During the first two months of the year 1844, the greatest possible excitement existed in Dublin respecting the State Trials, in which Mr O’Connell, his son, the Editors of three different repeal newspapers, Tom Steele, the Rev. Mr Tierney a priest who had taken a somewhat prominent part in the Repeal Movement and Mr Ray, the Secretary to the Repeal Association, were indicted for conspiracy. Those who only read of the proceedings in papers, which gave them as a mere portion of the news of the day, or learned what was going on in Dublin by chance conversation, can have no idea of the absorbing interest which the whole affair created in Ireland, but more especially in the metropolis. Every one felt strongly, on one side or on the other. Every one had brought the matter home to his own bosom, and looked to the result of the trial with individual interest and suspense.
Even at this short interval Irishmen can now see how completely they put judgment aside, and allowed feeling and passion to predominate in the matter. Many of the hottest protestants, of the staunchest foes to O’Connell, now believe that his absolute imprisonment was not to be desired, and that whether he were acquitted or convicted, the Government would have sufficiently shown, by instituting his trial, its determination to put down proceedings of which they did not approve. On the other hand, that class of men who then styled themselves Repealers are now aware that the continued imprisonment of their leader the persecution, as they believed it to be, of “the Liberator” would have been the one thing most certain to have sustained his influence, and to have given fresh force to their agitation. Nothing ever so strengthened the love of the Irish for, and the obedience of the Irish to O’Connell, as his imprisonment; nothing ever so weakened his power over them as his unexpected enfranchisement. The country shouted for joy when he was set free, and expended all its enthusiasm in the effort.
At the time, however, to which I am now referring, each party felt the most intense interest in the struggle, and the most eager desire for success. Every Repealer, and every Anti-Repealer in Dublin felt that it was a contest, in which he himself was, to a certain extent, individually engaged. All the tactics of the opposed armies, down to the minutest legal details, were eagerly and passionately canvassed in every circle. Ladies, who had before probably never heard of “panels” in forensic phraseology, now spoke enthusiastically on the subject; and those on one side expressed themselves indignant at the fraudulent omission of certain names from the lists of jurors; while those on the other were capable of proving the legality of choosing the jury from the names which were given, and stated most positively that the omissions were accidental.
“The traversers” were in everybody’s mouth a term heretofore confined to law courts, and lawyers’ rooms. The Attorney-General, the Commander-inChief of the Government forces, was most virulently assailed; every legal step which he took was scrutinised and abused; every measure which he used was base enough of itself to hand down his name to everlasting infamy. Such were the tenets of the Repealers. And O’Connell and his counsel, their base artifices, falsehoods, delays, and unprofessional proceedings, were declared by the Saxon party to be equally abominable.
The whole Irish bar seemed, for the time, to have laid aside the habitual sang froid and indifference of lawyers, and to have employed their hearts as well as their heads on behalf of the different parties by whom they were engaged. The very jurors themselves for a time became famous or infamous, according to the opinions of those by whom their position was discussed. Their names and additions were published and republished; they were declared to be men who would stand by their country and do their duty without fear or favour so said the Protestants. By the Roman Catholics, they were looked on as perjurors determined to stick to the Government with blind indifference to their oaths. Their names are now, for the most part, forgotten, though so little time has elapsed since they appeared so frequently before the public.
Every day’s proceedings gave rise to new hopes and fears. The evidence rested chiefly on the reports of certain short-hand writers, who had been employed to attend Repeal meetings, and their examinations and cross-examinations were read, re-read, and scanned with the minutest care. Then, the various and long speeches of the different counsel, who, day after day, continued to address the jury; the heat of one, the weary legal technicalities of another, the perspicuity of a third, and the splendid forensic eloquence of a fourth, were criticised, depreciated and admired. It seemed as though the chief lawyers of the day were standing an examination, and were candidates for some high honour, which each was striving to secure.
