תמונות בעמוד

and Roman Catholics, speaking by comparison with other lists, obtained their fair proportion. Amongst the Conservatives on the list are some of the most distinguished men now at the Bar; and amongst the Liberal Protestants and Roman Catholics are names which the public will at once recognise as those of eminent and most successful men. Yet those are names upon which a stigma has been cast by the organ of Chancellor Napier !

In simple truth, it would be impossible to produce a list more completely free from political partisanship, or personal and family nepotism,' or one in which there was a more careful consideration for 'real merit, irrespective of party or politics.

However, as the organ of Chancellor Napier has forced upon us the duty of comparison, we shall again turn to T'hom's Directory, for lists of Queen's Counsel nominated by two conservative Chancellors— Mr. Blackburne and Mr. Napier. In 1852, Chancellor Blackburne called the following sixteen gentlemen to the Inner Bar, all in one batch. A single date, November 9, 1852, will, therefore, answer the entire :-G. W. Creighton,

Henry West, Hans H. Hamilton,

Robert Longfield, Echlin Molyneux,

Sterne Ball Miller, Edmond Hayes,

W. W. Brereton, Bartholomew Lloyd, LL.D., Hamilton Smythe, R. J. Berkeley,

James Robinson, T. Lefroy, jun.,

Patrick Blake. John H. Otway,

Sir Colman M. O'Loghlen. We have no intention of offering a single remark upon any individual name in this list, nor is it necessary that we should make any invidious objection. Most of the names are those of highly respectable members of the Bar; but, as a whole, it certainly is not more free from the unworthy imputation of the Daily Express than the appointments of Chancellor Brady. We shall not go further; for we would not select any individual name for commentary.

And now we come to the list of Queen's Counsel just called by Chancellor Napier, twelve all in one batch :Robert R. Warren,

William C. Dobbs, M.P., Thomas Rice Henn,

Edward Pennefather,

Hedges Eyre Chatterton, Charles Andrews,
Edward Sullivan,

Charles Kelly,
Alexander Norman,

Edward Burroughs, William C. Henderson, Henry Ormsby.

Neither shall we offer any individual comment on this list. We shall not imitate the evil we condemn on the part of a contemporary journal. But, with all respect for the gentlemen in the preceding list, and allowing that several of them are rising men in good business, we say unhesitatingly, and we are certain that the sound opinion of the Irish Bar will go with us, that this list of Chancellor Napier, as a whole, cannot stand comparison with the lists we have given of the appointments of Chancellor Brady. We need scarcely say that the list of the present Chancellor presents characteristics quite peculiar to itself; for, in the main, it is very exclusive and partisan. Most of the names are professionally unobjectionable, and some are rising and successful men ; but in others the Napier list, as every man acquainted with the Bar must know, is really open to the charge made by the Napier organ, on the ground of 'political partisanship, or personal and family nepotism. The • Family Party' are duly considered ; and the list is also open to the imputation of not including 'real merit, irrespective of party or politics ;' for members of the Bar on the respective Circuits are passed over-we need only mention Mr. Samuel Ferguson, Mr. T. K. Lowry, and Mr. James Kernan, on the North-East;

the North-East; Mr. Dominick M'Causland, on the North-West; Mr. T. Harris and Mr. Edmond Lawless on the Leinster, Mr. W. Sidney, on the Connaught; and Mr. C. Barry, on the Munster Circuit, as names that the profession and the public will at once recognise as much better qualified for the Inner Bar than some of the names included in the list of Lord Chancellor Napier.

We learn from Saunders's News-Letter of this morning that silk gowns were offered to Mr. Charles Shaw, of the Leinster Circuit, and Mr. William Exham, of the Munster Circuit, but that both declined. We commend their good taste and judgment in waiting for a future opportunity when their legitimate claims can be recognised, in a list more free from political partisanship, and in which real merit' alone shall be the test.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

As regards the lists we have given, the results may thus be stated :

Mr. Brady nominated twenty-nine Queen's Counsel in bleven and a-half years.

Mr. Blackburne nominated sixteen in ten months.

Mr. Napier nominated twelve in less than three months, and two others refused to accept the proffered honor! His Lordship sent it a-begging amongst the Tory Bar. Of the twenty-nine nominated by Mr. Brady there wereLiberals

13 Conservatives The Daily Express has also forced upon us the necessity of particularising religion. Of Mr. Brady's appointments there were-members of the Established Church and Dissenters, 20; Roman Catholics, 9.

In Mr. Napier's list all but one, or two at most, are Conservatives. One Roman Catholic-a man of high professional position, Mr. Charles Kelly, has been put in, for two reasons-first, to counteract the manifest 'family nepotism and political partisanship’ in some names, to which we have referred ; and secondly, by the adınission of a single Catholic, to delude the Catholic public into the notion that the policy of rigid exclusion is not extended to honorary distinctions at the Bar as well as to all official appointments in the public departments.”

