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years, and left them to the guardianship of the Rev. James Whitelaw; Rector of St. Catherine's Parish in Dublin, and a distinguished writer, author, in conjunction with the Rev. Edmund Walsh, of the History of the City of Dublin.
James Whiteside became a student of Trinity College, Dublin, about the year 1827, and took several premiums in classics. As was natural to one of his fervid temperament, the great masters of Oratory in Greece and Rome-Demos. thenes and Cicero, of whose works he afterwards made good use—were his favourite Authors. He determined to study for the Bar before he took his degrees in the University, and for this purpose went to London in 1828, where his unflagging energy, untiring industry, and steady application to legal studies, made him, even at that time, a remarkable man. He attended the Law Class of the London University, then directed by Professor Andrew Amos, whose edition of Phillips's. Treatise on Evidence added to his reputation as a professed Jurist. At the Debating Society of the University Mr. Whiteside was a constant speaker, and his brilliant displays gave promise of future renown. His style of speaking was very Demosthenic, marked, we are told, " by intense enthusiasm, earnestness, and vehemence, and whilst the burning words rushed forth with the irresistible strength of a deep and impetuous river, his action, which nature and passion dictated, was far more appropriate and impressive than mere art could ever teach. Yet, in 'the very torrent, tempest, and whirlwind of his passion,' there was a grace and moderation of sentiment, and a chasteness of language and expression, which never made 'the judicious grieve,' because he never overstepped the modesty of nature. His speeches often produced a mixture of fear, awe, and indignation, or, if he touched the chords of ridicule, the audience was in a roar.'”
While thus pouring forth his stores of oratory at night, the hard working student was up betimes in the morning. He followed the sage advice of Littleton, and made himself thoroughly familiar with the forms and rules of pleading, working in the chambers of Mr. Thomas Chitty, often for ten hours a-day. He analysed the Reports of Lord Coke, transcribed leading cases, and found, or made, time to contribute to periodical literature those charming biographical papers—lately collected and published by his friend, Mr. William Dwyer Ferguson, under the title of “ Early Sketches."
Mr. Whiteside graduated in the Dublin University, taking his Degrees as Bachelor and Master of Arts in November, 1832.* His collegiate career would, no doubt, have been more brilliant had he not devoted so considerable a share of his time to his legal studies. It is a tradition of old Trinity that he twice competed for a scholarship, but was not successful. Before taking his University Degrees he was called to the Irish Bar, in 1830.
Shortly after being admitted to practice at the Bar, Mr. Whiteside joined the North-East Circuit, and as Counsel for the late Sir James Emerson Tennent, in Belfast, had an opportunity of showing his capacity for business. Luckily, he was quite equal to the occasion, and made a great display of high forensic abilities. Further, his speeches in defence of Samuel Gray, of Ballybay, who was tried for manslaughter at Monaghan; for Hughes, at Armagh; and on the prosecution of the satirical Dublin newspaper, called the Comet, for a libel upon one of the Directors of the Apothecaries' Hall, afforded him the fullest scope for his brilliant oratory, legal learning, and ready wit. It was Mr. Whiteside who raised the question as to the validity of marriages between members of the Church of England and of the Presbyterian Church, on the trial of Mills, who was charged with bigamy. The case was argued in the Court of Queen's Bench, Ireland, and then in the House of Lords, where Lord Lyndhurst paid the eloquent Irish Advocate the most
* Dub. Univ. Cal. 606. He obtained the Degrees of LL.B. and LL.D. Hiem. 1859.
marked compliment of saying, “ Nothing could be added to his argument."
We could give many passages from his speeches on Circuit to show his peculiar style, but the limited space at our command restricts us to the following, taken from his address to the Jury at the Assizes at Armagh, during the summer of 1842, where he defended men indicted as Ribbonmen, tried before Judge Crampton :
“ To a despotic and unwise Government alone is the unenviable honour to be awarded of employing a horde of depraved, demoralised, unscrupulous spies, who, in the garb of friendship and confidence, steal on their unsuspecting victims; and when they have made them criminal with themselves—but not so deep-dyed in guilt and unfathomed villany-hand them over to the authorities, who, in the plenitude of their power, wreak on their devoted heads the full measure of their vengeance! No, I say, it is not the duty of any Government to employ means such as this for conviction. * * * His (Hagan's) character is that of a spy-an informer-an appellation the most odious, the most detestable that could fall on the ear, the very recollestion of which brings us back to the darkest period of our eventful history! It is well to respect the officers of the law; but if there is any one mode of bringing the authorities into disrepute it is that against which I have remonstrated.
