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which Finney was acquitted of the charge of high treason-each containing a favourable specimen of Curran's surpassing eloquence-an eloquence in kind and degree unequalled in his own day, or, as we are informed, in ours, except in the passion and power of Mr. Whiteside's addresses. The circumstances of these trials are too well known to admit of being dwelt on at any length. We would, however, suggest to Mr. M'Nevin that his introduction to Finnerty's trial is a great and a manifest defect in his volume.

The trial which furnished an occasion for Finnerty's libel should have been given in full, not in an editor's version of it. A report of that trial exists it is evidently in Mr. M Nevin's possession; he ought to have placed it before his readers. To tell them in a note that "there is no correct report of the trial, and it is therefore offered in the shape of narrative, ample enough to illustrate the trial of Finnerty, which sprung from it,” and then to refer to this incorrect report from time to time as the sole authority for certain statements, is not to act the part of an unprejudiced editor in a case of so much delicacy as he had taken upon him to represent. Having undertaken to publish reports of certain state trials, he was no further responsible than for his selection of the best, and best authenticated. In

his notes and observations he could expose inaccuracies and supply defects, but he ought not to have offered his own version as the substitute for a report to which, from time to time, he refers his readers, while he affords them no opportunity of applying to it. This defect ought to be supplied by an appendix, or in a second edition. We would suggest also the expediency of indulging his readers with a good general index, and a more complete table of contents. With these additions Mr. M'Nevin's published reports will prove very useful, interesting to the reader, and furnishing valuable materials to the historian.

We have censured Mr. M'Nevin's omission of the report of the trial of William Orr-a report which should naturally precede that of Finnerty's

* Trials, p. 482.

trial for a libel; and yet we are aware that the omission could be defended on the ground that the report was not worthy of insertion. This, we believe, would be a valid defence; but then it is a defence of which no editor could reasonably avail himself, who had given the substance of the report, as if it were truth, in his own compilation. Mr. M'Nevin states there is no correct report of Orr's trial. How is this to be accounted for. The trial was the most memorable of all those in which the state prosecuted in that time of trouble and alarm. The result of the trial appears to have had a most extensive influence. The memory of the sufferer was honoured with an almost superstitious veneration. He served as a martyr for the convivial meetings of political reformers. The press of the times was, (as the character of the leading journals of the Union will show, as indeed was manifested in the publication in which Finnerty was prosecuted,) daring enough to have put forward all that had appeared favourable to Orr on his trial, and to put forth a correct report of the whole trial, if such a report would render best service to his memory. And yet, as Mr. M.Nevin informs his readers, "there is no correct report of the trial."*

Lord Clare, in his place in the house of Lords, gave an account of the trial of Orr, and of the circumstances attendant on it, which it would be culpable to omit. In many respects his lordship's statements correspond with those of Mr. M'Nevin :

"I have informed myself," said the noble earl, "accurately of the circumstances which attended this unhappy man's conviction, which I will state; and as I state them in the hearing of the noble and learned lord who sate upon his trial, if I should commit any the most trivial mistake, I have no doubt he will set me right. He was indicted for administering an unlawful oath to two soldiers of the names of Wheatly and Lindsay-an oath certainly intended to seduce them from their duty; what led to the discovery of their sedi tion was, the seizure of some official papers at Londonderry, upon a committee of United Irishmen, in which these two soldiers were returned by name, by one of their corresponding committees, as

† Speech on a motion made by the Earl of Moira, February 19, 1798.