The Dublin papers were full of the trial; no other subject, could, at the time, either interest or amuse. I doubt whether any affair of the kind was ever, to use the phrase of the trade, so well and perfectly reported. The speeches appeared word for word the same in the columns of newspapers of different politics. For four-fifths of the contents of the paper it would have been the same to you whether you were reading the Evening Mail, or the Freeman. Every word that was uttered in the Court was of importance to every one in Dublin; and half-an-hour’s delay in ascertaining, to the minutest shade, what had taken place in Court during any period, was accounted a sad misfortune.
The press round the Four Courts, every morning before the doors were open, was very great: and except by the favoured few who were able to obtain seats, it was only with extreme difficulty and perseverance, that an entrance into the body of the Court could be obtained.
It was on the eleventh morning of the proceedings, on the day on which the defence of the traversers was to be commenced, that two young men, who had been standing for a couple of hours in front of the doors of the Court, were still waiting there, with what patience was left to them, after having been pressed and jostled for so long a time. Richard Lalor Sheil, however, was to address the jury on behalf of Mr John O’Connell and every one in Dublin knew that that was a treat not to be lost. The two young men, too, were violent Repealers. The elder of them was a three-year-old denizen of Dublin, who knew the names of the contributors to the “Nation”, who had constantly listened to the indignation and enthusiasm of O’Connell, Smith O’Brien, and O’Neill Daunt, in their addresses from the rostrum of the Conciliation Hall; who had drank much porter at Jude’s, who had eaten many oysters at Burton Bindon’s, who had seen and contributed to many rows in the Abbey Street Theatre; who, during his life in Dublin, had done many things which he ought not to have done, and had probably made as many omissions of things which it had behoved him to do. He had that knowledge of the persons of his fellow-citizens, which appears to be so much more general in Dublin than in any other large town; he could tell you the name and trade of every one he met in the streets, and was a judge of the character and talents of all whose employments partook, in any degree, of a public nature. His name was Kelly; and, as his calling was that of an attorney’s clerk, his knowledge of character would be peculiarly valuable in the scene at which he and his companion were so anxious to be present.
The younger of the two brothers, for such they were, was a somewhat different character. Though perhaps a more enthusiastic Repealer than his brother, he was not so well versed in the details of Repeal tactics, or in the strength and weakness of the Repeal ranks. He was a young farmer, of the better class, from the County Mayo, where he held three or four hundred wretchedly bad acres under Lord Ballindine, and one or two other small farms, under different landlords. He was a good-looking young fellow, about twenty-five years of age, with that mixture of cunning and frankness in his bright eye, which is so common among those of his class in Ireland, but more especially so in Connaught.
The mother of these two young men kept an inn in the small town of Dunmore, and though from the appearance of the place, one would be led to suppose that there could not be in Dunmore much of that kind of traffic which innkeepers love, Mrs Kelly was accounted a warm, comfortable woman. Her husband had left her for a better world some ten years since, with six children; and the widow, instead of making continual use, as her chief support, of that common wail of being a poor, lone woman, had put her shoulders to the wheel, and had earned comfortably, by sheer industry, that which so many of her class, when similarly situated, are willing to owe to compassion.
She held on the farm, which her husband rented from Lord Ballindine, till her eldest son was able to take it. He, however, was now a gauger in the north of Ireland. Her second son was the attorney’s clerk; and the farm had descended to Martin, the younger, whom we have left jostling and jostled at one of the great doors of the Four Courts, and whom we must still leave there for a short time, while a few more of the circumstances of his family are narrated.
Mrs Kelly had, after her husband’s death, added a small grocer’s establishment to her inn. People wondered where she had found the means of supplying her shop: some said that old Mick Kelly must have had money when he died, though it was odd how a man who drank so much could ever have kept a shilling by him. Others remarked how easy it was to get credit in these days, and expressed a hope that the wholesale dealer in Pill Lane might be none the worse. However this might be, the widow Kelly kept her station firmly and constantly behind her counter, wore her weeds and her warm, black, stuff dress decently and becomingly, and never asked anything of anybody.
