Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

We do not know whether any for there, surrounded by a numerous family cie: mal life of Chief Justice Bushe has been cle. I had the good luck to be the only written ; but it was impossible that, stranger, and thus came to be at his side, of a great man so long before the

and to have him all to myself, for many public, there should not be many inci.

hours daily. At first he used to retire after

breakfast to finish off some judgments that dental notices. In Mr. Wills’s • Lives

he was to deliver in his court in the ensuing of Illustrious Irishmen,” his character

term ; but this occupation lasted for only is sketched by a faithful and friendly

four or five days, and then he felt himself to hand. The same writer has publish, be (as he said) in the delicious state of being ed a little essay on “ The Evidences perfectly solutus ouris for the remainder of of Christianity” by the late Chief. the vacation. Every day at one o'clock a Justice Bushe—an essay of very re- pair of horses were brought to his hall door markable power and beauty.* In the for us. From the heat of the weather (it eighteenth volume of this Journal was "the hot summer of 1826') we always there is a sketch of Bushe's life and moved along merely at a walking pace; sefortunes, written while he was still

cure, however, from the same state of the Chief Justice, and in which are several

weather, against any annoyance from sud

den showers. We seldom returned to Kilextracts from his speeches while yet at

murry before five o'clock. Then came dinthe bar. In Finlay's “ Miscellanies”

ner, and at no long interval tea; and the we have him described while still So

moment tea was over, the Chief Justice rose, licitor-General. Lord Brougham has and proposed to me a stroll with him through preserved a record of his conversations the grounds. We had no occasion to keep when he visited London to be examin- to the gravel walks; the grass was as dry ed before some Parliamentary Com- as the carpets we had left ; and accordingly mittee or Royal Commission. In his habit was to push on at once for the Sheil's “ Legal and Political Sketches,"

fields, and plunging into them, and crossing, one of the best and most brilliant chap

and recrossing them, to prolong the stroll ters is devoted to Bushe; and in Mr.

often till the approach of midnight.

“ On the second or third evening of my Curran's life of Wallacet will be

visit, the conversation turned on Boswell's found his estimate of some of the pecu

"Life of Johnson,' which, by the way, the liar characteristics of Bushe's mind.

Chief Justice said, was to him the most deWe refer to all and each of these, sa- lightful of books, first, because he found tisfied that many of our readers will everything in it so charming in itself; and

look at the books, and thank us for the next, because he no sooner finished it, than · references. But we must for ourselves he forgot it all, and so could return to it, say, that the little book published by toties quoties, and be sure to find it all as Mr. Wills, which we mention in the

charming as before, and almost as new."hope of bringing it before some of our

pp. 77, 78. readers to whom it may be new, and

The conversation led our author to the record of Bushe's conversations with Mr. Curran here preserved, have try how far he could enact the part of given us what we believe to be a truer

committing to paper the conversations

of the two or three preceding days. picture of Bushe than any or all the

They were jotted down in pencil, with

out the slightest thought of publicaHis narrative of these conversations is thus introduced by our author :

" In thus giving publicity to these frag, “Upon one occasion of my life, I had not ments of Charles Kendal Bushe's familiar a single opportunity, but opportunities con- conversation, I should be doing a grievous tinued for several days, of appreciating the injustice to the memory of that accomplish: late Chief Justice Bushe's captivating powers ed man, if I were to intimate that, in themas a tête-à-tête companion.

selves, they can convey any but the faintest * Just after the close of the summer cir. idea of what that conversation was. They caits of the year 1826, I went, by invitation, may lead his surviving intimates to recogto stay for some time with him at his old an- nise him, but they never can enable cestral place of residence, Kilmurry, in the stranger to him to know him. Even if I county of Kilkenny. He was, according to could offer a literal transcript of every word his annual custom, passing his long vacation that fell from him, how much would still be

rest.

tion :

* “A Summary View of the Evidences of Christianity, in a Letter from the late Chief Justice Bushe." 1845.

