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We do not know whether any formal life of Chief Justice Bushe has been written ; but it was impossible that, of a great man so long before the pnblic, there should not be many inci. dental notices. In Mr. Wills's “ Lives of Illustrious Irishmen,” his character is sketched by a faithful and friendly hand. The same writer has publish, ed a little essay on
• The Evidences of Christianity” by the late Chief. Justice Bushe-an essay of very remarkable power and beauty.* In the eighteenth volume of this Journal there is a sketch of Bushe's life and fortunes, written while he was still Chief Justice, and in which are several extracts from his speeches while yet at the bar. In Finlay's “ Miscellanies” we have him described while still Solicitor-General. Lord Brougham has preserved a record of his conversations when he visited London to be examined before some Parliamentary Committee or Royal Commission.
In Sheil's “ Legal and Political Sketches," one of the best and most brilliant chapters is devoted to Bushe; and in Mr. Curran's life of Wallacet will be found his estimate of some of the peculiar characteristics of Bushe's mind. We refer to all and each of these, satisfied that many of our readers will look at the books, and thank us for the references. But we must for ourselves say, that the little book published by Mr. Wills, which we mention in the hope of bringing it before some of our readers to whom it may be new, and the record of Bushe's conversations with Mr. Curran here preserved, have given us what we believe to be a truer picture of Bushe than any or all the rest.
His narrative of these conversations is thus introduced by our author :
“ Upon one occasion of my life, I had not a single opportunity, but opportunities continued for several days, of appreciating the late Chief Justice Bushe's captivating powers as a tête-à-tête companion.
** Just after the close of the summer circuits of the year 1826, I went, by invitation, to stay for some time with him at his old ancestral place of residence, Kilmurry, in the county of Kilkenny. He was, according to his annual custom, passing his long vacation
there, surrounded by a numerous family circle. I had the good luck to be the only stranger, and thus came to be at his side, and to have him all to myself, for many hours daily. At first he used to retire after breakfast to finish off some judgments that he was to deliver in his court in the ensuing term ; but this occupation lasted for only four or five days, and then he felt himself to be (as he said) in the delicious state of being perfectly solutus ouris for the remainder of the vacation. Every day at one o'clock a pair of horses were brought to his hall door for us.
From the heat of the weather (it was “the hot summer of 1826') we always moved along merely at a walking pace; secure, however, from the same state of the weather, against any annoyance from sudden showers. We seldom returned to Kilmurry before five o'clock. Then came dinner, and at no long interval tea; and the moment tea was over, the Chief Justice rose, and proposed to me a stroll with him through the grounds. We had no occasion to keep to the gravel walks; the grass was as dry as the carpets we had left; and accordingly his habit was to push on at once for the fields, and plunging into them, and crossing, and recrossing them, to prolong the stroll often till the approach of midnight.
“ On the second or third evening of my visit, the conversation turned on Boswell's "Life of Johnson,' which, by the way, the Chief Justice said, 'was to him the most delightful of books, first, because he found everything in it so charming in itself; and next, because he no sooner finished it, than he forgot it all, and so could return to it, toties quoties, and be sure to find it all as charming as before, and almost as new."pp. 77, 78.
The conversation led our author to try how far he could enact the part of committing to paper the conversations of the two or three preceding days.
They were jotted down in pencil, without the slightest thought of publication :
“ In thus giving publicity to these frag, ments of Charles Kendal Bushe’s familiar conversation, I should be doing a grievous injustice to the memory of that accomplish. ed man, if I were to intimate that, in themselves, they can convey any but the faintest idea of what that conversation was. They may lead his surviving intimates to recognise him, but they never can enable a stranger to him to know him. Even if I could offer a literal transcript of every word that fell from him, how much would still be
“A Summary View of the Evidences of Christianity, in a Letter from the late Chief Justice Bushe.” 1845.
