Eugene Macarthy, third indictment for bigamy – 30 July 1862

The Times, Wednesday, July 30, 1862

Westminster Police Court-

Mr. Eugene Plumber M’Carthy, solicitor and notary public in Ireland, was charged on remand with double bigamy and perjury in making an affidavit to obtain a licence for his third alleged marriage. The evidence previously taken in support of the charges went to show that the prisoner was married on the 28th of January, 1839, to Catherine Creagh, at Cullenswood, near Dublin, by the Rev. J. G. F. Schultz; that he was again married on the 29th of June, 1844, to Miss Mary Anne O’Bryan, at St. Peter’s, in the county of Cork ; and again to Emily Reiley [sic. Actually Emily Verling]  at St. James’s, Holloway, on the 22d of May, 1852. The affidavit for the last marriage set forth that the prisoner was a bachelor.

Yesterday, upon the prisoner being again brought up, Mr. Wontner attended on his behalf, and the case was reopened, the validity of the first marriage being questioned. The proof of this marriage rested upon the testimony of Mr. Harrington, who was present when that ceremony was performed. Letters were written by the accused many years afterwards to Mr. Mellor, a solicitor, which were produced and repeatedly referred to. In one, dated the 5th of September, 1860, at 16, Eaton-street, Woolwich, he says:-” I could have wished that the recital of the marriage of 1839 should exonerate me from committing a deliberate fraud in tho marriage of 1844. It was some years subsequent to the latter date that the validity of a marriage, without bans or a licence, by a Dissenting minister, was recognized. All the circumstances attending the marriage of 1839 strengthen the conviction that it was worthless, until, to my consternation, the Courts decided otherwise. I was then a very young man. The woman lived with me previously, and a certificate was had only to save appearances. In 1839 we separated, the woman no more than myself viewed it as valid. She resided in the city of Cork. I also resided near it. She never sought me, and knew where I was residing. I was married by licence in 1844 at St. Peter’s, Cork. Frequently saw the woman in the street. Was never molested or accosted by her. Never made the least claim upon me,for she, as well as myself, attached no value to the marriage and I remained so contented until, as I have already said, the question was raised on circumstances similar, and the Courts decided their validity; hence I am fairly entitled to be absolved from any fraud in making the contract of 1844.”

A postscript adds,-” I need scarcely add, you shall find me ready to do any and every act you may deem necessary to secure Mrs. M’s rights; as recompense for an involuntary wrong it is justly due.”

The second letter is in the following terms, dated Woolwich, September 9, 1860:-

“The place of celebration of the ceremony of 1839 was in Cullenswood,a suburb of Dublin; the celebrant. the Rev.Mr. Schultz, a German Lutheran minister, at his residence. The register he keeps is in the Prerogative or Consistorial Court, Dublin, lodged or impounded there since his marriages were first questioned. I can afford no information of Creagh’s death. I did hear it occurred in 1855, but where I know not. It may have been Cork, the last place I heard of her. But persons of her class assume new names, and have aliases for every week of the year,- and it may be no easy matter to satisfactorily trace her. She was in London a considerable time after 1839, and in Dublin also as long. There can be no doubt that she was in Cork early in 1855, and no difficulty in proving it. The decision settling the validity of Schultz’s marriages is well known in Ireland, and I have no doubt many a heedless young man found himself snared by it as I did.” – The letter concludes with some remarks about the settlement deed before alluded to.

Miss Mary Anne O’Bryan, 30, Westbourne-place, Eaton. square, was cross-examined by Mr. Wontner. She said she was first acquainted by her brother, Dr. O’Bryan, with the prisoner’s first marriage in 1852. She did not then believe it. The witness was married in 1844 and continued to live with the prisoner until 1852, when he went away with Miss Railey.  [sic. Actually Emily Verling].  The witness fetched him back, but he went away again with her. She and her family sold off his goods. She could not say whether her brother took the prisoner’s position of notary at Queenstown. This was the first time she ever heard her brother was notary. She had heard Robert O’Bryan was practising there as notary, but this was mere hearsay. When married to the prisoner her property was not settled upon her; but, after being married seven or eight years, he settled it upon her in April 1852. In 1860 she was desirous of recovering the sole control of the property, and instituted a suit in the Irish Chancery Court. He wrote the two letters produced to facilitate her getting the money out of court. The witness and the prisoner were living together in 1860, when these letters were written. The witness did not read them before they were sent but posted them herself as the prisoner was lame. The witness continued to live with him after this, but left him when she found she could. It was June 12 months when she last lived with him; she had since corresponded with him in answer to his letters for money, and had seen him, but not frequently. He had lived in Belgrave and Warwick Places, and there being some arrears of rent an execution was put in, when she declared herself to be a single woman. She could not say her brothers gave him into custody on his coming to the house at that time for this bigamy.

Mr. Harrington, the only witness to the first alleged marriage, said he was present at Schultz’s when the prisoner and Catherine Creagh were there. He was present at the prisoner’s invitation. Schultz was a very notorious person; he performed marriages when persons had not time to contract them through the Church. There was a ceremony of some sort gone through, but he could not say what. Schultz read and spoke in some form, and witness believed the parties were married at that time. He saw no books used by either of the parties, and never saw such a marriage before. The prisoner said he was anxious to make Catherine Creagh reparation and marry her. He could not say whether Schultz  was in canonicals. He thought he saw the parties kneel, but could not say

An Irish policeman was called to prove that Schultz’s marriage had been acted upon as valid in the courts of law in that country.

Mr. Arnold thought that, with the letter and the evidence of Mr. Harrington of a ceremony, there was a prima facie case made out.  He committed the accused for trial upon the first charge of intermarrying with Miss O’Bryan while his former wife, Catherine (Creagh), was alive, but he offered to take one surety in £ 20,  as he thought it was not a case in which the prisoner should be locked up.

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