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the verdict conscience commanded. If his countrymen condemn my client, he will be ready to meet his fate in the faith of a Christian and with the firmness of a man. The last accents on his lips will breathe a prayer for Ireland's happinessIreland's Constitutional freedom. * * * Would to God Mr. Smith O'Brien were my only client. The future happiness of an ancient, honourable, and loyal family is here at stake. The Church, the Bar, the Senate, furnish relatives near and dear to this unhappy gentleman, who, though they differ from him in political opinions, have hastened to give to him brotherly consolation this melancholy day. With broken hearts, should you consign the prisoner to the scaffold, they must henceforth struggle on through a cheerless existence, labouring in sorrow for the land they love. A venerable lady, who has dwelt amidst an affectionate tenantry, spending her income where it was raised, diffusing her charities and her blessings around, awaits now, with trembling heart, your verdict. If a verdict con signing her beloved son to death, that heart will quickly beat no more. Alas! more dreadful still, six innocent children will hear from your lips whether they are to be stripped of an inheritance which has descended in this family for ageswhether they are to be driven, fatherless and beggared, upon the world by the rigour of a barbarous and cruel law-whether they are to be restored to peace and joy, or plunged into the uttermost depths of black despair. There is another who clings to hope—may it be blessed in you. Her life's blood would she gladly shed to save the object of her youthful affection. You will not consign her to an untimely grave? In a case of doubt, at the very worst, let a father's pity be awakened -a husband's love be moved. Let Justice be administered, but justice in Mercy. In no pitiful strains do I seek compassion for my client, even in the case of blood. I ask it solemnly, in the spirit of our free Constitution in accordance with the rooted principles of our Common Law. When the Sovereign seals, by her coronation oath, the great compact between the People and the Crown, she swears to execute, in all her Judgments, Justice in mercy. That same Justice you administer—no rigorous, remorseless, sanguinary code, but Justice in mercy. Where, as here, the crime consists in the intent of the heart, and you can believe the intent not treasonable, or even doubtful, then, by the solemn obligation even of coldest duty, you should yield to mercy. In nothing, though at an immeasurable distance still, do men on earth so nearly approach the attributes of the Almighty as in the administration of Justice. Divine Justice will be tempered with mercy, or dismal will be our fate. As you hope for mercy from the Great Judge, grant it this day. The fearful issues of life and death are in your hands-do Justice in mercy. The last faint murmur on your quivering lips will be for mercy ere the immortal spirit will take its flight to, I trust, a better and a brighter world.”
The case, however, was too plain to admit of doubt, the prisoner was found guilty, and the terrible sentence awaiting one convicted of high treason was pronounced but subsequently changed into exile, and from this Mr. O'Brien was, after some years, released. He died tranquilly in the land of his birth.
We might considerably enlarge this memoir if we extended our references to the achievements of Mr. Whiteside at the Bar. Thus his masterly address to the Jury in the case of the lady claiming to be the Hon. Mrs. Yelverton was universally allowed to be one of the most splendid addresses to a Jury which ever fell from mortal lips, and which we were told he delivered under very adverse circumstances, having sat up all the previous night by the bedside of his beloved wife, then alarmingly ill.* Both at the Bar and in Parliament his manner was very dramatic, while in social life he was joyous and amusing. He possessed a fund of anecdote which he told so as to render him a charming companion. He ever loved the society of youth, and promoted the College Historical Society, and several religious and literary societies in Dublin connected with the Church. At one of these, the Young Men's Christian Association, he delivered his Lectures, since published, on “ The Life and Death of the Irish Parliament.”
We have now to trace Mr. Whiteside's career on a different stage from that on which he had gained renown hitherto; we have to change the Forum for the Senate,
* Mrs. Whiteside was Miss Napier, of Belfast, sister of The Right Hon. Sir Joseph Napier, Bart., an accomplished and attractive lady.
