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THE BURNING OF THE SHEAS.
Mr. Steil's address contained a summary of the principal cases in which Sergeant Blackburne was engaged, and he dwelt especially upon that of Matthew Hogall, which was attended by many aflicting circumstances, I shall close this article by a citation from the concluding passages of that gentleman's speech. “The recollection," he continued, " of what I have seen and heard during the present assizes, is enough to freeze the blood. Well might Judge Burton, who is a good and tender-liearted man—- well miglit be say, with tears in his eyes, that he bad not in the course of his judicial experience beheld so frightful a mass of enormities as the calendar presented. How deep a stain liave those misdeeds left upon
the character of your county, and what efforts should not be made by every man of ordinary humanity, to arrest the progress of villany, which is rolling in a torrent of blood, and bearing down all the restraints of law, morality, and religion, before it. Look, for example, at the murder of the Sheas, and tell me if there be anything in the records of horror by wlich that accursed deed has been excelled! The unborn child, the little innocent who had never lifted its innocent hands, or breathed the air of heaven - the little child in its mother's womb... I do not wonder that the tears which flow down the cheeks of many a rude face about me should bear attestation to your horror of that detestable atrocity. But I am wrong in saying that the child who perished in the flames was not born. Its mother was delivered in the midst of the flames. Merciful God? Born in fire! Sent into the world in the midst of a furnace! transferred from the womb to the flames that raged round the agonies of an expiring mother! There are other mothers who hear me. This vast assembly contains women, doomed by the primeval malediction to the groans of childlbirth, which can not be suppressed on the bed of down, into which the rack of maternal agony still finds its way. Bit
say, you who know it best, you who are of the same sex as Catherine Mullaly, what must have been the throes with which she brought forth her unfortunate offspring, and felt her infant consumed by the fires with which she was surrounded! We can but lift up our hands to the God of justice, and ask him
why lias he invested us with the same forms as the demons
of a frantic woman,
· But, my good friends, I must call your attention to another
MR. SHEIL'S SPEECH TO THE PEOPLE.
panied with deep criminality there can be no question : the system, too, which produces them, is as much marked with absurdity as it is deserving of condemnation. In this county, if a man chances to receive a blow, instead of going to a magistrate to swear informations, lie lodges a complaint with bis clan, which enters into a compact to avenge the insultreaction is produced, and an equally extensive confederacy is formed on the other side. All tliis results from an indisposition to resort to the law for protection; for among you it is a point of honor to avoid magistrates, and to reject all the legitimate means provided for your redress. The battle fought between the Hickeys and the Hogans, in which not less than five lundred men were engaged, presents in a strong light the consequences of this most strange and preposterous system. Some of the Hickey party were slain in the field, and four of the Hogans were tried for their murder :-- they were found guilty of manslaughter— three of them are married and have families, and from their wives and children are condemned to separate for ever. In my mind, these unhappy men have been dooined to a fate still more disastrous than those who have perished on the scaffold. In the calamity which lias befallen Matthew Hogan every man in court felt a sympathy. With the exception of his having made himself a party in the cause of his clan, he has always conducted himself with propriety. His landlord felt for him not only an interest, but a strong regard, and exerted himself to the utmost in his behalf. He never took a part in deeds of nocturnal villany. He does not bear the dagger and the torch ; honest, industrious, and of a mild and kindly nature, he enjoyed the good will of every man who was acquainted with him. His circumstances in the world were not only comparatively good, but, when taken in reference to his condition in society, were almost opulent; and he rather resembled an English yeoman than an Irish peasant. His appearance at the bar was in a high degree moving and impressive-tall, athletic, and even noble in his stature, with a face finely formed, and wholly free from any ferocity of expression, he attracted every eye, and excited, even among his prosecutors, a feeling of commiseration, He formed a remarkable contrast with the ordinary class of culprits who are arraigned in our public tribunals. So far from having guilt and depravity stamped with want upon him, the prevailing character of his countenance was indication of gentleness and humanity. This man was convicted of manslaughter; and when he heard the sentence of transportation for life, all color fled from his cheek, lis lips became dry and ashy, his hand shook, and his eyes were the more painful to look at from their being incapable of tears. Most of you consider transportation a light evil, and so it is, to those who have no ties to fasten them to their country. I can well imagine that a deportation from this island, which, for most of its inhabitants is a miserable one, is to many a change greatly for the better. Althoughı it is to a certain extent, painful to be torn from the place with which our first recollections are associated, and the Irish people have strong local attachments, and are fond of the place of their birth, and of their fathers' graves- yet the fine sky, the genial climate, and the deep and abundant soil of New Holland, afford many compensations. But there can be none for Matthew Hogan :- He is in the prime of life, was a prosperous farmer :- he has a young and amiable wife, who has borne him children; but, alas!
sv. Nor wife, nor children, more shall he behold,
Nor fricuds, nor sacred home.' He must leave his country for ever— he must part from all that he loves, and from all by whom he is beloved, and his heart will burst in the separation. On Monday next he will see his family for the last time. What a victim do behold, in that unfortunate man, of the spirit of turbulence which rages among you! Matthew Ilogan will feel his misfortune with more deep intensity, becanse lie is naturally a sensitive and susceptible man. He was proved to liave saved the life of one of his antagonists in the very hottest fury of the combat, from motives of generous commiseration. One of his own kindred, in speaking to me of his fate, said, “lie would feel it the more, because' (to use the poor man’s vernacular pronunciation) · he was so tinder.' This unhappy sensibility will produce a more painful laceration of the heart than others would experience.
when lie bids his infants and their mother farewell for ever. The prison of this town will present on Monday next a very afflicting spectacle. Before he ascends the vehicle which is to convey him for transportation, to Cork, We will be allowed to take leave of his family. His wife will cling with a breaking lieart to his bosom; and while her arms are folded round his neck, while she sobs in the agony of a virtuous anguislı on bis breast, his children, who used to climb his knees in playful emulation for his caresses, his little orphans, for they are doomed to orphanage in their father's lifetime
I will not go on with this distressing picture: your own emotions (for there are many fathers and husbands here) will complete it. But the sufferings of poor Hogan will not end at the threshold of his prisou :-He will be conveyed in a vessel, freighted with affliction, across the ocean, and will be set on the lonely and distant land, from which he will return no more. Others, who will have accompanied him, will soon forget their country, and devote themselves to those useful and active pursuits for which the colony affords a field, and which will render them happier, by making them better men. But the thoughts of home will still
press upon the mind of Matthew Hogan, and adhere with a deadly tenacity to liis heart. He will mope about, in the vacant heedlessness of deep and settled sorrow; be will ave no incentive to exertion, for lie will have bidden farewell to hope. The instruments of labor will lang idly in his hands; he will go through his task without a consciousness of what he is doing: or if he thinks at all while he turns up the earth, he will think of the little garden beside liis native cottage, which it was more a delight than a toil to till. Thus liis day will go by, and at its close his only consolation will be to stand on the seashore, and fixing his eyes in that direction in which he will have been tauglit that his country lies-- if not in the language, he will at least exclaim in the sentiments which have been so simply and so pathetically expressed in the Song of Exile :-
• Erin, my country! though sad and forsaken,
In dreams I revisit thy sea-beaten shore