being up,' which is the cant of the brotherhood to describe its members: these men were immediately seized by their officers, and examined separately; and on their examination, they both agreed in the detail of their evidence; and having sworn information before a magistrate against Mr. Orr, for having administered an oath of seduction to them, he was arrested, and brought to trial. On his trial, both the soldiers were examined, and proved distinctly that Orr had administered the oath to them, in the presence of several persons whom they named; and after a long and puzzling cross-examination, as I am informed, nothing appeared which could invalidate their testimony. An attempt was made by the prisoner in his defence to impeach the credit of one of themI think of Wheatly-in which he failed so completely, that the learned judge would not even take down the evidence in his note-book; but no attempt whatever was made at or after the trial, to impeach the credit, or invalidate the testimony of Lindsay; and although both the soldiers named several persons who were present when they were sworn by the prisoner, not one of them was produced on his part, or examined in contradiction to the soldiers. On this evidence the jury found him guilty, and recommended him to mercy. The next day a motion was made in arrest of judgment; and to the scandal and disgrace of the profession to which I belong, in a partial and garbled report of the trial of this unhappy man, which every lawyer who reads it must see is the production of a barrister, the public are given to understand there was but one count in the indictment to which the objection was made in arrest of judgment; and the public are also given to understand that this unhappy man was tried and convicted under an expired statute, although it is clear as any point could be, that the original statute could not have expired till the end of this session of parliament, and an act had passed last year for explaining and amending it, which is altogether suppressed; and although there were three counts in the indictment, to all of which the evidence on the trial equally applied, and two of them were unobjected to by the prisoner's counsel, yet is this circumstance also suppressed and in the same garbled and mutilated report, an affidavit of two of the jurors is printed, that whiskey was introduced into the jury-room, and that they were drunk when they gave their verdict; and to the scandal and disgrace of an honourable profession, one of the prisoner's counsel is represented as having stated this affidavit in

open court, on the flimsy pretence of moving the court of oyer and terminer for an attachment against the jurymen, upon the voluntary affidavit which they had been prevailed upon to make, accusing themselves of having given their verdict in a state of intoxication; and in the same report the voluntary affidavit of a dissenting clergyman, taken most improperly by a magistrate, after Orr's conviction, is also printed, in which he states, sometime since he attended Wheatly, at the village of Rashaken, in a sick bed, when he expressed that he had committed a number of crimes, and amongst these, the crime of perjury; and in the same affidavit he describes Wheatly pretty plainly as being in a state of mental derangement when he made this confession. On the return of the learned lord to town, he laid the recommendation of the jury before the Lord Lieutenant, and being asked by his excellency whether he had a doubt on his mind of the guilt of Mr. Orr, and whether he would join in recommending him to mercy, the learned lord declared that he had no doubt on his mind of the guilt of this unhappy man, and that he could not recommend him to mercy consistently with his duty. His excellency, notwithstanding this declaration of the learned lord, respited Mr. Orr, to give time for inquiry, whether any justifiable ground could be laid for extending mercy to him; and finding that nothing could be substantiated to shake the justice of his conviction, the unhappy man was left for execution. The affidavits which I have stated never were laid before the Lord Lieutenant; but if they had, is there a man with a trace of the principles of justice in his mind, who will say that such affidavits ought to be attended to-is it to be supposed that a judge would receive a verdict from a jury in a state of intoxication; or was it ever heard that a juryman was received by voluntary affidavit to impeach a verdict in which he had concurred? Will any man with a trace of criminal justice in his mind, say that a voluntary affidavit of a person not produced, unexamined at the trial, ought to be received after conviction, to impeach the credit of a witness who was examined and cross-examined, and whose credit stood unimpeached by legal evidence? If such an affidavit were to lay the necessary foundation of a pardon after conviction, I will venture to say, there is no man who may be convicted hereafter of any crime, however atrocious, that will not be able to obtain a similar affidavit."

Such was the statement, and such the reasoning of Lord Clare, delivered

in the house of Lords in the presence of the learned lord, before whom Orr had been tried. We apprehend, no doubt is now entertained upon the subject of his guilt. Mr. Madden, in his History of United Irishmen, does not scruple to avow that Orr was connected with that body after the period at which their designs became what would be thought even worse than treasonable. At least we would infer so much from the following passage:—

"James Hope, on the subject of assassinations ascribed to the United Irishmen, informs me, that at the so. ciety established at Craigarogan, they came to a resolution to the following effect: That any man who recommended or practised assassination of any person whomsoever, or however hostile to the society, should be expelled.'

"At a Baronial Committee, held at Ballyclare, near Carrickfergus, James Hope and Joseph Williamson proposed the resolution above named, it was seconded by William Orr, (who was execused at Carrickfergus,) who said on that occasion, a man who would recommend the killing of another was a coward as well as a murderer.' The resolution, however, was opposed by some of the Belfast meeting, and it did not pass at that meeting. But no society or committee gave a sanction to the practice of assassination.'

