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jury to remember, that although the eye of malice had watched every proceeding of his since the fatal accident, and though the most minute search had been made into every part of his premises, no vestige had been discovered of the most trifling article belonging to the deceased, nor had even a rumour been circulated that poison of any
kind had been ever in his possession. Of the stopper which had been found, he disowned all knowledge; he declared, most solemnly, that he had never seen it before it was produced in court; and he asked, could the fact of its being found in his house, only a few days ago, when hundreds of people had been there, produce upon an impartial mind even a moments tary prejudice against him? One fact, and one only, had been proved, to which it was possible for him to give an answer,--the fact of his having gone to the bed-room of his housekeeper on the night in question. He had been subject, for many years of his life, to sudden fits of illness; he had been seized with one on that occasion, and had gone to her to procure her assistance in lighting a fire. She had returned with him to his room for that purpose, he having waited for a minute in the passage while she put on her clothes, which would account for the momentary disappearance of the light; and after she had remained in his room å few minutes, finding himself better, he had dismissed her, and retired again to bed, from which he had not risen when he was informed of the death of his guest. It had been said, that, after his committal to prison, his housekeeper had disappeared. He avowed that, finding his enemies determined, if possible, to accomplish his ruin, he had thought it probable they might tamper with his servant: he had, therefore, kept her out of their way; but for what purpose ? Not to prevent her testimony being given, for she was now under the care of his solicitor, and would instantly appear for the purpose of confirming, as far as she was concerned, the statement which he had just made.
Such was the prisoner's address, which produced a very powerful effect. It was delivered in a firm and impressive manner, and its simplicity and artlessness gave to it an appearance of truth. The housekeeper was then put into the box, and examined by the counsel for the prisoner. According to the custom, at that time almost universal, of excluding witnesses from court until their testimony was required, she had been kept at a house near at hand, and had not heard a single word of the trial. There was nothing remarkable in her manner or appearance; she might be about thirty-five, or a little more ; with regular though not agreeable features, and an air perfectly free from embarrassment. She repeated, almost in the prisoner's own words, the story that he had told of his having called her up, and her having accompanied him to his room, adding that, after leaving him, she had retired to her own room, and been awakened by the man-servant in the morning, with an account of the traveller's death. She had now to undergo a crossexamination; and I may as well state here, that which, though not known to me till afterwards, will assist the reader in understanding the following scene :--The counsel for the prosecution had, in his own mind, attached considerable importance to the circumstance mentioned by the witness who saw the light, that while the prisoner and the housekeeper were in the room of the former, something like a door had intervened between the candle and the window, which was totally irreconcilable with the appearance of the room when examined; and he had halfpersuaded himself, that there must be a secret closet which had escaped the search of the officers of justice, the opening of which would account for the appearance alluded to, and the existence of which might discover the property which had so mysteriously disappeared. His object, therefore, was to obtain from the housekeeper (the only person except the prisoner who could give any clue to this) such information as he could get, without alarming her by any direct inquiry on the subject, which, as she could not help seeing its importance, would have led her at once to a positive denial. He knew, moreover, that as she had not been in court, she could not know how much or how little the inquiry had already brought to light; and by himself treating the matter as immaterial, he might lead her to consider it so also, and by that means draw forth all that she knew. After some few unimportant questions, he asked her, in a tone and manner calculated rather to awaken confidence than to excite distrust,
During the time you were in Mr. Smith's room, you stated that the candle stood on the table, in the centre of the room ?-Yes.
Was the closet, or cupboard, or whatever you call it, opened once, or twice, while it stood there ?-A pause : no answer.
I will call it to your recollection : after Mr. Smith had taken the medicine out of the closet, did he shut the door, or did it remain open ?He shut it.
Then it was opened again for the purpose of replacing the bottle, was it? -It was. Do
you recollect how long it was open the last time ?-Not above a minute.
The door, when open, would be exactly between the light and the window, would it not?-It would.
I forget whether you said the closet was on the right, or left, hand side of the window ?-The left.
Would the door of the closet make any noise in opening ?-None.
Can you speak positively to that fact? Have you ever opened it yourself, or only seen Mr. Smith open it ?--I never opened it myself.
Did you never keep the key ?-Never.