the Bar for the House of Commons. In 1851, James Whiteside, Q.C., was elected Member for the Borough of Enniskillen. The representative of a Protestant Constituency, Mr. Whiteside was not long in showing he was well qualified to represent extreme opinions and Ascendancy feelings. The Ecclesiastical Titles Bill was before Parliament, and on the 15th of May, 1851, Mr. Whiteside made a violent speech in support of its provisions :
“The question was one,” he said, " in which the constituency he represented, and the Protestant inhabitants generally of the flourishing province to which he belonged, took a deep interest. He regretted having to refer to Irish politics or Irish history. There was little in either to invite or to reward inquiry, and he wished, in Lord Coke's words, darkness might hide and oblivion bury it. He attacked Cardinal Wiseman for his Letter Apostolic, and Archbishop Cullen for the Synod of Thurles; and while they had the one in England, and the other in Ireland, it was vain to hope that religious peace would be preserved in either country. He blamed all who took part in the opening of the Synod; and while he praised the Viceroy, the Earl of Clarendon, for a severe commentary upon the protest issued by the Roman Catholic Prelates against the Queen's Colleges, he condemned the Lord-Lieutenant for acknowledging an Address signed by John, Archbishop of Tuam, and John, Bishop of Clonfert.*
When questions relating to Law Reform in Ireland came before the House, Mr. Whiteside usually took part in the discussion, and where political feelings did not warp his views, he spoke admirably. On the 8th of July, 1851, the Civil Bill Courts of Ireland Bill was before the House, and he referred to the principle upon which the new County Courts in England had been established—that of uniformity ; but the Local Courts in Ireland had been called schools of perjury. He wished all the Local Courts in Ireland were abolished, and the Law in both countries assimilated. He also wished the Judges in the proposed Courts should be selected for their own merits, irrespective
* Hansard, P.D., vol. cxvi., Appendix.
of political or family influences, and thereby secure the due administration of the Law by placing it in the hands of learned and properly qualified persons. Also, when, on the 23rd of July, in the same year, the Criminal Law Improvement Bill was brought forward, he supported it as one required by the state of the law, by the opinion of the public, and the spirit of the age. What, he said, must the House think of an English Judge deliberately telling a Jury that when a person was charged with stealing a duck, and it turned out to be a drake, the offender was to be acquitted; or, that a man charged with stealing a pair of stockings was to be acquitted because the stockings proved to be odd ones ? He supported the Bill because it struck at the root of abuses which had long disgraced the administration of justice.
When Sir William Somerville brought forward a Bill to amend the Reform Bill by extending the franchise in Ireland, Mr. Whiteside resisted it on the ground that it would transfer political power to those who were disqualified from exercising it.t
When the Earl of Derby became Prime Minister in 1852, the Earl of Eglinton, of tournament renown, became LordLieutenant of Ireland, with F. Blackburne as Lord Chancellor, the Right Hon. Joseph Napier as Attorney, and Mr. Whiteside, brother-in-law of Mr. Napier, as SolicitorGeneral. He was re-elected for Enniskillen, and continued to give a large share of his time and attention to Parliamentary duties. The volumes of Hansard bear frequent testimony to his diligence and ability. On the 19th of November, 1852, he brought in a Bill to amend the Procedure in the Courts of Common Law in Ireland. In the course of a very admirable speech, in which he showed the evils which existed, and the remedies he proposed, he mentioned his desire to abolish all distinctions as to forms of action. There were eight or nine different forms of action, * Hansard, P.D., vol. cxviii., p. 343. Id., p. 1373. + Hansard, P.D., cxix., p. 521. the value of retaining which, he said, would be discovered from the recollection of the great case of the squib. A party at a fair fired off a squib, it fell on some gingerbread; another party, near at hand, took it up and threw it at a third ; it struck him in the eye, and he lost his sight. He brought his action of trespass against the party who fired the squib. The Jury gave him a verdict for damages, but a great question arose on the form of action, whether it was trespass vi et armis, or trespass on the case. This was an English case; he would give an Irish one of the same nature. A priest was travelling outside a stage-coach; a race took place between that and a rival coach, and the horses ran away. The priest was alarmed; he threw himself off the coach, and broke his leg. He brought his action for the injury, but the pleader, unluckily, called it by a wrong name-he called it trespass. It was argued that it was a work of necessity, that the priest threw himself off to save his life. On the other hand it was said, he had not been struck, that the act was his own; and he lost not only his leg, but his damages also.* Leave was granted, and Mr. Hume heartily thanked the SolicitorGeneral for Ireland for introducing this important measure.
In December, 1852, the Derby Government resigned, and Mr. Whiteside ceased to be Solicitor-General for Ireland. He was, however, Member for Enniskillen, and during the Session of 1853, supported strongly the Church of which he was a member. On the debate on Maynooth, on the 2nd of March, 1852, he tried hard to prove that the Jesuits were the ruling body of Maynooth College.t On the discussion of the Sheriffs Courts of Scotland Bill, reference being made to the necessity of Irish Assistant-Barristers residing within their counties, Mr. Whiteside said that the regulation requiring their residence in Dublin, where many of them had large practice, led to this result, that residing in Dublin, and being frequently changed from county to
• Hansard P.D., vol. cxxiii., 266. + Hansard P.D., vol. cxxiv., 910.