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a defence, the jury ought to be told his petition. His, however, appears in all cases, that every man is pre- to have been by no means a claim dessumed to be sane, and to possess a suf- titute of some colour of probability, ficient degree of reason to be respon- and one, at all events, consistent with sible for his crimes, until the contrary the terms of the original patents. Half be proved to their satisfaction; and a century passed away, and no more to establish a defence on the ground of was heard of the Stirling peerage, when insanity, it must be clearly proved another claimant rose up in the perthat, at the time of the committing of son of Alexander Alexander. the act, the party accused was labour- Alexander Alexander was the son ing under such a defect of reason, of a Birmingham merchant of the from disease of the mind, as not to name of Humphries, who went to know the nature and quality of the France in 1802, was caught up like act he was doing; or, if he did know other English visitors, and imprisoned it, that he did not know he was doing in Verdun, where he died in 1807. what was wrong.”

His son, who had accompanied him, The next trial that of " Alexander was detained at Verdun till 1814; Alexander, claiming the title of the affairs of the Humphries' became Earl of Stirling, for forgery"—is the deranged, and how they were supmost remarkable in the volume. The ported in France is not known. In rank of the accused, his character for 1812, Alexander married a Neapolitan integrity, and the nature of the docu- lady, an intimate acquaintance of ments alleged to be forgeries, gave to Madame Normand, the celebrated the trial unusual interest. It was before Parisian sybil.” The prophetess read the High Court of Justiciary, Edin. his destiny-he was “to attain high burgh.

honour, and encounter severe trials.” In 1621, James the First granted by The oracle was not altogether out, and charter the territory of Nova Scotia to the judicial investigation of Edinburgh Sir William Alexander; and on the was, we suppose, one of the predicted 2nd of February, 1628, he received trials. from Charles the First a grant of the In 1814 he came to England, and province, since called Canada, and set up a school at Worcester. was raised to the peerage by the title In 1815, he first stated his claim to of Viscount Stirling ; he was after- the earldom of Stirling, through his mowards created Earl of Stirling and ther, Hannah Alexander, the daughter Viscount Canada, and died at London of a Presbyterian clergyman in Dublin. in February, 1640. In 1739, on the In 1824, le obtained the royal licence death of the fifth Earl of Stirling, the to take the name of Alexander, and title was supposed to have expired. soon after assumed the title of Earl of Twenty years after, an inefiectual Stirling and Dovan, and designated claim was made for it by some William his mother countess. Alexander, who was a general in the In 1831, he granted to his agent American army. The original patents 16,000 acres of land in Canada, and were to the grantee and his heirs male. made him a baronet, in the terms of a This William's statement was that the clause in the charter of 1621. In the male heir, on the death of the fifth same year he petitioned for leave to do Earl, was John, uncle of the first homage at the coronation, as herediEarl, whom he claimed to represent. tary lieutenant of Nova Scotia. He In bis petition to the House of Lords then issued a proclamation to the baroin 1761, he stated that his family bad nets of Nova Scotia, informing them long resided in North America, from of important rights and interests of which he described himself as having which they were not aware. returned in 1757. He also stated, lished a prospectus, offering for sale as a formal part of his case, that he lands in any quantities that might be had been served and returned nearest agreed on; and one of his advertiseand lawful heir of llenry the fifth ments stated that " at the hereditary Earl on the 20th of March, 1759. lieutenancy office of the Lord Pro. The claim was, it would seem from the prietor of Nova Scotia, New Brunsjournals of the House of Lords, aban- wick, and Canada, every encouragedoncd, and William Alexander re- ment and countenance would be given turned to America without having to individuals who might be disposed produced any evidence in support of to form a company, and thc hereditary


He publieutenant would himself take one- descenderl from Sir William, he was tenth of the shares of which each com- not heir male :pany might think it desirable it shoul:I consist.” Oh, John Bull, Jhu Bull, “ The excerpt on which he founded his thou that hast ears to hear everything claims, alleged to be a forgery, pretended to but the truth, for ten long years didst

be taken from a charter which operated a thou listen to these addresses to thy

change in the destination, and was a grant cupidity--for ten long years, thou that

from the crown to William, first Earl of stonest and starvest thy prophets--yea,

Stirling, and the heirs male of his body;

whom failing, to the eldest heirs female, and in thy self-glorification, buildest

without division, of the last of such heirs monuments to those whom thou hast

male.' The Crown officers contended that sioned and starved, didst support in

this was not a genuine but a forged docuwhat might be almost called aliluence, ment, and maile three startling proposithis man, who had no other claim on tions ;-that it was not the excerpt of any thee than these impudent pretensions. charter; that there never was such a charIt was, perhaps, but natural that the ter; that there never could have been such individual should be-as he certainly a charter.