“Judge Crampton : In commenting on that person's (Hagan’s) evidence, the counsel who has conducted the case for the defence had preferred a charge—had made an accusation -which could not be viewed in any other light than one that was of a most serious character, and most disreputable to the Government. He admitted it might have been done uninten. tionally in the zeal of the learned counsel for his client. Judge Crampton was sure that the learned counsel would now retract any insinuations which were calculated to convey charges against a Government the most serious and discreditable.
“Mr. Whiteside (vehemently): No, my lord; on the contrary, so far from retracting these accusations, I re-assert them.”
The practice of this fervent and able barrister had, by this time, grown so large that the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Sir Edward Sugden, considered him a worthy recipient for the silk gown of Queen's Counsel, and he was called to the Inner Bar in 1842.
The political events which shortly afterwards occurred in Ireland called forth the powerful efforts of the orator and advocate. Well has the great American lawyer and gifted speaker, Daniel Webster, described such combinations. “True oratory," he says, “ does not consist in mere words, it must exist in the man, in the subject, and in the occasion. Labour and learning may toil after it, but they toil in vain ; the subtlest disquisitions of the schools may aspire after it, but they cannot reach it. It comes, if it comes at all, like the outpouring of a fountain from the earth, or the bursting forth of volcanic fires, with spontaneous, original, nature-force. Then patriotism is eloquent, then self-devotion is eloquent; speaking with the tongue, flashing from the eye, animating the whole spirit onward, right onward, to its object. This! this is eloquence! or rather it is something more than eloquence, it is action, noble, sublime, God-like action.”
Any of our readers who were present in the Irish Court of Queen's Bench during the O'Connell State Trials of 1844, will readily remember how admirably the words just quoted describe the magnificent speech which Mr. Whiteside made upon that occasion. The indictment charged O'Connell, and the most prominent members of the Repeal Association, with Conspiracy to alter the Laws and Constitution of the Realm by overawing the Government, and the trial lasted for a very considerable time. The array of Counsel for the defence comprised the élite of the Bar of Ireland, Richard Lalor Shiel, Q.C., Jonathan Henn, Q.C., Whiteside, Q.C., Fitzgibbon, Q.C., McDonagh, Q.C. Each spoke according to his special gifts, some on the Law of the case, others on the facts as applicable to the Law, but everyone expected a brilliant outburst from Whiteside. Accordingly, on the day he was expected to address the Jury, a crowded Court attested the eagerness to hear him. Well was the anticipation fulfilled; the famed masterpieces of antiquity alone can stand in rivalry,
THE LATE RIGHT HON
THE LATE RIGHT HON. JAMES WHITESIDE.
MES V WHITESIDE.
Modern eloquence pales before it; even Grattan's famous speeches hardly approach it in fervour, while the ingenuity with which Mr. Whiteside introduced such topics as might be supposed to touch Irish hearts, and win the sympathy of the Jury to the accused, show the nicest skill. It is too long to quote or we should gladly enrich our memoir with this inimitable sample of the orator and the lawyer, but we cannot pass on without enabling the reader to judge of its power, by the peroration of the first day's advocacy. It should be rembered that O'Connell was seeking the Repeal of the Union :
“Of self-legislation the Irish are deprived; for self-govern. ment, it would seem, they are incompetent. It is a matter no less of surprise than of concern that the country which produced a Burke, the teacher of statesmen, the saviour of States, cannot now furnish a single individual qualified to share in the administration of his native country. He is but a poor statesman who thinks the pride of a sensitive people can be wounded with impunity. You may say, Gentlemen, and say with truth, that it is a matter of small moment who the individuals may be who compose the Ministry of the day, provided the people of Ireland are prosperous, contented, and happy? Alas! a large portion of our countrymen are unhappy, discontented, destitute, pressed down by poverty. They look around for the cause of these misfortunes; they behold a country blessed by Providence with the means of wealth; the strong man pines for the daily wages of a sixpence—he strives with gaunt Famine in the midst of fields teeming with fertility and plenty. Is he seditious if he exclaims, in the language of indignant remonstrance, that he thinks a native Parliament would give him the means of subsistence? Is it criminal in him to wish for the means of life? Is he seditious if, knowing that his single voice would be unheeded as the idle wind, he joins with other men, wretched as himself, in a declaration of their common wants, their common grievances, and their common sufferings? Is he, or are they, conspirators, if he thinks a local Parliament might, perhaps, give them these blessings for which they sigh? They think, perhaps erroneously, that a resident aristocracy and a resident gentry would prove the source of industry and the means of wealth; they conclude, rashly perhaps, that it is not morally