« VorigeDoorgaan »
But what has all this to do with our 66 Night teenth. By us, who have been involved in for History?" Surely we cannot intend to the whirlpool, the importance of the transacserve up the staple products of Sir Jonah, tion is but little felt. We are too near to and the monologues of our ballad singers, appreciate its effects. It is the remark of an with the simple difference of a new condi- eloquent writer, that the traveller who wanment. Not at all. There are nights of great ders through a picturesque and rugged councelebrity besides that, which have not yet try, though struck with the beauty of every found a sacred bard or historian. The night new valley, or the grandeur of every cliff that which we have chosen, the 15th of February, he passes, has no notion at all of its general 1844, has already attracted the rival blocks of configuration, or even of the relative situathe Illustrated News and Pictorial Times, but tion of the objects he has been admiring, and beyond that, there is no record of the memo- will understand all those things and his own rable event. That night will be remember- route among them, far better from a small ed among the "great facts" of our times, map on a scale of half an inch to a mile, when leagues and clubs shall have passed which represents neither thickets nor hamaway and be forgotten. Some will say that lets, than from the most painful efforts to it is a common affair-a simple trial by jury combine the indications of the strongest to try a common offence of misdemeanor memory. They who live in a period of great -Mr. O'Connell, the cynosure of a day, historical interest, labor exactly under the dared to overshadow the land by his in- same difficulty. They are too near the scene fluence, and sought to evade the law by too deeply interested in each successive his sagacity-he was arrested by that power event-and too much agitated by their conwhich he aspired to disdain, and paid the stant rapidity to form a correct judgment of penalty of his rashness or intrepidity by a the total result. It is with them as with verdict. Such may be their philosophy-it troops in a battle field. They fight on, unis not ours. Very differently, as it appears to conscious of triumph or defeat—obedient to, our shallow knowledge of the future, will but with scarcely a knowledge of, the generafter generations regard the night of the fif- al movements in which their fate is involved. The peasant who witnesses the conflagration of war from a distant and secure eminence, has a much clearer knowledge of the work of death than they who are personally concerned. We are the soldiers. The heat and tumult of the field in which we have been engaged, incapacitates us perhaps from giving a sober and impartial description; but
imagination. Sometimes he enlightens his admiring audience with a chapter from astronomy, a signal accomplishment for one who had never seen sun or star, and the disquisition on the solar system is accordingly wonderfully curious. But it is in the field of native history that he shines with peculiar splendor. Fion M'Coul and his masticated thumb-the Fion Erin, or the chivalry of Pagan Ireland-Usheen harmonized by M'Pherson into Ossian-Goul M'Mourn and the whole tribe of Cel-Time, the corrector, has softened down
tic demigods, are his usual theme. On these he much anger and exasperation, and they, to descants with flowing power, and most impressive whose minds our former testimony wore the earnestness. He scorns the hackneyed ways of the air of bias, will now acknowledge that we ballad-singer—his style is recitation, and his subjects always dramatically moulded. If, according erred on the side of truth. We may have to Aristotle, tragic power consists in exciting the embarrassed or fatigued our readers by this emotions of pity and terror, then is Zosimus among tedious prologue, but our apology is, that if the first of tragic composers, for we have seen him it be wearisome or unnecessary, it is quite as excite these faculties more forcibly and promptly than the best finished tragedy. When he descends good as any we can offer in our detailed acto comic narrative, his vein is the choicest, and his count of the night of the eventful verdict. success quite as unequivocal. There is in his vo- Few will dispute that it is one for history, cation one peculiarity-he never sells printed papers and also one of much interest, whatever de-his stories being the unwritten "mint and coin-gree of importance the future may attach age "of his imagination. You pay simply for hearing him, if you are disposed to be charitable, and at the same time compensate for a very refined pleasure. Unhappily, the universality of his attainments in science, history, and poetry, have not much improved his worldly condition, and like another of the illustrious blind,
