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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Carlow Assizes 1819

This article first appeared in the The Times, Wednesday, Aug 11, 1819; pg.3; Issue 10749; col C

Carlow Assizes. Watson V. Watson.

Transcribed by Janet Brennan


This was an issue directed from the Court of Chancery, and tried before Lord NORBURY and a most respectable Special Jury.

The matter at issue between the parties hinged entirely upon the question, whether Margaret Lee, mother of the plaintiff, was, or was not, married to the late Mr John Watson, brother to the defendant. A great number of witnesses were examined and cross-examined on each side. The marriage was sworn to by the mother of the plaintiff, and corroborated by John O’Connor and Ann Heydon, in whose house the parties were married, by the Rev. Mr Macklin, since dead. Michael Meara proved, that the deceased John Watson acknowledged the marriage. This was also corroborated, in some degree, by the testimony of James Connor. Samuel Watson, Esq., the Rev. Mr Downing, Mrs Slater, and Edward German, were examined, whose testimony went to show that  Margaret Lee was never recognized in any other capacity than that of a servant, though all allowed that there was a report of a marriage with the deceased; but as their detailed testimonies could interest but a very few of our readers, we shall pass them over, and proceed to Lord Norbury’s charge, which was delivered in his Lordship’s usual able and eloquent manner. His Lordship began by congratulating Mr Clarke (who closed the case for the plaintiff) on the great powers of his Stentorian lungs, which he had used so effectually as to have made himself heard, not only by every person in the Court, but by the very passengers in the mail-coaches that went by the window; he was highly pleased to see Mr Clarke exert himself so ably for his client; he wished at all times to hear free and independent advocates, and did not think that now and then a dash at the Judge and Jury (which were the Alpha and Omega of his speech) was at al amiss. But that really Mr Clarke had raised his voice to such a Hunt-ing pitch, he had almost imagined himself in  Spafields, or Smithfield at least. With respect to Mr Meara’s deposition about selling tubs, he did not think his “Tale of a Tub” could have much weight. He begged to call the attention of the Jury to the evidence of Mrs Salter; and notwithstanding that she had been well salted in her cross-examination, he would request them to contrast it with that of Margaret Lee used to dine with Mr Watson’s servants, call him master, and in short, instead of his having respected her as Mrs Watson, he treat her as one of the very “Lees” of society. His Lordship summed up the remainder of the evidence, and concluded by congratulating the Court and the Jury, that this trial was so nearly closed, for, from its great length, he feared it would have become a “Watson’s Sheet Almanack,” and detain them the whole year. The Jury remained in the entire night, and were discharged without a verdict.

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