That Chancellor Brady appointed his sons and relatives to certain offices in his patronage no one will deny ; but he acted in this case as all Chancellors in England and Ireland of whom I have ever heard. And surely the men appointed by Chancellor Brady were as competent, at least as competent, to discharge the duties of their offices faithfully and honestly to the crown and to the suitor as the Praise God Barebones members of the Oratorical Society, and other serious, but Orange flavored, individuals with whom Chancellor Napier has, with such indecent precipitation, crammed his court.

But what can be thought of this man who has been so constant a talker about the dignity of the Bar, and the nobleness of the profession. He knows that the silk gown is the legitimate ambition of every lawyer; he knows that from the hour when, with weary feet and longing heart, the junior begins to wear out the flags in the Hall of the Four Courts, to that hour when he has worked his way to a lead amongst the Outer Bar, the obtaining the silk gown, by merit, honest merit, is the dearest wish of every man worthy of the name of Barrister. No man knows this better than Chancellor Napier, and yet the first act of his Chancellorship is a call to the Inner Bar of a mob. Surely the fact that two or three men of ability or standing were ainongst this “ruck” cannot saveJoseph Napier from the imputation of having done, for faction and party, more to degrade the Bar, to lessen the value of the honor that used to belong to the rank of Queen’s Counsel, than any man who ever held the Seals in Ireland. Truly the public may now exclaim with Samuel Lover,

“Of modern Queen's Counsel this truth may be said,

They have silk on the back, but stuff in the head.” It was not thus that Plunket acted. He had resolved to call two gentlemen of undoubted ability to the Inner Bar; it was pressed upon him, urged with force from powerful quarters, that he should call others of whom he did not approve, whose learning and standing at the Bar he did not consider sufficient to entitle them to the call; and Plunket who had in other times defied the minister in defending Irish independence, refused to lessen the dignity of that last remaining monument of her glory, the Bar. He would, he said, if the Castle insisted on this mobbish call, refuse to call any. He would have “la noblesse da la robe” or nothing; be would have the Bar, being Chancellor, as it was when he was Barrister, -when men were proud of their profession; when it was, as Sir William Jones wrote, “the only road to the highest stations in the country," when the gown of the lawyer was as honorable as the ribbon of the peer, when the profession of the Irish Barrister was, as D-Augesseau said of that of the Advocate in France—“nobility without title, rank without birth, and riches without an estate.'

But Joseph Napier is not Plunket; he is beset by greedy partizans ; he is said to be but the purpet of his blustering relative, the Attorney-General, who cares as little for the dignity of the Bar, as he cares for common sense or reason, when, in his wind-bag speeches on Ireland, he murders facts and mangles truth. These are the men whose literary Swiss slan fer the official character of Chancellor Brady,

every year of whose public and private life was marked by deeds that gained for him the esteem and regard of his fellow citizens; who knew nothing of factions, who considered not what might be the religion or the politics of the man to be appointed, but only, and merely his fitness ; who never endeavoured to mobilize the Inner Bar, and who will be remembered as a good lawyer, as an able judge, as an honest Irishman, long after Joseph Napier and James Whiteside shall have passed from pensioned oblivion to the oblivion of the grave. Or should their memories live in the traditions of the Courts, lawyers who are now young, can tell in after years, how Jaines Whiteside and Joseph Napier, who, when out of office, were always prating of political virtue, who then soared above all others in talk, yet when in office, sunk below all others in deed: who out of office, floated away, cloudward, upon the wings of declamation, and sunk down grovelling, when in office, battening upon the very corruption of a decaying faction.

Whilst writing, in the former part of this letter, of the indecent nepotism displayed in the shameless appointments made by the Chancellor and the Attorney-General, I had not before me the following paragraph from a London correspondent, which shows the appointments to be still more glaring in all those particulars calculated to excite disgust and contempt. He writes :-“ According to the statements of the Irish place-hunters (who are now as plenty as blackberries in the lobbies of the House of Commons and about public offices here), two other Judges are likely to avail themselves of their great age, and right of superannuation, to retire, causing vacancies in the Queen's Bench and Exchequer. Mr. Whiteside, it is said, has made up his mind not to accept a puisne judgeship, as his ambition is directed to the chief seat in the Queen's Bench. These expected vacancies would cause several changes and promotions, in which both the present Attorney-General and the Solicitor, Mr. Hayes, would be benched. A grand object with the Napier-Whiteside division is to force up Mr. James Robinson, the present law adviser, into the Attorney-Generalship. There are at least a dozen claimants in the field, all considering themselves far better qualified to become Law Officers of the Crown; and some of them have consi

« הקודםהמשך »