After the Chief had drawn his memorable charge to a close, which has since challenged the attention of the House of Commons, and to which in one respect they have not rendered justice-its clearness and ability, however doubtful the spirit which animated it— when, on a whole review of the evidence, he the issue with minds ill at ease, for theirs calculated on a just verdict, the jury received was a task of danger and of difficulty. In order to strengthen them for a hard night's
labor, Judge Crampton generously declared had their defenders. On one side the charge that they should be provided with " temper- was weighed down with the load of panegyate" refreshment, after the fashion of Milton's rical offerings, on the other it was of that banquet in Paradise Lost. The jury did embalmed description which was to be found not relish the judicial frugality. Biscuits in Howell, and which Mr. Macaulay has and spring water were but an unsubstantial since, with more particularity, associated repast after an eight hours' mortification in a with the constitutional models of the sevenjury-box. Mr. Holmes conceived a bottle of teenth century. One declared that what the sherry would accelerate a verdict, for Irish- Chief stated might be law, but it was not in men never work so well as when under the accordance with the constitution; whereinfluence of gentle excitement. The sug- upon his riper adversary objected that the gestion was worthy "the consideration of constitution was nothing else than the law; the Court" but intoxicating liquors did and that he foolishly distinguished between not come within the genus temperate, convertible terms. Such was the hot war and their passions or prejudices, if any waged on this side and on that, in the court, they had, would cool in the sobriety of in the hall, and even the robing-room. In the pump. It was also intimated by the less orderly times, the stunted thickets of the Court, that one of their lordships would at- Park would have echoed with the explosions tend at the punctual hour of a quarter before of John Rigby, or John Jason Rigby's patent nine, to receive the verdict, or explain what detonators; and it was perhaps a merciful was doubtful. Three hours only to deliber-provision that this eminent dispenser of jusate on the prodigious mass of evidence which tice by the pistol was then in the box to disoccupied the same number of weeks to un-pense justice according to law. Having disfold! It would take that time to digest the posed of our own immediate circle, we return gigantic proportions of the indictment, omit- for awhile to the Court. Of the traversers' ting the whole files of newspapers, and the counsel, Mr. Sheil and Sir Colman O'Loughperplexing variety of oral and documentary lin remained to watch the proceedings to evidence adduced in its support! A com- their fatal or fortunate close. Nor were they mon larceny case would attract the attention alone in their vigils, for a number of sympa of a jury for that limited period. In our thizing friends held on, resolved to lose not profound ignorance we estimated the deliber- a minute in the Night for History. We reations of the twelve true men at two revolu- mained faithful to the post as a Roman Tritions of the day and night, for that was the arian for an additional hour, when we learnmagic number which pervaded the proceed-ed that "the cakes and ale" had passed into ings, every thing was on so sumptuous a scale of long talk-but the Court, more far-seeing than ourselves, more intelligent too in the ways of the jury-box, were thoroughly accurate in their limitation. They knew the verdict as well as if Mr. Bourne had then read forth-" On the first count you say that Daniel O'Connell, John O'Connell, &c. are Guilty." The charge went as home to the conviction of the box as a point blank discharge to a target. Mr. Henn took some slight objections, of which the principal was that there was not evidence to show that the Repeal Association was in the County of the City of Dublin, which he considered very material, but had the effect of curling Judge Crampton's lip into a smile. His book was stowed away, but "he would take a note of it," and register the same at his leisure. He looked at Mr. Henn, and asked with his eyes "Are you really serious-Do you remember Browne's testimony?"
There was now a general dispersion, and also an active diversity of opinion among our learned brothers-chiefly of the junior class, as to all they had heard and seen on that day. If the crown had its accusers, the accused
the jury-room, and we took a temporary departure to indulge in less temperate nourishment. In the hall, the restless and anxious crowd still were gathered round the barrier. There they continued, immovable from the pressure since the opening of the hall, and as each counsel retired, he was asked the chances of an acquittal-they could not seduce their tongues to pronounce the cruel word "conviction." He who consoled them with a hope, was saluted with a prolonged benediction, whilst a hint at condemnation did not, in the language of the Christmas Carol, "agree with the boys at all."
