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utter ignorance of legal proceedings, or of the nature of evidence, is one of the most absurd parts of the proceeding I have been commenting upon. I know well that Jeremy Bentham holds cross-examination very cheap, and would substitute for it what he calls undequaque examination, that is, he would have the whole by-standers in the Court pelt the witness with questions, all of them springing from the brains of ignorant men, utterly unacquainted with the matter in issue, and wholly ignorant what the trial is about. This plan requires no experience to demonstrate its unutterable absurdity. But bad as it is, the Benthamites never dreamt of the last step of folly and injustice, the leaving all the audience who chose, some after hearing the case in whole, some only in part, and even those who had only heard one side and not a word of the other, to interfere to pronounce judgment upon it. But this absurdity is what I had the pain, the mortification, the great humiliation of seeing the House I belong to do in the Duke of York's case, and do with entire self-satisfaction, and to the unspeakable comfort and satisfaction of the people at large, and the great edification and glory of those who are zealots for Parliamentary privileges.

No one can look back on the famous inquiry on which I am casting my recollection and not bless Heaven that courts of law do not resemble the House of Commons. We lawyers may justly say that we "thank God we are not as other courts are, or even as this House of Commons." If ever a device was fallen upon more fitted than any other to bring justice into contempt, and Parliament into hatred, it is the course of proceeding pursued by the Commons in such cases, and in all that relates to their quasi-judicial functions -for example, their privileges. They follow no known rule; they abide by no fixed principle; they despise all authority; they are a law unto themselves; they are both party, counsel, judge, executioner; and,

moreover, they lay down the law by which they are to try, and to convict, and to sentence, in every case, after the alleged offence has been committed, and they adapt the new ex post facto law to the particular case which they have to try. That such a course should long be borne seems impossible.

But I have been drawn aside from my purpose, which was to mark the evils of judicial proceedings conducted by tribunals under the immediate control of a tyrant. The Judges under Henry VIII., and Elizabeth, and James I. were guilty of the most flagrant acts of cruelty and injustice through dread of the absolute prince they served. Even so were the peers. Look at the testimony on which Somerset was convicted of Overbury's murder. It was all hearsay; and rested on the confessions, mutilated in receiving and in proving them, of other parties who had been executed. Even the Gunpowder Plot was inquired into by anything rather than legal evidence; and Anne Boleyn was murdered by process of law. But the mob is as ruthless, as fell a tyrant, as any Tudor, any Stuart. Strafford and Stafford by Parliament, and the sufferers for the popish plot by the Judges, were all tried under the mob influence, by Judges acting under terror of the mob out of doors. Their proceedings are a disgrace to the name of Judge in this country. I continued all through the Duke's business to consider the House of Commons as precisely placed in the like circumstances. They were were acting under the dread of the multitude. Their conduct of the inquiry was as contrary to all law, and all rules of proceeding, as any course ever taken by either Parliament or Judges in the most arbitrary reigns of our history.

On our circuit we have had brethren coming from the two sister kingdoms of Scotland and Ireland. Ferguson, since gone to India, where he is making, I hear, a large fortune, was of the former class, though

he had never been at the Scotch Bar. But Ogle belonged to the latter country, and he too is now thriving in India.

Ferguson was an excellent fellow, full of talent, little read in his profession, owing, indeed, the reading he had to the accident of having been imprisoned under sentence for a seditious riot at the state trials at Maidstone, where he and Lord Thanet were charged with having aided in a rescue of the prisoners just acquitted, but detained on a new charge. Ferguson always spoke of this conviction with a bitterness foreign to his nature, as does Lord Thanet to this day; but Ferguson used to give us anecdotes of the Maidstone trial, which were amusing. Thus, Sheridan being called for the defendants, Garrow cross-examined him, and happening to dislike the answer he got, was using the ordinary form of palaver in repeating the question, "Perhaps I don't make myself understood?" "Certainly you do not," said Sheridan coolly enough. "Oh' then," and Garrow repeated his question in a different form; but still the desired answer came not; whereupon he said in the accustomed palavering manner-"It is perhaps my obscurity and confused way of putting it ?"-Sheridan bowed assent in a marked manner, which excited loud laughter, as he added, "Exactly so." Abbott, now Chief Justice, was called for the Crown, and Erskine cross-examined him. Fugion, the Bow Street runner, had just been examined. Abbott gave a shuffling answer, which drew from Erskine the only harsh word, Ferguson said, he had ever heard from that great and mild-tempered man. "Sir, I should have been ashamed of the Bow Street runner if he had given me an answer like that." Abbott, Ferguson said, looked furious, and never forgot or forgave the blow.