† "Sketches," &c. Vol. i., p. 341.

wanting! His imposing figure and deportment, his graceful, persuasive gestures, his manly, pliant features, so easily seduced from their habitual dignity by a love of gene tlemanly fun, his fine, sonorous voice, his genial laughter; such were some, though not all, of the ingredients in that combination, which made Bushe the most fascinating of companions; and supposing all these to be accurately imagined, there would still remain to be described that one more attribute, which, without exaggeration, might be termed the marvellous opulence of his mind for the purposes of conversation. I had often met him in society before my visit to Kilmurry, but it was only there that, from being daily alone with him for many hours, I was enabled to be a witness to the extent of his resources in this way, and his facility in using them. In those conversations (to which my contributions were naturally very scanty, and seldom anything more than the asking of questions), he never allowed any but the most momentary pauses to intervene ; but passing on from topic to topic, as they came to him, unsought for, in rapid succession, he would go on for hours conversing away, unimpeded by any obstruc. tions, for he made no efforts to produce effect, and seemingly as if he were only carelessly obeying some hidden law of his nature, which had taken all the trouble off his hands. It was in this profusion of materials, and in the power of pouring them out for hours without cessation or fatigue, that the Chief Justice appeared to me to be so peculiar, and, in his own time and country, unrivalled. It was that ever-running stream of mind,' such as Johnson had found, and so much prized in the conversation of Edmund Burke."- pp. 78, 79.

tlement of the Catholic Question. "The Constitution in Ireland was never considered as essentially Protestant. Irish prejudices would not have been shocked at seeing Catholic gentlemen in the House of Commons, Catholic Bishops in the Peers, or even at seeing two established religions. But the Union has done some good. It has purified the administration of justice by leading to the appoint:nent of a better class of judges, and by putting them more under the control of the English press.' He frequently recurred to the influence of public opinion as expressed through the press, and called it

that useful rod, suspended over the heads of men in authority.

“He thought that no public speech of Plunket bad done justice to his powers ; not even the speech of 1813. He also said that, with the exception of the speech for Hamilton Rowan, there was no sufficient record of my father's powers. He had often heard him in petty cases superior to anything else recorded of him."

“The day after Lord Kinnaird came to Ireland, he dined at Plunket's. The ChiefBaron was there. The conversation turned on Lord Castlereagh. Several of the company questioned his sincerity on the Catholic Question. Plunket undertook bis defence with much animation ; and having stated the several efforts he had made in favour of Emancipation, concluded by saying, that, upon that subject, he had latterly made a great deal of character for himself.' " He has (said the Chief Baron, in his dry way), and, depend upon it, he'll lose no time in spending it all like a gentleman.' Lord Kinnaird was delighted with the sarcasm, and said to me in a whisper, 'if I am to hear nothing but that, I am rewarded for coming to Ireland.'”

We transcribe as much as we can make room for of these conversations:

“ Kilmurry, August 6, 1826. " CONVERSATIONS WITH THE CHIEF JUSTICE.

“ GRATTAN." "He loved old trees, and used to say,

• Never cut down a tree for fashion-sake. The tree has its roots in the earth, which the fashion has not.'”

“ Your father's memory was surprising, I once casually observed to him, that I thought it a common error to suppose that men did not know their own characters. Twenty years after, he said to me, 'I quite agree with you in an observation I remember to have heard you make. The truth is, every man knows his real character ; but as he has come by his knowledge of it confidentially, he makes it a point of honour not to admit the fact even to himself.'"

" • A favourite old tree stood near the house at Tinnehinch. A friend of Grattan's, thinking it obstructed the view, recommended to him to cut it down. “Why so ?' said Grattan. Because it stands in the way of the house !'-GRATTAN. “You mistake, it is the house that stands in the way of it, and if either must come down, let it be the house.""

"Grattan said, the most healthy exercise for elderly persons was 'indolent movement in the open air.""

