These are but a few specimens of the means resorted to in order to precipitate a measure that was announced in all the pomp of prophetic assertion, as the sure and only means of conferring prosperity and repose upon the Irish nation: and were it not for certain counteracting circumstances, such as the nightly incursions of Captain Rock; the periodical eclipses of the Constitution by the intervention of the Insurrection Act; a pretty general insecurity of life and property; the decay of public spirit; the growth of faction; a weekly list of insolvencies, murders, conflagrations, and letters from Sir Harcourt Lees, unprecedented in the annals of a happy country — but for these, and similar visitations, all originating in the comprehensive and inscrutable efforts of the prophets themselves to falsify their prediction, the Union, notwithstanding the demerits of its supporters, might long since have ceased to be a standing topic of popular execration.

The disasters that, in point of fact, have followed, were pretty accurately foreseen by the men who opposed this muchvaunted measure. They failed, but they did their duty fearlessly and well, and not one of them, it is but just to say, in a spirit of more entire self-oblivion, and more earnest sensibility to his public duties, than the person whose name is prefixed to the present article. His manly and upright conduct, as usual in Ireland, excited deep and lasting resentment. He was stigmatized as an honest Irishman, and, disdaining to atone by after-compliances for his original offence, had to encounter all those impediments to professional advancement which systematically followed so obnoxious a disqualification.

Here I had intended to close my observations upon Sergeant Goold; but it occurs to me that there remains one topic, not, indeed, connected with his professional life, but of so much terests been set at rest by a certainty of compensation. The injustice of annihilating provisions in family settlements resting upon the security of boroughs was also insisted on. I like better the stern logic of Mr. Saurin; be no injustice in denying property to be acquired by acts which the law declares to be a crime. As well might the highwayman, upon a public road being · stopt up, exclaim against the disturbance of his right to plunder the passengers." [The actual sum paid away, as compensation," to the patrons of Irish boroughs, at the Union, was over one and a half million pounds sterling.-M.]


"There can

notoriety, and to this day so often canvassed, that a total silence upon it might be misconstrued. I allude to the evidence which he gave in the year 1818, at the bar of the House of Commons, upon the inquiry into the conduct of Mr. Wyndham Quin. An imputation was cast upon his character at the time; and though stifled, as far as it could be, by the vote of an immense majority of the House, it has not wanted external support in that uncharitable spirit, which is ever ready to pronounce a summary verdiet of conviction, upon no other foundation than the fact of a charge having been made.

I have now before me the report of the debates, and the minutes of the evidence in question. The latter are so voluminous, that it would be altogether unjust to the party concerned, to propose repelling the accusation by any analysis and comments that could be condensed into my present limits. I can merely state the general conclusion, to which I have come upon a minute examination and comparison of the several parts of the evidence; and that is my full and unhesitating conviction, that Mr. Goold was as incapable as the most high-minded of his accusers, of intentionally withholding or misrepresenting a single fact which he was called upon to disclose. He was, I admit, what is technically called "a bad witness;" barristers are proverbially so (instead of an answer they give a speech). Mr. Goold, from his habits and temperament, is peculiarly so. Upon every matter, great and small, he is hot and hasty; and announces his views with the tone and temper of a partisau. It is a part of the constitution of his mind, to have an undue confidence in the infallibility of his faculties and the importance of his personal concerns. All this broke out, as it does everywhere else, at the bar of the House of Commons: he could no more repress it than he

* Goold, when examined as a witness in the Limerick Election case, answered so vaguely, and confusedly, that his statement appeared full of discrepancies. The Election Committee reported him guilty of prevarication—a serious charge against a man of his standing at the bar and in society. The result was that he was thenceforth passed over in all law appointments. Previously, his elevation to the bench was considered certain. Goold eventually became Master in Chancery (a sort of legal sinecure in his case), and died at a very advanced age.-M.



could the movement of his arteries; and the effect upon the minds of strangers to his peculiarities may naturally enough have been unfavorable: but when the question arisen is a denial of a collateral and unessential matter of fact, a lapse of memory, or a meditated suppression, surely every one, who would not wantonly shake the stability of character, should feel bound to put the tenor of a long and honorable life against a most improbable supposition.