At the time of which we are writing, her two elder sons had left her, and gone forth to make their own way, and take the burden of the world on their own shoulders. Martin still lived with his mother, though his farm lay four miles distant, on the road to Ballindine, and in another county for Dunmore is in County Galway, and the lands of Toneroe, as Martin’s farm was called, were in the County Mayo. One of her three daughters had lately been married to a shop-keeper in Tuam, and rumour said that he had got œ500 with her; and Pat Daly was not the man to have taken a wife for nothing. The other two girls, Meg and Jane, still remained under their mother’s wing, and though it was to be presumed that they would soon fly abroad, with the same comfortable plumage which had enabled their sister to find so warm a nest, they were obliged, while sharing their mother’s home, to share also her labours, and were not allowed to be too proud to cut off pennyworths of tobacco, and mix dandies of punch for such of their customers as still preferred the indulgence of their throats to the blessing of Father Mathew.
Mrs. Kelly kept two ordinary indoor servants to assist in the work of the house; one, an antiquated female named Sally, who was more devoted to her tea-pot than ever was any bacchanalian to his glass. Were there four different teas in the inn in one evening, she would have drained the pot after each, though she burst in the effort. Sally was, in all, an honest woman, and certainly a religious one she never neglected her devotional duties, confessed with most scrupulous accuracy the various peccadillos of which she might consider herself guilty; and it was thought, with reason, by those who knew her best, that all the extra prayers she said and. they were very many were in atonement for commissions of continual petty larceny with regard to sugar. On this subject did her old mistress quarrel with her, her young mistress ridicule her; of this sin did her fellow-servant accuse her; and, doubtless, for this sin did her Priest continually reprove her; but in vain. Though she would not own it, there was always sugar in her pocket, and though she declared that she usually drank her tea unsweetened, those who had come upon her unawares had seen her extracting the pinches of moist brown saccharine from the huge slit in her petticoat, and could not believe her.
Kate, the other servant, was a red-legged lass, who washed the potatoes, fed the pigs, and ate her food nobody knew when or where. Kates, particularly Irish Kates, are pretty by prescription; but Mrs. Kelly’s Kate had been excepted, and was certainly a most positive exception. Poor Kate was very ugly. Her hair had that appearance of having been dressed by the turkey-cock, which is sometimes presented by the heads of young women in her situation; her mouth extended nearly from ear to ear; her neck and throat, which were always nearly bare, presented no feminine charms to view; and her short coarse petticoat showed her red legs nearly to the knee; for, except on Sundays, she knew not the use of shoes and stockings. But though Kate was ungainly and ugly, she was useful, and grateful very fond of the whole family, and particularly attached to the two young ladies, in whose behalf she doubtless performed many a service, acceptable enough to them, but of which, had she known of them, the widow would have been but little likely to approve.
Such was Mrs. Kelly’s household at the time that her son Martin left Connaught to pay a short visit to the metropolis, during the period of O’Connell’s trial. But, although Martin was a staunch Repealer, and had gone as far as Galway, and Athlone, to be present at the Monster Repeal Meetings which had been held there, it was not political anxiety alone which led him to Dublin. His landlord; the young Lord Ballindine, was there; and, though Martin could not exactly be said to act as his lordship’s agent for Lord Ballindine had, unfortunately, a legal agent, with whose services his pecuniary embarrassments did not allow him to dispense he was a kind of confidential tenant, and his attendance had been requested. Martin, moreover, had a somewhat important piece of business of his own in hand, which he expected would tend greatly to his own advantage; and, although he had fully made up his mind to carry it out if possible, he wanted, in conducting it, a little of his brother’s legal advice, and, above all, his landlord’s sanction.
This business was nothing less than an intended elopement with an heiress belonging to a rank somewhat higher than that in which Martin Kelly might be supposed to look, with propriety, for his bride; but Martin was a handsome fellow, not much burdened with natural modesty, and he had, as he supposed, managed to engage the affections of Anastasia Lynch, a lady resident near Dunmore.
