he said, "Well, Mr. Mallon, you have had less trouble with me than with any other prisoner under the Coercion Act." I replied, "You are my first under the Act." We then shook hands in a friendly way."
"As to Mr. Sexton?" - "I found him at his house in North Frederick-street. He also was in bed. He might have pleaded illness, and I expressed an anxiety not to injure his health. He said at once, "I will go." Mr. Sexton impressed me as a man of much coolness and decision of character."


"We come next to a delicate subject, and yet an intensely interesting one - your great exploit - the arrest and conviction of the Phoenix Park murderers. What can you say on that subject?" - "Not so much as you would like. For instance, it would be real news if I gave you the name of the man to whom I handed 50 pounds for information which first put me on the track. Nobody knows the name but he and I, and, so far as I am concerned, none ever will."
"What were your chief aids in the capture?" - "The secret sworn inquiry and the Press. I have been in favour of such inquiries as a means of dealing with secret societies since 1867, when I saw that Massey and Corydon both gave evidence against the Fenians, each because he thought the other had been before him."
"Did you know of the existence of the Invincibles before the Phoenix Park murders?" - "I knew there was a secret murder society, but I did not know it by the name "Invincible," nor did I know all its plans, though I knew its intentions generally. I first saw the name "Invincible" on a card which was put into my letter-box on the night of the murder."


"Was Carey the only informer?" - "No, some of the other prisoners were willing to give evidence, and I nearly accepted one of them."
"Do you think it is true that Carey was followed from Dublin by a messenger of vengeance?" - "I am sure he was not. His departure from Dublin was managed quietly and secretly. I am morally certain that Carey would never have been found if he had not himself betrayed his identity. I think, also, that O'Donnell murdered him on the impulse of the moment."
"What was the effect of the rooting up of the Invincibles in Dublin?" - "Completely to discredit and smash up secret societies. You may take it as a fact that as a rule the police know more about secret societies than the average member of them, for it is usually a leader who gives information to the police."

Source: The Westminster Budget, February 16, 1893, Pages 24-25

Karen Trenouth
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Re: Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

Post by Karen on Sun 2 Oct 2011 - 10:07




The career of a great detective ended yesterday in a fashion that, tragic as it was was yet grimly in accord with a life that had been full of surprises and adventures.
Mr. John Mallon, the most famous officer ever connected with the Irish detective force, was attending mass in Newry, when he was taken ill. Although alive when taken to the Parochial House, he expired in a few minutes.
Mr. Mallon joined the force as a constable in 1858, and gradually rose to be assistant commissioner. In 1902 he retired, to be made a Justice of the Peace for his home county of Armagh. His well-earned leisure he devoted to farming. Mr. Mallon was about seventy.
Few police officers earned wider fame than John Mallon, few men outside ------- had such stories to tell. He took a strong part in breaking up the organisation of which Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. Burke were the victims in Phoenix Park in 1882.
In the stirring days of the early '60's the Irish countryside was alive at night with men drilling in secret, revolutionary councils held hole-and-corner meetings, at which "risings" were planned. It was the alertness of the police that rendered the planning abortive, and Mallon, before he attained his rank of inspector in 1869, did his full share of this work.


For years he carried his life in his hands. He was marked out again and again to be murdered; again and again attempts were made by desperate conspirators to remove from their path the man whom they knew frustrated many of their most subtly conceived and daringly attempted schemes.
A few years ago he published a book entitled "Irish Conspiracies," which created some sensation, while in 1909 he gave his reminiscences to the world in a series of remarkable articles - "On Secret Service" - in "Lloyd's News," which told the full story of the Phoenix Park tragedy and of many other interesting adventures.
One of Mr. Mallon's achievements was the arrest of the notorious "Captain Moonlight." It was a chance capture. A man charged with being one of a party who had broken into houses and stolen arms gave the police a complete code of instructions signed "Captain Moonlight." The arrested man was compelled to write a few lines, when his handwriting was found to be the same as that in "Captain Moonlight's" instructions.


It fell to Mr. Mallon's lot on one occasion to have to arrest Michael Davitt. Davitt asked to be allowed to have his breakfast, and Mr. Mallon consented, even helping his prisoner to cut up his chop, for Davitt, it must be remembered, had only one arm. During a stop on the subsequent trailway journey the detective told Davitt he could leave the carriage and "stretch his legs" on the platform.
"I won't do that," said Davitt. "It's fair day here, and the boys might notice this (tapping the stump on his left side), and then there would be trouble for you, I don't want that."
Among the most sensational crimes that disgraced Ireland in the early eighties was the murder of an old process-server and his son. They had been engaged by Lord Ardilaun to collect rents in the same district as that in which Lord Mountmorres had been murdered.
The two disappeared, and though bloodhounds were used no trace of the men was discovered until Lough Mask was dragged. Then their bodies were found. They had been tied together and forced into a sack. For months the murderers escaped, but ultimately they were convicted.


When Mr. Mallon went on one occasion to arrest Mr. Parnell, the Irish leader asked and obtained permission to write some letters and to post them himself. When, however, they left the hotel in a cab a great mob ran after them, and the detective told Mr. Parnell he did not dare let him post the letters.
"Mr. Mallon, you have deceived me!" exclaimed Mr. Parnell.
"Nothing of the sort, sir," replied Mallon. "There is a pillar-box close to the court, I think, and if there is not I will bring you back to the post-office myself at all risks."
There was a pillar-box at the place indicated, and Parnell posted his letters before being taken to prison.
Once Mr. Mallon scored by disobeying orders. It was in this wise. He was told to arrest Mr. Sexton. His superior officer, Captain ------ , said to him, "You will attend here at three o'clock this afternoon, and there will be a company of infantry and a troop of mounted men to act as your escort.
Mr. Mallon argued that all that show of force was liable to make for trouble, but the captain persisted. So, as Mr. Mallon says, "Upon that occasion, I think for the first and last time in my career, I determined deliberately, while obeying orders in the letter, to break them in the spirit."
Accordingly Mallon and two men went in a cab to Mr. Sexton's house, made the arrest, and in a few minutes the prisoner was in Kilmainham Gaol. Of the subsequent proceedings Mr. Mallon wrote: -
"I went off back to the Castle and saw Captain --------. "There's the receipt for Mr. Sexton," said I, and he looked very hard at me, and a little angrily.
"Where is he?" he asked.
"He's in Kilmainham," I said. I arrested him this afternoon."
"You will bring the whole city about our ears," said he, tremendously excited.
"I don't think so, sir," said I, "and in any case I am quite willing to take the consequences."


Seldom has the country been more shocked by a crime than it was by the murder of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. Burke in Phoenix Park, Dublin, and the tracking down of the murderers was one of the most brilliant exploits in Mr. Mallon's career.
The general public both in Ireland and in England had, after twelve months, came to the conclusion that the mystery of the murders had become insoluble, when suddenly it was discovered that certain men had been arrested.
The trial that ensued was one of the most dramatic that ever took place in a court. The story there unfolded by the informers (there were several of them) was a most amazing one, and led to the hanging of five of the prisoners.
One of the informers was James Carey, who was afterwards shot while on his way to South Africa by a young man named O'Donnell, and was buried at Port Elizabeth.

