Tait's Magazine having said of the Landlord and Tenant Commis- sioners that they were good landlords, the Freeman made a series of charges against one of the Commissioners, Mr. George Alexander Hamilton. He is also attacked by the other Repeal journals ; defended by the Conservatives, by the Dublin Monitor, and by his brother, Mr. Thomas C. Hamilton, who is agent for his estate at Balbriggan. The main charges were—that Mr. Hamilton had certain tenants under -covenant to pay their rent weekly ; and that when rent was not punc- tually paid, interest was charged, and the total payment enforced. Mr. Thomas Hamilton explained, that the system of weekly payments was introduced many years ago, by consent of his father, as the tenants wished to pay in a manner more according to the nature of their own income; and that the supposed " interest " consisted, in the first place, of a remission of rent to those who paid punctually ; which, of course, was not allowed to defaulters. Even with the fine, the scale of rents is little more than one-half as high as the charge on other estates. The rent which Mr. Hamilton has received since -the beginning of 1839 amounts to 788L; the amount which he has in the same period ex- pended on the preperty, in repairs and improvements, to 3,2671. In no case has a tenant been ejected ; and only one tenant's property has been sold, under peculiar circumstances.
A large and influential meeting was held at Dublin Mansionhouse, on Saturday, to consider measures for facilitating the communication between London and Dublin. The Lord Mayor presided ; the Duke of Leinster, the Marquis of Headfort, the Earl of Devon, the Earl of
Charleville, Mr. Shell, Mr. Stafford O'Brien, Mr. Pierce Mahony, Alder- man Purcell, and several leading public men of all parties, concurred in the proceedings. The Duke of Leinster moved a resolution, declaring it to be of the utmost importance that Government should give speedy effect to the repeated recommendations of Committees of both Houses of Parliament that the most safe and direct means of communication between the two countries should be adopted. This was seconded by the Earl of Devon. The Marquis of Headfort moved a resolution, signifying the wish that Dublin and Holyhead should be chosen as packet-stations ; and the Earl of Charleville proposed a deputation to wait on the Lord-Lieutenant, including the Mayor, the Members for the City, the Duke of Leinster, the Honourable Frederick Ponsonby, Mr. Shell, Mr. Purcell, Mr. O'Connell, and other gentlemen. Every- thing passed with the utmost unanimity.
The Newry Telegraph reports of the linen-trade in the North of Ire- land, "that every operative to be met with had his hands full of work, and that wages had increased full thirty per cent."
At the meeting of the Repeal Association on Monday, a letter was read from Mr. O'Connell in his retirement ; addressed to Mr. Ray, the Secretary-
" Darrynane Abbey, 15th December 1843.
" My dear Ray—I delight in being able to congratulate the Association and the country on the aspect of public affairs since I was last among you. The Association deserves gratulation for the manner it has conducted the public business ; and especially for the admirable tone and temper of its pro- ceedings upon the ever to-be-lamented death of my esteemed and loved friend, the Reverend Mr. TyrrelL All that has been said at the Association—the admirable, and even I may call it, the pathetic and most seasonable address with which it was immediately followed—the solemn decorum of the funeral, freed from the debasement of the cares of this world—the determination to raise a monument to his memory—in short, all that has been said and done by the Association, merits, and has received, the fullest meed of public sympathy and applause. All that the Association had control over has been done in perfect good taste, and subdued (as it was becoming) grief. Let others, over whom we have no control, do as to them seems suitable. All I desire to know is, whether those who, by deferring the issuing of the Clontarf proclamation to the last possible moment, rendered it necessary for the Reverend Mr. Tyrrell to expose himself to the causes of that malady which deprived his country and religion of a priest and a patriot—all, I say, I desire to know is, whether the persons who so delayed the proclamation feel any compunction that they did not, as they might, issue it early enough to prevent the calamity which has occurred ? Have they the grace of a decent sorrow ? Alas! I fear not—no symptoms of that description appear. Well, may Gokin his mercy forgive them ; and, may the most bountiful mercy of our adorable Redeemer give,to his soul eternal felicity.