“He was speaking to me about my life of my father, when, iv explanation of my having become his biographer, I told him that three or four days after his death, Woulfe, who was then in London, called upon me to apprise me that some of the Irish connected with the press there, were already going about awong the publishers, and proposing to write his life ; that their sole object was the money to be made by the speculation,

“He deplored the Union, and chiefly from the difficulties it threw in the way of a set

and that not one of them was competent to with as much zeal as you originally opposed produce anything that would be creditable it. But you all committed a great mistake. to my father's memory; that Woulfe arged Instead of direct opposition, you should have npon me to undertake the office myself, and made terms, as the Scotch did, and you could at once to announce my intention, so as to have got good terms. He then summed up prevent any publisher from encouraging the some of the principal stipulations of the specnlation in question, and that after talk- Scotch Union (he had history at his fingers' ing over the matter with Woulfe, I came to ends). Saurin said (a very odd remark, as the determination of acting on his advice. it struck me, to come from him), and the When I had finished, the Chief Justice sud- Scotch further stipulated for the establishdenly pulled up his borse, turned in his sad- ment of their national religion.' “You are dle towards me, and, for the moment, rising quite right,' said the King; they secured in tones and gestures above his ordinary that point also ; but — no, no,' he added, manner, said, with some emotion, 'You were hastily checking himself, “you must pay no quite right. It was your duty to bestride attention to what I have just said. It would his remains, and protect them from the vul. not be right to have it supposed that I entures,'"

tertain an opinion, from which inferences

might be drawn that would afterwards lead “ He said he discovered some time ago,

to disappointment.' to his amazement, that the Chief Baron

" In the evening, despatches arrived from writes poetry, and good poetry.”

England, containing an account of the tumul

tuous proceedings at the Queen's funeral. "The Chief Justice related to me the par

The King expressed, without the slightest

reserve, his dissatisfaction at the want of ticulars of his meeting with the King at Slane Castle:-

energy shown by the Government on the "Saurin and I went down together, and

occasion, and contrasted with it the firmness

of his father during the riots of 1780. He arrived barely in time to dress for dinner. I

detailed the particulars of the late king's had never been seen by the King, but once

conduct upon that occasion, who, he said, at the levee. On going down stairs, I met

expressly sent for him to be a witness of it, him coming up. The rencontre was most

for the regulation of his own conduct upon embarrassing, for I imagined that he would

any similar emergency. He concluded by not recognise me; but I was at once relieved.

suddenly saying, in an altered and broken He said, “Bushe, I believe you don't know

voice, I shall never again see such a man the ways of this house,' and taking me un

as my father.' der the arm, conducted me to the drawing

" The King spoke of the run of luck that room. In one moment, I was as much at

he had lately bad his getting round the my ease as if I had been his daily compa

Land's End just a few minutes before the nion.

wind changed, and his consequent arrival at “I sat opposite to him at dinner. The

Holyhead two days before the other vessels first words he addressed to me were these (Lady Conyngham, who sat next him, had

-his landing in Ireland on his birthday,

which had been the wish of his heart-and been whispering something in his ear)

finally, his glorious reception by the people.' * Bushe, you never would guess what Lady

Among the lucky incidents, he suppressed Conyngham has been saying to me. She

the news of the Queen's death. has been repeating a passage from one of

“ * The King's accent had the slightest inyour speeches against the Union. He saw

termixture of the foreign. that I started, and was rather at a loss for

". He has been known to say, “I wish what to say, and instantly changed the sub

those Catholics were damned or emanciject by recommending me to try a particular

pated.'" French dish, from which he had been just helped. “This (said he) I can recommend as the perfection of cookery. My cousin, the

" • A difference of political sentiment disDuke of Gloucester, often produces it for his

solved the intimacy that had for many years guests, but always fails in it. It is the same subsisted between Curran and Yelverton. with all his dishes. He has a remarkable Curran thought him a corrupt politician, talent for giving bad dinners.'

and expressed his opinion with great seven ** The King soon after returned to the

rity, before Yelverton had derived any benéUnion. My early opinion was (said he,

fit from his desertion of his former principles. addressing Saurin) that your and the Solici

