« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
personally mixed up in every part of to the proceedings, which a feeling of the case ; and we think some taint of chivalrous fidelity to the desperate forlurking insanity must have first suy, tunes of his client alone could justify." gested pretensions, which actually had Neither of Whiteside's speech in deno ground whatever to rest on. There fence of his client, nor of any other does not seem the slightest reason to part of the case, do we think Mr. think he had any connexion whatever Townsend's a faithful abstract. Much with the Stirling family.
of what was most effective in it was is one which it is difficult to un- altogether omitted.
Of the legal derstand on any supposition.
arguments which from time to time The next trial, that with which Mr. arose in the progress of the case, Townsend's first volume closes, is an we have no account whatever. In. Irish caso-ho other than that of decil, the fault, the great fault, of Smith O'Brien for high treason. There Mr. Townsend's book is, that he selcan be no object in our bringing be- dom states a law argument like a man fore our readers any of the particulars who fully appreciates its force. of that strange case ; and, even if we short, small, smart joke is what he did not shrink instinctively from the loves best ; and the dulness of detail discussion, we have not leit ourselves in some of the English and Scottish room for comment. Where there is cases, seems, every now and then, to so much to deplore, and so much to be relieved to his mind by some miseinake us, as a people, ashamed of the rable quibble or other, which the ori. whole business of 1848 ; while the ginal utterer of it must grieve to absurdity of the affair is almost more see reported. Where there is anydisgraceful to beings endowed with thing of powerful reasoning preserved reason than its criminality—it is some in these volumes, it seems but a fortu. comfort to find an English barrister- nate accident; of Whiteside's best pasno great judge, certainly, though Re- sages none, or next to none, are given; corder of Macclesfield-praising the of Fitzgerald's, in the same way, very mode in which the trial was conducted. little is preserved. The counsel for the He seems somewhat disappointed, no Crown, and the presiding judge, are doubt, at the Attorney-General's calm not much better used ; and poor statement of the case for the Crown ; Meagher, who was convicted of high the plain business-speech—the only treason at the same commission with one proper on such an occasion-was O'Brien, has to complain of a note in not to the Recorder's taste. " The which his foolish-- it is here called his Attorney-General despaired of wear- pathetic-appeal at the close of his ing the mantle of Plunket, and dis- trial, is printed. carded eloquence altogether.” But The Chief Justice (Blackburne's) on whomsoever else his praises fall, the charge is broken into piece-meal fraghero of his narrative is our eloquent ments. Its great value was countryman, Whiteside ; and it does whole, and there can be no excuse our heart good to see how much he whatever for its omission. is admired. In him he recognises Nothing could be more distinctly the great orator to whom is entrusted proved than the treason of O'Brien “ the forensic honour of his country.” and his associates. The verdict could In describing eloquence, Townsend not be other than of guilty; but it himself fancies that he is emulating the was accompanied with a recommendagreat sublime he draws. But this is a tion to mercy; and Lord Clarendon, mistake. The Recorder of Macclesfield when in the exercise of the royal preis not destined to be a great speaker. rogative he spared the lives of these Still let us hear him. “Mr. Whiteside, men, acted with humanity, which was for the defence, struck a key note of felt, under all the circumstances of national pathos which must have the case, to bave been wisdom. After vibrated through the hearts of his the conviction, there was an argument hearers. His wit and humour flashed in the Queen's Bench, in wbich it was forth occasionally in cross-examining endeavoured to be shown that there the adverse witnesses, but under mani. was a mis-trial; and the points relied fest restraint, for he must have felt on by the prisoner's counsel were felt by bowed down and oppressed lay tlic them to be so strong that they applied hopelessness of his position, and con- for a writ of error. Writs of error in strained to make technical objections capital cases are not allowed without