" There is, however, a still living victim to his fidelity and to his exalted sense of duty to the master whose servant he was. I mean Larkin, the servant who made so glorious and indeed so chivalrous a defence of his master's family at Finnoe. How consolatory it is, amidst the horrors of agrarian crime, to find that one man has mitigated the unparalleled atrocity of this diabolical assassina- tion, by the contrast of his most noble bravery and fidelity I How pleasing it is to recollect that he certainly is an Irishman, and a Catholic, possibly a Re- pealer, offering his heart's blood in the defence of persons who did not agree with him-on some of these points, but whose bread he had eaten, whose kind- ness he had experienced, and for whom he in return was ready to lay down his life ? I see that the Lord-Lieutenant has subscribed 20/. for him. It was suggested by an excellent friend of mine, Mr. Fitzgerald, that the Association should contribute—and we took means for that purpose—to the extent of 10!.; but I now think that sum too little, and should prefer that the Association should publicly vote 25/. to Mr. Fitzgerald for transmission to the persons who have received for the excellent man Larkin the subscription of the Lord- Lieutenant.
"The Association has also most properly directed its attention to the ex- posure and punishment of the vile miscreants who are endeavouring to spread the foolish and most wicked system of Ribandism. No good can be done for Ireland until Ribandism in every shape and form is extinguished from the land. I am delighted to find that the Association publishes the names of the persons known to belong to that infernal system : but is it not passing strange that the Police and the local authorities are not more successful in discovering the persons active in spreading Ribandism ? I do not understand how this happens; but happen how it may, I beg of the Association to communicate with the Catholic clergy and the Repeal Wardens the most anxious desire of the Repealers to have every Ribandman brought to condign punishment. We cannot be too vigilant or too active in denouncing everyindividual Riband- man to the Police and to the Magistracy. I for one will deem it as a personal favour to myself to thus denounce the Ribandmen, until the odious system is annihilated.
'The next topic to which I would desire to call the attention of the Asso- ciation is the Landlord and Tenant Commission.' The inquiry before that Commission is one of the deepest interest. There are two species of crime perpetrated on and by the Irish people, landlords and tenants, which cry out to Heaven for vengeance, and call upon every thinking man for punishment for the past and prevention for the future.
" The first of these crimes is, the wholesale slaughter of the clearance sys- tem ; the second is, the retaliatory murders arising directly or more remotely from that system. "The clearance system acts in a wholesale way, and sends to their graves, unpitied and unknown, many thousands. The retaliation murders savour of the wild and hideous justice of revenge ; but are so atrocious, so diabolical in their details, so deliberate in their perpetration, as to be incapable of any pal- liation, and to deserve the execration and horror of all persons entertaining one particle of humanity or Christianity. "For the clearance slaughter there is no legal punishment. It matters tot how many may perish—the answer which is flippantly and cruelly given is, that the landlords do only what they please with their own, and that those who suffer have no right to blame anybody but themselves !! ! "For the retaliatory murders there is, of course, the punishment of death— it is quite right there should be: and in most cases such punishment is sooner or later incurred, as is just it should. "But the system at both sides should terminate ; and at length we are told that a Commission has issued to trace these evils to their source, and to suggest remedies. "There never was an inquiry of more awful importance. Crimes—enormous crimes may be prevented ; the misery of the people—the safety, the very ex- istence, of the wealthier classes—all these are involved in the investigation.
"Surely, then, the Commission ought to be beyond all suspicion. They
ought to be men whose very names would inspire and justify confidence. But is It so ?—Alas ! it is very much the reverse. Taken as a whole, a more un- fortunate selection could not well be made. I speak in sorrow, and certainly not in any anger: the causes of anger are indeed far from me. But in plain truth, the selection of Commissioners is very unhappy.
"First, There is the Earl of Devon, an absentee landlord, prejudiced in favour of raising rents in Ireland, and spending them in England ; naturally driven to maintain that the best system of working estates is by an occasional visit by the proprietor to inspect the agent—with an agent concerned only in the annual poundage, to reside constantly. Indeed Lord Devon ought not to be on the Commission.
"Again, Lord Devon is proprietor of an estate, the management of which created one of the most bloodstained agrarian disturbances that ever afflicted and affrighted this country. "It is true, that he had nothing to do with the ownership of the estate at the time ; but can he divest himself of his connexion with the property, or is it possible he can be a disinterested judge of the tyranny exercised by the then agent ? Indeed Lord Devon ought not to he on the Commission. "Again, Lord Devon, though, I readily admit, a very worthy gentleman in private life—esteemed and estimable—yet be is a thorough Tory—a Tory of the yellowest water '; and though that water is placid, it is not the less bitter. Indeed be ought not to be on the Commission. No good, I fear, can come of it.
