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that she had lived in credit, and wanted for nothing, until a press-gang came and stole her husband from her ; but since then she had no bed to lie on, nothing to give her children to eat, and they were almost naked ;' and perhaps she might have done something wrong, for she hardly knew what she did. The parish officers testified to the truth of this story. But it seems there had been a good deal of shop-lifting about Ludgatehill; an example was thought necessary; and this woman was hanged for the comfort and satisfaction of some shopkeepers in Ludgate-street. When brought to receive sentence, she behaved in such a frantic manner as proved her mind to be in a distracted and desponding state; and the child was sucking at her breast when she set out for Tyburn gallows !” Here is an instance of what Lord Ellenborough, the Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, described, as “not being of the smallest injury to the merciful administration of justice !" Why, it was a scene more fit to be enacted among fiends than among beings whom God had endowed with the gift of reason, and whose reason he had further assisted by the light of a religion of mercy! Here the law creates the crime and then punishes it. The infamous law of impressment deprived the poor woman of her stay and protector. This law committed a greater robbery than that which can be committed upon a little property : it committed a robbery of the person. When the woman whom it made destitute of the honest means of subsistence for herself and children, impelled by the cries of nature, and the desperation of want, attempted to commit a paltry theft, the circumstances which drove her to it were left out of consideration. What the law of impressment had begun, the shop-lifting law completed. The one drove her of necessity into crime, the other strangled her on the scaffold, for yielding to the temptation: how affecting to see, in the horrors of her situation, the maternal feeling prevail over every other; and the child, the fatherless child, clasped to her bosom, while the friendless outcast victim of merciless oppression sustained its little life amid the expiring agonies of her own!
But of what degree of “hoar antiquity was that statute, which, in the opinion of Lord Ellenborough, could not be repealed, in order to substitute one of a more moderate character, without causing a “dangerous innovation” upon the criminal law? It had no existence before the reign of William III. ; that is, it had been a part of the law during a little more than a century out of the ten centuries during which the monarchy of England has endured. The offence had been punishable as a simple larceny, until this statute made it a capital crime. We need scarcely add that such a statute was, like most other of our sanguinary, laws for offences against property, the result of that calculating and inhuman cupidity which accounted not human blood, nor even the immortal destinies of a living soul, of the least value when put in competition with a little pelf. It was, in short, one of those laws, which, in punishing a violation of the eighth commandment, was itself a violation of the sixth. For most assuredly the eternal decree, “ Thou shalt do no murder” was addressed to man in his collective, as well as his individual capacity,—to princes and legislators, as well as to every human being subject to their dominion.
THE MAD TORY'S SONG,
Tuis sweet madrigal was brought to our office by one of our devils, who picked it up in the street. He thinks it fell from the pocket of a wobegone elderly gentleman, who came out of Mr. Blair's Committee Room, and seemed to be making a variety of evolutions to avoid the approaches of a messenger-at-arms, who had been seen lurking for some time about the doors of that conclave of eminent patriots.
I bought myself a good freehold,
Down in the west countree :
My vote was worth to me.
And buttermilk and ale, And dinners and civilities
From great Lord Dunderdale. My vote! 'Twas blankets for my bed,
'Twas generous cups of wine : My earthly prospects all have fled
With that good vote of mine!
How can I e'er forget ?
Perhaps a coronet.
Judge Dick, and Sheriff Ned; Lord Grey has stolen the leaven from
My children's promised bread.
For me are yawning wide;
And chains of Morningside.
Even till the morning grey,
With hip, hip, hip, hurra!
Walk'd up and drank with me,
Was right good company. He spoke of English politics,
Of great Duke Arthur's fall, The price of stocks, the shares of Styx,
And Acheron canal. Then told he how, by naphtha light,
He wiled his hours away,
With Viscount Castlereagh.
The envious moon had ta'en ;
To fetch it back again.
A seizin was the steed;
With comet's meteor speed.
The milky way was deep and rough ;
I nearly miss'd a fall; 'Twas new Macadamised with stuff
From dear old Sarum's wall. At me the starry lion roard,
His fangs grim Cancer spread; And that sad dog, Aquarius, pour'd
His slop-pail on my head. Moon! thou art dizen'd out with votes ;
My own, I saw it plain,
To curl thy grisly mane!
