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be of use, as the means of letting England know the real condition and state of government in Ireland; and that the detail of a single authenticated fact is more likely to make an impression, than a more comprehensive but general picture. He then says,
If, for instance, you wished to convey to the mind of an English matron the horrors of that direful period, when, in defiance of the remonstrance of the ever to be lamented Abercromby, our poor people were surrendered to the licentious brutality of the soldiery, by the authority of the state; you would vainly endeavour to give her a general picture of lust, and rapine, and murder, and conflagration. Instead of exhibiting the picture of an entire province, select a single object; and even if that single object do not release the imagination of your hearer from its task, by giving more than an outline, take a cottage; place the affrighted mother of her orphan daughters at the door, the paleness of death upon her face, and more than its agonies in her heart; her aching eye, her anxious ear, struggle through the mists of closing day, to catch the approaches of desolation and dishonour. The ruffian gang arrives; the feast of plunder begins; the cup of madness kindles in its circulation. The wandering glances of the ravisher become concentrated upon the shrinking and devoted victim.-You need not dilate, you need not expatiate; the unpolluted mother, to whom you tell the story of horror, beseeches you not to proceed; she presses her child to her heart; she drowns it in her tears; her fancy catches more than an angel's tongue could describe; at a single view she takes in the whole miserable succession of force, of profanation, of despair, of death. So it is in the question before us. If any man shall hear of this day's transaction, he cannot be so foolish as to suppose that we have been confined to a single character, like those now brought before you. p. 358, 359.
The effect of the publicity and reprobation implied in a verdict for the plaintiff, he then states will be, to make the government
- ashamed of employing such instruments as the present defendant. When the government of Ireland lately gave up the celebrated O'Brien to the hands of the executioner, I have no little reason to believe that they suffered as they deserved on the occasion. I have no doubt, but that your verdict of this day, if you act as you ought to do, will produce a similar effect. And as to England, I cannot too often inculcate upon you, that she knows nothing of our situation. When torture was the daily and ordinary system of the executive government, it was denied in London, with a profligacy of effrontery equal to the barbarity with which it was exhibited in Dublin; and, if the facts that shall appear to-day should be stated at the other side of the water, I make no doubt but very near one hundred worthy persons would be ready to deny their existence upon their honour, or, if necessary, upon their oaths, p. 357. We are afraid of multiplying too far our citations from this unauthenticated volume. The following, however, is in a style somewhat different from any which we have yet exhibited.
VOL. XIII. No. 25.
In every age, in every country, do we see the natural rise, advancement, and decline, of virtue and of science. So it has been in Greece, in Rome; so it must be, I fear, the fate of England. In science, the point of its maturity and manhood is the commencement of its old age. The race of writers, and thinkers, and reasoners, passes away, and gives place to a succession of men that can neither write, nor think, nor reason. The Hales, the Holts, and the Somers, shed a transient light upon mankind, but are soon extinct and disappear, and give place to a superficial and overweening generation of laborious and strenuous idlers,-of silly scholiasts, of wrangling mooters, of prosing garrulists, who explore their darkling ascent upon the steps of science, by the balustrade of cases and manuscripts, who calculate their depth by their darkness, and fancy they are profound because they feel they are perplexed. When the race of the Palladios is extinct, you may expect to see a clumsy hodman collected beneath the shade of his shoulders, amenuETTE MEYNOTE έξοχος ανθρώπων κεφαλην και, ευρέας ώμους, affecting to fling a builders glance upon the temple, on the proportion of its pillars; and to pass a critic's judgment on the doctrine that should be preached within them. ' p. 451.
The following reflection upon the Habeas Corpus act, and the other provisions for liberty, contrasted with the extraordinary remedies of later times, appears to us to be worthy of an extract. It forms part of Mr Curran's pleading in the case of Judge Johnston; and exemplifies, in the latter part of it, that intemperate love of metaphor and brilliancy which is the splendid vice of the nation to which he belongs.
Such were the bulwarks which our ancestors drew about the sacred temple of liberty-such the ramparts by which they sought to bar out the ever-toiling ocean of arbitrary power; and thought (generous credulity!) that they had barred it out from their posterity for ever. Little did they foresee the future race of vermin that would work their way through those mounds, and let back the inundation; little did they foresee that their labours were so like those frail and transient works that threatened for a while the haughty crimes and battlements of Troy, but so soon vanished before the force of the trident and the impulse of the waters; or that they were still more like the forms which the infant's finger traces upon the beach; the next breeze, the next tide erazes them, and confounds them with the barren undistinguished strand. The ill-omened bird that lights upon it sees nothing to mark, to allure, or to deter, but finds all one obliterated unvaried waste;
Et sola secum sicca spatiatur arena.
Still do I hope that this sacred bequest of our ancestors will have a more prosperous fortune, and be preserved, by a more religious and successful care, a polar star to the wisdom of the legislator, and the integrity of the judge.' p. 428.
We cannot close the book, indeed, without entering our pro
test against the many examples of extravagant and ill-assorted eloquence which it contains; examples containing too much genius and originality to be ascribed to the mistakes of the reporter. What, for instance, can be more absurd, than the conclusion of the following passage, in which the orator is endeavouring to assimilate the proceedings of the prosecutor to those which disgraced the government in 1794? We see again, he observes,
-the same instruments, the same movements, the same artists, the same doctrines, the same doctors, the same servile and infuriated contempt of humanity, and persecution of freedom! the same shadows of the varying hour, that extend or contract their length, as the beam of a rising or a sinking sun plays upon the gnomon of self-interest! How demonstratively does the same appetite for mice authenticate the identity of the transformed princess that had been once a cat!? p. 450.