† "Sketches," &c. Vol. i., p. 341.
tlement of the Catholic Question. "The Constitution in Ireland was never considered as essentially Protestant. Irish prejudices would not have been shocked at seeing Catholic gentlemen in the House of Commons, Catholic Bishops in the Peers, or even at seeing two established religions. But the Union has done some good. It has purified the administration of justice by leading to the appoint:nent of a better class of judges, and by putting them more under the control of the English press.' He frequently recurred to the influence of public opinion as expressed through the press, and called it • that useful rod, suspended over the heads of men in authority.'
wanting! His imposing figure and deportment, his graceful, persuasive gestures, his manly, pliant features, so easily seduced from their habitual dignity by a love of gen. tlemanly fun, his fine, sonorous voice, his genial laughter; such were some, though not all, of the ingredients in that combination, which made Bushe the most fascinating of companions; and supposing all these to be accurately imagined, there would still remain to be described that one more attribute, which, without exaggeration, might be termed the marvellous opulence of his mind for the purposes of conversation. I had often met him in society before my visit to Kilmurry, but it was only there that, from being daily alone with him for many hours, I was enabled to be a witness to the extent of his resources in this way, and his facility in using them. In those conversations (to which my contributions were naturally very scanty, and seldom anything more than the asking of questions), he never allowed any but the most momentary pauses to intervene ; but passing on from topic to topic, as they came to him, unsought for, in rapid succession, he would go on for hours conversing away, unimpeded by any obstruc. tions, for he made no efforts to produce effect, and seemingly as if he were only carelessly obeying some hidden law of his nature, which had taken all the trouble off his hands. It was in this profusion of materials, and in the power of pouring them out for hours without cessation or fatigue, that the Chief Justice appeared to me to be so peculiar, and, in his own time and country, unrivalled. It was that ever-running stream of mind,' such as Johnson had found, and so much prized in the conversation of Edmund Burke."- pp. 78, 79.
“He thought that no public speech of Plunket had done justice to his powers ; not even the speech of 1813. He also said that, with the exception of the speech for Hamilton Rowan, there was no sufficient record of my father's powers. He had often heard him in petty cases superior to anything else recorded of him."
“ The day after Lord Kinnaird came to Ireland, he dined at Plunket's. The Chief Baron was there. The conversation turned on Lord Castlereagh. Several of the company questioned his sincerity on the Catholic Question. Plunket undertook bis defence with much animation ; and having stated the several efforts he had made in favour of Emancipation, concluded by saying, that, upon that subject, he had latterly made a great deal of character for himself.' He has (said the Chief Baron, in his dry way), and, depend upon it, he'll lose no time in spending it all like a gentleman.' Lord Kinnaird was delighted with the sarcasm, and said to me in a whisper, 'if I am to hear nothing but that, I am rewarded for coming to Ireland.'"
We transcribe as much as we can make room for of these conversations:
“ Kilmurry, August 6, 1826. CONVERSATIONS WITH THE CHIEF JUSTICE.
* GRATTAN.--" "He loved old trees, and used to say, “Never cut down a tree for fashion-sake. The tree has its roots in the earth, which the fashion has not.""
“ Your father's memory was surprising. I once casually observed to him, that I thought it a common error to suppose that men did not know their own characters. Twenty years after, he said to me, 'I quite agree with you in an observation I remember to have heard you make. The truth is, every man knows his real character ; but as he has come by his knowledge of it coufidentially, he makes it a point of honour not to admit the fact-even to himself.'”
"He was speaking to me about my life of my father, when, iu explanation of my having become his biographer, I told him that three or four days after his death, Woulfe, who was then in London, called upon me to apprise me that some of the Irish connected with the press there, were already going about awong the publishers, and proposing to write his life ; that their sole object was the money to be made by the speculation,
“He deplored the Union, and chiefly from the difficulties it threw in the way of a set
and that not one of them was competent to produce anything that would be creditable to my father's memory; that Woulfe urged npon me to undertake the office myself, and at once to announce my intention, so as to prevent any publisher from encouraging the speculation in question, and that after talking over the matter with Woulfe, I came to the determination of acting on his advice. When I had finished, the Chief Justice suddenly polled up his horse, turned in his sad. dle towards me, and, for the moment, rising in tones and gestures above his ordinary manner, said, with some emotion, 'You were quite right. It was your duty to bestride his remains, and protect them from the vultures.'”