At this moment the witness chanced to turn her eyes towards the spot where the prisoner stood, and the effect was almost electrical. A cold damp sweat stood upon his brow, and his face had lost all its colour; he appeared a living image of death. She no sooner saw him than she shrieked and fainted. The consequences of her answers flashed across her mind. She had been so thoroughly deceived by the manner of the advocate, and by the little importance he had seemed to attach to her statements, that she had been led on by one question to another, till she had told him all that he wanted to know. A medical man was immediately directed to attend to her; and during the interval occasioned by this interruption to the proceedings, the solicitor for the prosecution left the court. In a short time the gentleman who had attended the witness returned into court, and stated that it was impossible that she could at present resume her place in the box; and suggested that it would be much better to allow her to wait for an hour or two. It was now about twelve in the day; and Lord Mansfield, having directed that the jury should be accommodated with a room where they could be kept by themselves, adjourned the court for two hours. The prisoner was taken back to gaol, and the witness to an apartment in the gaoler's house; and strict orders were given that she should be allowed to communicate with no one, except in the presence and hearing of the physician. It was between four and five o'clock when the judge resumed his seat upon the bench, the prisoner his station at the bar, and the housekeeper hers in the witness-box: the court in the interval had remained crowded with the spectators, scarce one of whom had left his place, lest during his absence it should be seized by some one else.
The cross-examining counsel then addressed the witness—I have very few more questions to ask of you ; but beware that you answer them truly, for your own life hangs upon a thread.
Do you know this stopper?- I do.
At this moment the solicitor for the prosecution entered the court, bringing with him, upon a tray, a watch, two money-bags, a jewel-case, a pocket-book, and a bottle of the same manufacture as the stopper, and having a cork in it; some other articles there were in it, not material to my story. The tray was placed on the table in sight of the prisoner and the witness; and from that moment not a doubt remained in the mind of any man of the guilt of the prisoner. A few words will bring my tale to its close. The house where the murder had been committed was between nine and ten miles distant. The solicitor, as soon as the cross-examination of the housekeeper had discovered the existence of the closet, and its situation, had set off on horseback, with two sheriff's officers, and, after pulling down part of the wall of the house, had detected this important place of concealment. Their search was well rewarded: the whole of the property belonging to Mr. Thomson was found there, amounting, in value, to some thousand pounds; and to leave no room for doubt, a bottle was discovered, which the medical men instantly pronounced to contain the very identical poison which had caused the death of the unfortunate Thomson. The result is too obvious to need explanation.
The case presents the, perhaps, unparalleled instance of a man accused of murder, the evidence against whom was so slight as to induce the judge and jury to concur in a verdict of acquittal; but who, persisting in calling a witness to prove his innocence, was, upon the testimony of that very witness, convicted and executed.
IRISH AFFAIRS IN THE COMING SESSION. THE
LAST IRISH PARLIAMENT.
Since the meeting of the reformed parliament, no complaint has been urged with more strength, or reiterated with more frequency,-no charge has been made with a better foundation, than that so little of the time of the session was devoted to Irish business, and so much of it was consumed in Irish altercation,-miscalled, Irish debate.
The evil was of an intolerable nature; and, like all other evils, would have cured itself with a rapidity and an effect proportionate to the severity of the mischief: but, unfortunately, ministers increased the grievance, or at least retarded the cure. The Speaker permitted all possible digressions from the subjects of debate; and Lord Althorp, by an urbanity misdirected and carried to an injurious excess, consented to interminable adjournments upon motions and orders, until his most patient friends were worn out, and all opportunities were lost for bringing forward the subjects of the most vital importance to both countries. The Irish members of the popular party either played their cards most blindly to the interests of Ireland, or they dexterously made those interests succumb to personal popularity. The strength prepensely thrown away against the Coercion Bill might have been better directed against the Church Bill or in supporting measures of pressing interest to Ireland, which were cunningly avoided, or suffered to lie in cold obstruction, and to rot for lack of time and circumstance to bring them forward. For many subjects of great national importance to Ireland her patriots had wanted “ time and place,” and “ would make both;” but when they made themselves, their fitness did unmake the patriots.