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Such is Mr. Madden's statement, and such his singularly daring assertion. It is proposed in a Baronial Committee, that any man who recommends or practises assassination shall be expelled," and the proposal is negatived. Did not the committee which came to such a decision sanction the crime they refused to punish? Did not they who thus affirmed their resolution to hold communion with murderers, sanction murder? Mr. Madden does not inform his readers that this abominable vote influenced Orr to renounce the society of the abettors of murder who had come to it. Strange that the memory of a man who could continue to sit in such society, should ever have been had in honour.


would appeal to the common sympathies of any honest man, whatever his politics-who was most to be execrated? -the man who could continue in membership with a society which was

asked to exclude from its body murderers in intention and act, and refused to cleanse itself? or he who, having been lured into the society, under delusive pretexts, separates himself when he finds out its flagitious mystery, and denounces it to public justice? Which is baser or worse?—the informer against whom no charge can be alleged, except that of having prosecuted members of a body which sanctioned the practice of assassination? or the man who continues to belong to that body, having such evidence as Orr had of its flagisious indifference to crime, and who has the sinful merit of guarding its foul tecret? But we must pause; there is much in Mr. Madden's volume as well as in the leading state trials, upon which we feel tempted to enlarge, but we have not space for such an indulgence.

With respect to the views disclosed in the editorial observations which accompany Mr. M'Nevin's reports, we account them to a very great extent erroneous ; but we do not dispute the sincerity with which they are entertained, or censure strongly the spirit in which they are avowed. Mr. M'Nevin has made himself master of the arguments of the party whose champion he appears to be, so far as such knowledge is compatible with ignorance of the case against them. This one-sided information he displays with an air of frankness, which could scarcely be retained by one who knew how false it was; and with sufficient ingenuity to make his case seem plausible to all who will take it on his showing. The spirit, too, in which he makes common cause with the culprits whom he represents as oppressed men, and denounces the informers who betrayed or bore witness against them, and even the government, which did not spare and screen them, resembles generosity; and might indeed lay claim to the name of that virtue, if it could exist in a total estrangement from justice. But it will not impose upon, or seduce, those who hold justice to be essential to all moral worth; they will not confound the anger aroused on seeing guilt betrayed by an instrumentality like itself, and which it would have made its own, with the virtuous indignation which espouses the cause of oppressed innocence.

* United Irishmen, second series, vol. ii. App. 356.

The case fairly deduceable from the "leading state trials," and the circumstances in which they were brought to an issue, admits of being briefly stated; and the adverse statements of it admit of a ready and instructive comparison. The condition of Ireland and of Irish society at the epoch of the trials, was one of extreme peril. A very large proportion of the superior and middle classes engaged in a formidable confederacy, and covering treasonable purposes under constitutional pretexts the far greater number of the humbler classes bound together in a conspiracy, which had for its object the extermination of Protestants, and the accomplishment of a separation from England through the intervention of France ;- the army, to no small extent, tainted by the same treasonable spirit-foreign agents taking advantage of all opportunities in their power to propagate disaffection, or to extend and consolidate a treasonable organization—this fearful combination the government of the day put down; many of the promoters of it they punished. In their prosecution of guilty men they often had recourse to witnesses no less criminal-witnesses who, in some instances, had been corrupted by the culprits they prosecuted to conviction. Their crime is, not that they condemned or punished innocent men, but that they employed some bad men as their agents.

We ap

peal to the history of the fearful days of which we write, and to the disclosures of times more recent, and we confidently affirm, that there is no precedent, to be found in the annals of any country, comparable with that which has been set in the "leading trials"-no one case in which such a conspiracy was baffled, and the victims to offended justice, guiltless of the offence for which they suffered, so

few. The times were so pregnant with disorder and alarm, that they might explain and excuse, although they could not justify, some instances in which the law did not exercise due discrimination - some instances in which the innocent were sufferers: but we firmly believe, that, considering the magnitude of the evil, the purpose and strength of the conspiracy, at the close of the last century in Ireland, there never was, at any period of the world's history, a case in which those were so few who suffered unjustly from the sentence of the law. Let this be said in behalf

of the government. Let the case against government be also stated. Spies and informers were employed for the purpose of bringing traitors to conviction; and of separating, let it be added, their case from that of the innocent, who were thus kept unharmed.

