Freeman's Journal

21 February 1842

The case of William Bellingham Swan was then called.
  Mr. Creighton opposed the insolvent's discharge on the part of Mr. Richard Williams (notary public), on the folling grounds:—At Christmas, 1841, the insolvent was imprisoned in Kilmainham, for a debt of from 20l. to 30l. Mr. Williams went forward on the occasion, generously paid his debts for him, and released him from confinement. After that, bearing that the insolvent was entitled, as a retired tide-waiter, to a pension of 24l. a-year, but which be had conveyed to a person named Heron for a sum of 50l.—that Heron had been in receipt of it for a period of sixteen years, in which period be had received a sum which covered four times the amount of his advance to the insolvent, Mr. Williams, considering that the best thing the insolvent could do was to pay off Heron, he advanced him a sum of 50l. for that purpose, that, with other advances, making the debt to Mr. Williams about 100l. In consideration of this, the insolvent undertook to make over, by way of Mortgage, his pension to Mr. Williams, to employ the different quarterly receipts to enable him to effect an insurance on his life. The insolvent by that deed covenanted to do everything to enable Mr. Williams to receive the pension as it should become due at the Custom-house. On, however, the, first gale becoming due, the attorney for Mr. Williams made an appointment with Mr. Swan to meet him at the Custom-house to receive it; but the engagement was not kept, and in a few days after it was ascertained that the insolvent had himself received and pocketed the money. Mr. Williams let that pass; but when the following gale fell due Mr. Swan did the same thing. Under these then circumstances he had the insolvent arrested. There was no other creditor except Mr. Smith Dodd; but Mr. Williams might be said to be the only substantial creditor.
  Commissioner—I find that the insolvent says, that he pays the premium on the insurance.
  Mr. M'Nally (Solicitor for the insolvent)— So he does, and that is part of the 100l.
  Mr. Creighton would at once out the case short by the insolvent then undertaking that Mr. Williams should receive 12l. a year out of the pension by quarterly payments, and that he shall assist Mr. Williams in getting the same.   Commissioner—In the first place, has the insolvent any other means of support besides this 24l. a year?
  Mr. McNally—None whatever; and be has a family of four children.
  Commissioner—It is likely that this unfortunate gentleman had in early life anticipations of a very different kind from those now before him. I find that he is, the nephew and administrator of a man well known in this country—I mean the late Major Swan— a man who was known to all to be very opulent, but who retired from this country to England, and there formed another connexion, which must have affected Mr. Swan here in his expectations. He has only two debts here, one of them contracted with a creditor who does not oppose him, and who was the intimate friend of the late Major Seven, and whose life he saved when in imminent danger, and on an occasion forming a memorable period in Irish history. It should be taken into consideration that the insolvent, with all the flattering anticipations he had before him, had now, at an advanced period of life, only contracted these few debts. Yet I cannot help regarding his conduct, in going to receive his pension without any notice whatever to Mr. Williams, as being most unjustifiable; and this want of .proper feeling on his part had, most probably, brought him into his present difficulty. ut Mr. Williams was a man of great opulence, and probably the same kind motives that led him in the first instance to interfere for the insolvent might now induce him not to press him to the utmost now. The case, under all the circumstances, was one such as, perbaps, ought in some degree be left to the consideration of Mr. Williams himself.
  Mr. M'Nally—Just so, my lord. The poor man has but that small pension to support himself and his family and he cannot afford to allocate any portion of it. Besides, the Commissioners of Excise would not consent to his doing so.
  Commissioner—Yes, if this court give a recommendation to that effect, the commissioners would attend to it; but then the court should include in that recommendation the amount of the party's means, the number of his family and so on.
  Mr. M'Nally—Then we would prefer that your lordship should make the recommendation.
  Commissioner—Let the case stand till Wednesday next, and try what can be done in the mean time.


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