The Irish Bar and Bench are, I believe, high in point of talent, and respectable in learning; but they have inferior powers of correctly doing their business. It is all a haphazard from what I have seen of them; but no

one can deny them great readiness and eloquence, and their wit is renowned. But their wit is not confined to the Bar as it is with us, unless on very rare occasions-"few and far between." On the contrary, the Irish Bench, if not the fountain of wit, is, at least, one of its reservoirs; it is a main through which wit flows freely and copiously. I have heard of numberless instances, like the one I formerly recounted, of Sir Frederick Flood's "unfortunate client," which, by the way, I ascribed to Lord Chief Justice Downes; whereas it was Lord Guillemores (Chief Baron O'Grady's). With his strong Limerick brogue; his quickness of repartee; his unscrupulousness of offending against strict decorum; he really seems to have been among the most accomplished of jokemongers. His sarcasm was often so sly that it went over the head of his victim, but was perceived and relished by the by-standers. Thus, when one rather of a silly nature was complaining of his son's obstinacy, and calling that near relative a "complete mule," "No doubt" (said O'Grady) "he has a title to the name, both personal and hereditary." But his victim asked, "How could a mule beget a mule?" "No, truly," answered he, "but every mule must have a father." Macnally, a vulgar man, and therefore ever fond of keeping high company, was once showing off about his dinners at Leinster House, and would bring on the subject by affecting to complain of their plainness and scantiness. "How so?" said the Chief Baron. Why," says Macnally, "for instance, yesterday, we had no fish at table." Probably," said my Lord, "they had eaten it all in the parlour;" so fine was his wit. But in more broad jesting Chief Baron Patterson was at least his equal. He once addressed a Grand Jury on the state of the country, then disturbed by the cabals, intrigues, and squabbles of the great rival powers or families of Agar, Flood, and Bushe. "It is truly painful," said his Lordship, "to contemplate; but how can it be otherwise when the land is flooded with



corruption, each man eager only for place, and every bush conceals a villian ?"

Macnally was one of the greatest romancers ever known even in Ireland. I have heard men say that he had, by some awkward, not very sober or any very temperate scrapes, lost the whole of one thumb and a moiety of another finger, and they used to ask the how and the when, to each of which interrogatories he would put in a totally different answer; till at last, getting quite confused, and half-recollecting his former accounts of the matters in question, he got furious, and said he had wholly forgotten all about it.

Another time Macnally went to Mr. Parsons, one of the wits of the Bar, when his son, a somewhat disreputable character, had been robbed: "Well (said M.), have you heard of my son's robbery ?" "No," answered Parsons quietly, "No, who has he been robbing ?"

I place Plunket very far above all the Irish and almost all the English speakers I have ever heard; and I have heard the best of both countries. But I never heard Plunket at the Bar, where I consider he must have been very great indeed. His perfectly logical head-his sustained force of reasoning-his entire neglect, amounting to an apparent contempt of everything but the matter in hand-the cause; his superiority to tinsel and all finery, like a kind of abhorrence-even without his own most chaste imagery, most apposite comparisons, happy illustrations, and occasionally, but very rarely, admirable jokes-these perfections place him in the very first line of orators among those of all ages; and these perfections are in a most peculiar manner suited to command the greatest success at the Bar, whether before the court or the jury. Of his wit, sometimes approaching to drollery, and the effect heightened by its contrast with the peculiarly grave aspect and manner of the man, I have seen both in Parliament and society instances not

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