Each of these positions was was—a kind of favorite in society.

proved by internal and historical evidence." lle, and those to whom his applica. tions were addressed, were worshippers It would appear that the forms of of the same idols. His was but a shorter Scottish law give some facilities for cut to wealth and rank, and for a while fraud in the case of titles. Suppose a it seemed successful. In whatever state person wishing to represent himself as of mind he commenced this strange pro

heir to anybody, he has but to get a ceeding, it was soon tainted with fraud. Lrieve from Chancery, and a jury is The notoriety of his claims, and the bold- empannelled, and such evidence as the ness with which they were advanced, party chooses to produce is laid before enabled him to raise money to large the jury. The proceeding is altogeamounts. Through one agent he got ther ex parte, and no person is heard £13,000. He sent in a protest to

in opposition to the claims, except one Lord Grey against any interference who makes precisely the same claim in with his hereditary rights by Colonial the same right. Imagine a Governments ; and petitioned the choosing to give himself any extinct House of Commons against the New title, and no one heard in opposition to Brunswick Company Bill, as inter

this who has not a fancy for the same fering with the territories of the Earl title. In this way a case is made, and of Stirling and Viscount Canada. IIe where property is not affected, the voted at all elections of Scottish peers thing is very likely never to be exsince 1825 ; and pleaded successfully, amined, and an ambitious man may in the Common Pleas in England, his exalt himself into a peer, perhaps, or a privilege as a peer from arrest. If he baronet of Nova Scotia, or some such did not believe himself Earl of Stirling, dignity, with no great difficulty. He never was there a bolder or more fear- is served, as it is called, as heir of so less impostor ; if guiltless of imposture, and so, and the service being returned never was there a man who lived so into the Court of Chancery, is evilong in such strange delusion. It is dence of his right. In this way the not impossible that he was the dupe of claimant of the Stirling peerage had a fraudulent trick ; this, though there himself served as heir of the first and is little in the evidence to suggest or the fifth Earls of Stirling. The claimsustain such a view, we almost believe ant appears to have thought that there to have been the case.

was no way of getting rid of the effect In one of the many proceedings in of the service, inasmuch as there was which he claimed to be Earl of Stir- no rival claimant ; but by some preroling, he produced documents to esta- gative process, if we understand the blish his right which were impounded, matter rightly, his pedigree was invesand a prosecution for forgery directed tigated, and the services reduced; or, against him.

we would say, quashed. Lord The original patent gave the dignity Cockburn's judicial decision against of Earl to Sir William Alexander and the validity of the services was exhis heirs male. This could answer no pressed in a very able judgment. This purpose for the present claimant, as, was in 1836.

When that judgment even on the supposition of his being was pronounced, he went to Pa.




ris-again consulted the prophetess, ments, whether written or pasted, on and in July, 1837, received from her the back-some were written, others a map of Canada, with certificates on pasted-bore dates later than 1703. the back which supplied all the defects Unluckily, the date on the map was pointed out in his case by the judicial not that of the issue of the partidetermination of 1936. These certifi- cular copy, but of the period from cates were all charged to be forgeries. which the copyright was to run: the They were dated in 1706, and pur

words at the bottom of the map were, ported to be statements about an Avec privilege pour vingt ans, 1703." ancient charter preserved in Acadia. The particular copy adds the words, One is from a person namel Philip « Par Guillaume Delisle, premier Mallett, who sends his friend this map geographe du Roi.” Delisle did not to show him what vast territories the obtain his appointment of premier King of England has given to one of geographe till 1718. The patent aphis subjects ; and he then states the pointing Delisle was put in evidence, grant to be to William Earl of Stir- and bore date August 24th, 1718. ling and the heirs male of his body, Flechier and Fenelon had both died whom failing, to the eldest heirs fe- before this copy of the map was in exmale, without division, &c., of the last

istence. of said males.” This memorandum, Evening visits of the claimant to which runs to great length, is followed the prophetess, who was seventy-five by another, in which a M. St. Es- years of age, were proved; and letters tienne certifies all the reasons which proved to have been given by her to led Mallet to inscribe this on the map, the claimant, seeking to establish some and adds :- ilith such documents, of the facts stated on the map. But no person in France can question the these were not proved to be forgedexistence of such a charter.” Then they were very probably genuine, but

another inscription on the proved a part of the fraud. map :-“ Flechier” Bishop of Nismes It does not seem necessary, after authenticates it with his autograph, what we have stated, to give the eviand his certificate is so framed as to dence of chemists and others as to the imply that lie has compared the ab- character of the ink with which the stract on the map with a copy of the certificates on the map were written. original charter.