" Secondly, There is Mr. Redington. He is a Catholic. What objection can I have to him? Why, perhaps it is because be is a Catholic ; and for this reason, that a Catholic, grouped as he is, must necessarily lose caste, and have
a conscious shrinking about him. He is, I know, himself a most excellent landlord; I believe there is no better. But even that raises a prejudice in his
mind in favour of the landlord class. It would truly be better he was not on the Commission. He can inspire no confidence ; and it would, upon the whole, be very difficult to persuade the Irish people that there was any lrishism about his heart.
"Thirdly, There is Sir Robert Ferguson : I believe him to be the best man for the public on the Commission. He must be well acquainted with the
habits and tenures of the Ulster farmers ; and then he has an inquisitive turn about him which will render it difficult for any witness to elude his inquiry. Be is', however, ' too far North' for the other provinces, and cannot alone efficiently work the Commission.
"Fourthly and lastly, There is George; A. Hamilton. I do confess his being on the Commisson would prevent the other three from commanding the public confidence, no matter how well suited they may be. His manners are excellent, his deportment is most unexceptionable ; nor do I find any fault whatever, nor do I believe any fault can be found, with any of his relations in private life, or with any save his public principles. Be is, I believe, the most thoroughgoing No-Popery man (they used to call it Orange) in existence. It is true, he is not offensive to those he differs from ; nor does he use violence of language : but he is not the less Anti-Irish in his heart and soul; and I do really believe that it is nearly impossible but that some delusion must have been intended when he was put on the Commission. In sober truth, he ought not to be there.
"But the greatest fault of all is the making the Commission consist exclu- sively of landlords. If it was intended to work it well, and to inspire con- fidence, there certainly would have been at least two of the tenant class as Commissioners. It would then cease to be a one-sided, left-hand Commis- sion. Both parties would be represented—both parties would then be heard to make out each his case : all landlord and no tenant, does not smack of fair play, or, indeed, of political honesty.
" As it stands at present, it exactly resembles a board of foxes gravely deli- berating over a flock of geese, how they shall pluck them alive with the least pain to the geese and the least trouble to themselves. Heaven help the poor plucked geese !
" I am asked what is to be done : shall the people abandon the Commission in despair? I think not—I never advise despair. Let us not, at all events',
blame ourselves. My advice, then, is this. Let the Association immediately form a Committee—a working Committee, mind—not more than nine. Let that Committee advertise for information ; let them also put themselves in communication with as many of the clergy as possible, and tender as much evidence as they can collect to the Commissioners. Let them examine for the last thirty years the evidence given before Parliamentary Committees on the disturbances in Ireland ; a short time will make them master of the entire. Let them look to the evidence of the present Master of the Rolls—to the evi- dence, especially, of that excellent public officer Mr. Mathew Barrington ; let them, by fresh evidence, trace down the oppressions of the people to the present period. "In short, let our Committee exert every possible means of putting in evi- dence all the clearances within the last thirty years, and make out the case of the tenantry of Ireland in all its afflicting details : if there shall be any failure, let not the fitult be ours.
" I have received the papers containing Mr. Sturge's reply to our statement. It is, in fact, already answered by the Member for Kilkenny, and by Mr. O'Neill Daunt : but I shall, at the instance of the Association pat the answer in more methodical form. However, the truth is that so far from the Crawford- Sturge suggestion being an argument against the Repeal, it enables me to demonstrate the impossibility of Ireland's prospering without a resident Parliament.
"Believe me to be very faithfully yours, DANIEL O'CONNELL."
Sir Valentine Blake, who called Mr. O'Connell the " Capitol of Ire- land," expressed his entire concurrence in the letter. Mr. John O'Con- nell stated that many of its suggestions had been anticipated by the Association ; and that 251. had been paid towards a general subscription to reward Mr. Larkin, Mr. Waller's butler. With some remarks on the state of Ireland, Mr. John O'Connell moved-
" That this Association most respectfully and most earnestly invite the Catholic clergy of Ireland to give their powerful aid, without loss of time, to the selection of such evidence bearing on the relations between landlord and tenant in Ireland, as may best demonstrate to the Commission recently appointed to inquire into those relations th real causes of their fearful and disastrous condition.
"That a Committee of this Association will sit from day to day to receive and carefully attend to all communications on this subject with which they may be favoured.