Swore it was deeply hid
Beneath a pyramid. 'Twas madness all : a dark blue mist
Came o'er my boiling brain : 'Twas madness all,-my heart's blooil
hissid, And sparkled like Champaign. Away! ye vampires, and ye gowls !
Avaunt ! ye creeping things !
At me, your wicker wings!
Against our cause combine;
A vote as good as mine.
With stiff and surly air,
To vote for Mister Blair.
When our good thirty-three
In peace and jollity.
The town was calm and still;
All clamorous for the Bill.
And golden days they were-
King, And Pitt, Prime Minister, On well-greased wheels our empire rolled,
As smooth as smooth could be ; But now I've lost my good freehold,
Down in the west countree.
Deep in the dust our kingdom's trod,
While I am mourning thus;
Our glory's gone from us !
Before this sun shall set,
Into a bayonet.
Thine arms must set us free!
To free this labouring earth,
Some modern Braxfield in divan,
With some revived Eskgrove,
Direct to Sydney Cove.
We'll make them weep and wail ;
The Earl of Lauderdale
Our great Jack Ketch of State :.
Blood-dyed, aloft will bear.
I drag from place to place;
My worn and hectic face.
For me are yawning wide ;
And chains of Morningside !
In foeman's blood our hands we'll wet;
We'll tear them limb by limb; To try our prisoners, we will get
Some Rhadamanthus grim;
THE IRISH COUNSELLOR.
Nil habet infelix paupertas durius in se
There is no place in Ireland which indicates more strongly the peculiarities of the Irish character than the hall of the Four Courts in Dublin. Go into it, any day in term; and you will, if you are a stranger, be horrified at the noise, the buzz, and the clatter of tongues which salute your ears from every side of its extensive area. You will be astonished, at first sight, to perceive the extreme number of powdered wigs, and flaxen coifs, as compared with those heads which appear undecorated by any extraneous ornament. To every client there appear to be three counsellors; and for every attorney thirty lawyers. We shall not, at this moment, investigate what may be the various subjects of conversation amongst the multifarious groups into which the multitudinous mass is separated: but there they are; the care-worn client and the shrewdlooking solicitor enveloped and almost smothered up by the Tory law. yers who are out, and the Whig lawyerlings who are expecting to get in.
How comes it to pass, that, in a country which is impoverished, which is nearly destitute of trade, and almost solely devoted to agriculture, there should be such numbers educated to a profession completely dependent for its existence upon the complicated arrangements of society, and particularly the extent of its commercial transactions ? Every matter connected with land can be arranged in the Court of Chancery, or by a trial at the assizes. It is well known, that in the Courts of King's Bench, and the Exchequer, there are not, on an average, each term, fifteen actions on bills of exchange. As to the Court of Common Pleas, since it was deserted by the facetious and remorseless Norbury, the situation of a judge is, from the paucity of business, a complete sinecure.
Why are there so many lawyers in Ireland ? This is a question asked by every stranger visiting Dublin ; and as its elucidation may also serve to give an illustration of Irish character, we shall endeavour to an. swer it.
The Irish are fond of “a skirmish,” whether it be with the bones. breaking shillelah, or the heart-breaking tongue. They like to witness a row, either in the open field, or in the close court-house. As their forefathers took especial pleasure in the game of hurling, where a man's neck might be smashed, so do the Hibernians of the present day rejoice in beholding a conflict of wits, in which a man's character may be crack.. ed. In neither case can ill-nature be ascribed as the motive for delighting in a hostile exhibition of strength. The Irish are a romantic and an imaginative people ; and what they have thought of in their day-dreams they wish to see aeted in real life before them. In days of old, the pursuits of the Irish aristocracy were, “ war and the chace ;" in the times of persecution, the Catholic was shut out from every honourable profession, and his humble ambition (for he could aspire to none above it) was to excel in feats of personal prowess; now, it is the anxious hope of the poorest to see his son holding the position which O'Connell so nobly occupies, “ the assailant of the tyrant, the protector of the weak, the advocate of the injured.” Whether it be in the capacity of discharging such duties to his client, or of attacking the clients of his opponent, there is nothing so gratifying to the Irish gentry and people as that of witnessing a forensic contest. There is in it all the charms and excitements of gambling; there is, according to their opinions, either the low stake of life, or the high stake of property to be decided ; and they consider, that, according to the skill of the lawyer, the game is lost or
Such is the leading incitement that brings a young man to the bar in Ireland. But there are other causes to induce him to attach himself to the profession. The Irish are a genteel people ; they have an instinc.. tive abhorrence of any thing which touches upon what is regularly called “ low life.” The mechanic is ashamed of his trade ; the shopkeeper of his business. When either of them acquire property, instead of bringing up a son to their own occupation, they wish to have him “an esquire all at once ;” and accordingly the bar is selected, as “ who knows but little Pat might be a Lord Chancellor, or a puisne judge, at the least ?” Master Pat, therefore, goes to a Latin school ; he learns the classics"; enters college ; dines at the King's Inns in Dublin ; posts off to London ; feeds there, and returns in two or three years, with full leave and liberty to put powdered horse-hair on his head, and is introduced into all companies as “ my son, the counsellor.”
