Reported 280 Years Ago (May 12 1739): Baron Santry is found guilty by his peers of murder

The front page of the Belfast News Letter of May 1 1739 (May 12 in the modern calendar)
The front page of the Belfast News Letter of May 1 1739 (May 12 in the modern calendar)
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From the Belfast News Letter of May 1 1739 (which is May 12 in the modern calendar):

DUBLIN, April 28.

Yesterday his Grace the Lord Wyndham, Baron of Finglass, Lord High Chancellor of Ireland, as also Lord High Steward, appointed for the Tryal of the Right Hon. Lord Henry Barry, Baron of Santry, went from his House at St. Steven’s Green, attended by the Right Hon and Hon. the Judges, to the Parliament House in great State; when his Grace alighted, he was preceded to the House of Lords by six Gentlemen Ushers, the King at Arms, and the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, and after some Stay, walked in Procession from thence to House of Commons, the Place appointed for the Tryal; at six of the Clock in the Morning a Regiment of Foot marched from the Barracks to College-Green, to prevent any Tumults; and at seven the Battle-Ax Guards lined the Avenues to said Parliament House; at eight of the Clock, Lord Santry went thither in a Hackney Coach, accompanied by the two High Sheriffs of this City.

The Tryal began at ten, and continued till near six of the Clock in the Evening, when the Lords, 23 in Number, unanimously brought in a Verdict, Guilty, for the killing of Laughlin Murphy last August at Palmerstown Fair.

After the Tryal was over, his Lordship was ordered into close Confinement, and was guarded to Newgate, in a Hackney Coach, by a Company of Foot.

We hear that the Sentence pass’d on his Lordship is to be executed the 23d of June next.

[This is a moment of huge significance. A young Irish peer who had a reputation for heavy drinking plunged a knife into a porter in a tavern outside Dublin in the summer of 1738, causing him to die weeks later of his injuries. There was a long running attempt to stop Baron Santry facing justice, on account of his aristocratic status, but he did duly face trial, and this is the report of that trial. Lord Santry was entitled to be tried by his peers, fellow Lords, to be held in the Irish parliament.

But there would now be a campaign by other peers to free him, as coming papers will report]

The exact Form of the TRYAL of a PEER of the REALM.

AT the Day of Tryal, the High Steward takes his Place under the Cloth of Estate, and then the Clerk of the Crown delivereth unto him his Commission who redelivereth the same to him.

The Peers are not sworn, but are charged Super fidelitatibus & ligantiis Domico Regi debitis, for so the Record speaketh.

There be always either all or some of the Judges ever attendant upon the High Steward and sit at the Feet of the Peers, or about a Table in the midst, or some convenient Place.

Upon the Lord High Steward’s being seated, the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery and the Clerk of the Crown in the King’s-Bench, make three Bows; and the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery delivers the King’s Commission, to his Grace; (both of the Clerks of the Crown being on their Knees) then his Grace gives the Commission to the Clerk of the Crown of the King’s Bench, and the two Clerks make three Bows to his Grace and return to their Places.

And then the Clerk of the Crown of the King’s Bench calls to Serjeant at Arms, make an O Yes! again, O Yes! again, O Yes! His Grace the Lord High Seward [sic] does strictly charge and command all manner of Persons to keep Silence whilst his Majesty’s Commission to his Grace the Lord High Steward is openly read and proclaimed; God Save the King.

The Lord High Steward then desires the Lords to stand up and be uncovered whilst the Commission is reading.

Clerk of the Cown [sic] reads the Commission.

The Clerk of the Crown desires the Serjeant at Arms to make an O Yes! His Grace the Lord High Steward does command all manner of Persons to be uncovered, except the Lords, Privy Counsellors and Judges.

Then the Clerk of the Crown desires the Serjeant at Arms to make an O Yes! His Grace the Lord High Steward does command all Justices and Commissioners to certify to his Grace all Indictments, with all the Proceedings thereupon, wherein the Right Hon. — — — stands charged with, which being delivered in, the Clerk of the Crown reads the Certiorari and Return.

Then the Clerk of the Crown desires the Serjeant at Arms to make another O Yes! His Grace the Lord High Steward commands the Sheriffs to return to their Precept to them directed, together with the Body of the Right Hon. — — their Prisoner forthwith into Court. Then the Clerk of the Crown reads the Return. –––

Then the Clerk of the Crown desires the Serjeant at Arms to make an O Yes! his grace the Lord High Steward commands the Serjeant at Arms to return his Precept to him, directed together with the Names of Lords by him Summon’d which Return is also read by the Clerk of the Crown.

When the Lords are in their Places, his Grace the Lord High Steward declares to the Prisoner the Cause of their Assembly, and perswades him to answer without Fear, that he shall be heard with Patience, and that Justice shall be done.

Clerk of the Crown. Serjeant at Arms make an O Yes! all Earls, Viscounts, and Barons, which by the Command of his Grace the Lord High Steward, were summoned to appear this Day; Answer to your Names as you shall be called. Then they take their Places, and the Clerk of the Crown records their Appearance as they answer to their Names.

Then his Grace speaks to the Prisoner and then the Clerk of the Crown reads the Indictment, and asks his Lordship are you guilty of the Treason in Manner and Form as you stand indicted and arraigned or not?

The Prisoner answers not guilty. Clerk of the Crown Culprit how will your Lordship be tryed?

Pris. By God and my Peers.

Then the King’s Council open the Evidence.

After Evidence on both Sides given, the Prisoner is taken by the Sheriffs to some convenient Room, when the Lords have agreed, then they come, and the Lord High Steward begins with the youngest Peer, and asks his Opinion, and so on.

Then the Sheriffs are ordered to bring forth the Prisoner; a Proclamation is made for Silence and the Lord High Steward declares the Opinion of the Peers.

Then the Clerk of the Crown desires the Serjeant at Arms to make an O Yes! thrice; his Grace the Lord High Steward does strictly command all manner of Persons who have given their Attendance on this Commission to depart hence, for his Grace dissolves his Commission; and then breaks the White Rod.