All particulars respecting Martin’s intended the amount of her fortune her birth and parentage her age and attractions shall, in due time, be made known; or rather, perhaps, be suffered to make themselves known. In the mean time we will return to the two brothers, who are still anxiously waiting to effect an entrance into the august presence of the Law.
Martin had already told his brother of his matrimonial speculations, and had received certain hints from that learned youth as to the proper means of getting correct information as to the amount of the lady’s wealth her power to dispose of it by her own deed and certain other particulars always interesting to gentlemen who seek money and love at the same time. John did not quite approve of the plan; there might have been a shade of envy at his brother’s good fortune; there might be some doubt as to his brother’s power of carrying the affair through successfully; but, though he had not encouraged him, he gave him the information he wanted, and was as willing to talk over the matter as Martin could desire.
As they were standing in the crowd, their conversation ran partly on Repeal and O’Connell, and partly on matrimony and Anty Lynch, as the lady was usually called by those who knew her best.
‘Tear and ‘ouns Misther Lord Chief Justice!’ exclaimed Martin, ‘and are ye niver going to opin them big doors?’
‘And what’d be the good of his opening them yet,’ answered John, ‘when a bigger man than himself an’t there? Dan and the other boys isn’t in it yet, and sure all the twelve judges couldn’t get on a peg without them.’
‘Well, Dan, my darling!’ said the other, ‘you’re thought more of here this day than the lot of ’em, though the place in a manner belongs to them, and you’re only a prisoner.’
‘Faix and that’s what he’s not, Martin; no more than yourself, nor so likely, may-be. He’s the traverser, as I told you before, and that’s not being a prisoner. If he were a prisoner, how did he manage to tell us all what he did at the Hall yesterday?’
‘Av’ he’s not a prisoner, he’s the next-door to it; it’s not of his own free will and pleasure he’d come here to listen to all the lies them thundhering Saxon ruffians choose to say about him.’
‘And why not? Why wouldn’t he come here and vindicate himself? When you hear Sheil by and by, you’ll see then whether they think themselves likely to be prisoners! No no; they never will be, av’ there’s a ghost of a conscience left in one of them Protesthant raps, that they’ve picked so carefully out of all Dublin to make jurors of. They can’t convict ’em! I heard Ford, the night before last, offer four to one that they didn’t find the lot guilty; and he knows what he’s about, and isn’t the man to thrust a Protestant half as far as he’d see him.’
‘Isn’t Tom Steele a Protesthant himself, John?’
‘Well, I believe he is. So’s Gray, and more of ’em too; but there’s a difference between them and the downright murdhering Tory set. Poor Tom doesn’t throuble the Church much; but you’ll be all for Protesthants now, Martin, when you’ve your new brother-inlaw. Barry used to be one of your raal out-and-outers!’
‘It’s little, I’m thinking, I and Barry’ll be having to do together, unless it be about the brads; and the law about them now, thank God, makes no differ for Roman and Protesthant. Anty’s as good a Catholic as ever breathed, and so was her mother before her; and when she’s Mrs Kelly, as I mane to make her, Master Barry may shell out the cash and go to heaven his own way for me.’
‘It ain’t the family then, you’re fond of, Martin! And I wondher at that, considering how old Sim loved us all.’
‘Niver mind Sim, John! he’s dead and gone; and av’ he niver did a good deed before, he did one when he didn’t lave all his cash to that precious son of his, Barry Lynch.’
‘You’re prepared for squalls with Barry, I suppose?’
‘He’ll have all the squalling on his own side, I’m thinking, John. I don’t mane to squall, for one. I don’t see why I need, with œ400 a-year in my pocket, and a good wife to the fore.’
‘The œ400 a-year’s good enough, av’ you touch it, certainly,’ said the man of law, thinking of his own insufficient guinea a-week, ‘and you must look to have some throuble yet afore you do that. But as to the wife why, the less said the better eh, Martin?
