« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
moved to tears even the judges, who assuredly | of Whiteside was looked forward to was inwere not easily impressed by appeals in favour of O'Connell and his friends. Again in 1848, he was the counsel at a great state trial, his client on this occasion being Smith O'Brien. Of course he could not save the prisoner, whose deeds had been proclaimed in the light of day; but he made a splendid speech, and his crossexamination of the informer Dobbyn is described as a most exciting scene. A few years after this he had an opportunity of displaying his eloquence in a more conspicuous place-in 1851 he was returned as member for Enniskillen. It is notorious that the most eloquent orator at the bar is frequently the most ineffective speaker in parliament. With Whiteside this was not the case, and before long he had established a position at St. Stephen's equal to that he had so long held in his own country and his own profession. Just as in the Four Courts, he used to draw the loungers from the hall, and even the busy from the surrounding courts, when he was addressing a jury, so in parliament the news that he was on his feet brought to the house a rush of members from the library, or dining-room, or lobby. He attained soon the position of being one of the chief spokesmen of the Conservative party, and on several most important occasions was considered an equal antagonist to such eminent Liberal orators as Gladstone or Bright. More than once, too, when a great question arose he was put forward as the mover of the Conservative resolution. During the debates on the Crimean war he had a vigorous encounter with Mr. Gladstone, in which he certainly proved himself fully equal to the occasion. Among his other more remarkable speeches may be mentioned that on the Kars debate in April 1856, on Italy in July 1859, on America in 1861, and on the Irish Church Bill in 1863, and several subsequent occasions.
When his party came into power, he was, of course, raised to office, becoming in 1852 solicitor-general, and in 1858 attorney-general for Ireland. During this period he was still actively engaged in his profession, and in 1861 headded another to his many forensic triumphs. He was one of the counsel for Miss Longworth in the famous Yelverton trial. It is not necessary to dilate here on the enormous excitement which that case everywhere produced, and nowhere to such an extent as in Ireland, where sympathy with the sex, the religion, and the wrongs of the lady evoked an extraordinary amount of popular enthusiasm in her favour. The interest with which the speech
tensified by the news that a near relative was ill, and that he would be unable to speak. This apprehension, however, proved to be incorrect. He appeared at the proper time, and made, perhaps the greatest, certainly the most exciting of all the speeches he had yet delivered. It is impossible to adequately describe the effect which it produced, and the peroration, which may still be read with delight, caused extraordinary emotion. Nor was the admiration with which it was regarded confined to those who heard him, for when Mr. Whiteside returned to take his place in the House of Commons, that critical and perhaps not very emotional assembly paid him the compliment of rising en masse in token of their respect.
In 1866, with the return of the Conservative party to office, Mr. Whiteside once more became attorney-general. He held this post for but a few weeks, the resignation of Mr. Lefroy leaving a vacancy in the lord chiefjusticeship of the Queen's Bench. It was almost a necessity of his position, perhaps also of his years, that he should have accepted this office. But it added nothing to his fame, and perhaps little to his comfort. His mind was not of the judicial cast, and his legal learning was not supposed to be profound. He, therefore, could not hope to add to his fame as an orator that of a great judge. He seemed himself to be scarcely ever comfortable in his new position. The wild humour, with which he had been accustomed to set both the bar and the House of Commons in a roar, had to be replaced by an ill-assumed gravity, and might be said to degenerate in the end into mopishness. He dropped almost entirely out of public sight, a thing that must have been particularly galling to a man who had lived so conspicuously for the greater part of his life in the eye of the public. On the 25th November, 1876, he died at Brighton, whither he had gone for the good of his health.