“ He said he discovered some time ago, to his amazement, that the Chief Baron writes poetry, and good poetry.”
"The Chief Justice related to me the particulars of his meeting with the King at Slane Castle:
"Saurin and I went down together, and arrived barely in time to dress for dinner. I had never been seen by the King, but once at the level. On going down stairs, I met him coming up. The rencontre was most embarrassing, for I imagined that he would not recognise me; but I was at once relieved. He said, “Bushe, I believe you don't know the ways of this house,' and taking me under the arm, conducted me to the drawingroom. In one moment, I was as much at my ease as if I had been his daily companion.
“I sat opposite to him at dinner. The first words he addressed to me were these (Lady Conyngham, who sat next him, had been whispering something in his ear) * Bushe, you never would guess what Lady Conyngham has been saying to me. She has been repeating a passage from one of your speeches against the Union.' He saw that I started, and was rather at a loss for what to say, and instantly changed the subject by recommending me to try a particular French dish, from which he had been just helped. “This (said he) I can recommend as the perfection of cookery. My cousin, the Duke of Gloucester, often produces it for his guests, but always fails in it. It is the same with all his dishes. He has a remarkable talent for giving bad dinners.'
** The King soon after returned to the Union. My early opinion was (said he, addressing Saurin) that your and the Solicitor-General's opposition to the measure was well founded, and since I have seen this glorious people, and the effects produced by it, that opinion is confirmed; but (he added, as if correcting himself) I am sure you will agree with me in considering that, now the measure is carried, you would both feel it your duty to resist any attempt to repeal it
with as much zeal as you originally opposed it. But you all committed a great mistake. Instead of direct opposition, you should have made terms, as the Scotch did, and you could have got good terms. He then summed up some of the principal stipulations of the Scotch Union (he had history at his fingers' ends). Saurin said (a very odd remark, as it struck me, to come from him), and the Scotch further stipulated for the establishment of their national religion.' 'You are quite right,' said the King; "they secured that point also ; but — no, no,' he added, hastily checking himself, “you must pay no attention to what I have just said. It would not be right to have it supposed that I entertain an opinion, from which inferences might be drawn that would afterwards lead to disappointment.'
" In the evening, despatches arrived from England, containing an account of the tumultuous proceedings at the Queen's funeral. The King expressed, without the slightest reserve, his dissatisfaction at the want of energy shown by the Government on the occasion, and contrasted with it the firmness of his father during the riots of 1780. He detailed the particulars of the late king's conduct upon that occasion, who, he said, expressly sent for him to be a witness of it, for the regulation of his own conduct upon any similar emergency. He concluded by suddenly saying, in an altered and broken voice, I shall never again see such a man as my father.'
« The King spoke of the run of luck that he had lately had his getting round the Land's End just a few minutes before the wind changed, and his consequent arrival at Holyhead two days before the other vessels -his landing in Ireland on his birthday, which had been the wish of his heart-and finally, his glorious reception by the people.' Among the lucky incidents, he suppressed the news of the Queen's death.
“ • The King's accent had the slightest in-termixture of the foreign.
6. He has been known to say, "I wish those Catholics were damned or emancipated.'”
" • A difference of political sentiment dissolved the intimacy that had for many years subsisted between Curran and Yelverton. Curran thought him a corrupt politician, and expressed his opinion with great severity, before Yelverton had derived any benefit from his desertion of his former principles, * But after all,' said a friend to Curran, 'you see that he has got nothing for himself or his family.' 'Oh! that only shows that a man, though a keen sportsman, may be a very bad shot.'”