express warrant under the king's a decided preference for being hanged. sign manual, or at least by the con- It was doubted whether he was quite sent of the Attorney-General. These sincere in thisas it was impostherefore can rarely be brought by the sible for Lord Clarendon to gratify party himself, especially where he is him, consistently with communications attainted for an offence against the made to O'Brien that it was intended State; but they may be brought by to spare his life. To have hanged and his heir or executor, after his death, beheaded him at this stage, in comin more favourable times; which may pliance with the legal rights he insisted be some consolation to his family. on, would have looked like sharp Such was the practice in England. As practice, and a bill was passed very soon as a verdict was obtained, and rapidly through the Houses to remove sentence pronounced, that sentence any doubts as to the power of the Crown was carried into effect: and, as in Lord in such a case. Great lawyers said Russell's case, when times became such a bill was unnecessary; yet we more favourable, if the family had incline to think it was wise to pass interest enough for the purpose, the it, as the view of the law taken by attainder was reversed. In the bill
O'Brien is that put forward in several for reversing the attainder of Lord works of authority. See, for instance, Russell, his execution is called a mur- Christian's note to Vol. I. of Blackder. In our day, humanity and good stone, p. 137. The Act was passed, sense are rather more consulted than and the prisoners, convicted of high of old, and the writ of error was not treason and of treason-felony in the refused. The case thus went formally Irish insurrection of 1848, were at to the House of Lords; but they last shipped off. somewhat impatiently decided points Since their arrival in the penal setof law without hearing the case to tlement they have been offered tickets an end, which points of law, we think of leave, which all but O'Brien have it exceedingly probable, had O'Brien accepted. His refusal to accept a been already hanged, would have ticket of leave, or give any parole, has been disposed of in the other way. necessarily subjected him to the incon. The fact seems to be, that the venience of imprisonment; and nothing House were afraid of these writs can be more unfair than to reproach of error being issued in every Irish either the government, which seems to case, and that the course of justice have treated him with all possible would be thus impeded by one cap- humanity, or the governor of the prison tious objection or another. The old in which he insists on living—who is plan, of not chopping logic till after responsible for his safe custody-for the criminal was executed, and the consequences which arise from his own friends of his family had come into determination to preserve the dignity power, would seem to have been a of a rebel general unimpaired. The more reasonable way of securing this public sympathy with the family of result, than the modern one of cutting This most impracticable and wrongshort a forensic argument. We should headed man makes every one seek to hope that the occasion may never forgive his strange outrage on the laws again arise of seeking to investigate of society ; but it is one thing to seek any of the questions then agitated; excuses or palliations for his conduct as, if the law of Ireland be not the in the peculiar constitution of his same as that of England in the con- mind, and another to suffer men enduct of trials for liigh treason—as was gaged in the discharge of very difficult successfully asserted by the Crown in and very onerous duties to be maO'Brien's case—such anomaly ought ligned, as every one who tries to do at once be cured by legislation. his duty, without ministering to the
When the writ of error was disposed vanity of a man, in every possible of, a new difficulty arose. O'Brien in- point of view most criminal, is sure of sisted that the capital sentence could being. This can only be corrected by not be commuted for transportation a saner state of feeling, to which we without his consent, and he expressed
believe the country is fast returning.
We should have been glad to have ready acquainted with all the details of concluded this notice of Mr. Town. the trial he is going to read; passages are send's book with praise, but it is not quoted from counsel's speeches, and possible, in any point of view, to be from judges' charges; and then, in his satisfied with his account of Smith narrative of the trial itself, these pasO'Brien's trial. This is the only Irish sages are omitted because they have trial in the volume. In the second appeared in the introduction. The volume of the work is the trial of value of such a book, were such a book O'Connell for conspiracy, which is, in prepared with the care it deserves, many respects, much more ably exe- would be very great. Still, much, cuted. We cannot give high praise to though not all we could wish, has these volumes. It is not always pos- been done by. Mr. Townsend. The sible to make out a clear account of book is not without its value; and the what actually passed in court, from desirableness of having the story-at Mr. Townsend's narrative, and that least-of these remarkable trials, prenarrative is very confusedly distribu- served in some record less perishable ted between what he calls « introduc. than the newspaper, and more easily tions” to each trial, and the abstract of accessible than the law-report, is not the trial itself. In his “introductions," unlikely to secure for these volumes he is naturally led into disquisitions, extensive circulation and popularity. in which he assumes his reader to be al.