• But after all,' said a friend to Curran, you tor-General's opposition to the measure was

see that he has got nothing for himself or well founded, and since I have seen this glo

his family.' 'Oh! that only shows that a rious people, and the effects produced by it,

man, though a keen sportsman, may be a that opinion is confirmed; but (he added, as

very bad shot,'? if correcting himself) I am sure you will agree with me in considering that, now the "The Chief Justice's opinions on Cathomeasure is carried, you would both feel it lic affairs are much stronger on the popular your duty to resist any attempt to repeal it side than I had imagined. He thinks Woulfe's

pp. 80–94.

pamphlet by far the best that he ever read In what way the speech alleged to be upon the Catholic Question. It contains Emmet's was manufactured, or by views (he says) that struck him as quite whom, we do not know; but within original.""

these few days curiosity led us to look "Grattan was firmly persuaded, from at one of the little books called “Lives the internal evidence of the style, that Burke of Emmet," to see whether the traders was the author of Junius. Among other in

in such ware continued to print the stances, he used to insist upon it that no living man but Barke could have written

passage. It would appear that they

do not; but a strange sentence occurs, that passage in one of the letters to the Duke of Grafton, 'You have now fairly tra

in which Lord Norbury is spoken of as velled through every sign in the political

“a serpent wallowing in blood.” A zodiac, from the Scorpion, in which you

gentleman who was present at the trial stung Lord Chatham, to the hopes of a assures us that nothing of the kind was Virgin in the house of Bloomsbury."". said.

Mr. Curran's Irish Bar sketches

are six in number — Plunket, O'ConWith the single exception of Grat- nell, Goold, North, Wallace, Doherty. tan, Bushe, who had lived through the The two first names belong to the periods of Ireland before and after the general history of the empire ; and of Union, is the person with respect to both, it is probable, as no such perwhom all persons will be most anxious fect picture of either elsewhere exists, to learn whatever they can.

that Mr.Curran's portraits will be those Of the parts of this publication which which the future narrator of the story are reprints from Campbell's Maga- of the times in which they lived will zine, one of the most remarkable is be glad to adopt. Of what Plunket the sketch of Lord Plunket. In it our has spoken accurate records will reauthor takes occasion to advert “ to an main to justify Curran's estimate of accusation frequently made, "and which, his powers. Of O'Connell it is scarce he says, many persons gave credence possible that something shall not be to at the time these sketches were writ- preserved ; yet he flung himself away, ten. At Emmet's trial, the case for we almost think too generously, on the Crown was stated by O'Grady objects in their nature temporary. (afterwards Lord Guillamore). Em- We have always felt O'Connell to be met entered into no defence, and did infinitely above the miserable local not even cross-examine the witnesses for politics in which he appeared to us the prosecution. His counsel made no unworthily entangled ; and the great speech. Under these circumstances, question of his life it seems to us not it was urged for him that the Crown only might, but would have been sooner had no right to a speech in reply. and more bappily determined, were Plunket insisted on the right, and the it not for the interruption he was Court decided with him. Plunket's mainly instrumental in creating. But speech was described as unreasonably å great, a good, and a generous man barsh towards Emmet; and, to give we believe him to have been; and of colour to this assertion, a passage was

all these qualities ample proofs are interpolated in the report of Emmet's given in Curran's volumes. At the address to the Court, in which the dy- time Curran's sketch was published, ing enthusiast was made to pronounce he could only have been heard of in a bitter invective against the viper England as a factious, turbulent trithat his father had nurtured in his bune of the people. That he was a bosom.”

great lawyer was to them a fact first Plunket instituted legal proceedings communicated by Curran. The sketch against a London journalist in vindi. of Doherty does not satisfy us; but, cation of his character, and obtained a in truth, it was not until after the year verdict. He also, in another case, ap- in which that article appeared that plied for a criminal information against Doherty's power appeared in anything à Dublin bookseller, who published of full' development. North's is a the same libellous statement, and filed kindly notice of a remarkable man; an affidavit denying every material but with him Curran's relations of fact in the allegation. Mr. Curran thought appear to have been what tells us that, at the trial, there was not Charles Lamb would have called those one word uttered by Emmet bearing of imperfect sympathy. Wallace is the remotest allusion to the charge. à sketch well worth careful perusal.

