John Magee (1780-1814)

Life
[The Younger]; son of above; found guilt of libel against Dublin Police, 1812, and Viceroy Duke of Richmond, 1813, the latter offence for article prob. by Denis Scully [q.v.]; in spite of defence by Daniel O’Connell regarded as his best, quoting Charles O’Conor of Belanagare (reprinted as The Trial of John Magee, 1813); fined and imprisoned for two years, and further prosecuted on his release in 1813, being sentence to six months; d. Dublin; he owned the liberal Evening Herald, becoming The Sentinel a year before it closed in 1815. DIB DIH

[ top ]

Criticism
‘The Late John Magee, Editor of the Dublin Evening Post: devoted to Catholic emancipation’, in The New Irish Magazine and National Advocate (Oct. July 1822), pp. 113-29.

[ top ]

Commentary
Mary Cusack, Life of the Liberator (1872 Edn.), “The Trial of Magee” [sect.], gives an account of the way in which the ‘attorney general [Saurin] was legally dissected by O’Connell in a speech ‘seasoned by a pungent commentary on British misrule’, all in a fashion which it has not often fallen to the lot of an Attorney-General to bear’, though notwithstanding the court found against Magee. (pp.405-19.)

[ top ]

References
Dictionary of National Biography, under O’Connell, names John Magee, staunch ally of O’Connell; further, Peel admits to Abbot (Cochester, Diary, ii. 471) that proceedings were initiated against Magee in order to wrest the Dublin Evening Mail, a formidable weapon, from the Catholics, in summer 1813; charged with libelling Duke of Richmond, viceroy; O’Connell acted as leading council for Magee, in a four-hour speech he ridiculed the charge, with the prior agreement of Magee, knowing they were facing a packed jury of Orangemen; O’Connell’s speech devoted to vindication of Catholic Board policy; acc. Peel, who was present, O’Connell ‘took the opportunity of uttering a libel more attrocious than that which he proposed to defend’; the court was hostile; O’Connell compressed the indignation of a lifetime into his speech; Magee appeared for judgement 27 Nov.; Attorney-General urged that his publishing in full O’Connell’s speech was an aggrevation of the original offence; O’Connell took umbrage at a reference and threatened to chastise the Attorney-Gen.; court did not distinguish between the client and his barrister, and Magee received fines of 500 and 1,000 and 2 years and 6 months imprisonment [in two terms]; Attorney-General indicated that the Catholic Board had ‘entered into a partnership with Magee but left the gaol part of the concern exclusively to him.’ &c. [Notice on O’Connell subscribed by “RD”.]

[ top ]

Notes
Foul! Murder!: The judicial murder of Sir Brian Mac Felim O’Neill in anno 1574 is the subject of a speech made by by Magee (quoted under Charles O’Conor, qv.)

An MS Note on the release of John Magee from Newgate Prison (6 Jan. 1816) is held in Pearse St. Library Dublin as Gilbert MS 271; see also an account of Magee held as MS 269. the Madden Papers in the same collection hold The Patriot: 1/4p..

[ top ]