Source: Lloyd's Weekly News, October 10, 1915, Page 2

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Re: Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

Post by Karen on Sun 2 Oct 2011 - 10:31


MR. PARNELL, M.P., was arrested on the morning of the 13th, at Morrison's Hotel, Dublin, on two warrants signed by Mr. Forster. In one of these the member for Cork is accused of inciting people to intimidate others so as to prevent them from paying their just debts in the shape of rent; and in the other he is charged with intimidating persons from availing themselves of the benefits of the Irish Land Act. The capture was effected by Superintendent John Mallon, of the Dublin police, and Mr. Parnell was lodged in Kilmainham gaol without any demonstration.

The subsequent arrests of Mr. Sexton, M.P., and Mr. Quinn, secretary of the Land League, were on the 15th followed by those of Mr. O'Kelly, M.P., Mr. Dillon, M.P., and Mr. William O'Brien, editor of United Ireland, all of whom were lodged in Kilmainham. Warrants were also issued for the apprehension of Mr. Arthur O'Connor, M.P., and Mr. Healy, M.P., who were, however, in England. A proclamation has been issued by the Government against intimidation and other unlawful and criminal practices, and the Irish people are warned against engaging in any of these, or inciting thereto, as being liable to arrest and imprisonment. There were serious riots in Limerick and disturbances in Dublin on the 16th.

Seven additional arrest under the Coercion Act, were made on the 17th, the prisoners being chiefly secretaries and organising agents of provincial branches of the Land League. The rioting in Limerick was renewed, and the constabulary again fired upon the people. Additional troops have arrived in Ireland.

On the afternoon of the 20th the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland issued a proclamation describing the Land League as an unlawful and criminal organisation, and declaring that all meetings to carry out its designs or purposes are alike unlawful and criminal, and will be prevented and, if necessary, dispersed by force. All the powers and resources at the command of the Government will be employed to protect the Queen's subjects in Ireland in the free exercise of their lawful callings and occupations, and to enforce the fulfillment of all lawful obligations. William Dorriss, the only official of the League left in Dublin, was arrested on the 20th, and conducted to Kilmainham.

Archbishop Croke has published a letter protesting against the Land League manifesto which called upon the tenant-farmers of Ireland to pay no rent. He states that while he was a firm supporter of its policy so long as it advocated fair rents, with the doctrines put forth in the document issued on the 18th he has no sympathy whatever.

The following have been appointed additional Assistant-Commissioners under the Land Act, viz: -
Thomas Baldwin, of the Albert Institution, Glasnevin, Dublin; Lieutenant-Colonel Bayley, of Avoca, county Wicklow; Richard Garland, Whitecross, county Armagh; James Haughton, Chelsea Lodge, Duncannon, county Wexford; Cornelius O'Keeffe, Mardyde, Cork; John O'Shaughnessy, Birch-grove, Ballinasloe; W.J. Rice, Pushurst, Charleville, county Cork; James Ross, Monaghan.

The commissioners appointed under the Irish Land Act met in Dublin for the first time on the 20th. A statement was read explanatory of the general course of procedure, the Commissioners avowing their intention to make the Act a success and satisfactory to the public, because it meant great good to the people. A considerable proportion of the cases before the Court were in the hands of the solicitor to the Land League. Further arrests are daily taking place, and the country continues in a disturbed condition, although there are some signs of considerable improvement.

Source: The British Mail, November 1, 1881, Page 842

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Re: Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

Post by Karen on Tue 4 Oct 2011 - 20:48


A life spent in the secret service, in tracking treason through all its torturous mazes, its most secret hiding places, its obscurest workings - what a romance its story must be! Where the reader may ask, is there a man living today outside Russia who has such a story to tell?
Yet such a man there is (says "Lloyd's Weekly News"), and no further away than the county of Armagh. Here in a quiet country farmhouse, himself now a simple farmer, dwells John Mallon, once the most famous of Irish detectives, now a grey-bearded veteran with the strong, incisive face of the man who thinks, the quick, all-seeing look and the firm mouth and this of the man who acts.
John Mallon has done both. To his clear brain, to his ready action has it been due, not once but many hundreds of times, that the forces acting with a grim organised purpose, a fearless and desperate if foolhardy courage, towards the subversion of the powers of law and order in Ireland have retreated baffled and broken leaving behind them their leading spirits. His has been the brain that has inspired the steady persistence of the defending force in the struggle now, happily, at an end.
The history of that long fight began fifty-one years ago, in 1858, when Mallon joined the Dublin Metropolitan Police as a constable, after three years of dreary monotony as a draper's apprentice. It ended seven years ago, when he retired, to live in the house in which, on May 1839, he was born, to take up again the calm country pursuits of his forbears, and to forget in the peace of the countryside the half a century of fierce, unremitting warfare that it fell to his lot to wage upon those whom he considered the enemies of his country.


The record is one of the most fascinating that could be set down. In his early days in the police rebellion walked armed in the land. And how futile the struggle! On the one hand a few young peasants only half drilled and practically unarmed, officered almost entirely by Irish-American enthusiasts whose zeal was much greater than their discretion; on the other, the organised forces of the Crown, a secret service with spies in every camp and the power to strike.
In these stirring days of the early sixties, the countryside was alive at nights with men making their way secretly towards remote spots to drill; revolutionary councils held secret meetings in which details of the "rising" were discussed and settled. The projected rebellion failed, there were a few abortive marches of unarmed or half-armed bodies, a few shots fired, many arrests, and many sentences, but armed rebellion in force was stamped out. How this was effected together with many interesting lights on the leading men concerned, Mr. Mallon tells, and tells in a simple direct way, without bitterness and with full appreciation of the true motives of men, no doubt misguided, but many of them quite sincere and honest, whose objects he helped to defeat. Indeed, one of the most striking features of this remarkable narrative is the esteem which many of the men whom he helped to arrest and send to prison had for Mr. Mallon. He acted as a man doing dangerous work at a perilous outpost, doing it fearlessly and without favor and commanding from his foes the respect that such a character invariably does win.


After the failure to succeed by regular warfare came a more desperate effort on the part of those opposed to English dominion in Ireland. It was, indeed, the darkest period of history. To the march of armed men ready to fight in the open and take the chance of the field of battle came a campaign of murder by the bullet of the assassin and the bomb of the dynamitard. Scarcely a week passed without bringing its story - the murder of an official, of a landowner, a land agent, an informer, or someone whose knowledge might prove dangerous to the conspirators. And of much of the inner history of these terrible times - on some points his lips are still sealed - Mr. Mallon's story tells. It tells the inside facts of the "Invincible" murder conspiracy, with its assassinations, and its final betrayal, the hanging of its chiefs, the imprisonment of others, and the dispersal of the remainder to die as refugees in foreign lands, or allowed by the grace of the Government to linger out their last days, impotent and pathetic figures, in their own country.
In all of the events Mr. Mallon was one of the leading actors, first as clerk and confidential friend of his first chief, Detective-Supt. Ryan, then as subordinate officer, and by subsequent stages superintendent, chief superintendent, and assistant commissioner.
While all the world, shocked at the assassination of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. Burke, in Phoenix Park, grumbled impatiently that month after month elapsed without the crime being brought home to the guilty men. Mr. Mallon was quietly, but with sagacity and pertinacity, and frequently in spite of the extraordinary obstacles, piecing together the mere fibres and shreds of evidence that were at first all that was available.
Later he was able to weave them into such an ominous looking rope that the tongue of the informer was loosened, the details of the last fragment of the plot and its execution were completed, and the whole gang brought to justice or driven into exile.
Needless to say he carried his life in his hands all these years. He was marked out again and again to be murdered; again and again attempts were made by desperate conspirators to remove from their path the man whom they knew frustrated many of their most subtly conceived and daringly attempted schemes. He went about a man condemned to death a hundred times over; but ever his own clear head, his own ready action, turned the weapons raised against him upon those who sought to effect his end by violence.
That half century has been one not only strenuous and worthy, but one marked at every step by successful achievement that one for him the esteem of his superiors and the promotion in his hazardous profession that he so bravely earned. The bare official record, perhaps, tells the story best, as follows: -

Joined as constable........................................1858
Promoted acting-sergeant............................... 1867
Acting Inspector.............................................1868
Inspector...................................................... 1869
Superintendent.............................................. 1874
Chief Superintendent.......................................1883
Assistant Commissioner...................................1893
Retired and made a Justice of the Peace for his native county of Armagh.....1902

When he resigned his position it is common knowledge that he did so to the great regret of the then Viceroy, Lord Cadogan, and in spite of the urgent solicitations of his superiors.