"The Chief Justice's opinions on Catholic affairs are much stronger on the popular side than I had imagined. He thinks Woulfe's
pamphlet by far the best that he ever read In what way the speech alleged to be upon the Catholie Question. It contains Emmet's was manufactured, or by views (he says) that struck him as quite whom, we do not know; but within original.'”
these few days curiosity led us to look ti Grattan was firmly persuaded, from at one of the little books called “Lives the internal evidence of the style, that Burke of Emmet," to see whether the traders was the author of Junius. Among other in- in such ware continued to print the stances, he used to insist upon it that no
passage. It would appear that they livin but Burke could have written
do not; but a strange sentence occurs, that passage in one of the letters to the Duke of Grafton, “You have now fairly tra
in which Lord Norbury is spoken of as velled through every sign in the political
“a serpent wallowing in blood." A zodiac, from the Scorpion, in which you
gentleman who was present at the trial stung Lord Chatham, to the hopes of a assures us that nothing of the kind was Virgin in the house of Bloomsbury.'"
said. pp. 80–94.
Mr. Curran's Irish Bar sketches
are six in number - Plunket, O'Con. With the single exception of Grat. nell, Goold, North, Wallace, Doherty. tan, Bushe, who had lived through the The two first names belong to the periods of Ireland before and after the general history of the empire ; and of Union, is the person with respect to both, it is probable, as no such perwhom all persons will be most anxious fect picture of either elsewhere exists, to learn whatever they can.
that Mr.Curran's portraits will be those Of the parts of this publication which which the future narrator of the story are reprints from Campbell's Maga- of the times in which they lived will zine, one of the most remarkable is be glad to adopt. Of what Plunket the sketch of Lord Plunket. In it our has spoken accurate records will re. author takes occasion to advert “ to an main to justify Curran's estimate of accusation frequently made, "and which, his powers. Of O'Connell it is scarce he says, many persons gave credence possible that something shall not be to at the time these sketches were writ- preserved ; yet he flung himself away, ten. At Emmet's trial, the case for we almost think too generously, on the Crown was stated by O'Grady objects in their nature temporary. (afterwards Lord Guillamore). Em- We have always felt O'Connell to be met entered into no defence, and did infinitely above the miserable local noteven cross-examine the witnesses for politics in which he appeared to us the prosecution. His counsel made no unworthily entangled ; and the great speech. Under these circumstances, question of his life it seems to us not it was urged for bim that the Crown only might, but would have been sooner had no right to a speech in reply. and more bappily determined, were Plunket insisted on the right, and the it not for the interruption he was Court decided with him. Plunket's mainly instrumental in creating. But speech was described as unreasonably a great, a good, and a generous man harsh towards Emmet; and, to give we believe him to bave been ; and of colour to this assertion, a passage was all these qualities ample proofs are interpolated in the report of Emmet's given in Curran's volumes. At the address to the Court, in which the dy- time Curran's sketch was published, ing enthusiast was made to pronounce he could only have been heard of in a bitter invective against “the viper
England as a factious, turbulent trithat his father had nurtured in his bune of the people. That he was a bosom."
great lawyer was to them a fact first Plunket instituted legal proceedings communicated by Curran. The sketch against a London journalist in vindi. of Doherty does not satisfy us; but, cation of his character, and obtained a in truth, it was not until after the year verdict. He also, in another case, ap- in which that article appeared that plied for a criminal information against Doherty's power appeared in anything à Dublin bookseller, who published of full development. North's is a the same libellous statement, and filed kindly notice of a remarkable man; an affidavit denying every material but with him Curran's relations of fact in the allegation. Mr. Curran thought appear to have been what tells us that, at the trial, there was not Charles Lamb would bave called those one word uttered by Emmet bearing of imperfect sympathy. Wallace is the remotest allusion to the charge. a sketch well worth careful perusal.