‘Av’ it’s not asking too much, might I throuble you, sir, to set anywhere else but on my shouldher?’ This was addressed to a very fat citizen, who was wheezing behind Martin, and who, to escape suffocation in the crowd, was endeavouring to raise himself on his neighbour’s shoulders. ‘And why the less said the better? I wish yourself may never have a worse.’
‘I wish I mayn’t, Martin, as far as the cash goes; and a man like me might look a long time in Dublin before he got a quarter of the money. But you must own Anty’s no great beauty, and she’s not over young, either.’
‘Av’ she’s no beauty, she’s not downright ugly, like many a girl that gets a good husband; and av’ she’s not over young, she’s not over old. She’s not so much older than myself, after all. It’s only because her own people have always made nothing of her; that’s what has made everybody else do the same.’
‘Why, Martin, I know she’s ten years older than Barry, and Barry’s older than you!’
‘One year; and Anty’s not full ten years older than him. Besides, what’s ten years between man and wife?’
‘Not much, when it’s on time right side. But it’s the wrong side with you, Martin!’
‘Well, John, now, by virtue of your oath, as you chaps say, wouldn’t you many a woman twice her age, av’ she’d half the money? Begad you would, and leap at it!’
‘Perhaps I would. I’d a deal sooner have a woman eighty than forty. There’d be some chance then of having the money after the throuble was over! Anty’s neither ould enough nor young enough’
‘She’s not forty, any way; and won’t be yet for five years and more; and, as I hope for glory, John though I know you won’t believe me I wouldn’t marry her av’ she’d all Sim Lynch’s ill-gotten property, instead of only half, av’ I wasn’t really fond of her, and av’ I didn’t think I’d make her a good husband.’
‘You didn’t tell mother what you’re afther, did you?’
‘Sorrow a word! But she’s so ‘cute she partly guesses; and I think Meg let slip something. The girls and Anty are thick as thiefs since old Sim died; though they couldn’t be at the house much since Barry came home, and Anty daren’t for her life come down to the shop.’
‘Did mother say anything about the schame?’
‘Faix, not much; but what she did say, didn’t show she’d much mind for it. Since Sim Lynch tried to get Toneroe from her, when father died, she’d never a good word for any of them. Not but what she’s always a civil look for Anty, when she sees her.’
‘There’s not much fear she’ll look black on the wife, when you bring the money home with her. But where’ll you live, Martin? The little shop at Dunmore’ll be no place for Mrs Kelly, when there’s a lady of the name with œ400 a-year of her own.’
‘‘Deed then, John, and that’s what I don’t know. Maybe I’ll build up the ould house at Toneroe; some of the O’Kellys themselves lived there, years ago.’
‘I believe they did; but it was years ago, and very many years ago, too, since they lived there. Why you’d have to pull it all down, before you began to build it up!’
‘Maybe I’d build a new house, out and out. Av’ I got three new lifes in the laise, I’d do that; and the lord wouldn’t be refusing me, av’ I asked him.’
‘Bother the lord, Martin; why you’d be asking anything of any lord, and you with œ400 a-year of your own? Give up Toneroe, and go and live at Dunmore House at once.’
‘What! along with Barry when I and Anty’s married? The biggest house in county Galway wouldn’t hould the three of us.’
‘You don’t think Barry Lynch’ll stay at Dunmore afther you’ve married his sisther?’
‘And why not?’
‘Why not! Don’t you know Barry thinks himself one of the raal gentry now? Any ways, he wishes others to think so. Why, he’d even himself to Lord Ballindine av’ he could! Didn’t old Sim send him to the same English school with the lord on purpose? tho’ little he got by it, by all accounts! And d’you think he’ll remain in Dunmore, to be brother-inlaw to the son of the woman that keeps the little grocer’s shop in the village? Not he! He’ll soon be out of Dunmore when he hears what his sister’s afther doing, and you’ll have Dunmore House to yourselves then, av’ you like it.’
‘I’d sooner live at Toneroe, and that’s the truth; and I’d not give up the farm av’ she’d double the money! But, John, faith, here’s the judges at last. Hark, to the boys screeching!’
