« VorigeDoorgaan »
of unexampled delicacy; and as such requires the nicest management in sustaining them under the fatigues of protracted hope, and in preventing them from confounding inevitable delays with an abandonment of their cause by their professed supporters. It would be too much to expect that indications of this latter feeling will not occasionally break out, and in forms that may render it doubtful whether the due limits of popular discussion have been observed. Upon such questions, when they arise, the law-officers of the Crown will have to advise ; and, to advise with discretion, they must have something more than a knowledge of the law. There must be good temper, good sense, good will toward the parties concerned, and a strong public interest in preserving the state from the embarrassments that would follow a hasty prosecution. These important moral qualifications (if he be true to the tenor of his past life) will be found in Mr. Doherty's official character; and along with them a great practical skill in winning over the tempers of others to a given object, which eminently fits him for the task of mediating between the occasional effervescence of his Catholic countrymen and the literal rigor of the law. He will also- but I have pursued the subject far enough, and in dwelling so long upon it I feel it to be only an act of common justice to an estimable individual to record the opinion of the Irish public upon the cruel but unavailing attempt that has been made to mar his prospects, and to bring discredit upon the Government that thought him worthy of their trust.
The voice of the country in which Mr. Doherty is best known has sustained him through this important crisis of his life. The zeal with which his case was taken up by the Irish community, though a merited, was a most essential service, and claims at his hands every possible public return that he can make. He may personally forgive the Irish Chancellor for the wrong inflicted on him; but for the sake of others, if not for his own, he must bear it keenly in his memory, and, stimulated by the recollection, make his future conduct a practical refutation of the pretexts for crushing him, and thereby afford an unanswerable justification of the Government that placed him where he is, and of the public that so warmly approved of the choice.
What is expected from him as an officer of the Crown I have already intimated; but he will have other and more comprehensive opportunities of retorting upon Lord Manners his public services. He will shortly resume his seat in the House of Commons, under circumstances that will secure for him an effective co-operation in every salutary measure that he proposes; and he must not allow the indolence of success, or a groundless diffidence, to restrain him from turning his facilities to a useful account. Hitherto he has prudently abstained from trusting his reputation to the precarious effect of samplespeeches; and his continued abstinence will be justly applauded, if he aspires to the better fame of making the statute-book speak for him.
I have heard that he has for some time past been meditating a simplification of the Irish bankrupt-law. This is a favorable omen; but his ambition, to be of service, must not be limited to matters of subordinate moment. It would be neither easy nor in place to enumerate here the various legislative wants of Ireland; but I can not avoid suggesting that there is one subject of the highest national interest as yet unappropriated by any Irish member, and holding out an asssurance of the lasting importance that follows public services to any competent individual who shall make it his peculiar care: I allude to the civilization of the Irish criminal code. Such a project would be immediately within the scope of Mr. Doherty's studies and experience; much of the first and most deterring labor of the task would be saved by the adoption of Mr. Peel's general plan,* while enough would remain in the modifications required by the particular state of Irish society, to give the undertaking a higher character than that of a servile imitation.
* The late Sir Robert Peel was an eminently practical man of business. In 1817, when he was Irish Secretary, he introduced the excellent police system now in operation in Ireland—from him the policemen are called Peelers. Thirteen years later, he modified that system and adapted it to London, where it continues to be very efficient. In 1826, he commenced his admirable attempts to soften the rigor of our criminal code, and succeeded in mitigating the severity of laws, which, in consequence of their harshness, had become nearly inoperative. Nor, when he quitted office, in 1827 (on Canning's becoming Premier), did he relinquish this course of humanity and reason.-M.
THE DUBLIN TABINET BALL.
A LARGE district of Dublin, commonly called "The Liberty," is occupied by the manufacturers of tabinet. This part of the city exhibits at all times a disagreeable aspect. It is a labyrinth of narrow lanes, composed of old and crazy houses, and is choked with nastiness of every kind. Even when its enormous population is in active employment, the senses are shocked with much odious circumstance; but when labor is suspended, as is often the case, and the inhabitants are thrown out of employment, a spectacle of wretchedness is presented in this quarter of the Irish metropolis, of which it would require the genius of Mr. Crabbe for the delineation of misery to convey any adequate picture.
