Phineas Garde of Cork--A False Apprenticeship?

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Phineas Garde of Cork--A False Apprenticeship?

Postby dognose » Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:37 pm


I found this account in the Parliamentary Papers of Great Britain (House of Commons) of 1838. Entitled the First Report from the Select Committee on Fictitious Votes, Ireland.

Under the Reform Act of 1832, only certain classes of the population were allowed to vote, these included Freemen, Freeholders and Householders whose property exceeded the amount £10.

The Select Committee, chaired by Lord Granville Somerset questioned members of the City Council of Cork about, amongst other things, as to whether certain Freemen had been admitted illegally. The list of names has one of interest to us, that of the Cork silversmith, Phineas Garde.

In the below extract, the Select Committee members posing the questions are; Lord Granville Somerset, Mr Serjeant Jackson and Mr Beamish.

Those questioned are Daniel Meagher, a Wine and General Merchant of Patrick Street and Valuer of Properties to Cork City Council, John Colburn, Clerk of the Peace since 1831 and Julius Ceasar Besnard, the Town Clerk since 1831.

4806-7. Mr. Beamish.] What is the next instance you have ?–Phineas Garde, a jeweller and silversmith, apprenticed to Thomas Garde, jeweller, on the 12th of March 1827; admitted a freeman the 9th of March 1835, and sworn the 13th of March 1835. Thomas Garde, the master, sailed from Cork to the Brazils in 1827, in company with James Connor, now residing in Grattan-street; consequently, this man could not have served his apprenticeship. He was admitted a freeman by the council ; that is a fraudulent admission ; he voted at the last election.
(Mr. Besnard.) He was admitted because a petition was presented, and an affidavit regularly given with it. I have no recollection of the circumstance; I Know that nothing happened before the council to make it in the slightest degree questionable. No person had the slightest idea that there was the least fraud connected with it.
4808. Chairman, to Mr. Meagher.] When did Thomas Garde return ? – He never returned.
4809. How do you know that he sailed in 1827 ? – Because the man that went in company with him, I went to his house and got his certificate to that effect.
4810. When was Phineas Garde registered ? – He registered in 1835.
4811. Mr. Serjeant Jackson.] Were you acquainted with Thomas Garde? – No, I was not, but I spoke to 20 or 30 persons that he was intimately acquainted with.
4812. Do you recollect his leaving Cork? – No, but no one will deny that fact.
4813. You know nothing of it, of your own knowledge? – No.
4814. All you know is, that you heard it said that he had gone to the Brazils, and never returned ? – The man who sailed in company with him is now returned ; and when I sent to his aunt, or one of his relatives, she began to cry, and said that she had never heard of him for the last four years.
4815. (To Mr. Besnard.) You know nothing of this Thomas Garde, nor do you know anything of Phineas Garde, or of the facts of his apprenticeship ? – I do not ; but if the facts are as Mr. Meagher has stated, it was an imposition upon the council.
4816. Were you town-clerk of the corporation at the time of this admission ? – I was.
4817. You are sure that the usual course of proceeding was adopted in this case as in all others ? – Quite so.
4818. That all the proper documents were laid before the council to satisfy them that all was right ? – Quite so.
4819. You are prepared to say that if anything like what has been stated took place, it was by fraud and imposition upon the corporation ? – Decidedly. If there had been the least hint given of it, a most rigid inquiry would have been made before the admission.
4820-1. Did the corporation, in that case, go through the same course as they do with regard to others that claim the right of apprenticeship ? – They did. (Mr. Meagher.) I gave notice to the mayor, in open court, that fraudulent admissions had taken place, and I was every day in expectation that they would have an inquiry.
4822. When did you give any caution to the mayor of Cork in this matter? – When Mr. Saunders was mayor.
4823. How long after this individual was admitted was that? – Two years after; I did not know it till then ; I wanted an inquiry.
4824. You never apprised the corporation of these alleged facts till two years after the man had been sworn ? – I was not aware of it myself.
4825. But neither you nor anybody, to your knowledge, apprised the corporation of it till that time ? – I do not know, because there were a great many people whispering about it ; and when I made the inquiry I found that he was a fraudulent freeman, and that he is not at this moment a freeman in reality.
4826. The question is, whether you yourself, or any other person to your knowledge, apprised the corporation, or the mayor, or the town-clerk, or any other officer of the corporation, of that alleged fact touching Phineas Garde, for two years after he had been admitted and sworn?– No; but the moment it did come to my knowledge I apprised the mayor of it, and called upon him for investigation.
4827. Chairman, to Mr. Colburn.] When does it appear that he registered? – The 3d of April 1835.
4828. (To Mr. Meagher.) Did you oppose the registry of this man? – I was not aware of the facts ; but if I had opposed him, the barrister would have admitted him, as he did many others under similar circumstances. I opposed a man for having voted out of a house that he did not reside in, and parties came up to swear that the man was a non-resident ; the assessor asked if the man took the necessary oaths, and it was stated that he did ; and then he said, " I admit the vote, and you may prosecute the man."
4829. Mr. Serjeant Jackson.] You are now speaking of the election when there was an assessor to the sheriff?–Yes.
4830. Did you oppose this man at the registry?–I am not aware of this man being opposed at the registry. If I had been aware of these facts I would have opposed him ; but when I did oppose people before Mr. Martley, he said, " Sir, I find him upon the corporation roll, and you must go to the corporation; I cannot interfere with their registration; I cannot interfere;" and he registered him in spite of my objection. It was on Mr. Martley's stating that to me that I, in open court, addressed the mayor, and requested him to put a stop to this kind of registering, for that it was putting men unfairly upon the roll of freemen.
4831. Are you aware that the assistant barrister, Mr. Hartley, could not, by law, have taken any other course ?–I presume so; but I did not know it when I addressed him, and then I went to the mayor and corporation and addressed them.

Source: Parliamentary Papers
By Great Britain Parliament. House of Commons
Published by HMSO, 1838

Jackson's and Bennett's have Phineas Garde's earliest mention as 1812, this would perhaps be his date of birth, a good fit datewise for starting his apprenticeship with Thomas at the age of fifteen. Jackson's has mention of a Thomas Garde for the period 1828-1830.

The name Garde is not uncommon amongst the silversmiths of Cork, besides Phineas and Thomas, there was also Richard Garde, John Garde and Christopher Garde.


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Postby dognose » Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:47 am

An example of the mark and work of Phineas Garde.


Photos courtesy of Andy Taylor

12" (30.5cm) Basting spoon in the fiddle pattern, weighing 130 grams. Assayed at Dublin in 1839.


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