It is that of a vigorous-minded, self- hend, a single member of his profession less educated man, who forced his way to

liable to be taken by surprise upon any unthe foremost ranks of a jealous and

expected point of evidence, or practice, or exclusive profession, and whom no

pleading, the three great departments of our thing but his having to drudge out

law to which his attention has been chiefly life in a province could have prevented in his appearance and manner.

directed. But there is no want of originality

His person from obtaining high distinction.

is below the middle size, and, notwithstandWe have reserved until after we had

ing the wear and tear of sixty years, connoticed the other sketches, that of Ser- tinues compact, elastic, and airy. His face, geant Goold. This pleases us the best though he sometimes gives a desponding hint of all. It is wholly unsusceptible of that it is not what it was, still attests the abridgment, and no extracts could give credibility of his German adventures. The any adequate notion of it. It must features are small and regular, and keen have greatly delighted and essentially without being angular. His manner is all served Gooid. In a tone of cheerful his own. His quick blue eye is in perpetual badinage, every little peculiarity of

motion. It does not look upon an object : manner is brought out - everything signs of character.

it pounces upon it. So of the other external that can awaken a playful feeling in “ His body, like his mind, moves at douthe reader's mind-while no one good ble-quick time. He darts into court to argue quality of a man who had in him

à question of costs with the precipitation of much of good is omitted. Goold å man rushing to save a beloved child from had, it would seem, dashed through a the flames. This is not trick in him, for, good deal of money, and was almost, among the collateral arts of attracting notice if not altogether, a ruined man to all at the Irish Bar is that of scouring with appearance, when he first applied him

breathless speed from court to court, upsetself diligently to the labours of his

ting attorneys' clerks, making panting apoprofession. There is an amusing al

logies, with similar manifestations of the

counsel's inability to keep pace with the imlusion to some apocryphal adventures

portunate calls of his multitudinous clients. of his in the German courts. Doubt

Serjeant Goold stands too high, and is, I am ful hints, in which we hear of a “pa- certain, too proud to think of resorting to latine princess -jealous husbands - these locomotive devices. His impetuosity babbling maids of honour.” When is pure temperament. In the despatch of Burke's Reflections on the French business, more especially in the chorusRevolution" appeared, Goold published scenes, where half-a-dozen learned throats a pamphlet in vindication of Burke. are at once clamouring for precedence, he This brought a kindly letter from acquits himself with a physical energy that Burke, and an invitation to Beacons

puts him almost upon a par in this respect field. Lord Fitzwilliam was at Bea

with that great lord of misrule'-O'Con

nell himself. He is to the full as restless, consfield, and on his way to Ireland.

confident, and vociferative, but he is not Goold was too late to catch the Vice

equally indomitable; and I have some doubts roy, and some reasonable hopes which whether,

with all his bustle and vehemence, he had of promotion were disappointed, he ever ascends to the true sublime of tuand he had to work hard, depending mult, which inspires his learned and unalone on such support as the public emancipated friend. The latter, who is in that is, as the attorneys-were dis- himself an ambulatory riot, dashes into a posed to give. Goold's talents and legal affray with the spirit of a bludgeoned powers of being of service were of that hero of a fair, determined to knock down unmistakeable kind which attorneys

every friend or foe he meets for the honour

of old Ireland.' He has the secret glory, are quick-eyed to perceive.

too, of displaying his athletic capabilities From this sketch we must give a

before an audience, by many of whom he sentence:

knows that he is feared and hated.”—pp.

196-198. “Serjeant Goold's practice has been, and still is, principally in the nisi prius courts. The second volume of Mr. Cura I have not much to say of his distinctive

ran's work contains a good many esqualities as a lawyer. He is evidently quite at home in all the points that come into

says on subjects of general literaiure. daily question, and he puts them forward

of those we think the most interesting boldly and promptly. Here indeed, as else

are his reviews of Monsieur Musset where, he affects a little too much of omnis- Pathay's “ Histoire de la vie et des cience; but unquestionable it is, that he ouvrages de J. J. Rousseau," and of knows a great deal. There is not, I appre- the “Napoleon Memoirs." The fol

[graphic]

!

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »