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Scenes in the Chancellor's Career.—- The Jesuits.-- Judicial Incompetency
An Irish Patriot.- Remarkable Exterior.- Flight from Prison.-- Jackson's
SKETCHES OF THE IRISH BAR.
THREE remarkable incidents have lately taken place. LORD Norbury, in testimony of liis long and numerous services, las been created an earl, Lord Plunket lias smk into his successor, and Lord Manners took his leave amidst a strong odor of onions, and the tears of the Irish Bar.* I had intended to make these three events the groundwork of the present article; for Lord Plunket's first appearance on the stage from which Lord Norbury had just made lis exit - lis wan and dejected aspect, which was, as much as his intellect, in contrast with that of his predecessor—the melancholy smile which superseded his habitually haughty and sardonic expression — the exultation of his antagonists at seeing him descend from bis recent elevation, and the sympathy which the liberal portion of the Bar felt in what was considered as his fall, presented a sceno of deep and extraordinary interest.
It was also my purpose (inasmuch as no reasonable expectation can be entertained that a new edition of Rose and Beattie will afford an opportunity of attaching, by way of appendix
* This Sketch was published in November, 1827, but appears to have been written before Canring's death, which took place in August, during the same year. The retirement of Lord Manners from the Chancellorship, and the ap. pointment of Plunket as Chief-Justice of the Common Pleas, took place, under Canning's Administration, in 1827.—M
to those immortal records of judicial wisdom, a report of Lord Manners's last judgment upon himself) to preserve some account of his lordship’s final adjudication upon his own merits, and to commemorate the tear that fell upon that pathetic occasion from the “Qutalissi” of the Four Courts
“The first, the last, the only tear
That Peter Henchey shed :" but I find that the first of the incidents to which I have referred, together with an account of the progress of Lord Norbury through the various parts which he performed in the political theatre, from his first entrance as “an Irish gentleman” in the House of Commons, to his exit as a jester from the bench, will occupy so much space, that I must confine myself to the biography of his Lordslip; which, however little it may be instructive, will not, I think, be found unamusing, and falls within the scope of the articles on the Irish Bar.
In the account given by Sir Pertinax Macsycophant of his rise and progress in the world, he states that his only patrimony was a piece of parental advice, which stood liim in lieu of an estate. I have lieard it said, that Lord Norbury, in detailing the circumstances whichi attended his original advancement in life, generally commenced the narrative of his adventures with a death-bed scene of a peculiarly Irish character. His father, a gentleman of a respectable Protestant family in the county of Tipperary, called him in his last moments to his side, and after stating that, in order to sustain the ancient and venerable name of Toler in its dignity, he had devised the estate derived from a sergeant (not at law) to bis eldest son, the old Cromwellian drew from under his pillow a case of silver-mounted pistols, and, delivering this “ donatio mortis causâ,” charged him never to omit exhibiting the promptitude of an Irish gentleman, in resorting to these forensic and parliamentary instruments of advancement.*
. * Lord Nor ury made frequent, if not goodl, use of his pistols -- " barkers," as thry were called in fighting parlance. He fought with several persons, one of whom was the ruffianly “ Fiyhting Fitzgeralul" who was finally hanged foj murder. In those days a duel was necessary to fix a man's character. Whev a young man entered society, the first word was, “What family does he come CALLED TO THE BAR.
The family acres having gone to the eldest brother, our hero proceeded with his specific legacy, well oiled and primed, to Dublin, liavi!ig no other fortune than the family pistols, and a couple of hundred pounds, wlien he was called, in the year 1770, to the Bar. The period is so remote, that no account of his earlier exploits, beyond that of his habitual substitution of the canons of chivalry for those of law, has remained. With one of his contemporaries, the late Sir Frederick Flood, I was acquainted, and I have heard that eminent person, whom the intellectual aristocracy of Wexford sent to supply the place of Mr. Fuller in the British House of Commons,* occa
from ?" the second,“ Who has he blazed with ?” When plain Mr. Toler, Lord Norbury quarrelled with Sir Jonah Barrington. It was in the House of Commons, when Barrington having accused him of having “ a hand for every man and a heart for nobody'' (which was true to the letter), Toler gave a sharp reply, and hurriedly retired. Barrington, who understood his look, followed. The Speaker sent in pursuit of both gentlemen. Barrington was overtaken, running down Nassau street, and, on his resistance, was bodily snatched up, in presence of a shouting mob of grinning spectators, and literally carried into the House, on a man's shoulders. Toler, caught by his coat-skirts being fastened by a door, was seized, and pulled until the skirts were separated from the garment. The Speaker called on both to give a promise that the affair should go no farther, which Barrington did at once. Toler rose to speak, minus his skirts, and the laughter caused by his appearance was increased when Curran gravely said that “it was offering an unparalleled insult to the House, for one honorable member to trim another member's jacket, within the precincts of Par liament, and almost in view of the Speaker himself.” To the last, even when judge, Norbury was anxious to display himself in the duello. There is no doubt that his advancement was owing more to his readiness to challenge and fight, than to any merit as a lawyer. He valued his life at nothing - a very fair estimate. -- M.
* Sir Frederick Flood was member for Wexford County in the Imperial Par. liament, where he was much laughed at for his blunders, his ostentation, and his good temper. He used to adopt almost any suggestion, while making a speech. Praising the Wexford magistracy for their zeal, he suggested, “ They ought to receive some signal mark of vice-regal favor." Egan (commonly called Bully Egan, and judge of Dublin County) jocularly whispered, “and be whipped at the cart's tail.” Flood, hearing the words, completed his speech by adding -- "and be whipped at the cart's tail !” He did not discover luis unconscious mistake, until awakened by a shout of laughter from his auditors, Jack Fuller was an English M. P., who was the acknowledged Parliamentary buffoon, after the brilliant wit of Sheridan ceased to enliven the Legislature. Fuller was a mere joker: Sheridan a man of genius. — M.
sionally expatiate on the feats which he used to perform with Lord Norbury, with something of the spirit with which Justice Shallow records his achievements at Clement's Inn. “Oli tlie mad days that I have spent," Sir Frederick used to say, “and to think that so many of my old acquaintances are dead!" The details, however, of his narrations have escaped me. I had calculated that, as he was a strict disciple of Abernethy (except when he dined out), he would have equalled Cornaro in longevity ; but being as abstemious in his dress as in luis diet, and having denied himself the luxury of an exterior integument, Sir Frederick coughed liimself, a couple of winters since, unexpectedly away. I am, therefore, unable to resort to any of Lord Norbury's original companions, for an authentic account of the first development of his genius at the Irish Bar.
If that bar had been constituted as it is at present, at the period when Lord Norbury was called, it is difficult to imagine how he could have succeeded. Destitute of knowledge, with a mind which, however shrewd and sagacious in the perception of his own interests, was unused to consider, and was almost incapable of comprehending any legal proposition, he could never bave risen to any sort of eminence, where perspicuity or erudition was requisite for success. But the qualifications for distinction, at the time when Lord Norbury was called, were essentially different from what they are at present. Endowed with the lungs of Stentor, and a vivacity of temperament which sustained him in all the turbulence of Irish. Nisi Prius, and superadding to his physical attributes for noise and bluster, a dauntless determination, lie obtained some employment in those departments of his profession, in which merits of the kind were at that time of value. His elder brother, Daniel, was elected member for the county of Tipperary, which brought him into connection with Government; but, besides his brother's vote, hie is reported to have intimated to the ministry, that upon all necessary occasions his life should be at their service, The first exploit from which his claims upon the gratitude of the local administration of the country were chiefly derived, was the “putting down,” to use the technical phrase, of Mr.