At half-past eight we returned to our destination. As we proceeded along the quays, there were symptoms on every side of the stirring of men's minds. Jarveys were fly ing with all the eager rapidity of Olympic chariots, and, like them, they evaded mutual destruction by the most delicate management of the charioteers. Single horsemen, accoutred for country expresses, mixed with the car squadron, while the flagged footway, along which we moved, was a scene of equal pressure. Every lamp-post had its throng of anxious citizens, discussing the law of con
spiracy, and the chances of an acquittal. | pose, was in a high state of density. The There was some one of the body whose opin- gentry of the press were unusually abundant, ions they regarded with reverence, and whose and, at the left of the Clerk of the Crown, eloquent tongue discoursed most learnedly our attention was directed to a queen's meson all the features of the case. Of these senger, who certainly looked as if the "speed leaders, the most conspicuous and oratorical of thought" was not in his limbs, for his diwas the celebrated Mr. Flood,* a personage mensions exhibited the true corporate proporwell known in the region of the Four Courts. tion. The bar seats were long the prey of He harangued a delighted group in the cor- the alien. A very mixed and most quesner where the book-stall is located, and closed tionable society had evicted the noblesse de la his appeal with a sly hint to the pockets of robe, and in vain did they apply to pompous his audience, who had more prayers than inspectors of police to clear the forum. It pence to bestow. With much labor we was in vain. The grenadiers of Napoleon worked our way through the quadrangle, purged the Hall of Five Hundred, but we and, having bedecked our head with frizzled defy them to make an impression on the atwhalebone, as the only passport to the favor torneys' clerks-at least the new police were of the police, we entered the Queen's Bench laughed to scorn. In vain, too, did we shake in safety, which in that hour, so unseasona- our wigs and look angry, but the mob of ble for gentlemen fond of post-prandial re- ill-mannered gentlemen were not for a moment disturbed. Never did we witness such an absence of respect. The occasion might have produced some show of solemnity even in the most graceless minds, but that audience, neither "few nor fitting," yielded to an extravagant boisterousness, inconsistent with the place and time. They indulged deeply, we presume, in after dinner potations, to "bear them stiffly up" against the dread event, and, as it is the characteristic of an Irishman to enjoy a joke, even in the midst of his sorrows, the mirth of one touched his neighbor, and the entire audience soon grew reeling ripe for merriment. As her majesty's counsel entered, the riot abated, and the tumult soon subsided into a more decorous repose.
*Mr. Flood is of quite a different genus from Zosimus. One is a product of past, the other of present civilization. We do not know whether he bears any kindred to the illustrious statesman of that name, but he is a surpassing statesman and legislator. He once had the high honor of being put forward to represent the University. The circumstances are these. During the election, a mob of students congregated in the square, venting all sorts of execration on the Whigs. Mr. Flood, from the very peculiar structure of his hat, with the wings curled tightly up like the tail of Cruikshank's cur-dog, attracted attention when fun and excite ment were the pursuit. He was soon surrounded "I came here," quoth he, "to support the constitution in church and state." Loud cries of bravo. "I came here to offer myself to the enlightened electors of this University." Whereupon, without more to do, he was elevated on the shoulders of a multitude, and placed on a projection of one of the columns of the Examination Hall. A gownsman then came forward, and proposed the "illustrious Henry Flood as a fit and proper person to represent this Protestant University in the Imperial Parliament." A seconder was not wanted-a crowd competed for the honor. These preliminaries being settled, he proceeded at much length to advocate a miscellany of rights and privileges very inconsonant with the spirit of the times, but exceedingly flattering to the prejudices of his audience. The shrewd fellow could well distinguish between a hawk and a hand-saw. His cunning dexterity was inimitable He wound up with the necessity of reverting to the old and honored principles of the constitution, and among these was one which engross ed much of his attention the payment of members. The question was put-Mr Flood was unanimously elected-cheered and chaired, and took leave of his constituents with an instalment of his parliamentary wages in his pocket Since then his politics have changed he will now never cease until Ireland has a native parliament! During the trials, his attention was incessant, and his knowledge a foun-markable amongst the "palaces of thought” tain of information to the humbler classes of politi-was the bald, round, shining dome of Mr. cians. He is not quite so mad as unthinking folk Holmes, looking a Cato Major among degengive him credit for, since he contrives to smoke his cigar and take his grog, to which he is but too partial, at other people's expense. Like Power on "His Last Legs," his hat is his fortune-its grotesque drollery constitutes his livelihood.
The crown and traversers' counsel arrived at the same time, all unwigged and unrobed, except the Attorney and Solicitor-General, who appeared in plenary working costume. They both looked pictures of contentment, even at that stage of conjecture, for the deeds then being accomplished in the jury-room cast their shadows into court, and in their mind's eye they saw that it was done. Looking at the uncovered array on both sides, a phrenologist would have had a fine field for speculation. The glossy bald heads of some, and the thinly-honored crowns of othersthe full majestic forehead of one, and the narrow seat of cunning and craft of another
afforded an ample study for the disciples of Gall, in the mysteries of whose dangerous philosophy we are wholly unversed.