THE POETRY OF WORDS WORTH.
The voice of Nature, in her changeful moods,
Breathes o'er the solemn waters as they flow;
Murmurers, now filled with joy, now sad and low.
To deep accordance with the harmony
A concert of Creation on the wind.
And Nightingale had given thee for thy dower
For with a holy tranquillizing power,
Of quiet starlight on a troubled stream.
DESPONDENCY AND ASPIRATION.
of Knowledge blent with Beauty, and thy soul
As in soft glory they were wont to roll.
Longed for a draught from that pure well, whose flow
So was the spirit yearning for the spring
Ebbed from thy soul, by feverish pain controlled.
The glorious tide of inspiration rolled ;
Thou poured'st it forth-an offering to thy God!
THE POETS AND POETRY OF MUNSTER. *
NEAT little volume, with this title, Dermod O'Curnan, the son of a has been lately published by O'Daly, farmer, was born about, or a little beof Dublin, containing specimens of fore, 1740, in the county of Cork, but the indigenous poetry (principally resided, after he grew up, in the songs) of Munster, both in the verna- parish of Modelligo, county of Watercular and in an English dress, and ac- ford. Young O'Curnan was pecucompanied by the music to which they liarly gifted by nature ; he had a were set. Of the translations it is finely formed person ; a strikingly sufficient to say they are Clarence handsome face; a lively disposition; Mangan's-of course excellent: he en- agreeable manners ; deep and ardent tered into the spirit of Irish verse with feelings, and considerable abilities; a facility that is surprising, when we and was, from his early youth, a poet. remember that (to use the words of the Unhappily he fell in love with a pretty preface) “ he was totally unacquainted peasant girl, a native of Modelligo with the original language, and male (the "Mary” of his poems), who was his versions of Gaelic poetry from lite- proud of the attachment of a young ral translations, furnished to him by man so much superior to her usual Irish scholars.”
associates, and encouraged, perhaps In O'Daly's pretty little book the reciprocated, his love. But she saw Munsterman hails, as familiar words, that other girls were anxious to attract the names of his old acquaintances, his attentions at their dances and rusAndrew M'Grath, the merry pedlar tic recreations; and, inspired by the (or merrymonger, as commonly called); demon of jealousy, she repaired to one Timothy O'Sullivan, the pious ; Denis of those old crones of whom formerly M‘Namara, the foxy; William O'Hef- there were too many, who professed fernan, the blind; John O'Tuomy, to deal in charms, spells, and philtres, the merry; Father William English, and purchased from her a potion said and others; but he asks, “where is to be of virtue to keep her lover con. Dermod O'Curnan?-why has all men- stant to herself. This she contrived tion of him been omitted ?"—yet he to mingle in his drink at some convi. deserved a niche in that miniature vial meeting; the mischievous comtemple of the Momonian muse, as well pound attacked his brain, and the un. from the interest attached to his tra- fortunate Dermod became incurably gical story, as from the intrinsic merit
deranged. His whole temperament of his poetry, which is elegiac in its changed; he lost his vivacity, and begenius, and often terse and antithetical came melancholy, moody, and unsoin style, and evinces a mind of much na- cial, but retained his poetic talent; tural refinement. We have never met and though aware of the fatal injury with any of O'Curnan's poems, trans- inflicted on him by his Mary, he lated or printed; and though we have still remembered his passion, which seen some of them in MS. among the seemed to gather intensity from his peasantry, in the county of Waterford, madness. But now he had become an we believe they are chiefly preserved object of terror and dislike to her, by oral tradition. O'Curnan seems and she repelled him harshly whenever to have been unknown to Edward he approached her, as he often did, to O'Reilly, who does not allude to him complain of his shattered health and in his Chronological Account of his troubled brain, of which he was nearly Four Hundred Irish Writers ;” quite sensible. Her cold and disdaintherefore a short account of the ill- ful manner augmented his malady, and fated bard may not be superfluous. he wandered about the solitary parts
The Poets and Poetry of Munster: a Selection of Irish Songs by the Poets of the last Century, with Poetical Translations by the late James Clarence Mangan, now for the first time published. With the Original Music, and Biographical Sketches of the Authors. By John O'Daly, Editor of “ Reliques of Irish Jacobite Poetry," &c. Dublin : John O'Daly.