Source: Queanbeyan Age, Friday 13 August 1909, Page 7

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Re: Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

Post by Karen on Sat 8 Oct 2011 - 13:36

Notes From London.
(From Our Special Representative.)

LONDON, Jan. 3.

Mr. John Mallon, the chief commissioner of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, sends me a note saying he is about to retire on pension after a service of nearly half a century. The London Press has of late years been considerably awakened by the advent of the "Daily Mail." But they are yet to Australian ideas very far behind. The retirement of a police officer in itself is a small matter, but those behind the scenes ought to be well aware that in the present case it is almost a matter of Imperial interest. In a journalistic career extending over 20 years I have had occasion to meet the heads of criminal investigation departments in Great Britain, Ireland, and Australia many times, but none have impressed me so much as Mr. Mallon. Possibly this is on account of my long association with him. Space forbids even going into a resume of Mr. Mallon's extraordinary career as a crime investigator, but I may mention that he was originally, like Sir Hector Macdonald, a draper's assistant. He joined the police shortly before the great Fenian movement of the early sixties, and at once specialised upon political matters. It was he who arrested James Stephens, the famous head centre, and the idol of the Irish people, and it was he who also seized the Irish organ of the Fenian Society (the "Irish People"). Jumping on to the Irish land league agitation it was Mr. Mallon who arrested Mr. Parnell, Mr. Davitt, and other popular leaders. Considering the enormous factor Mr. John Mallon was in Dublin Castle Government, it has been frequently remarked that he has never been attacked by Irish members in the House of Commons. For the first time it will appear in print that the reason is that Mr. Mallon was a convinced Home Ruler. He never made any secret of his views, and while no man could do more in the way of the punishment of crime, he was a stern opponent of what is too frequent on the Continent, and it is whispered in England also, of agents provoking crime.

Mr. John Mallon's long life is a proof that threatened men live long. He was probably more often the object of assassination than any man in the civilised world. I well remember myself hearing Joe Brady saying to one of his fellow conspirators in the dock when the first damning piece of evidence was brought out in the Phoenix Park murders, "I always said Mallon would find us out, unless we killed him." It is rather difficult in the space to which my editor limits me to give any idea of the work which devolved upon the department in the early eighties, so I can only give stray recollections. I remember vividly upon one occasion going into the Lower Castle Yard, and was met by a young giant. He said to me - "I wish, mister, you would do something in your paper about poor working men being brought up here day after day under this new Crimes Act. We are asked about things which we know nothing about." When I went on to Mr. Mallon's office I spoke to him about this matter, and he replied, "Do you know who you have been speaking to? It is Joe Brady, whom we believe was the chief of the Phoenix Park assassins." It may seem strange that Mr. Mallon should be so outspoken as this, but a feature of his career as a detective was that he always spoke most fully to reporters, and I believe that up to the end of his official career he had never had an occasion to regret relying upon their discretion and their honour. Mr. Mallon received 1000 pounds, and deserved promotion for his unravelling of the Invincible Conspiracy. Almost immediately after this event there was a rush to Ireland of amateur detectives and informers. I well remember one lady amateur policewoman who came over, and who thought she was going to do big things. She put up at the Shelbourne Hotel, and tried to organise a Society of Avengers. Somehow or other the younger boys of the Press received information as to this young woman, and the result was she quitted the city on the banks of the Liffey a wiser and a sadder woman. Mr. Mallon, as I have said before, always objected to people coming there to provoke crime, and I do not think that now I am breaking any confidence by saying that it was through him that the notorious Red Jim McDermott received his first check. McDermott wanted much money for unearthing a bogue conspiracy, and to show how much he was in the confidence of the Fenians, drove past Mr. Mallon's office with a town councillor well known for his advanced opinions, and a member of Parliament, who was also in the I.R.B. McDermott's little game, however, was put an end to by being arrested on a charge of disorderly behaviour. It is no harm now to say that the charge was trumped up, and was simply brought so that the papers which he always carried about with him should be examined. McDermott was afterwards shot in Copenhagen.

John Mallon used to boast that he knew more about the Fenian Society than the head centres themselves. I quite believe him, and it was more on account of his known sympathy with legitimate movements, and his scrupulous honor in regard to matters which unofficially came under his notice, that he owed his rapid advancement. His outspokenness was something to marvel at, and the English pressmen who used to go over used to leave his office astonished at his candor. There was a time that he sent his boys in blue to raid all the Dublin publichouses on a Saturday night to arrest Fenians with concealed arms. For some reason or other the raid was not successful, and when I chaffed him about it, he said, "Never mind, it is not to the publichouses we will go on the next time; we will get to their own residences." Sure enough, in about three or four weeks afterwards, the coup of the Invincible arrests was made. Bringing up my stray recollections, one of the most striking centres round the notorious informer, James Carey. It was well known at the time that the I.R.B. had their police posted at night and day outside Kilmainham Gaol, to shadow all vehicles which might possibly bring out Carey. Owing to a series of clever manoeuvres John Mallon was able to smuggle out Carey in the middle of the night. As they were going down Cork Hill the notorious informer asked the detective where he was going to. "To South Africa," was the reply. James Carey, who was a big man, began to bounce, and said he wouldn't go. John Mallon opened the door of the cab, and said, "All right, you go out here, and I have finished with you." The notorious informer shrank with terror at the idea of facing the infuriated population, and went quietly to the quays to Africa. No effort of fiction in the world would ever surpass the events of those years, if they could be told in detail. But even now there are many matters which cannot be mentioned. It is no harm, however, to say that James Carey was traced through his wife and family. Several of the most trustworthy members of the I.R.B. shadowed her, and, after following her and her family to an English port, put O'Donnell on board. He knew his work, and by the time the vessel arrived at Port Elizabeth, James Carey had a bullet in his heart, and O'Donnell was a prisoner. It may be remembered that he was afterwards hanged at the Old Bailey.

It is often said that many an innocent man is hanged in the wrong, and, it is no harm now to say, that Joe Poole, the Fenian Centre, was executed for a murder he never committed, and which, in fact, he tried to prevent. The high official whose duty it was to recommend or withhold a reprieve, saw John Mallon on the matter. Mallon told him plump and plain the man was innocent. The high official asked, "Is Poole a bad man?" The reply was, "Yes, a very bad man. Although he has not been guilty of this murder, it is practically certain that he was an accessory before the fact to an assassination in Manchester." Upon this the reprieve was withheld. One of the famous cases in which Mallon was concerned, was in connection with the Rev. J. Keatinge, who was one of the greatest clerical imposters of the century, and who, after being convicted and sent to a long term of penal servitude in Dublin, went to Australia, where he died. His arrest caused an enormous sensation at the time. Mr. John Mallon had always a great horror of his name appearing in print, and any journalist who was so ill-advised as to mention him, received a cold reception at his next interview. He now retires, after an adventurous career, to, in his own words, "grow potatoes in Armagh." Considering that, in my opinion, English rule in Ireland depends upon force, his retirement may be fraught with far-reaching results.