‘They’d not screech that way for the judges, my boy. It’s the traversers that’s Dan and the rest of ’em. They’re coming into court. Thank God, they’ll soon be at work now!’
‘And will they come through this way? Faith, av’ they do, they’ll have as hard work to get in, as they’ll have to get out by and by.’
‘They’ll not come this way there’s another way in for them: tho’ they are traversers now, they didn’t dare but let them go in at the same door as the judges themselves.’
‘Hurrah, Dan! More power to you! Three cheers for the traversers, and Repale for ever! Success to every mother’s son of you, my darlings! You’ll be free yet, in spite of John Jason Rigby and the rest of ’em! The prison isn’t yet built that’d hould ye, nor won’t be! Long life to you, Sheil sure you’re a Right Honourable Repaler now, in spite of Greenwich Hospital and the Board of Trade! More power, Gavan Duffy; you’re the boy that’ll settle ’em at last! Three cheers more for the Lord Mayor, God bless him! Well, yer reverence, Mr Tierney never mind, they could come to no good when they’d be parsecuting the likes of you! Bravo, Tom Hurrah for Tom Steele!’
Such, and such like, were the exclamations which greeted the traversers, and their cortŠge, as they drew up to the front or the Four Courts. Dan O’Connell was in the Lord Mayor’s state carriage, accompanied by that high official; and came up to stand his trial for conspiracy and sedition, in just such a manner as he might be presumed to proceed to take the chair at some popular municipal assembly; and this was just the thing qualified to please those who were on his own side, and mortify the feelings of the party so bitterly opposed to him. There was a bravado in it, and an apparent contempt, not of the law so much as of the existing authorities of the law, which was well qualified to have this double effect.
And now the outer doors of the Court were opened, and the crowd at least as many as were able to effect an entrance rushed in. Martin and John Kelly were among those nearest to the door, and, in reward of their long patience, got sufficiently into the body of the Court to be in a position to see, when standing on tiptoe, the noses of three of the four judges, and the wigs of four of the numerous counsel employed. The Court was so filled by those who had a place there by right, or influence enough to assume that they had so, that it was impossible to obtain a more favourable situation. But this of itself was a great deal quite sufficient to justify Martin in detailing to his Connaught friends every particular of the whole trial. They would probably be able to hear everything; they could positively see three of the judges, and if those two big policemen, with high hats, could by any possibility be got to remove themselves, it was very probable that they would be able to see Sheil’s back, when he stood up.
John soon began to show off his forensic knowledge. He gave a near guess at the names of the four counsel whose heads were visible, merely from the different shades and shapes of their wigs. Then he particularised the inferior angels of that busy Elysium.
‘That’s Ford that’s Gartlan that’s Peirce Mahony,’ he exclaimed, as the different attorneys for the traversers, furiously busy with their huge bags, fidgetted about rapidly, or stood up in their seats, telegraphing others in different parts of the Court.
‘There’s old Kemmis,’ as they caught a glimpse of the Crown agent; ‘he’s the boy that doctored the jury list. Fancy, a jury chosen out of all Dublin, and not one Catholic! As if that could be fair!’ And then he named the different judges. ‘Look at that big-headed, pig-faced fellow on the right that’s Pennefather! He’s the blackest sheep of the lot and the head of them! He’s a thoroughbred Tory, and as fit to be a judge as I am to be a general. That queer little fellow, with the long chin, he’s Burton he’s a hundred if he’s a day he was fifty when he was called, seventy when they benched him, and I’m sure he’s a judge thirty years! But he’s the sharpest chap of the whole twelve, and no end of a boy afther the girls. If you only saw him walking in his robes I’m sure he’s not three feet high! That next, with the skinny neck, he’s Crampton he’s one of Father Mathews lads, an out and out teetotaller, and he looks it; he’s a desperate cross fellow, sometimes! The other one, you can’t see, he’s Perrin. There, he’s leaning over you can just catch the side of his face he’s Perrin. It’s he’ll acquit the traversers av’ anything does he’s a fair fellow, is Perrin, and not a red-hot thorough-going Tory like the rest of ’em.’