It is that of a vigorous-minded, self- hend, a single member of his profession less educated man, who forced his way to
liable to be taken by surprise upon any unthe foremost ranks of a jealous and
expected point of evidence, or practice, or exclusive profession, and whom no
pleading, the three great departments of our thing but his having to drudge out
law to which his attention has been chiefly
directed. But there is no want of originality life in a province could have prevented
in his appearance and manner. from obtaining high distinction. We have reserved until after we had
is below the middle size, and, notwithstand
ing the wear and tear of sixty years, connoticed the other sketches, that of Ser
tinues compact, elastic, and airy. His face, geant Goold. This pleases us the best though he sometimes gives a desponding hint of all. It is wholly unsusceptible of that it is not what it was, still attests the abridgment, and no extracts could give credibility of his German adventures. The any adequate notion of it. It must features are small and regular, and keen have greatly delighted and essentially
without being angular. His manner is all served Goold. In a tone of cheerful
His quick blue eye is in perpetual badinage, every little peculiarity of
motion. It does not look upon an object : manner is brought out everything it pounces upon it. So of the other external that can awaken a playful feeling in
“ His body, like his mind, moves at douthe reader's mind-while no one good ble-quick time. He darts into court to argue quality of a man who had in him
a question of costs with the precipitation of much of good is omitted. Goold
a man rushing to save a beloved child from had, it would seem, dashed through a the flames. This is not trick in him, for, good deal of money, and was almost, among the collateral arts of attracting notice if not altogether, a ruined man to all at the Irish Bar is that of scouring with appearance, when he first applied him
breathless speed from court to court, upsetself diligently to the labours of his
ting attorneys' clerks, making panting apoprofession. There is an amusing al
logies, with similar manifestations of the fusion to some apocryphal adventures
counsel's inability to keep pace with the imof his in the German courts. Doubt
portunate calls of his multitudinous clients.
Serjeant Goold stands too high, and is, I am ful hints, in which we hear of a “pa
certain, too proud to think of resorting to latine princess - jealous husbands. these locomotive devices. His impetuosity babbling maids of honour.” When is pure temperament. In the despatch of Burke's “Reflections on the French business, more especially in the chorusRevolution" appeared, Goold published scenes, where half-a-dozen learned throats a pamphlet in vindication of Burke. are at once clamouring for precedence, he This brought a kindly letter from
acquits himself with a physical energy that Burke, and an invitation to Beacons
puts him almost upon a par in this respect field. Lord Fitzwilliam was at Bea
with that great 'lord of misrule'-O'Con
nell himself. He is to the full as restless, consfield, and on his way to Ireland.
confident, and vociferative, but he is not Goold was too late to catch the Vice
equally indomitable; and I have some doubts roy, and some reasonable hopes which
whether, with all his bustle and vehemence, he had of promotion were disappointed, he ever ascends to the true sublime of tuand he had to work hard, depending mult, which inspires his learned and unalone on such support as the public- emancipated friend. The latter, who is in that is, as the attorneys were dis- himself an ambulatory riot, dashes into a posed to give. Goold's talents and legal affray with the spirit of a bludgeoned powers of being of service were of that hero of a fair, determined to knock down unmistakeable kind wbich attorneys
every friend or foe he meets' for the honour
of old Ireland.' He has the secret glory, are quick-eyed to perceive. From this sketch we must give a
too, of displaying his athletic capabilities
before an audience, by many of whom he sentence :
knows that he is feared and hated."-pp.
196-198. “Serjeant Goold's practice has been, and stil is, principally in the nisi prius courts. The second volume of Mr. Cura I have not much to say of his distinctive ran's work contains a good many esqualities as a lawyer. He is evidently quite at home in all the points that come into
says on subjects of general literaiure. daily question, and he puts them forward
Of those we think the most interesting boldly and promptly. Here indeed, as else
are his reviews of Monsieur Musset where, he affects a little too much of omnis- Pathay's “ Histoire de la vie et des cience; but unquestionable it is, that he ouvrages de J. J. Rousseau," and of knows a great deal. There is not, I appre- the “Napoleon Memoirs." The fol