The jury unanimously found, “the l'aster on the back of the map was excerpt-charter and the documents on a l'iter from John Alexander, whom the map to be forged ; and they, by a the claimant calls John of Antrim, majority, found it not proven that the and who makes such a statement in pannel (the traverser] forged the said this document of the peligree as mets documents, or is guilty art and part Lord Cockburn's objections. This thereof, or that he uttered them letter is dated Antrim, August 25th, knowing them to be forged." This is 1707.

an exceedingly painful case. Nothing This oll map must have been a could be higher than the testimony uriosity; for in addition to all that given in favour of the claimant's howe have mentioned, there was a certi- nour and integrity, by witnesses of ticate from Fenelon, Archbishop of the highest rank-men who had known Cambray, who vouches for Mallet, him at school and through life, and and authenticates the


Next who continued his friends. It is cer. comes the strongest fact of all : Louis tainly consistent with the evidenceXV. writes on the map—“ This note perhaps with the probabilities of the is worthy of more attention under case--that this man, possibly half inpresent circumstances, but let the copy sane with his dream of peerage and of the original charter be sent to me.' property, was himself, as has occurred De Foe himself could not

in the case of other claimants of titles, jure up more shadows from the world the victim, not alone of his own eager in which dead kings and archbishops credulity, but of the dishonest purare likely to be found, than appear on poses of persons speculating on the this map which came from the hands success of this miserable imposture. of the French prophetess. It seems The French prophetess, and the doalmost a pity to disturb the neeyo- cuments supplieil by her, are more mantia. On the front of the map was like this than anything else. It is im. the date of 1703, and all the docti- possible not to regard the claimant as

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personally mixed up in every part of to the proceedings, which a feeling of the case ; and we think some taint of chivalrous fidelity to the desperate forlurking insanity must have first sug. tunes of his client alone could justify;" gested pretensions, which actually had Neither of Whiteside's speech in deno ground whatever to rest on. There fence of his client, nor of any other does not seem the slightest reason to part of the case, do we think Mr. think he had any connexion whatever Townsend's a faithful abstract. Much with the Stirling family.

The case

of what was most effective in it was is one which it is difficult to

un- altogether omitted.

Of the legal derstand on any supposition.

arguments which from time to time The next trial, that with which Mr. arose in the progress of the case, Townsend's first volume closes, is an we have no account whatever. In. Irish casc-no other than that of deeil, the fault, the great fault, of Smith O'Brien for high treason. There Mr. Townsend's book is, that he sel. can be no object in our bringing be- dom states a law argument like a man fore our readers any of the particulars who fully appreciates its force. A of that strange case ; and, even if we short, small, smart joke is what he did not shrink instinctively from the loves best ; and the dulness of detail discussion, we have not left ourselves in some of the English and Scottish room for comment. Where there is

cases, seems, every now and then, to so much to deplore, and so much to be relieved to his mind by some misemake us, as a people, ashamed of the rable quibble or other, which the ori. whole business of 1848 ; while the ginal utterer of it must grieve to absurdity of the affair is almost more see reported. Where there is anydisgraceful to beings endowed with thing of powerful reasoning preserved reason than its criminality--it is some in these volumes, it seems but a fortu. comfort to find an English barrister- nate accident; of Whiteside's best pas. no great judge, certainly, though Re- sages none, or next to none, are given; corder of Macclesfield-praising the of Fitzgerald's, in the same way, very mode in which the trial was conducted. little is preserved. The counsel for the He seems somewhat disappointed, no Crown, and the presiding judge, are doubt, at the Attorney-General's calm not much better used ; and poor statement of the case for the Crown ; Meagher, who was convicted of high the plain business-speech-the only treason at the same cominission with one proper on such an occasion-was O'Brien, has to complain of a note in not to the Recorder's taste. - The which his foolish-- it is here called his Attorney-General despaired of wear- pathetic-appeal at the close of his ing the mantle of Plunket, and dis- trial, is printed. carded eloquence altogether." But The Chief Justice (Blackburne's) on whomsoever else his praises fall, the charge is broken into piece-meal fraghero of his narrative is our eloquent