In addition to his speeches he has left behind some literary productions, but none of these are equal to his great abilities. A tour for the benefit of his health produced Italy in the Nineteenth Century—a work sketchy, disconnected, commonplace; and only remarkable by raising controversies of doubtful utility. This, first published in 1848, passed through six editions. Vicissitudes of the Eternal City, published in 1849, consists almost entirely of translation from a sort of guide-book by Signor Canini, and is not of any particular importance. Of higher interest are his lectures,
delivered on various occasions; two of them | marriage—a marriage good according to the especially, entitled "Life and Death of the argument of his own counsel, as good as if Irish Parliament." A volume of his essays and performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, lectures, historical and literary, was published good in conscience, good in the sight of God, in 1869.] good in the face of the Church, good in the face of the world, if it were not for a penal statute of the time of George II., that in my opinion was never passed to meet such a case as this.
THE YELVERTON CASE.
EXTRACT FROM THE SPEECH.
I wish I could bring you into the solitary chamber of Teresa Longworth, when he [Major Yelverton] impressed on her religious mind that he sympathized with her and her religion -when he stood beside her at the mass, when he argued with her upon the nature of the sacrament that contracting parties might confer upon themselves—when he went with her, at Warrenpoint and Rostrevor, to the service of the Church-when he seemed to understand as well as herself, when he prayed with her in the ritual of the Church after he gained her by the marriage at Rostrevor-and, above all, when he heard of his sister's letter, in which she asked him if it was true he had embraced the Roman Catholic religion, which was distinctly stated in his presence, and admitted by his own conduct. After all these facts you have the crowning act of his entering a Roman Catholic church to be married by a Roman Catholic priest, whose questions, even on his own evidence, he answered in a prevaricating way that he was a Roman Catholic, but, upon the evidence of the woman who stood beside him, and whose fate in life depended upon the validity of the marriage, he answered that he was a Catholic, and no Protestant. Combine these facts together-unite them all. I submit they are not contravened by the doubtful evidence given on the other side of sergeants and corporals-who go to church only to go to sleep of them who saw him in church once in three years, and that evidence, unaccompanied with the performance of any one solemn rite, such as the acceptance of the sacrament, which, in a sense, binds a man to his religion. Lastly, I submit that if you come to the conclusion that the day he knelt down before priest Mooney, and clasped the hand of the woman who knelt by his side, he then and there represented by his language, conduct, and demeanour that he was of the Roman Catholic religion,-law, reason, justice, morality, and that religion which has been degraded by the argument on the part of the defendant-all unite to induce you to find a verdict that will bind him by the
The great question in the case is whether you believe Teresa Longworth. In order to damage her character, to assail her virtue, in order to destroy her love for truth, they say that before she was wedded to this defendant she spoiled herself of the rich jewel of her virtue. How is that proved? Look at the reason of the thing. First look at the facts. He says he admired her, he says she was agreeable-he says, in this evidence of his, which I cannot stop to readindignation, if I did, might prevent my proceeding-that, as he sat beholding her, young and beautiful, in the convent of Galeta, then it was he formed the design of making her his mistress. If that was his design-it was not her design that she should be so. He wishes still to be near her. He is found with her at Edinburgh and Rostrevor. I ask you, do you believe that if he had attained the grand object of his desires, if he had gained possession of her person, was master of the great secret of her life do you believe he would have gone to that church and put himself into the predicament in which he stands to-day, by becoming her wedded husband? Do you believe that this man, who has been represented to you by his counsel as a skilful seducer-do you believe that this man, who planned her ruin, who pursued his object persistently for a long period of time, who travelled with her from Waterford to Rostrevor, and who has studied and learned the various degrees of the great crime of seduction, that he, if he had gained his object, would ever have married her in the church of Kilone? Impossible! To weaken the force of her testimony, he tells you of occurrences at Edinburgh, and in the Hull steamer, which you will not believe, which are contradicted by everything in the case, by all his own acts. He got the bill from Cummins's Hotel at Waterford, and would not produce it, nor allow us to give evidence about it. He went everywhere to get every bit and scrap of evidence upon which he could rely. He produces from the Rostrevor Hotel a bill dated the 15th, the fact being that he was married on the 15th, and did not leave the hotel till the 18th; and with all this inquiring