Source: Kalgoorlie Western Argus, Tuesday 4 February 1902, page 12

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Re: Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

Post by Karen on Sat 8 Oct 2011 - 16:00


Last night another alarming explosion took place in this city (says the Dublin correspondent of the Daily News, under date 7th May). By many this is regarded as an indication that the gang responsible for the three outrages on the National Press Office, the Lower Castleyard, and in the Exchange Court are still active. The report, which proceeded from the Four Courts, was heard in all parts of the city and throughout the suburbs. It occurred about twenty minutes to 11 o'clock (Irish time), and naturally it caused a great deal of excitement. The sound heard was of a dull, heavy character, differing from that in the Exchange Court, which, probably, owing to the nature of the locality and the circumstances of the explosion, was sharper, clearer, and more vigorous. Not many minutes elapsed before a considerable crowd had gathered along Inn's Quay, opposite the Four Courts, watching eagerly and anxiously the moving lights of the lanterns carried in the progress of their search by the police officers, who had hastened to the spot from the Lower Castleyard. One of the first to arrive was Mr. John Mallon, the recently appointed Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, whose exertions as chief of the Detective Department were the primary cause of the running down and conviction of those implicated in the murders in the Phoenix Park exactly eleven years ago. A strict examination was made, with the results that in a few moments it was established that, though the explosion had by its effects shown its capacity for fearful mischief, very little damage had actually been done beyond the breaking of the glass in about seventy or eighty windows.
The place where the explosion took place is what is known as the Probate-yard, a pretty large quadrangle faced on the south side by Inn's Quay and the River Liffey, on the north by the office of Crown and Hanaper and other offices, on the west by the courts of Queen's Bench No. 1 and Queen's Bench No. 2, and in the area by the barristers' dressing rooms, and on the east by offices attached to the Queen's Bench and Exchequer Divisions. Facing Inn's Quay is a high and close railing, and gates and doorways railed up in a similarly secure and effective manner; all the other courts lie to the north and west of this quadrangle, while the caretakers reside a considerable distance away from it. A number of policemen are on duty nightly, two or three inside the courts, while others patrol the quays and streets which enclose the very large space on which the courts are built. On the quay side the light of the gas lamps is anything but brilliant, and it would be easy for anyone passing in the semi-darkness and in the momentary absence of the constable on beat, to throw or drop through the railings any prepared explosives. It was, in fact, by such a method, according to general belief, that the outrage was effected. Before it was possible for any measures to be taken the perpetrator could readily make his escape. In one point the present outrage differed from the Exchange Court explosion - none of the flags were torn up, nor was any other serious damage effected. The force of the concussion, however, extended the entire length of the quadrangle, nearly every window on the north, west, and east sides being wrecked, and the whole quadrangle being filled with broken glass. In the area into which the windows of the barristers' dressing-rooms look, the remnants of a case that had contained an explosive were found. It had been enclosed in a zinc envelope, and several large pieces were found on the floor - larger pieces than any yet found on any similar occasion. No injury worth mentioning could be detected as having occurred to the building.
All the gates and doorways leading to the courts were closed some hours before the outrage was committed, so that no one could have gained an entrance from inside. The only theory which can be relied upon is that the explosive was dropped through or thrown over the iron railings. Moreover, it could not have been the intention of the person so disposing of it to jeopardise life or limb, for no one resides or was stationed at any place within the influence of the explosive. The motive must, therefore, be attributable to other causes. One account of the occurrence says that for many minutes after the explosion a heavy smell somewhat like sulphur pervaded the square, similar to that which was distinctly apparent in Exchange Court. It is almost certain that the explosive used was not gunpowder, as the walls were not blackened, while the discovery of the remains of the zinc box gives corroboration to the suggestion that the material was the same as that used in the Exchange Court explosion. As to the motive of the perpetrators of the outrage, three suggestions have been made - first, that it was done in view of the Committee stage of the Home Rule Bill; second, that it was intended to discredit the police in regard to the other outrages; and, third, that it was adopted as a means of marking the anniversary of the Phoenix Park assassinations. Whatever was the motive, the occurrence is strongly condemned in every circle, whether Nationalist or Conservative.

Source: The Brisbane Courier, Saturday 17 June 1893, page 7

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Re: Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

Post by Karen on Mon 10 Oct 2011 - 13:55


Mr. Frederick Moir Bussy has written the Recollections of John Mallon, the famous Irish detective, who did more than any other man to break up the conspiracy that culminated in the Phoenix-park murders in 1882. "Irish Conspiracies" (London: Everett and Co., Melbourne: Melville and Mullen). It contains some new and striking facts. Mallon says that not the least of the difficulties of those responsible for law and order in Ireland was that of convincing high officials that they were personally in danger from some murderous plot. One of these complacent officials was Mr. Thomas H. Burke, the Under Secretary for Ireland, who was, with Lord Frederick Cavendish, the Chief Secretary, murdered in Phoenix-park on the eventful May 6. Mallon had discovered many plots for his "removal," and had warned him of his danger, but he treated the matter lightly, and positively declined all proposals for police protection. Once when he discovered that he was being protected by two plain-clothes policemen he summoned the chief of the Detective department, and, mild-mannered as he was, stamped his foot in the vehemence of his command that the shadowing should be discontinued. Only a few days before his assassination Mallon went to him and begged him to carry a revolver as some means of protection in case of emergency. He replied almost sternly, "I don't believe they will do it, Mallon; but if they do want my poor life, as the best testimony and appreciation they can offer to the many years I have devoted, to the best of the lights and intelligence that God has given me, to the interests of my country - well, let them have it. I will not carry arms to protect myself against my own countrymen, to whom I feel that I am entitled to look for protection." Equally obstinate was Mr. W.E. Forster, who preceded Lord Frederick Cavendish as Chief Secretary, in his determination to refuse all police protection. Many attempts were made on his life, but they were all frustrated, often by the resourcefulness and forethought of Mallon. On one of these occasions the "Invincibles," Brady and Kelly, were on the railway platform searching for the Chief Secretary, Brady going the length of entering his special saloon carriage. Had Mr. Forster been there he would have been hacked to pieces before any of his attendants could have raised a finger to help him.
These facts came out at the trial of Brady, when the informers gave evidence against him. But it was not known then that the failure of the murderous plot was entirely due to the vigilance and foresight of Mallon. James Carey, the informer, explained in the witness-box how elaborate preparations had been made to stab the Chief Secretary on the Quay, on his way to the office. Brady and Kelly were to attack Mr. Forster with knives from either side of the vehicle, entering it if necessary. What prevented the crime was the falling of a horse in another cab some distance in front of the Minister's cortege. Information having reached Mallon that another desperate attempt was to be made on the Chief Secretary, Mallon, accompanied by Jephson, Mr. Forster's private secretary, waited on the Minister, and placed before him a document, in which the detective had written out briefly and boldly a statement of the intended attack. Mr. Forster, as soon as he saw the purport of the paper, threw it from him, exclaiming, "What is this? How dare you, Jephson? I'll not read it, Take it away!" Then, dropping his head into his hands, he cried aloud, "I am not to die like that," repeating the expression in a tone of deep religious fervour, "No, no! I am not to die like that!"
Mallon relates an incident which throws light on the fine character of the late Earl Spencer. A highly-placed official of the Irish executive tried to make the detective tell him the name of a man who had given him important information under the pledge of secrecy. Mallon refused to give the name of his informant, though he was threatened with the alternative of dismissal. He insisted on explaining the matter to the Lord Lieutenant, which he did. He said: - "That man's identity should remain between himself, his God, and me, my lord; but I have been reminded of my duty to my Sovereign, and I obey." He went on to say, "The man who gave me the first information as to the actual perpetrators of the Park murders, sir, was------" "Stop! Stop! Mallon," Lord Spencer hastened to say, placing his hand on the detective's shoulder. "Did you promise him you would never disclose his name?" "Yes, sir, I did." "Did you give him your word of honour you would never betray his confidence?" "Indeed I did, sir, I as good as pledged him my oath I would not." "Then let it remain where it is, Mallon. Take his identity to the grave with you. I do not want to know it." He added, "If there is any further question put to you on the subject, you have my authority for declining to answer, and you may refer the matter to me."
One of the most striking chapters in the book is that called "Making an informer," which describes the appearance in the Kilmainham Court-house, led by John Mallon, of James Carey, who had agreed, in order to save his own life, to turn Queen's evidence against his accomplices in the Phoenix-park murders. "Ah! I was before ye's, after all, Dan," said Carey as he took his place in the witness chair to testify against the actual murderers. The meaning of this mysterious phrase was that he had been before his mate, Daniel Curley, in turning an informer. Carey's appearance and announcement were greeted with yells of execration and despair, as it was now recognised that his evidence sealed the doom of his comrades. Before his appearance that morning his fellow assassins had full confidence in the good faith of their trusted leader, who now gave them away with the mocking words, "I was before ye's after all, Dan." A plot was hastily formed in the dock for the strong man of the gang, Joseph Brady, to seize the renegade as he came into court after the next remand, drag him into the midst of his guilty associates, and trample him to death before assistance could reach him. Only the resourcefulness of John Mallon prevented this finale, and reserved Carey for another and no less tragic fate.

