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Convicted of Murder in an Affray

Illustration: The Affray in which Bolding was killed

            THESE unhappy men were natives of Ireland, and belonged to that numerous class who resort to England in search of employment; but whose conduct is too often a disgrace to their own country, and a demoralising example for this. The murder, for which these malefactors justly forfeited their lives, originated in that vulgar antipathy which the lower orders of one nation feel for their brethren of another; forgetful that all men should be brothers in distress.

            On their trial, which took place at Chelmsford, on the 16th of August, 1810, it appeared in evidence that John Bolding, for whose murder they were arraigned, kept the Eagle and Child public house, at Forest Gate, in the parish of West Ham, and that on Sunday evening, the 20th of May preceding, a dispute took place In the kitchen, between one Morrisy, an Irish labourer, and one Thomas, an English carter. There was present another Irishman, named Scandling, and an officer's servant, of the Cornish militia.

            These silly representatives of their respective countries kept up a boisterous debate for a considerable time, during which challenges to fight were given, and Morrisy and the officer's servant were proceeding to blows, when the housekeeper, Sarah Cumber, interfered, and succeeded in pacifying them for a moment. Morrisy then proposed to depart; but the landlord, suspecting that he wanted only to collect his countrymen, prevented him at first, though it appears he afterwards permitted him to withdraw, and then bolted the doors. The landlord's conjecture was right; Morrisy returned with a mob of followers, but was refused admittance. Soon after a man named Daniel Mahony knocked, when Scandling, who had remained within, opened the door, contrary to the wishes and in spite of the remonstrance of the proprietor. Mahony, in an outrageous manner, stormed, swore, and brandished his stick over his head. He had not continued long in this violent manner, when a gang of thirty of his countrymen demanded admittance. This being refused, they proceeded to break the windows and window-shutters, and Scandling, once more, in defiance of the opposition of the landlord, unbolted the door. As the band of ruffians rushed in, the carter and the officer's servant escaped through the back door; and fortunately for them, as otherwise, in all probability, they would have met the fate of their host. Mahony demanded the cause of the uproar, and was answered by a ferocious Hibernian that the English had insulted an Irishman. 'That's enough,' he returned, leaping into the bar, and, knocking down the landlord, continued to beat him till his head was much bruised, his arms broken, and his body greatly wounded. A female interfering, a blow was made at her, and she was obliged to fly and hide herself. The ruffians next proceeded to search for the carter and the servant; but, not finding them, they swore they would murder some one before they departed, and actually beat an old man, who was running away, who had three of his teeth knocked out, and his thigh dislocated from the kicks he received. These sanguinary brutes next demanded some gin, which was given them, and they departed, exclaiming 'Who will insult an Irishman?'

            Bolding, the landlord, languished seven days, and then expired, in consequence of the wounds he received. These six men were then taken up, all the others having absconded, and being sworn to as implicated in the riot, they were found guilty as accessories to the murder, being associated for illegal purposes, which, according to Lord Hale, makes each accomplice responsible for the conduct of a part, or whole.

            Sullivan, who was guilty of nothing except being present, was respited, but the other five unfortunate men were executed on Saturday morning, August the 18th, 1810.


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