This was the view taken by those who knew him best: among the rest, by the late Mr. Grattan, whose friendship alone formed high evidence of a spotless reputation. For thirty years Mr. Grattan had been his intimate friend, and had seen him pass through the ordeal of times which tried, as far as any earthly process can try, the worth and honor of a man and what was his impassioned exclamation? "Mr. Goold is thoroughly known to me. I would stake my existence upon his integrity, as I would upon my own. If he is not to be trusted, I know not who is to be trusted!" To this attestation, and its inference, I can not but cordially subscribe.


I LOOK upon MR. NORTH to be in several respects a very interesting person. He is immediately so by the great respectability of his character and talents. He is at the same time a subject that less directly invites the attention and speculation of an observer, in consequence of certain predicaments of situation and feeling, upon which his lot has cast him, and in discussing which the mind must, of necessity, ascend from the qualities and the fortunes of the individual to considerations of a higher and more lasting concern. If I were to treat of him solely as a practising barrister, possessed of certain legal attributes, and having reached a determined station, the task would be short and simple. But this would be unjust. Mr. North's mind and acquirements, and, it may be added, his personal history, entitle him to a more extended notice, and, in some points of view, to greater commendation, not unmingled, however, with occasional regrets, than his merely forensic career would claim.

It is now about fifteen years since Mr. North was called to the Irish bar.* He was called, not merely by the bench of

* John Henry North, born in 1789, went through Trinity College, Dublin, with brilliant success, obtaining such distinctions there that no one for a century had a higher collegiate reputation. In 1811, he was called to the bar, and immediately established a name for eloquence and legal acumen. He was married in 1818, to the sister of John Leslie Foster, afterward a Judge, and a near relative of Lord Oriel. Mr. North, whose character for oratory was very high, was brought into Parliament, in 1824, for an English borough, by Canning, to whom he was known. He was returned for an Irish borough in 1831, and by no means equalled the expectations of his political friends. In 1830, on the removal of Sir Jonah Barrington, the office of Judge of the Admiralty



legal elders performing the technical ceremony of investment, but by the unanimous voices of a host of admiring friends, so numerous as to be in themselves a little public, who fondly predicted that his career would form a new and brilliant era in the annals of Irish oratory. This feeling was not an absurd and groundless partiality. There was, in truth, no previous instance of a young man making his entry into the Four Courts, under circumstances so imposing and prophetic of a high destination. He had already earned the fame of being destined to be famous. In his college course he had outstripped every competitor. He there obtained an optime- an attestation of rare occurrence, and to be extorted only by merit of the highest order in all of the several classical and scientific departments, upon which the intellect of the student is made to sustain a publie scrutiny into the extent of its powers and attainments.

The Historical Society was not yet suppressed.* Mr. North was accounted its most shining ornament. It was an established custom that each of its periodical sessions should be

Court in Ireland was conferred upon Mr. North, by the Duke of Wellington. When the Reform Bill was brought forward by Earl Grey's administration, its details were opposed by Mr. North, who considered it a revolutionary meas ure; Canning whose politics he held, had always opposed Parliamentary Reform. Mr. North died in September, 1831, at the early age of forty-two.

* The Historical Society, long connected with the University of Dublin, was at once the nursery and the school of Irish Eloquence. There some of the great men who have made history, learned the difficult task of public speaking, which has been well defined to be the art of thinking on one's legs. In that arena, Sheil himself was schooled in rhetoric. Among the later orators in this Society were Charles Wolfe, author of the noble lyric, "Not a drum was heard," in which he described the burial of Sir John Moore, who fell, in January, 1809, during the retreat at Corunna. The liberal principles professed and vindicated in the Historical Society, induced the University authorities first to discountenance it, next to restrict its license, then to drive it out of connection with the College, and finally to suppress it. The Speculative Society of Edinburgh, of which an account is given in Lockhart's "Life of Scott"-the place where Jeffrey, Brougham, and their compeers, learned to be eloquent-appears to have much resembled the Historical Society of Dublin. So, also, to this hour, are the Debating Clubs (called "The Union"), at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, where Heber and Gladstone, as well as Macaulay and Bulwer, first gained distinction among their fellows.-M.

« VorigeDoorgaan »