Source: The Argus, Friday 23 September 1910, page 5

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Re: Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

Post by Karen on Mon 7 May 2012 - 11:14


by Pat Feely.

John Mallon was born in 1839 in Meigh, Co. Armargh and was educated at Newry Model School. He served an apprentice with a drapery firm in the same town, was rejected for admission into the Royal Engineers and joined the Dublin Metropolitan Police in 1859 at the age of 19. Mallon proved to be an outstanding policeman. He worked under Superintendent Daniel Ryan, and later headed the detective force himself, specialising in politics - keeping all the anti-establishment groups under observation and investigating political conspiracies and crimes. He was the outstanding expert on the underground societies of the late nineteenth century, having an intimate knowledge of the workings of most of them and a large number of reliable contacts from whom he collected information. (1) His worth was recognised. Earl Spencer the Lord Lieutenant said: "We depend in Dublin on one man, Mallon; were he to die or be killed we have no one worth a row of pins." (2)
In November 1881 Mallon was warned by a gentleman above the middle class, a sensible well-to-do business man of the possibility of political assassinations. The man who gave the information to Mallon did so out of a fear of being implicated himself through his Land League associations. He told him that Patrick Egan and Thomas J. Brennan, the League's treasurer and secretary, had linked up with Dublin Fenians and were plotting mischief. Mallon knew Egan to be a dangerous political extremist then living in Paris. Monies collected by nationalists and republicans in America were sent to him and it was left to his discretion to fund the organisations and groups which he considered most worthy of support. The grand plan was to assassinate Gladstone, the Prime Minister, Harcourt, the Home Secretary and Forster, the Chief Secretary. Mallon passed on the information to George Talbot, the Chief Commissioner of the DMP, who in turn informed the Under Secretary Thomas Henry Burke. The warnings, however, were to no avail.
On 6 May 1881 in the Phoenix Park the Irish National Invincibles, a small group of Dublin artisans, assassinated T.H. Burke and Lord Frederick Cavendish, with surgical knives. Cavendish had taken over from Forster as Chief Secretary on the very day of his murder. Mallon's information, his intimate knowledge of the political underworld, and his sharp instincts, led him to mark out Egan and Brennan as the likely principal organisers. Subsequently he unearthed other organisers of the Invincibles: Frank Byrne, the secretary of the Land League of Great Britain, who supplied the knives for the Phoenix Park killings, John Walsh, a member of the Supreme Council of the I.R.B., P.J. Sheridan, a Land League organiser, and P.J.P. Tynan, who years later wrote a book about the society. He drew up a list of men which he divided into two categories, organisers and executionists. In his search for the actual perpetrators he concentrated attention on Mullet's pub in Lower Bridge Street which was a popular rendezvous for a large number of extremists.
James Mullett was in Kilmainham Gaol at the time of the killings and gave Mallon the names of six men who he believed had participated in the double murder. Using informers, threats and bribery, Mallon broke the Invincibles. In Kilmainham courthouse on February 3, 1883


James Carey, Joseph Brady, Mullett and six others were charged with the murders. After Carey had turned informer, five of the accused were found guilty and executed. Eight men, including Mullet and James "Skin the Goat" Fitzharris, the cab-driver was was convicted of aiding and abetting the perpetrators by conveying them to and from the Phoenix Park, were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. But in spite of extradition moves, Mallon failed to bring the leaders who plotted the crime before the courts. The overall success of his achievement, however, could not be questioned, and some years later he was promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner.
Mallon had one flaw in his make-up. As with other policemen before and after him, familiarity sometimes bred contempt for the lawbreakers, and he eventually became dismissive and contemptuous of the secret societies, their members and activities. For instance, in October 1892 he was to claim that he knew only fifty active I.R.B. men and that he could put his hands on every one of them. (3) A couple of years later, however, he was to put the membership between 200 and 300. Nevertheless, his detailed knowledge was remarkable: In 1891 he was able to give the names of all the officers of the Supreme Council and of the Dublin Directory of the I.R.B. (4) This information was accurate, allowing for a number of changes and replacements.
In December 1892 a bomb exploded in Exchange Court close to Dublin Castle and a constable was killed. Mallon was placed in charge of the investigation. He came to believe that it was the work of the very low stratum of the I.R.B. and his suspicions centred on two members of the Nally Club, Jackie Nolan and Pat Reid. Reid was murdered sometime afterwards on suspicion of informing and Nolan and another member of the Nally Club, John Merna, were charged with the crime. The prosecution, however, failed to establish their guilt and they were both released. Later it was said that they had supplied the gun for the killing but had not taken part in it themselves. They left for America after the trial where they were said to have received further instructions in bomb-making and dynamiting. Both returned to Ireland after some months and got jobs with the Irish Daily Independent.
Nolan was regarded by the authorities as a very dangerous man. He was described in a report to the police as "an awfully, bold, forward and half-mad sort of fellow" who was capable of any act for which he was paid (5). It was believed that both men were in the pay of the Irish-American extremist and promoter of violence, William Lyman. In 1899 Nolan and Merna left again for America. It was probably a relief to Mallon and the police. Nolan, with two others, was later sentenced to penal servitude for life when convicted of an attempt to blow up a canal gate in Canada. Merna, whose mental health was poor, committed suicide before the Canadian border crossing was reached. In 1915, on his release from gaol, Nolan returned to Dublin a wizened old man. He died five years later and was given a big I.R.B. funeral. (6).
In the final two decades of the nineteenth century there were frequent reports from the police agents of further planned outrages and assassinations. James Mullett, who served ten years for the Phoenix Park murders, returned to his pub in Bridge Street on his release, and although some saw him as a traitor, others did not, and the police regarded him as a desperado deeply involved in plots and conspiracies. Mullett, together with three other ex-convicts and former Invincibles, revived the secret society. They were known to be in contact with the Irish National Alliance (I.N.A.), also known as the Irish National Brotherhood (I.N.B.) This was a breakaway group from the I.R.B., led by William Lyman, in America. Dr. Mark Ryan was then the recognised leader of the I.N.B. in Britain and Ireland.