We leave these statements to the reader, and make no attempt to prejudice or persuade him into a preference for either. We enter into no defence of the Irish government for the undue indulgence, or the indecision, which may have given conspirators encouragement and hope in the years previous to the epoch of the trials. We enter into no investigation of their general conduct in the breaking up of a baleful conspiracy, or the suppression of a rebellion. As to the trials, with which alone we are concerned, we affirm that few persons, if any, were condemned who were not guilty of the crime and charge for which they suffered; and for the employment of informers, we should take shame to ourselves were we to think of setting such a charge in the balance to be weighed against the merit of saving the empire-the lives and fortunes of loyal subjects-at an expense of convicting before the tribunals of the country so very few who merited acquittal.

VOL. XXV.-No. 145.



To our fathers, in their straightforward way of looking at things-unsophisticated by the Sadducean philosophy that every where lends its colouring to the views of their children-the Nightmare was a wandering demon, or imp of darkness, which, either for its own inscrutable impish pleasure, or under the mysterious constraint of some occult force of sympathy, or spiritual attraction, issued forth nightly from the place of such spirits, seeking among mortals whom it might ride in his sleep. Then, woe

to him that had swinishly exceeded in his eating or drinking at the day's last meal-supping "not wisely, but too well." Woe to him that said not his prayers before going to bed, or that, lying down, neglected to commend his bed itself to the tutelage of the heavenly powers! Such a one, ere the night was old, saw, between waking and sleeping, the Nightmare sitting upon his breast-a bloated, unsightly thing, staring upon him with eyes fraught with a hellish fascination, and pressing out his breath with the weight of its most abominable hams. Passive, without motion or speech, he lay, in terror and anguish, gasping mutely; for the power of those Gorgon eyes was in his brain, and thence rayed forth influences along every nerve, and laid its thrall upon every muscle; and his limbs were the Nightmare's, and not his own. All human life and fellowship, the sun-gladdened earth itself, with all solace of its helpful hands and cheery voices, seemed passed on its way, leaving him behind, forgotten, alone with the Nightmare, in a world of darkness and void.

The old German name for this obscene spirit was Mahr, from which our Nightmare is derived. Of the same

stock is the French cauchemar. In the Upper German the word kauchen sig

nifies to cover or squat; in High German, kauern. From kauchen and Mahr we have cauchemar,the cowering goblin. The modern Germans use, instead of Mahr, the word Alp, the affinity of which to the English elf is evident. Indeed, in northern fable all spirits of baser sort (what we call sprites), as fays, goblins, &c., are named Alfen or Elfen. In some parts of Germany, the words Schroterlein and Schretzel are used, which have a tone of endearment about them, and no doubt are propitiatorily intended.* All these point equally to a belief in the personal subsistence of the Nightmare, a belief indicated no less, in a widely dissimilar quarter, by the Greek Ephialtes and the Latin Incubus, as well as by the curious term Balbutzicarius, which Adelung finds in the writers of the Middle Empire.


Our philosophy, confident that there is nothing in heaven or earth but what it is awake to, gives altogether a different account of the matter. sense of pressure, it tells us, experienced by the sufferer from nightmare (for it will not so much as spell the word with a capital letter) is simply the effect of a congested state of the lungs, or of an overloaded condition of the stomach. A sensation is occasioned like that of a load lying upon the chest, and the dreaming phantasy forthwith suggests an outward cause of the sensation, and shapes to itself the cowering phantom, as hideous in form as the effect which it is brought in to account for is distressing. Thus we now admit only a subjective nightmare, whereas our fathers believed in an objective one.

Obviously, neither opinion is capable of proof, and every one will adopt that which seems to him most probable; that is, which best connects itself with his theory of things in general.

*In the same spirit of conciliation, the most mischievous personage of the English fairy mythology is called Robin Goodfellow.

Those that Hob Goblin call you, and sweet Puck,
You do their works, and they shall have good luck."

Midsummer-night's Dream.

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