Its great value was countryman, Whiteside ; and it does whole, and there can be no excuse our hieart good to see how much he whatever for its omission. is admired. In him he recognises Nothing could be more distinctly the great orator to whom is entrusted proved than the treason of O'Brien o the forensic honour of his country.” and his associates. The verdict could In describing eloquence, Townsend not be other than of guilty ; but it himself fancies that he is emulating the was accompanied with a recommendagreat sublime he draws. But this is a tion to mercy; and Lord Clarendon, mistake. The Recorder of Macclesfield when in the exercise of the royal preis not destined to be a great speaker. rogative he spared the lives of these Still let us hear him. “Mr. Whiteside, men, acted with humanity, which was for the defence, struck a key note of felt, under all the circumstances of national pathos which must have the case, to bave been wisdom. After vibrated through the hearts of his the conviction, there was an argument hearers. llis wit and humour flashed in the Queen's Bench, in which it was forth occasionally in cross-examining endeavoured to be shown that there the adverse witnesses, but under mani. was a mis-trial; and the points relied fest restraint, for he must have felt on by the prisoner's counsel were felt by bowed down and oppressed by the them to be so strong that they applied hopelessness of his position, and con- for a writ of error. Writs of error in strained to makc technical objections capital cases are not allowed - without


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express warrant uniler the king's a decided preference for being hanged. sign manual, or at least by the con- It was doubted whether he was quite sent of the Attorney-Generil. These sincere in this, as it was impostherefore can rarely be brought by the sible for Lord Clarendon to gratify party himself, especially where he is

bim, consistently with communications attainted for an oflence against the made to O'Brien that it was intended State; but they may be brought by to


his life. To have hanged and his heir or executor, after his death, beheaded hiin at this stage, in comin more favourable times; which may pliance with the legal rights he insisted be some consolation to his family.' on, would have looked like sharp Such was the practice in England. As practice, and a bill was passed very soon as a verdict was obtained, and rapidly through the Houses to remove sentence pronounced, that sentence any (loubts as to the power of the Crown was carried into effect: and, as in Lord in such a case. Great lawyers said Russell's case, when times became such a bill was unnecessary; yet we more favourable, if the family had incline to think it was wise to pass interest enough for the purpose, the it, as the view of the law taken by attainder was reversed. In the bill O'Brien is that put forward in several for reversing the attainder of Lord works of authority. See, for instance, Russell, his execution is called a mur. Christian's note to Vol. I. of Blackder. In our day, humanity and good stone, p. 137. The Act was passed, sense are rather more consulted than and the prisoners, convicted of high of old, and the writ of error was not treason and of treason-felony in the refused. The case thus went formally Irish insurrection of 1848, were at to the House of Lords; but they last shipped off. soinewhat impatiently decided points Since their arrival in the penal setof law without hearing the case to tement they have been offered tickets an end, which points of law, we think of leave, which all but O'Brien have it exceedingly probable, had O'Brien accepted. His refusal to accept a been already hanged, would have ticket of leave, or give any parole, has been disposed of in the other way. necessarily subjected him to the inconThe fact

to be, that the venience of'imprisonment; and nothing House were afraid of these writs can be more unfair than to reproach of error being issued in every Irish either the government, which seems to case, and that the course of justice have treated him with all possible would be thus impeded by one cap- humanity, or the governor of the prison tious objection or another. The old in which he insists on living—who is plan, of not chopping logic till after responsible for his safe custody_for the criminal was executed, and the consequences which arise from his own friends of his family had come into determination to preserve the dignity power, would seem to have been a of a rebel general unimpaired. The more reasonable way of securing this public sympathy with the family of result, than the modern one of cutting this most impracticable and wrongshort a forensicargument. We should headed man makes every one seek to hope that the occasion may never forgive his strange outrage on the laws again arise of seeking to investigate of society ; but it is one thing to seek any of the questions then agitated; excuses or palliations for his conduct as, if the law of Ireland be not the in the peculiar constitution of his same as that of England in the con- mind, and another to suffer men enduct of trials for high treason—as was gaged in the discharge of very difficult successfully asserted by the Crown in and very onerous duties to be maO'Brien's case—such anomaly ought ligned, as every one who tries to do at once be cured by legislation. his duty, without ministering to the

When the writ of error was disposed vanity of a man, in every possible of, a new difficulty arose. O'Brien in- point of view most criminal, is sure of sisted that the capital sentence could being. This can only be corrected by not be commuted for transportation a saner state of feeling, to which we without his consent, and he expressed believe the country is fast returning,


4 Blackstone.

1 Vernon

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