In May 1895 sufficient numbers had been recruited to formally launch the organisation. This was done at a meeting in Blessington Street which was attended by Dr. Mark Ryan and Pat O'Brien M.P. Even though the I.N.B. had been formed by hardliners in opposition to what they saw as a reformist and constitutional tendency within the I.R.B., Mallon regarded it as the less extremist of the two organisations. He commented that the I.N.B. men in Dublin were not those who seemed to support or "commit outrage." While the I.R.B. men who were in opposition to them "do favour outrage, and they embrace all the men who are reputed to have taken part in every outrage that has been committed in Dublin for the past thirty years." (7). The American and Irish sections were divided. Lyman and the Americans supported dynamiting and acts of violence but the Irish leadership did not.
The formation of the new movement saw a coming together and a healing of rifts in the I.R.B. and a determination to resist the challenge posed by the new grouping. The I.N.B. signalled out Fred Allan, secretary of the Supreme Council of the I.R.B. and manager of the Independent newspaper group, as the prime target for attacks and abuse in its paper, the Irish Republic.
Allan was regarded by Mallon as an important figure in the I.R.B. and influential both with the constitutionalists and the physical force element. He was the son of a Board of Works's official and had been a clerk with the Great Northern Railway before joining the Evening Telegraph as a journalist. A Methodist, with an interest in theosophy, he contributed to socialist and anarchist journals in London and New York. It was said that in 1883, the year after the Phoenix Park murders, he and others had formed a secret society called the Avengers. He was arrested in 1884 on a treason-felony charge but the case collapsed when a key prosecution witness failed to appear. He became manager of the Irish Daily Independent and had an office built for himself where I.R.B. men and others came to meet him and discuss politics and tactics. There were contradictory elements in his character.
For Mallon and the police Allan remained a puzzling, enigmatic figure. He was described as gentle in manner and devout in religion. Yet he was the effective head of the I.R.B. and believed to be capable of murder in forwarding its aims. He was a close and influential friend of John Redmond, the leader of the Irish Party in Westminster. On the other hand it was Allan who organised a defence fund for Nolan and Merna when they were charged with the Reid murder. And it was strongly rumoured in I.R.B. circles that the gun used to kill Reid was in Allan's safe when Mallon came to question him. The story went that when Mallon asked him if the gun was in his safe, Allan pulled out the keys and said: "If what you say is true, here are the keys of the safe - go and find the revolver." (8). Mallon did not take the keys. The bluff worked. It was Allan who got the jobs for Nolan and Merna with Independent newspapers. He also brought in as many other I.R.B. men as he could, such as J.J. O'Kelly, John O'Mahoney, J.W. O'Beirne and Michael Manning.
Allan was active in the movement for an amnesty for political prisoners. He wrote articles describing conditions in prisons and outlining individual cases. He visited Portland prison where Tom Clarke was serving time. Clarke acknowledged Allan's sympathetic interest in his case. It was Allan who presided over a meeting in Dublin to welcome home the old Fenian O'Donovan Rossa after his many years of exile. During all this time he was under constant surveillance by the police. It was noted in July 1896 that as president of the Nally Club he marched at the head of about the hundred "of the worst types in Dublin." The Nally Club was marching again in August with Allan to the fore to welcome the release from prison of John Daly, the Limerick Fenian.
In 1899 Allan lost his job with the newspaper group. He opened a press agency in Dame Street which soon failed. He worked in London for a while, returned to take a job on the commercial side of the Freeman's Journal, and surprised everyone a few months later when he became private secretary to Thomas Pile, the newly elected Lord Mayor of Dublin. This caused him to be accused of selling out and of reneging on his republicanism.
The split in the I.R.B. which led to the setting up of the I.N.B., though based on political and tactical disagreements and a belief amongst some that the I.R.B. had failed as an organisation, was sparked off by the murder of Dr. Cronin in Chicago, the culmination of a vicious internal row in Clan na Gael in which there were allegations of corruption, embezzlement and treachery. John Devoy condemned the assassination of Cronin and laid the murder at the doorstep of Alexander Sullivan, president of the Clan. Lyman, one of Sullivan's proteges took the anti-Croninite side and supported the killing. He and those who joined the "new movement", the I.N.B., or I.N.A. as it was also called, believed that Dr. Cronin was a spy and had only got what he deserved.
James F. Egan was appointed organiser for the I.N.B. Allan formed a vigilance committee headed by Jackie Nolan, to keep him under surveillance. The police feared that his assassination was planned and that Dr. Mark Ryan would also be killed. While the two organisations were strongly opposed, the source of the really black animosity was in the United States where the Cronin murder had led to vicious divisions amongst the Clan and other groups of Irish nationalists. When the national committee was set up to co-ordinate the activities of the '98 centenary celebrations the I.R.B. and the I.N.B. were both represented on it and worked together. The I.R.B., led by Allan, was the predominant group.
Lyman laid plans for the sending to England of a large group of dynamiters. The American section of the I.N.B. had, however, been penetrated by British spies and those who came to England to organise the campaign were either arrested or had to flee the country. The case against the accused was dropped because an agent provocateur element but the bungling of the proposed dynamiting campaign damaged the standing of the I.N.B. Outside of Dublin, the organisation had made little headway. Dr. Mark Ryan sent Lyman a document giving the total membership in Great Britain and Ireland as 12,000, of whom there were 300 in Britain. The Irish membership, according to Ryan, were distributed as follows 6,000 in Dublin, 1,800 in Cork, 1,800 in Belfast, 800 in other parts of Ulster and the rest - 1,100 - throughout the southern part of the country. A British spy, relayed the contents of the document to the Home Office and passed it on to Mallon. He knew that these figures were a gross exaggeration, that there were not five hundred I.N.B. men in Dublin, and that Dr. Ryan was in fact thinking of leaving the organisation. (9).
Egan, the I.N.B. organiser, who himself had been in the I.R.B. from the age of 21, tried to recruit John Daly and Tom Clarke, alias H.H. Wilson, both of whom had at the time just been released from prison into the new movement. They refused to join. Mallon undoubtedly saw the advantage to the authorities of warring factions and foresaw that the I.N.B. would have a short and rather insignificant existence.
The extremist nationalist organisations were not the only groups under police surveillance. The activities of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Irish National League, the Irish National Federation, the Independent National Club, the National Society, the Army of Independence and the Knights of the Plough were also observed and noted. Even the Gaelic League, which was conceived and founded as a society for the appreciation and revival of the Irish language, came under Special Branch attention. And there were other stirrings.
The first meeting of the Irish Socialist Republican Party was held on 29 May 1896. As this was a revolutionary socialist group, it was inevitable that it would attract the attention of Mallon and the political police. Because it was a small group, it escaped notice


for some time after its foundation.
In a report to the Chief Commissioner on 13 November 1896 Mallon stated that James Connolly had lectured to the Dublin Literary Society. He also noted that W. O'Leary-Curtis, secretary of the National Literary Society had presided at an I.N.A. meeting in Dublin in the same month. (10). There was a report of this meeting, which took place in Costigan's Hotel, Sackville Street in the Evening Telegraph of 11 November.
The title of Connolly's paper was "Irish Revolution Utopian and Scientific." The two Lyng brothers and E.W. Stewart were present and the meeting was chaired by Fred Ryan. In a wide ranging talk Connolly was reported as saying that "Ireland should not wish to become an industrial hell like England." Ireland should "feed her own people first" and then exchange the surplus food for other necessities "which she required." Connolly also stated that food was being exported while there were people starving. (11).