Here John was obliged to give over the instruction of his brother, being enjoined so to do by one of the heavy-hatted policemen in his front, who enforced his commands for silence, with a backward shove of his wooden truncheon, which came with rather unnecessary violence against the pit of John’s stomach.
The fear of being turned out made him for the nonce refrain from that vengeance of abuse which his education as a Dublin Jackeen well qualified him to inflict. But he put down the man’s face in his retentive memory, and made up his mind to pay him of.
And now the business of the day commenced. After some official delays and arrangements Sheil arose, and began his speech in defence of John O’Connell. It would be out of place here to give either his words or his arguments; besides, they have probably before this been read by all who would care to read them. When he commenced, his voice appeared, to those who were not accustomed to hear him, weak, piping, and most unfit for a popular orator; but this effect was soon lost in the elegance of his language and the energy of his manner; and, before he had been ten minutes on his legs, the disagreeable tone was forgotten, though it was sounding in the eager ears of every one in the Court.
His speech was certainly brilliant, effective, and eloquent; but it satisfied none that heard him, though it pleased all. It was neither a defence of the general conduct and politics of the party, such as O’Connell himself attempted in his own case, nor did it contain a chain of legal arguments to prove that John O’Connell, individually, had not been guilty of conspiracy, such as others of the counsel employed subsequently in favour of their own clients.
Sheil’s speech was one of those numerous anomalies with which this singular trial was crowded; and which, together, showed the great difficulty of coming to a legal decision on a political question, in a criminal court. Of this, the present day gave two specimens, which will not be forgotten; when a Privy Councillor, a member of a former government, whilst defending his client as a barrister, proposed in Court a new form of legislation for Ireland, equally distant from that adopted by Government, and that sought to be established by him whom he was defending; and when the traverser on his trial rejected the defence of his counsel, and declared aloud in Court, that he would not, by his silence, appear to agree in the suggestions then made.
This spirit of turning the Court into a political debating arena extended to all present. In spite of the vast efforts made by them all, only one of the barristers employed has added much to his legal reputation by the occasion. Imputations were made, such as I presume were never before uttered by one lawyer against another in a court of law. An Attorney-General sent a challenge from his very seat of office; and though that challenge was read in Court, it was passed over by four judges with hardly a reprimand. If any seditious speech was ever made by O’Connell, that which he made in his defence was especially so, and he was, without check, allowed to use his position as a traverser at the bar, as a rostrum from which to fulminate more thoroughly and publicly than ever, those doctrines for uttering which he was then being tried; and, to crown it all, even the silent dignity of the bench was forgotten, and the lawyers pleading against the Crown were unhappily alluded to by the Chief Justice as the ‘gentlemen on the other side.’
Martin and John patiently and enduringly remained standing the whole day, till four o’clock; and then the latter had to effect his escape, in order to keep an appointment which he had made to meet Lord Ballindine.
As they walked along the quays they both discussed the proceedings of the day, and both expressed themselves positively certain of the result of the trial, and of the complete triumph of O’Connell and his party. To these pleasant certainties Martin added his conviction, that Repeal must soon follow so decided a victory, and that the hopes of Ireland would be realised before. the close of 1844. John was neither so sanguine nor so enthusiastic; it was the battle, rather than the thing battled for, that was dear to him; the strife, rather than the result. He felt that it would be dull times in Dublin, when they should have no usurping Government to abuse, no Saxon Parliament to upbraid, no English laws to ridicule, and no Established Church to curse.
The only thing which could reconcile him to immediate Repeal, would be the probability of having then to contend for the election of an Irish Sovereign, and the possible dear delight which might follow, of Ireland going to war with England, in a national and becoming manner.
Discussing these important measures, they reached the Dublin brother’s lodgings, and Martin turned in to wash his face and hands, and put on clean boots, before he presented himself to his landlord and patron, the young Lord Ballindine.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:55