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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 amongst 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; he 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 slander 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 bencheit. 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 considerable interest amongst the Parliamentary supporters of Government; but Mr. George, late member for Wexford county, and Mr. Miller, member for Armagh, seem to hold the best position in the running—that is to say if the Napier-Whiteside party fail in getting up Mr. Robinson into the Attorney-Generalship. If what is designated the
Family Party' succeed, either Mr. Miller or Mr. George would have a fair chance of the Solicitor-Generalship.
“But other arrangements, connected with the wholesale and reckless jobbing said to be in preparation, are bruited here. It is aid that Mr. Long and Mr. Yelverton O'Keeffe, Registers in the Irish Court of Chancery, are to retirethat Mr. Robinson, brother of the Law Adviser, and a cousin of the Lord Chancellor and the Attorney-General, who had been a solicitor of some eminence before he became proprietor of the Daily Express government organ, is to obtain one of those Registerships, with £1,200 a-year; but there are other candidates, some of whom, including an Irish Queen's Counsel, are pressing their claims here with remarkable energy and apparent success. "
I see one friend of the family connected with the Daily Express is not mentioned here. What is to become of Mr. Porter of that office; his ability as a cash-keeper was fully proved in the employment of the "Trustees for Bettering the Condition of the Irish Poor,” why not prevail on Starkey to retire, and put Porter in for the AccountantGeneralship of the Court of Chancery.
Mr. Robinson, attorney and newspaper proprietor, or as some will have it, the partner of his relatives, the Chancellor and Attorney-General, is provided for; William Dwyer Ferguson, who was act-of-parliament grinder for "the Brummagem,” as Cobbet would call him, law reformer, the Attorney-General, is secure, and Mr. James Robinson, being Castle Adviser, is, should all be made safe by the shelving of Baron Pennefather, and the peerage of the Chief Justice, certain of a good thing.
But what claims has Mr. James Robinson, extra the fact that he is the Attorney-General's relative, and brother of Daily Express Robinson? I know of none. He was in fair business, on Circuit, and was chiefly known in Dublin as having evinced the grasping, grabbing spirit of the whole family, by throwing up his prosecutorship, because Justice Keogh, when Attorney-General, required him to
attend to crown cases alone, and for which he was very well paid.
Thus the whole family are provided for, or soon will be comfortably quartered upon the revenues of the country. With a generosity, and a family affection which would be quite touching, were they not exercised at the cost of the public, and in a manner reminding us of that patriot who to built this bridge at the expense of the county," the Chancellor and the Attorney-General have proved how true was that thought expressed in the old Roman proverb, “ Ex alieno tergore lata secantur."
To be sure there was one appointment out of the family, that of Mr. Brereton, to the Assistant Barristership of the County Kerry; and if the appointment is to be considered as one representing the learning, the ability, and the polished elegance of the great Conservative Bar of Ireland, I certainly shall not object to it, not being a member of that body; and I presume anything was considered good enough for the county of lakes and mountains. Besides, this appointment winds up fitly that list of nominations, evincing nothing but “political partizanship, or personal and family nepotism ;” and which does not include, in any case," real merit, irrespective of party or politics.
Surely it is a fit ending to a roll of appointments, proving that what was once the great Conservative party in Ireland has dwindled into a talentless, place-grasping, wretched rump of the old Orange faction. Knowing how uncertain, even in its briefness, must be their possession of office, seeing that the Cabinet exists but on sufferance, and through the temporary disorganization of the Liberal party, and seeing that higher adventures in England are throwing off all reserve in taking, or making appointments, the lesser adventurers here in Ireland are becoming equally bold, equally shameless, and equally greedy in making, taking, and accepting place. Fitness, merit, propriety of selection are all forgotton, and we live in the epoch of the Dunciad of the Irish Bar, in an age of “ brazen, brainless" nepotism, the era of Napier and Whiteside. --Alas poor Conservative Bar! what has it come to? To a Zenith in Whiteside-a Nadir in Brereton !
Were it not for the peril to the Bar, I should be glad that these men have come into office. We shall now hear no more of the grand Conservative Bar of Ireland, and we