erate men-just such a character as might have filled a curule chair in the Capitol when Papirius provoked the massacre of the senate. He was not so grave, however,
as either of the noble Romans with whom we such wise did the grave and learned apprenhave compared him, for he cracked nuts of tices while away the hour. Mr. Henn, with humor with all around him. The Attorney- his majestic front and locks of iron-gray, was General alone did not enjoy the kernels. listening to the pleasantries of the member He had his own thoughts, and communed for Dungarven, whose nimbleness of tongue with them. His eye was far away over water, and hand afforded a strong contrast to the and conjured up Mr. Sergeant Murphy's calm and dignified demeanor of Mr. Henn. unprofessional unfairness, and the bursting Mr. Hatchel was of the conundrum group. of Mr. Roebuck's gall-bladder. Carara Spurzheim would have realized a theory on marble was not more immovable. The next his skull, whose configuration indicated that to arrest the eye on that side was Mr. Brew- a draught from the Circean cup of enjoyment The frost of centuries seemed to was haud alienum a Scævolæ studiis. whiten the locks that still clustered round only speak as the poorest pretenders to cranihis posterior lobe, and the contrast between oskopy. Mr. Whiteside took post near the the venerable antiquity of his head and the Attorney-General, and no fire resulted from strong, coarse, and vigorous expression of his the close contact of two such inflammable countenance was peculiarly striking. He spirits. He turned from side to side, put on was habited in a light wrapper, a sort of cross his hat with a most rakish air, and whipped between a tweed and gossamer, to follow it off again, threw his arm over the neighborthe phraseology of tailors, buttoned tight and ing bench, and in a second more into the throat-ward, and looked a veritable Bully recesses of his breeches pocket. He was as Bottom. His impatience could scarcely restless as a caged panther. Many eyes were suffice him to sit, but he longed for a release directed towards him, and perhaps he sought from his labors, and a corresponding re- to gratify the general curiosity in the number ward for his meritorious services. Baron and diversity of his attitudes. Brewster would be such a delightful allitera- A silence is proclaimed, the precursor of tion! Close to his eye, which did double judicial authority, and Mr. Justice Crampton duty in winking and perusing, he held a trea- ascends the bench, without wig or cassock, tise on criminal law, to meet or make objec-looking a little agitated. A messenger is destions. His attention was directed to a ques-patched to the jury-room, announcing his lordtion which he sagaciously anticipated-the ship's arrival to receive the verdict. The fall reception of the verdict, should it be tendered of a grain of shot would have been audible in after midnight. We knew this by the turn of the leaves, and gave him credit for additional acuteness, though Mr. Napier, perhaps, might divide the credit of the anticipation; for he it was who worked the indictment through, and on one occasion prevented a fatal termination to the labors of the crown. He was not present on this night, lest his precise and virtuous observance of the Sabbath should be infringed by a single minute after twelve. He is as righteous as a Puritan of the revolution in the rites of the seventh day.
that crowded court. It was an interval of profound apprehension and anxiety. All faces were turned towards the box. The footfalls of the jury were sought to be caught with erect and straining ears. The hinge at last creaks and the foreman appears-alone. What can this be? Is there a difference of opinion? Does he require additional instruction? He addresses the judge-" We are not yet ready, my lord." Very well," was the reply; "I shall retire, and return when you are." Not yet ready! Words of unambiguous meaning, and suggestive of the inCounsel on the other side beguiled the ference that they soon would;—and with what time as best they could. Conundrums were object? To our minds they were conclusive the expedient devised to lighten the coming and determinate, and contained "conviction" sorrows of a conviction. One of the most in the most legible characters. Some still eminent busied his invention in taxing the hoped, and some despaired; but, hope or depowers of discovery of his fellow-laborers in spair, there was the dark shadow, and the this field of investigation. He handed round event was no longer doubtful. The words a slip of paper, with this startling interroga- were taken down, and despatched through a tory"Why did Mr. O'Connell make so swift messenger to Mr. O'Connell, and no bad a speech?" Various were the solutions doubt his interpretation accorded with ours. of the mystic scroll. One repeated the scrip- Messrs. Brewster and Martley exchanged the tural adage, that he who is his own counsel happiest looks, and Mr. Smith remained unhas a fool for his client; another something usually tranquil. He made no sign of reelse; but the genius of Mr. Monahan un-joicing. The bench was now vacated for a tied the perplexing knot-" Because he was short space, and the check of authority being speaking against his own conviction." In relaxed, the old intemperate merriment flowed