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Re: Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

Post by Karen on Mon 7 May 2012 - 17:14

In a report to the Chief Commissioner on 21 June 1897 Mallon drew his attention to an address which Maud Gonne MacBride was scheduled to make at a meeting of the I.R.S.P. in Foster Place, Dublin, on that night. He noted that the venue was in "unpleasant proximity to the Bank of Ireland to which she makes very pointed allusions in her letter to the paper." Mallon noted that "the coal porters, many of whom are of the I.S. Republican party", were talking of marching in procession and displaying black flags. Mallon titled his report "a proposed disloyal demonstration." He commented on possible flashpoints where counter-demonstrations of royalists and unionists were likely to take place, and noted that the pubs were expected to close from 9 p.m. (12).
On the following day he filed another report to the Commissioner which told of the clashes of the rival forces. At 6:05 he had heard that Trinity College students intended to attempt to prevent Maud Gonne from having her anti-Jubilee meeting. He ordered a force of police under an inspector and a superintendent to station themselves in the vicinity of the college. At a few minutes past eight, members of the I.R.S.P. were observed at College Green and Foster Place but there was no sign of a meeting taking place. Students from the college marched to Foster Place some time afterwards and, although they did not molest anyone and returned to the college almost immediately, "their expressions of loyalty were not acceptable to the crowd."
Philip Callan an ex-M.P. made himself prominent in "hustling in amongst the students." He was hit on the head for his trouble and the police forced the students back to the college and extricated Callan, "who was bleeding profusely." This signalled the outbreak of hostilities. Missiles were thrown, windows were broken and some people were injured, though not seriously. With the help of some college officials, the police succeeded in breaking up the opposing factions. Maud Gonne and the socialists held their meeting and went to the City Hall afterwards where a meeting of the '98 Centenary Committee meeting was being held. (13).
The Daily Independent of 22 June carried a report of the meeting in which the students behind the college railings were said to be like "savage beasts" in the zoo and howling "like wild animals." Connolly was reported as saying that no one living on the plunder exacted from the labour of the Irish people should interfere with people holding a meeting or insult them in their capital city. He was cheered. E.W. Stewart proposed a resolution which was carried. Maud Gonne, accompanied by W.B. Yeats, arrived late.
On 17 June 1897 Mallon was warned that windows would be broken and the gas lights would be extinguished in the Jubilee Day protests. He was correct in his forecast. The Daily Independent 23 June 1897 reported "broken noses, bleeding faces and cut heads" in the aftermath of Jubilee Day. This paper blamed the police for attacking a crowd watching a magic lantern display in the National Club. The disturbances broke out when a number of I.R.S.P. members arrived in Rutland Square carrying a number of black flags with inscriptions and a mock coffin. The police seized the flags and one officer was seen to hand one to a crowd of counter-demonstrators at the Orange Hall which adjourned the National Club. Violence erupted. Police batoned the nationalists. Missiles were thrown and windows broken. Shots were said to have been fired from the Orange Hall. An old woman was killed in the melee. The anti-Jubilarians blamed the police. The police said she was trampled by the crowd. (14).
John Jones, Chief Commissioner, in his report to the Under Secretary was of the opinion that nothing of a very serious nature had taken place and that the celebrations could be considered a success. The regrettable incidents were the window-breaking, carried out by organised groups, he believed, and the riot in Rutland Square, which he blamed on the proximity of the National Club and the Orange Hall, "both full of the most ardent adherents of each party." He blamed the nationalists for the disturbances, stating that the "outside crowd stoned the Orange Hall and the police had to then charge them" which they did "several times." The total number of arrests was given as 51. (15).
A report dated 6/5/1897 had noted that "Messrs. Richardson, Simmons, Shelley and Nanetti who attended the "Labour Day" demonstration in Drogheda had no connection with secret societies,"that Canty who attended is a socialist pure and simple and is Secretary of the Coal Labourers Union, that James Connolly who also attended from Dublin, and who is author of the socialist pamphlet "Erin's Hope" and a canvasser for a sewing machine company is one of the principals of the Irish Socialist Republican Party - a body that is not strong by any means but there are secret society men among its ranks." (16).
Elsewhere it is noted that the brothers "T.J. and Murtagh Lyng are irish socialists who attend meetings of the Dublin Literary Society." It is also observed that meetings were held at the Custom House on Sundays. (17).
Mallon sent in a report to the Chief Commissioner on August 16, 1897. It read:

Chief Commissioner,
On last evening James Connolly held forth at the usual place near Royal Bank from about 7:30 p.m.
Connolly had not a large or appreciative audience but all the same his observations were mischievous. It was the usual twaddle that can be heard any Sunday in Hyde Park or in the Green in Glasgow.
There is the difference in the effect. In London or Glasgow the audience would take no serious notice of what was said, but unfortunately in Dublin the disaffected associate what is said with treason and disloyalty.

Mallon then goes on to say that Connolly made very pointed allusions to the royal visit. (18). Consequent to their prominence in the Jubilee demonstrations Mallon kept a close eye on the I.R.S.P. before the Irish visit of His Royal Highness the Duke of York. A report on the 19 August flagged the Chief Commissioner that Connolly was preparing an anti-royalist demonstration to judge from remarks he had made at Foster Place when he promised a crowd that "they would have something to do in the near future." (19).
In a subsequent report 14 August 1897 Mallon had more detailed information on the plans of the I.R.S.P. He wrote that it was certain that they were planning "to demonstrate on the 18th." It was quite well known in Dublin, he stated, that they intended to "display black flags with very offensive inscriptions." He enclosed a newspaper account of an I.R.S.P. meeting which said that the party had planned a demonstration to coincide with the royal visit. (20).
On 23 August 1897 Mallon sent a report to the Chief Commissioner which was read by the Under Secretary and the Chief Secretary. The report stated that "between 12 and 10 o'clock on the 18th the Socialists drove in a wagonette to 67, Abbey St. evidently with the intention of bringing out black flags. They found they could not do so without being observed and they gave it up."
Mallon went on to write that on the same evening they went to Foster Place with the intention of holding a meeting at which they intended to pass some "offensive resolution." When the police did not allow this meeting to take place they retired to their rooms in Abbey Street. One of them spoke from a window and a black flag was displayed which was "torn down" and confiscated by the police.
On 22 August they had a meeting in the Phoenix Park at 3 p.m. and, according to Mallon, "talked their usual nonsense for nearly an hour" indulging in all-round abuse on the police. They invited their audience to come to their thousands to Foster Place that evening to carry out what they had been prevented from doing on the previous Wednesday evening. That evening there were several thousands about College Green. Between 7 and 8 p.m. James Connolly, D. O'Brien, T.J. O'Brien, T. Lyng, Michael Lyng, Stewart McDonald and another man came to Foster Place, and unfurled a red banner bearing the inscription, "Socialist Irish Republic" with the figure of a tottering crown penetrated by a '98 "pick" (sic), and the Latin words Finis Tyranne (sic). (The Latin is incorrect. The inscription probably was Finis Tyranniae - The end of tyranny of Finis Tyranni - The end of the tyrant.) Mallon noted that a green banner with Irish inscriptions on it was unfurled but the police took both of these from them and hustled them out of the place.
He went on to say that the socialists kept moving around College Green where they were followed by a large crowd and made several attempts to form a procession. They then went to Abbey Street where they were met by police. From there they went to the Custom House where they were again confronted by the police. Here the crowd booed and hissed them and they were obliged to get off the streets. Mallon concluded by saying that no one was arrested and the people in the streets "hissed and hooted the Socialists for whom there appears to be little sympathy." (21).
On the appearance of the edition of the I.R.S.P.'s paper, the first Workers' Republic, he commented in a report dated 13 August 1898: "It may live for 6 months and is likely to have a limited circulation. (22). In fact, it only lasted until October but it was revived again in the following year (23).