The ingenuity of the following simile, we are afraid, will not be admitted as a sufficient apology for its remoteness and offensiveness. The orator calls on his auditors to think of the times,
-" when the devoted benches of public justice were filled by some of those foundlings of fortune, who, overwhelmed in the torrent of corruption at an early period, lay at the bottom like drowned bodies, while soundness or sanity remained in them; but at length, becoming buoyant by putrefaction, they rose as they rotted, and floated to the surface of the polluted stream, where they were drifted along, the objects of terror, and contagion, and abomination.'. p. 184.
There is a still more outrageous passage at p. 265. But we close our extracts with the following picture of a common informer; a character but too well known in the unhappy days of Ireland, and drawn, in this instance, we have reason to believe, with too much truth and exactness. The passage exemplifies many of the beauties, and many of the faults of the Irish orator.
I speak of what your own eyes have seen day after day, during the course of this commission, from the box where you are now sitting; the number of horrid miscreants who avowed upon their oaths that they had come from the very seat of government-from the Castle, where they had been worked upon by the fear of death, and the hopes of compensation, to give evidence against their fellows,-that the mild and wholesome councils of this government are holden over these catacombs of living death, where the wretch that is buried a man, lies till his heart has time to fester and dissolve, and is then dug up a witness.
Is this fancy, or is it fact? Have you not seen him, after his resurrection from that tomb, after having been dug out of the region of death and corruption, make his appearance upon the table, the living image of life and of death, and the supreme arbiter of both? Have you not marked when he entered, how the stormy wave of the multitude retired at his approach? Have you not marked how the human heart bowed to the supremacy of his power, in the unK 2
dissembled homage of deferential horror? How his glance, like the lightning of heaven, seemed to rive the body of the accused, and mark it for the grave, while his voice warned the devoted wretch of wo and death,--a death which no innocence can escape, no art elude, no force resist, no antidote prevent. There was once an antidotea juror's oath—but even that adamantine chain, that bound the integrity of man to the throne of eternal justice, is solved and melted in the breath that issues from the informer's mouth; conscience swings from her moorings, and the appalled and affrighted juror consults his own safety in the surrender of the victim :
Et quæ sibi quisque timebat,
Unius in miseri exitium conversa tulere. '
Upon the whole, though there is something extremely painful and oppresive in the subject of most of these speeches, we have read through the book with the liveliest interest, and laid it down with the highest admiration for the genius of their author. Imperfectly as they are here reported, they are capable of affording great pleasure and important instruction. And while we feel, that, for this reason, we are conferring a favour on those to whose acquaintance we introduce them, we hope that the distinguished orator himself, or some of his more confidential friends, may be induced to gratify the public by a more copious and more authentic account of his appearances.
ART. X. The Life of George Washington, Commander in Chief of the American Forces during the War which established the Independence of his Country, and First President of the United States. Compiled under the Inspection of the Honourable Bushrod Washington, from original Papers bequeathed to him by his deceased Relative. To which is prefixed, an Introduction, containing a compendious View of the Colonies planted by the English on the Continent of North America. By John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States, &c. &c. London, Phillips. 5 Vol. 4to. Vol. 1st published 1804. Vol. 5th, 1807.
The Life of George Washington. By David Ramsay, M. D. of Charleston, South Carolina, Member of Congress in 1782-34 & 5, and Author of the History of the American Revolution. London, Cadell & Davies. 8vo. 1807.
IF F we are to regard the history of a great man's life as a monument which literature erects to his memory, and to consider the magnitude of the intellectual structure as sufficient to insure its celebrity and duration, the Chief Justice of America must
certainly be allowed to have graced the fields of literature with one of the most promising trophies ever employed to commemorate the illustrious dead. But mere bulk, we suspect, gives no durable quality to works made of words; and it is not by the space they cover, that they are likely to attract the notice of mankind. Mr Marshall must not, therefore, promise himself a reputation commensurate with the dimensions of his work; for we are greatly afraid, that it may come to be superseded, and the name of Washington carried down to posterity, by some less ostentatious, but more tasteful and pleasing, memorial.
For ourselves, however, we confess, that though not a little intimidated by the size, we were yet strongly attracted by the pretensions of his book. The name of Washington-the official situation of the writer-and the communications and assistance which the title-page informs us he received from the near relative of the American hero, all concurred to produce a strong degree of expectation and curiosity. When the Marquis de l'Hospital, a Parisian mathematician, asked, as Fontenelle tells us, some Englishmen who visited him, whether Newton eat, drank, and slept, like another man,' he only expressed strongly that curiosity which all mankind feel to get a near view of the peculiarities of the great-to see in what manner the higher attributes, by which they dazzle or overawe, are combined with the feelings and occupations of ordinary beings. The name of Washington, we presume, is associated in every mind with a curiosity of this sort; and every one will expect from a writer, who takes upon himself the task of illustrating his character, and who has had access to all the requisite sources of information, communications sufficiently copious and variegated to afford it gratification.
We were glad to see, from the title and preface, that Mr Marshall did not affect to follow that very unsatisfactory, and indeed preposterous scheme of biography, which separates a man's private from his public life. This gives us a right to expect, not only an account of his achievements in arms, and his labours as a legislator and statesman, but of those lesser occupations also, those habitudes, and distinguishing particulars, which are necessary to a clear view and lively conception of individual character, conduct and demeanour. What, indeed, is biography, if it does not do this? and where would be its pretensions to those delightful details which are forbid in the more formal and stately communications of general history? Mr Chief Justice Marshall, however, seems to have formed a very different conception of its nature and objects. Though affecting to give a full view of his hero's character and actions, he preserves a most dignified and mortifying silence regarding every particular of his private life and K 3