of Modelligo, a wretched being, ragged, he became conscious of the nature and barefooted, sallow, sickly, with scarcely the consequences of his act, and rushed a trace of his former beauty left; but from the house to conceal himself. still frequently composing poems on The dismay of Mary's family, at his love and his despair, which he finding her headless corpse, on their could be induced by kindness to repeat return from chapel, may be conceived. to his friends, by whom they were On searching for the murderer, the committed to memory:
track of the madman was easily disAt length he disappeared for some covered; he was found lying hid time, and was supposed to have left among the standing corn in a neighthat part of the country.
bouring field; the blood on his hands Sunday morning, in the latter end of and clothes bore witness against him, summer, while all the rural popula- but none such was needed; he con. tion was at Mass, he suddenly entered fessed all that had passed with suffithe cottage of his scornful love, near cient coherency, and was conveyed to Farnane Bridge. It happened that prison. The fate of O’Curnan was the she had remained at home alone, and reverse of that of Sophocles: when was employed cutting brambles with a the Greek poet was charged with de. bill-hook, to feed the fire on which the rangement, his verses were accepted potatoes were boiling for dinner. Im- by the judges of the case as a proof of mediately on O'Curnan's entrance he his sanity; O’Curnan's, on the conbegan to speak to her of his enduring trary, furnished to his jury a strong attachment, and to entreat her pity; presumption of his lunacy, which being but instead of trying to soothe and established by evidence as to his haamuse the maniac till some one should bits, and their cause, the “ Mad Poet" come in, it appears that she foolishly was acquitted of wilful murder, but irritated him by contemptuous expres.
was confined for life as a dangerous sions, and especially by taunting him maniac. The tragedy we have related with his infirmity. Knowing himself occurred about eighty-seven years ago. to have been in this respect her vic- After O'Curnan had lost his reason, tim, he became infuriated beyond the chancing one day to meet the object usual pitch of his delirium-and, in a of his unfortunate attachment, he wild paroxysm of frenzy, snatching up complained to her of illness ; she the billhook, he severed her head from asked him, “What ailed him-what her body. Remarkable retribution ! was his sickness?" In reply to which, she fell a sacrifice to the madness that he poured forth a poem which he she had occasioned by her own super- afterwards recited to persons who comstition and jealousy. No sooner was mitted it to writing. A manuscript the fatal deed done, and O'Curnan's copy was given to us by a country fury appeased by the blood of the schoolmaster who taught Irish; and murdered woman, than the feeble from that we make the following light of such reason as he commonly translation direct from the vernaretained dawned again upon his mind; cular:
THE LAY OF THE AFFLICTED BARD.
Thus hast thou left me since I've thought on thee :
Than from thy presence still an outcast be.
Sobs heave my bosom; rest and peace are fled :
In one short month thou'lt find me with the dead.
Where is the cure to stay my health's perdition?
She only has it-she who wrought my harm : 'Tis not in sea or land, herb or physician
'Tis with youth's blossom, 'tis with beauty's charm.
Nor the tame hen from cuckoo of the dell;
If thou wouldst come, my heart would know thee well.