To be continued..................

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Re: Reminiscences of Detective John Mallon

Post by Karen on Mon 7 May 2012 - 19:06

In a letter to the Under Secretary Mallon stated: "The movements of these men are under close observation." He commented that as a rule they did not associate with members of other secret societies and that Fred Allan and the Daily Independent are rather hard on them. Two of them viz W.R. Stewart and E.J. Bradshaw (tailors) would commit an outrage as they are true anarchists. He had asked that snap-shots be taken of them. He noted that newspaper correspondence on socialism was on the increase. An anonymous letter to the Daily Nation said today it is socialism, tomorrow it will be anarchy" and advocated that the "Socialist scum be driven off the streets", and contained, in Mallon's opinion, the "views of the Dublin public in regard to anarchy."

A police report on secret societies was prepared in August 1898. On the tenth of the same month Mallon reported that the Wolfe Tone centenary demonstration was "the largest which passed through Dublin in recent years" that "about 30,000 including spectators took part and that the bulk of those were members of '98 clubs and country contingents. Mallon noted that the Nally Club, which he believed contained some of the most dangerous conspirators in the city, was prominent, led by Fred Allan. The I.N.A. (I.N.B.) took very little part in the proceedings and he stated that "the general impression is that the I.R.B. or Revolutionary Party will absorb all secret societies and ultimately shape the policy of the Constitutionalist."
A report dated 5 December 1900 stated: "The Irish Republican Socialists are a bad lot supported from London and the continent to propagate Socialism. They are not numerous and are not progressing in Dublin." (25).
On 30 October 1901 there was a further note on the secret societies in Dublin. The Chief Commissioner of the D.M.P. commented that, with the exception of a few clubs, there was little activity in secret society circles, principally due to lack of funds. He listed what he considered to be the most dangerous clubs and associations in Dublin.
The Transvaal Committee held meetings at 32 Lower Abbey Street twice weekly and these were "all Secret Society men and connected with the Celtic Literary Society and Daughters of Erin. The Mayor MacBride Club met at 18 High Street and was "a good revolutionary ground for the I.R.B." The Foresters' Hall at 41 Rutland Square was given as the chief resort of Secret Society men. Finally, he mentioned "the Irish Socialists Republicans who meet at 138, Upper Abbey Street, the most prominent of whom are J. Connolly, J. Stewart, D. O'Brien, T.J. Lyng and M. Lyng. This is not a Secret Society but is a most disloyal one, and its members have associated themselves with I.R.B. men in causing disturbances and promoting disloyalty."
On 4 January 1902 the Chief Commissioner of the D.M.P. reported that: "Thomas O'Brien who was a member of the Socialist Party here, also of the Transvaal Committee and who obtained employment as a clerk at the War Office is said to have been dismissed for misconduct." (26). In June 1902 it was noted that the I.R.S.P. was represented at Bodenstown. (27).
In August of 1902 there was a report of Connolly's proposed trip to America: "Connolly was an active participator in the Black Flag displays during the 1897 Jubilee celebrations and a most willing agent in carrying out the behests of Maud Gonne." (28). An earlier report had put forward the suggestion that Maud Gonne was one of the financial backers of the Workers' Republic.
It is of course notable that in all these reports the police are seen to be on top and to emerge victorious in their encounters with the socialists. This is understandable because they were written by policemen about their colleagues whom they naturally wanted to present in a good light to the authorities. Mallon in his report of 23 August 1897 on the demonstrations surrounding the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York neglects to mention that the police batoned and injured some of the demonstrators. The socialists on the other hand tended to exaggerate the importance of these demonstrations. The Freeman's Journal of 19 August 1897, writing of the "royal entry" (as it was called) probably got the perspective right, it referred to a "slight diversion in Middle Abbey St." on the previous evening and that a crowd gathered and were addressed by some members of the Socialist Republican Party from an open window but the demonstration did not last long and the people dispersed after a couple of speeches." (29).
Mallon retired from the police in 1901. He was without a doubt the most formidable opponent of the revolutionaries and political extremists from 1874 to 1901. He harried and hunted Fenians, Invincibles, I.R.B., and I.N.B. men, socialists and all others whom he considered enemies of the state. His greatest weakness was that his contempt for his opponents prevented him from seeing that the proliferation of political clubs and the more or less continuous agitation were not a passing phase but were signalling the rising storm of rebellion. The 1916 Rising showed that his keen interest in the I.R.B. was not misplaced and that James Connolly and the I.R.S.P. were also worthy of his attention, though as a nationalist rather than a socialist force.


(1) Leon O Broin, Revolutionary Underground, Gill and MacMillan, 1976, P. 26.
(2) Richard, Hawkins in Desmond Williams (ed.), Secret Societies in Ireland, P. 101.
(3) Leon O Broin, Revolutionary Underground, Gill and MacMillan, 1976 P. 49.
(4) Ibid., P. 49.
(5) 107 12/S.
(6) Leon O Broin, Revolutionary Underground, Gill and MacMillan, P. 107.
(7) 9204 /S.
(8) Leon O Broin, Revolutionary Underground, Gill and MacMillan, 1976, P. 54.
(9) 16160 /S.
(10) C.B.X. 12730/S.
(11) Evening Telegraph 11/11/'96.
(12) S.P.O. C.B.S. 13806/S.
(14) Irish Daily Independent, 23 June, 1897.
(15) C.B.S. 13807/S.
(16) S.P.O. C.B.S. 13760/S.
(17) C.B.S. 2843/S.
(18) C.B.S. 14068/S.
(19) 14027/S.
(20) C.B.S. 14066/S.
(21) S.P.O. C.B.S. 14093/S.
(22) S.P.O. C.B.S. 17005/S.
(23) 17560/S.
(24) S.P.O. C.B.S. 17295/S.
(25) B.S. 23504/S.
(26) B.S. 26275/S.
(27) C.B.S. 27205/S.
(28) 27583/S.
(29) The Freeman's Journal, 18 August 1897.

The writer wishes to acknowledge the assistance given by Fintan Cronin, of Dublin, who made available a large number of research papers relating to the Irish Socialist Republican Party.

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