Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

10 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

rro~wisr TALK.


rro~wisr TALK. BY OUR SPECIAL COBEBSPONBENT. -+- Our readers will understand that we do not houl ourselves respond siblefor our able Correspondent's ovinio-im. IF the Fenians-if their magniloquent leader, Jerry Donovan—if that splendid young draper, James Joseph O'Connell O'Callaghan — if the tailors and nailers, and all the rest of the boys" have any idea of the commotion they have created, how much they are talked and written about, how their euphonious names have, as they would say themselves, resounded in the capital of England, I think that they must feel that they have at- tained an importance for which they could never have reasonably hoped in their most sanguine moments. You can have no idea how much atten- tion Fenianism engrosses here. Men break and buzz ini knots of talk" on Fenianism. You have Fenianism for breakfast, dinner, and sup- per. I go into a coffee-room, and the first word I hear is Fenianism. For a fortnight past, at all the discussion halls, orators as declama- ratory as Fenians themselves, have been hammer- ing and harping on Fenianism. Persons who never made a speech have, on this subject, sud- denly blossomed into orators. They have dis- covered, as the Bishop of Oxford says, that they possessed unsuspected powers." The general opinion is, naturally, that taken by every one of the papers—namely, that the Irish Govern- ment has acted perfectly right. Some, however, and not Fenians either, take other views. They think that the Irish people ought not to have been seized until its treasonable character was proved in a court of law. They laugh at Fenianism as insig- nificant. They laugh at the committal of Gilligan on the oath of a man like O'Brien for attempting to swear him in on an account book. And they laugh very loud at that phantom ship, of which, like the Banshee, every one has heard but which nobody has been able to see. Two answers are made to such people. The Irish Government are perfectly justified in all that they have done by the Peace Preservation Act, which was passed in '48, and which, notwithstanding the opposition of the Irish [members, is renewed every year. The second answer is-wait until the information in possession of the Government is made known. It is impossible that such decisive action would have been taken except on good grounds. Be sure that the fire brigade has not been called out to extinguish a child's bonfire. The American aspect of Fenianism is of course considered of the most importance. Only a very few and feeble people consider that there is any connection between the society and a rup- ture with America; whereas, those whose opinions are worth anything, gather from the way it has been treated by the Washington Cabinet good assurance that America has no sympathy with the movement, and no intention, with or without aid, of making war against England. No persons here talk so bitterly and contemptuously of Fenianism as educated Irishmen. And well they might. Fenians have added just the slightest little empha- sis to that contempt for the Irish name which has been created by men as ignorant, as mischievous, and as presumptuous as themselves. It has added one more to a list of abortive and trumpery insurrections, overt or contemplated. THERE is not a word of pity for Currie, nor is there any dissent from the verdict of the jury and the sentence of the judge in the case of that criminal. Many regret the light way in which Eickman has got off, who killed, because she was drunk and had not tea for him, the woman with whom he cohabited. Nine months' imprisonment for kicking a woman to death looks rather trifling punishment. The jury recommended him to mercy on the ground of the provocation he re- ceived, which means, if it means anything, that Rickman acted as the average run of men would have acted under similar circumstances. Let us hope, for the honour of human nature, that such is not the case. Every one condemns the verdict in the case of Madame Valentin. Two con- clusions, that will scarcely bear investigation, have been drawn from this case by newspaper writers and others. First, it is said that we ought to allow the prisoner to be examined. But if the prisoner is examined he must be cross-examined. Now, one of the grand principles of English law is that the interests of the prisoner are taken the utmost care of. But if a prisoner is cross-examined, the eouncil for the prosecution may go back to his whole life, which probably would not bear exami- nation. Thus, although the prisoner might be guiltless on the particular charge before the court, in many instances, his examination would raise such a presumption of his guilt in the jury's mind as to lead to his conviction. It would, besides, re- sult in the most awful perjury. It may be said, let there be no cross-examination. But what weight could be attached to testimony which was not allowed to be proved? The persons who reason from an odd case like Madame Valentin's, that we should change our law, would by-and- by, should the change be made, abuse the Lord Chancellor and law reformers in general, when a man, whose intention was perfectly well known, ran away with large sums of money. Why, it would be asked, was there not a law to prevent him getting off ? There is, indeed, a reform needed, and it is this-greater rapidity in legal .proceedings—salvation from that prominent ill in Hamlet's catalogue, "the law's delay." MR. BRIGHT'S letter, in which he expressed it as his opinion that it is useless to agitate for reform during the life of Lord Palmerston, has started two old but still vital questions. Is reform necessary ? What' is the political character of Lord Palmer- ston ? If I were to attempt to describe the state of feeling on the former question I should say that people seem to think that reform is necessary, but that there is time enough. They agree with the man who goes in for reform—they agree with the man who does not. Then, in regard to Lord Pal- merston, the most. Inconsistent views are enter- tained, and by the same person. He is a Conser- I vative and a Liberal, an exponent and opponent of the will of the people. If Lord Palmerston is the mere index of the people's will he certainly can be no obstacle to reform, for you reduce him to a sort j of political weather glass. The most curious j thing is that people who look on him as a kind of j Proteus—as a man ready to assume any form and [ take any side necessary to keep him in power-yet speak of him with the utmost reverence, and with a certain amount of affection, which of all kinds of fame is the most enviable. MR. MELLON having announced this week as his last, I sauntered an evening or so ago towards Covent-garden, paid a shilling, and was soon elbowing my way through the crowded promenade. The other parts of the house were occupied by persons of a rank regulated, more or less, by the prices; but in the promenade there was, as we say, everybody and his wife. There were young sprigs of nobility, lisping and drawling; and side by side with them their shadows, beardless and bearded clerks, whose simious ambition is to approximate in dress and manner to these young swells. There was the pleasure seeker and his wife, very hot and very fussy, and not at all unlike a pair of animated feather beds of musical predi- lections there was the swell thief, whose coat, and opera glass, and sham diamond ring—whose whole get-up, in fact, was borrowed that evening in Covent-garden; and about the floor and under your feet, wherever you went, were the ladies' dresses. You got quite tired of begging pardon, and began to think that you were the person who suffered, and whose wrath ought to be propitiated. You listen to Patti, who stands, like your favourite bird upon his perch, pouring from her little throat floods of delirious music;" or you pause, atten- tive, while the great orchestral selection from L'Africaine is being played. If you are"musical, you study with delight the sketch of the instru- mentation which Mr. Mellon has thoilghtfully supplied you with; and if, as is very probably the case, you know nothing whatever about the,matter, you simply see a man, with a wand, making the most frantic gesticulations, surrounded by fifty others, who blow and play on brazen and stringed instruments, and you listen, bewildered, to the clash, and screaming, and thunder, until the storm of music mounting to its highest, and threatening to take the roof off, stops suddenly. Z.


The Cattle Plague.





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