The Coercion Bill of last session was the tub to the whale; and the promised tub of the Repeal of the Union was reserved in the ark for the present Session to be thrown into the jarvs of the monster, in order to divert his appetite for other sustenance which it would not be convenient to Irish patriotism to grant. Has Ireland no real grievances, no frightful maladies, that need such immediate attention and undivided energy, that her representatives ought not to be diverted to objects of speculative importance, and of absolutely impossible attainment ?
No man can doubt the talents and information of Mr. O'Connell, nor the dexterity with which he applies them as a political leader. It is impossible--absolutely impossible—to suppose that he can have either any wish, or expectation, to carry, now or at any future time, a motion for the repeal of the Union. It is equally an absolute impossibility to suppose that any sane member, English or Irish, could give an honest vote in favour of such a motion, unless under the influence of terror; for the term honest implies the reverse of administering to popular prejudices for personal objects. Why then is the question of Repeal to be brought forward ? and, above all, why is it to be brought forward now? The answer is too obvious and offensive to be repeated.
Could we şuspect the administration of any such turpitude, we could readily conceive why they should induce Mr. O'Connell to agitate the question-why they should connive at the agitation, and clandestinely promote it; or why they should secretly rejoice and chuckle at the time of the House
which the patriots, for the sake of popularity, are about to consume in their futile, preposterous, and noisy plan of campaign, Except the scheme of 1798, to goad the Irish into a general rebellion, we know of no machinery better than O'Connell's anti-union manæuvres to screen an administration from the necessity of performing what they have promised, and what they ought to do, for the relief of Ireland.
In our Number for August 1830, we noticed the “ Historic Memoirs of Ireland, by Sir Jonah Barrington," with his “ Secret Anecdotes of the National Convention, of the Rebellion and of the UNION,” for the purpose of showing the utter absurdity of talking of restoring what never existed, -the Irish Parliament. Other authors had exposed that what was miscalled the Irish Parliament was so corrupt to its core, that all its functions were a mere idle, ostentatious, and terribly expensive form, uselessly added to the substance of English measures, for Ireland; but Sir Jonah has gone much further than this. He was by birth an Irishman, a member of the House of Commons and of the adıninistration, acquainted with all the secrets of the Castle, from the arcana of the Secretary's Office, the Lord Lieutenant's Chamber, and his lady's boudoir, (always a scene of political intrigue,) even up to the awkward disclosures that were occasionally made amidst bursts of hilarity at the Viceroy's convivial table. In the practices which he exposes, we acknowledge that lie might have added, quorum pars magna fui ;” and though this may abstract from the plea of motives, it gives weight to testimony, and a security for his knowing more than any other man. Sir Jonah not only shows that, by the charter or constitution of the Irish Parliament, it was without a single element of a legislative assembly, or, in other terms, no Parliament at all; but that, under the mask of its being a Parliament, it was made a mere machine for effecting the most revolting corruptions of the English administration. But Sir Jonah does much more than this. He exposes the places, pensions, sinecures, and literally the hard cash vulgarly put into the palms of individual members for their parliamentary speeches and votes, not only upon occasion of the Union, but upon all others. He shows you how the clergy, the judges, the bar, the nobility, gentry, and even corporate officers, were bought and sold by Government, until all pollutions ever known in England, and a tithe of which would now rouse the English to rebellion, were aş immaculate purity compared to the undisguised habits and practices in Ireland, Nay, more than this, he shows how duellists were hired and bribed, even by judgeships, as assassins (for they deserve no better name) against any man that dared to be honest; and a mixture of more horrible barbarity, of daring and of sneaking paltry crimes, never disgraced the human species, under the name of a government and parliament. The effects on the population were dreadful, and Dean Swift's fiction of the Yahoos, and the fictions of cannabilism, seemed to be realised, or surpassed, in the climax of 1798, which led to the Union. To revert, therefore, to anything Irish, before the Union--to talk of restoring anything that ever existed under the name of Irish Parliament-displays either mania, ignorance, or the political ruse of obtaining an object by inflaming the passions of ignorance, by means of pretending to aim at that of which the mere thought of the real acquisition would appal the worst nature that ever had existence, or that fancy ever created. Mr. O'Connell would be one of the last men in the empire to consent to a repeal of the Union, and a restoration of the Irish Parliament,