House of Commons Journal Volume 85: 22 May 1830

Pages 460-461

Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 85, 1830. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, [n.d.].

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Sabbati, 22 die Maii; Anno 11 Georgii IV ti Regis, 1830.


Report on Conduct of Sir, Jonah Barrington, considered.

THE Order of the day being read, for taking into further consideration the Report which, upon the 10th day of this instant May, was made from the Committee of the whole House, to whom it was referred to consider of the Eighteenth Report of the Commissioners of Judicial Inquiry in Ireland, which was presented to the House upon the 9th day of February, in the last Session of Parliament; of the Deposition forwarded to the Commission of Judicial Inquiry by Sir Jonah Barrington, Judge of the Court of Admiralty in Ireland, which was presented to the House upon the 16th day of March, in the last Session of Parliament; and, of the Report which upon the 1st day of June, in the last Session of Parliament, was made from the Committee appointed to take into consideration the Eighteenth Report of the Commissioners of Judicial Inquiry in Ireland, together with the Deposition forwarded to those Commissioners by Sir Jonah Barrington, Judge of the High Court of Admiralty in Ireland, and other Papers connected with the conduct of Sir Jonah Barrington, in the discharge of his judicial functions;

The House was moved, That the Petition of Sir Jonah Barrington, Judge of the High Court of Admiralty of Ireland, which was presented to the House upon the 13th day of this instant May, might be read; and the same being read;

The counsel for the Petitioner was called in, and heard: -And then he was directed to withdraw.

And a Motion being made, and the Question being proposed, That the said Resolutions be now read a second time;

And a Member in his place having acquainted the House that Sir Jonah Barrington was desirous of producing evidence at the bar in his defence;

An Amendment was proposed to be made to the Question, by leaving out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "Sir Jonah Barrington be called to the bar of this House, and asked the nature of the Evidence he is desirous to produce" instead thereof.

And the Question being put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question;

The House divided.
The Noes went forth.
Tellers for the Yeas, Lord Francis Leveson Gower: 56.
Mr. Solicitor General:
Tellers for the Noes, Sir Robert Wilson, 4.
Mr. Alderman Wood:

So it was resolved in the Affirmative.

Then the main Question being put;

Ordered, That the said Resolutions be now read a second time:-The said Resolutions were accordingly read a second time, and agreed to by the House; and are as followeth;

1. Resolved, That, in consequence of an Address from the House of Commons, his late Majesty was graciously pleased to issue a Commission under the Great Seal, for examining the Salaries, Duties, and Emoluments of the several Officers, Clerks and Ministers of Justice, within that part of the United Kingdom called Ireland, and that the Commissioners so appointed have laid before Parliament Eighteen several Reports, the Eighteenth of which relates to the High Court of Admiralty in Ireland; that, on the faith of such Reports, divers Acts of the Legislature have been passed, and are now in force.

2dly. That the Office of Judge of the High Court of Admiralty in Ireland is an Office of dignity and importance, on the impartial and uncorrupt execution of which the honour of the Crown, and the protection of the rights and interests of many, both of His Majesty's subjects and of Foreigners, engaged in maritime pursuits, greatly depend.

3dly. That, by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of Ireland, bearing date the 23d May 1797, Doctor Barrington, now Sir Jonah Barrington, was appointed to the said Office of Judge of the High Court of Admiralty in Ireland, with power to depute and surrogate in his place one or more Deputy or Deputies, as often as he should think fit.

4thly. That it is stated in the aforesaid Eighteenth Report, that statements were made to the Commissioners on oath, and confirmed by documents produced to the said Commissioners, by which it appeared that, in two several derelict cases, which were adjudicated in the said High Court of Admiralty, the Judge who then presided, the aforesaid Sir Jonah Barrington, had appropriated to his own use certain portions of the proceeds.

5thly. That it is stated in the aforesaid Eighteenth Report, that it appeared, from the oral and documentary evidence before the Commissioners, in the first of these cases, "the Nancy derelict," that Sir Jonah Barrington appropriated to his own use, out of the proceeds, £.482. 8s. 8d. and £.200, making together £.682. 8s. 8d. and never repaid any part of either; and that the Registrar is a loser in that cause to the amount of £.546. 11s. 4d. including his poundage.