in its absurd course. Some called for a issue paper, and read, "We find Daniel O'speech, some for a song, others for a recita- Connell, Richard Barrett, and Charles Gavan tion-any thing to quicken the dull current Duffy, guilty on the third count," and so on of time. When the crier insisted on hearing through several others, omitting any finding silence, his demand provoked a burst of on the first and second. This was construed laughter. For two tedious hours we con- into an acquittal of the general accusation by tinued victims to our curiosity, and impatient some very interested friend of the traversers, sufferers under this wild and senseless con- whereupon he rushed out, and announced the fusion. It resembled nothing so much as great salvation. The responding cry was terthe first night of a pantomime. In the hall rible. Mr. Whiteside's venerable friends, the tumult thickened, but under the pressure Ollam Fodlah and Dathy, trembled on their of very different feelings. The scene there granite pedestals, the jury looked dismayed was one of restlessness and sadness; and when-at this sudden tumult, the proceedings were ever the universal hum swelled into an uproar, stayed for a moment until the cause was inand an "unextinguishable shout arose," it was vestigated. The original verdict was a cuwhen tidings of an agreeable nature were con-rious one. All this time Mr. Moore was exveyed to their ears. The jury did not relish ceedingly vigilant, hoping for some fissure such popular manifestations; they struck grat-wherein to insert his head and shoulders. At ingly on their minds; and, in order to avoid first there seemed to be a disagreement on the contact with a midnight multitude, laboring first count, but that expectation was soon diswith such excitement and exasperation, they sipated. In reply to a question from the Court, resolved to remain within until the last mo- one of the jurors answered, "We are all perment, calculating on dispersion and a safe fectly agreed." The first count was passed return to their homes. But it was a vain over because they did not comprehend its calculation. There they would have im- multifarious contents, overt acts and all, and movably remained through the longest and because of the simplicity and unity of the coldest of winter nights; and at the hour of third, they deemed that an excellent one to beretreat estimated by the tremulous jury, the gin with. His lordship informed them that crowds not only did not diminish, but were they must find on every count and subdivision each moment increased by the flow of fresh of a count, specifying which of the traversers auxiliaries. As the laborer and artisan con- were guilty or not guilty, and other technical cluded his night's work, he rushed down to orders not very palatable to the jury at that the Four Courts. Sleep would reflect dis- unseasonable hour, and added his lordship, honor on "unlimited patriotism" under cir-" If you wish to be discharged this night you cumstances so vital and absorbing. He must haste, as it approaches twelve." They could not lay his head on his pallet in peace trooped off with surprising speed, and after a whilst O'Connell's fate was in the balance. brief and silent interval, Mr. Moore informed He would outwatch "Bootes and the Bear," his lordship that the dies non juridicus had aland go home with the reflection, whatever ready set in, and he objected to the reception comfort it might bring to his troubled soul, of the verdict. His lordship was of a conthat he had done his duty to his country-trary opinion. In capital cases he had receivfor that was his idea of the sacred obligation. ed verdicts under similar circumstances, and It was now within a quarter of twelve, and a fortiori, in simple misdemeanors. Besides, Judge Crampton re-appeared. The jury also he was not quite certain as to Mr. Moore's came forth to make the fatal announcement. horological correctness, but, on a general comThe impatience was much cooled down by parison of watches, the mean time was decidthe first revelation, and as the jurors passed edly in favor of the soundness of the objecinto the box, all read the catastrophe in their tion. There now remained but one avenue countenances. To them it was a painful and of escape for the Court and unconscious jury. trying moment, and they seemed fully impress- The consent of both sides would have remeed with a sense of its importance. That died the evil. His lordship applied to the there existed difficulty was unquestionable Crown, and all Mr. Attorney-General would the apportionment of the counts, and classifi- say was, that the matter was altogether in the cation of the accused according to their de-power and discretion of the Court, and that grees of legal guilt, was troublesome to un- he would leave it in such safe hands. The professional minds-but danger there was suggestion meant this-" If your lordship obnone to their personal safety. The sense, tains the consent of the other side I shall be however, was apparent. There was now on truly delighted, for a steamer is waiting at every side silence deep as death. A suspen- Kingston to bear a royal messenger with the sion of breath attested the profound interest | verdict to Whitehall." Mr. Moore was now of all. The Clerk of the Crown received the applied to-he said nothing, and shifted his