In the last month the manufacturing class have been without occupation or food. I passed, not very many days ago, through the district in which they chiefly reside, and do not recollect to have ever witnessed a more distressing scene. The streets may be said to have swarmed with want. With starvation and despair in their countenances, and with their arms hanging in listlessness at their sides, hundreds of emaciated men stood in groups at every corner. They gaped on every person of the better class who chanced to pass them, with the vacant earnestness of famine; and when the equipage of some pampered and vain-glorious citizen rolled by, it was painful to observe in the expression of their faces the dumb comparison with their own condition, which was passing through their minds.
The doors of the houses lay wide open, and, lighted up as they were with the new and brilliant sunshine of May, afforded
329 an insight into the recesses of internal wretchedness. Their wives and children were seen huddled up together, with scarcely a shred of raiment upon their discolored and emaciated limbs. Their beds and blankets had been transferred to the pawnbrokers; and of their furniture, nothing but the mere fixtures remained. The ashes round the hearth seemed to be of a week's standing; and it was easy to perceive that the few potato-skins, scattered about the floor, were the relics of a repast of no very recent date. Silence in general prevailed through these receptacles of calamity, except that now and then I heard the wailing of a child, who called with a feeble cry for bread. Most of these houses of affliction were deserted by the men, who stood in frightful gatherings in the public way. But here and there I observed the wan but athletic father of a family, sitting in the interior of his hovel, with his. hands locked upon his knee, surrounded by his children, of whose presence he appeared to be scarcely conscious, and with his wild and matted hair, his fixed and maddening eye, his hard and stony lip, exhibiting a personification of despair; and, if I may so say, looking like the Ugolino of "The Liberty."
Whatever may be the faults of the Irish character, insensibility to distress is not among them. Much substantial and practical commiseration was exhibited among the higher orders for the sufferings of the unfortunate manufacturers, and various expedients were adopted for their relief. It was, among other devices of benevolence, suggested to the Marchioness of Wellesley, that a public ball at the Rotunda would be of use, and accordingly a "Tabinet Ball," under the auspices of that fair and newly-ennobled lady, was announced. The notice was given in order to afford the young ladies in the country an opportunity of coming to town, and the 11th of May  was fixed for the metropolitan fête. Peremptory orders were issued at the Castle, that no person should appear in any other than Irish manufacture. A great sensation was produced by what in such a provincial town as Dublin may be considered as an event. Crowds of families flocked from all parts of the country; and if any prudential grazier remon
strated against the expense of a journey to the metropolis, the eyes of the young ladies having duly filled with tears, and mamma having protested that Mr. O'Flaherty might as well send the girls to a convent, and doom them to old-maidenhood for life, the old carriage was ordered to the hall-door, and came creaking into town, laden with the rural belles, who were to make a conquest at the "Tabinet Ball." The arrival of the important day was looked for with impatience, and many a young heart was kept beating under its virgin zone at the pleasurable anticipation. In the interval much good was accomplished, and Terpsichore set the loom at work. Every milliner's shop gave notes of profuse and prodigal prep
At last the 11th of May arrived, and at about ten o'clock the city shook with the roll of carriages hurrying from all quarters to the Rotunda. Not very long ago, Doctor Brinkley, the astronomer,* took the noise of a newly-established manufactory for the indication of an approaching earthquake; and if he had not been removed since then from the contemplation of the stars, he would, in all likelihood, have taken the concussion of the Tabinet Ball night, for the earthquake itself. The love of dancing is not among my addictions, and it is the tendency of most persons of my profession to set up as a kind of spurious Childe-Harolds upon occasions of this kind; but as the object of the ball was national, and I was solicitous to take a close survey of Lord Wellesley and his Transatlantic bride, I resolved to join the festive gathering, which charity and its amiable patroness had assembled.
The Rotunda, where the ball was given, is a very beautiful building, erected, I believe, by Sir William Chambers, and
* Dr. John Brinkley was an Englishman, born in 1760.
He was educated
at Oxford, and was appointed, on the repute he had gained for his scientific acquirements, to the Professorship of Astronomy in the University of Dublin. He remained in this office until he was made Bishop of Cloyne. He died in 1835. He was the discoverer, in 1814, of the parallax of the fixed stars.— .— M.
t Sir William Chambers, architect, was a native of Scotland, and erected Somerset House, in London, a palatial edifice of much beauty, appropriated to offices for several of the Government departments. He wrote a valuable work on "Civil Architecture," and died in 1796. He was knighted by the King of