6thly. That it is stated in the aforesaid Eighteenth Report, that, in the second of those cases, that of the "Redstrand derelict," on the 12th of January 1810, the sum of £.200 was paid by the Marshal into the Registry, on account of the proceeds in this cause, and, on the same day Sir Jonah Barrington, by an order in his own handwriting, which was produced to the Commissioners, directed the Registrar to lodge that sum to his (the Judge's) credit in the bank of Sir William Gleadowe Newcomen, which he (the Registrar) accordingly did:-That, subsequently, a petition having been presented to the Court by Mr. Henry Pyne Masters, one of the salvagers, Sir Jonah wrote an order at the foot of it, bearing date the 29th day of May 1810, directing the Registrar to pay to the petitioner a sum of £.40; and, at the same time, he wrote a note to Mr. Masters, requesting that he would not present the order for two months, at the close of which period Sir Jonah left Ireland, and never since returned:-That Mr. Masters, after a considerable time (upwards of four years), finding that he could not get his money, prepared a memorial, addressed to the Lord Lieutenant, stating the circumstances, and complaining of the conduct of the Judge; and, going to the Registrar, he demanded payment of his money, otherwise he would immediately present the memorial which he held in his hand:-That the Registrar, anxious, as he states, to screen the Judge, on the 8th day of July 1814, paid Mr. Masters the money out of his own pocket, and produced to the Commissioners his receipt, and a letter of acknowledgment from Mr. Masters for his good conduct in the transaction:-That, under somewhat similar circumstances, the Registrar paid a further sum of £.9. 12s. 9d. to Mr. John Wycherly, another salvor, who came to Dublin to endeavour to get his money; so that, including his own fees in the cause, amounting to £.15, and his poundage on the net proceeds, amounting to £.7. 10s., the Registrar states that there is actually due to him in this cause £.72. 2s. 9d.; and, further, that as the sum of £.200 was never repaid by the Judge, the loss of the balance between that sum and the sum of £.72. 2s. 9d. fell upon the unpaid salvagers.

7thly. That it is stated, in the aforesaid Eighteenth Report, that Sir Jonah Barrington, having represented his inability to attempt a journey to Ireland, an extract from the Minutes of the Proceedings of the Commissioners was transmitted to him, containing every thing, at that time deposed to, by which his character might be affected:- That, subsequently, sundry communications were received from him, which, with the several letters addressed to him by the Commissioners in reply, are printed in the Appendix to the aforesaid Eigteenth Report:-That assertions of general denial contained in these and subsequent letters, are the only contradiction or explanation of the foregoing facts, given by Sir Jonah to the Commissioners, which contradiction would have had much weight with the Commissioners had the alleged facts been supported only by the parole testimony of the officer who stated them; but that when the Commissioners found the hand-writing of Sir Jonah Barrington himself supporting the statement of the witness, they could not avoid giving credit to his (the witness') evidence:-That the Commissioners resumed the examination of the Registrar, and that the said Registrar, though aware that the Commissioners had been in communication with Sir Jonah Barrington, who might, if he had sworn falsely, have suggested means of contradicting him, persisted in his former evidence, and furnished other documents, tending to confirm his testimony, which he had subsequently found.

8thly. That the said Eighteenth Report of the Commissioners, so founded on Evidence taken on oath, and on Documents, together with the Depositions forwarded to the Commissioners by Sir Jonah Barrington, and other Papers connected with the conduct of Sir Jonah Barrington, in the discharge of his judicial functions, was, by Order of the House, referred to a Select Committee in the last Session of Parliament.

9thly. That the Select Committee, so appointed, did take into consideration the matters so referred to them, and that, Sir Jonah Barrington having, in a letter to the Chief Secretray of the Lord Lieutenant, expressed his wish to come over to this country to be examined, whenever a Committee should be appointed to consider the Report of the Commissioners, the Committee did afford him that opportunity of meeting allegations which so seriously affected his character.

10thly. That the Committee, after full investigation of the whole subject submitted to their inquiry, and after examination of Witnesses and of documentary Evidence, came to a Report, which has been laid on the Table of this House; from which Report it appears that, on the whole, the Committee were of opinion, that Sir Jonah Barrington, as Judge of the High Court of Admiralty in Ireland, did, in the years 1805 and 1806, under colour of his official authority, apply to his own use two sums, amounting to £.500. 9s. 2d. out of the Proceeds of the derelict Ship "Nancy," then lodged in the hands of the Registrar of that Court; and that he did, in the year 1810, in a similar manner, apply to his own use the sum of £.200 out of the Proceeds of the "Redstrand" derelict.

2. Resolved, That the opinion so expressed in the aforesaid Report of the Select Committee, is fully warranted by the evidence, and is entitled to the concurrence of this Committee.

3. Resolved, That Sir Jonah Barrington has been guilty of serious malversation in the discharge of his office of Judge of the High Court of Admiralty, and that it is unfit and would be of bad example, that he should continue to hold the said office.

Resolution for Address.

Resolved, That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, praying His Majesty, that He will be graciously pleased to remove Sir Jonah Barrington from the high office which he holds of Judge of the High Court of Admiralty in Ireland.

Committee to draw up Address.

Ordered, That a Committee be appointed to draw up an Address to be presented to His Majesty, pursuant to the said Resolution:-And a Committee was appointed of Lord Francis Leveson Gower, Mr. Attorney General, Mr. Solicitor General, Mr. Williams Wynn, Sir Charles Wetherell, Sir Robert Inglis, Mr. Home Drummond, Mr. Spring Rice, Sir John Newport: And they are to withdraw immediately into the Speaker's Chamber.

Ordered, That Five be the Quorum of the Committee.

Proceedings on taking a Stranger into Custody.

A stranger in the Gallery having been observed to throw papers into the House, the Serjeant at Arms reported, that he had taken the said stranger (William Clifford) into his custody.

Ordered, That William Clifford be brought to the bar in custody of the Serjeant at Arms.

William Clifford was accordingly brought to the bar; and, being examined, admitted that he had thrown such papers into the House.

Ordered, That the said William Clifford do stand committed to the custody of the Serjeant at Arms attending this House.

And then the House adjourned till Monday next.