The agitation which has prevailed in Ireland for the last nine or ten years has added its quota to the profession. We have known men, who were comfortable farmers, and (it is scarcely credible !) some of them attornies, in good practice, who, unfortunately for themselves, had “ the gift of the gab.” They could, without hesitation, tire a meeting for half an hour, in pouring forth commonplaces, in a most confident tone, and with the most faultless impudence. They could mimic O'Connell, steal a metaphor from Sheil, and throw back the flaps of their coat like Jack Lawless ; and for doing all this, and nothing more, they were, at country meetings, and even in the “ old Association" itself, applauded “ to the very echo.” We have known such unmerited approbation to turn the heads of men, who thought the plaudits were given to them,
and not to “ the cause," of which they were the insignificant supporters. The consequence has been, that many, who, but for agitation, would still be comfortable and independent members of society, are now lawyers without briefs, and barristers without clients. They walk the hall of the Four Courts, sad memorials of the weakness and folly of human nature !
It is not necessary for us to allude to those young gentlemen who become lawyers; because they know that on assuming the character, they set forth on the straight road to sinecure. Those individuals are quite conscious that they have not talent ; but they are dependent upon nepotism for promotion. These are the “ waiters upon Providence,” the hangers-on; the sons, nephews, grand-sons, and grand-nephews of chancellors and judges. Each of them is as certain of being provided for by the elevation of a relative, as that the new judge's butler will obtain the exalted perch of “a crier.” It is as improbable that an Irish judge will sit ten years on the bench, without wearing a full-bottomed wig, as it is for him to leave his comfortable nest, without having deposited in his court a young brood of placemen. The Saurins are now fastened on the country ; half a century will not see extinct the Plunketts, the Bushes, and the O'Gradys. A judge's relations are like a bishop's sons and sons-in-law-innumerable. They spring up in the hot-bed of patronage as fast as mushrooms; and there they remain, till death cuts them off, or the new successor to office spreads a fresh layer of corruption, and plants a fresh stock of dependents. To such “ counsellors observations can scarcely be applied. They run no risk in adopting a profession; for they take up the cards in the game of life, certain of having “ all the honours" dealt out to them.
Ambition, pride, and vanity, fill the Four Courts' Hall with the majority of its unemployed barristers; but the exceptions to this remark are numerous. There are to be found, at the Irish bar, men gifted with the highest order of genius, of first-rate talents, and unbounded learning. We do not now refer to those who are known to possess those qualifications, but to men to whom the opportunity has been denied of manifesting them ; who pine on in almost hopeless poverty, or are sinking gradually into the chill of despair, to which the continued mismanagement of Ireland and her resources seems to doom them. Such men would succeed in their profession as certainly as O’Loghlen, Wallace, Richards, Bennett, Ball, Jackson, and Greene, ave succeeded ; but their powers never can be known, unless they betake themselves to the Criminal, or the Civil Bill Courts; and going to either of these, unless upon the most extraordinary occasions, is regarded by the profession as equal to a sentence of banishment to Botany Bay, or transportation to the shores of Africa.
This is the situation of the Irish bar in the year 1832; a profession filled to overflowing, and hackneyed with vulgarity. In the courts, the counsellors are walking over each other; they are crowded together like flies in a bottle of syrup. In the streets, they are meeting you at every corner. They are at tea-parties as common as saffron-cakes; and at balls, there is more attention paid to the fiddlers than to them. They fill the tea-urn, and dance with the governess; they call the coach, and buy the play-bill; they dandle the baby, and carry the matron's muffling; they look on while cards are playing; and if the servant is out of the way, help round the refreshments; they are seconds to all peaceable duellists, and swear informations to have their principals arrested; they