"That the following gentlemen do for the prescnt act as such Committee— Sir Coleman O'Loghlen, Messrs. J. A. O'Neill, J. Dillon, J. J. D. Balfc, J. Gra,y, M.D., and J. O'Connell, M.P." The resolutions were carried ; and after some more speeches, from Mr. Steele and Mr, O'Neill Daunt, the rent for the week was declared to be 5501.
The Cork Justices of the Peace just now attract most admiring no- bee; and among Cork Justices, one Captain or Mr. O'Driscoll is con- spicuous. The case, to be sure, rests on the testimony of the Irish news- papers ; which are not generallfiremarkable for coolness or impartiality of statement, and in the reports before us there are evident marks of high colouring. At Skibbereen Petty Sessions, on the 6th instant, Cap- tain, O'Driscoll was charged with a savage assault on Jeremy Dempsey, a little boy fourteen years of age. Before the case was tried, it wcs elicited that Dunstan, the summons-server of the Court, hail refused to do his duty, "because he would not serve a summons for such a brat of a boy of his kind, on such a gentleman as Mr. O'Driscoll." It Bi- peared that Dempsey went, with other boys, to see a hunt at;Shepperton, on the 1st instant; and while they were looking on' some young gen- tlemen near them, who were sporting, fired a gun. Captain O'Driscoll came galloping up to the boys in a furious manner, and they ran away. He pursued Dempsey to a house ; and, from what he said, it seems that be supposed Dempsey to have fired the gun. The woman of the house made the lad come out, saying, " Sure he will not hurt so small a boy as you." After applying some very coarse epithets to the woman, Captain aDriscoll demanded the gun of Dempsey, and then assaulted him ; tightening a whip about his throat, and beating him severely. The young gentlemen with the gun came up, and Mr. O'Driscoll went away. It was stated by the boy in court, that the summons-server had been to his father, and told him not to summons Mr. O'Driscoll, or he would transport the boy's brother. The Bench inflicted a fine of 40s. on Captain O'Driscoll, half to go to Dempsey. The sequel was worthy of the case : resuming his seat on the bench, Captain O'Driscoll said, "If it was any one else in the county, he would only be fined 5s." Being rebuked by his brother Magistrates for that expression, he said, "1 had a right to use it." One of the Magistrates replied, " I'll see, Sir, if you had that right." Subsequently Captain,ifDriscoll apologised.
At Macroom Quarter-Sessions, on Friday, some warm debating arose on applications for licences to possess fire-arms. Captain O'Driscoll and other Magistrates concurred in refusing licences to Repeal Wardens and the collectors of Repeal rent. Mr. Gore Jones, the Stipendiary Magistrate, insisted that every man had a right to have and to express his own political opinions ; and that such opinions, therefore, could not properly be made the ground of refusal. He was supported by only two Magistrates, and the judgment of the majority prevailed. Charac ter and conduct were avowedly set aside ; as in the application of James Callanan to register one gun- " Mr. Gore Jones (to the Sub-Inspector)—"Do you know this man ? "—"I do, very well."
"What is his character? "—" His character is very good : I know him to be a strictly honest, sober, and correct man."
Mr. Warren—" Oh, I know the man myself to be a man of excellent cha- racter : I have no other objection to him but the one I state." Applicant—" I don't deny that I am a Repeal Warden; and I think it no disgrace."
Mr. Warren—" I say, I have nothing to say against your character but that." The claim of Timothy M'Carthy Downing drew forth Captain O'Driscoll-
Captain O'Driscoll—" I object to this man."
Mr. Downing—" I knew you would."
Mr. O'Connell—" Get on the table and be sworn."
Captain O'Driscoll—" And I shall put a few questions to you."
Mr. Downing was then sworn. Captain O'Driscoll—" Were you acting Secretary to the Repeal meeting at Skibbereen P" Mr. Downing—. I was not." Captain O'Driscoll—"Did you not take an active part in it ? "
Mr. Downing—" I did." Captain O'Driscoll—"Did you there avow yourself to be a Repealer ? " ' Mr. Downing—" I did. I believe on my solemn oath that I am as loyal a man as any on the bench, and would stand by the Throne as soon as any man on the bench. (Placing his hand to his heart.) I swear that, from my heart."
The Honourable Mr. Hedges—" Are you a Repeal Warden? "
Mr. Downing--" Certainly not." Mr. Jones—" I know Mr. Downing; and I here say, as an officer of the Go- vernment, that if I wanted a person to assist me in keeping the public peace, there is no one I would sooner call, nor from whom I am sure I should get readier assistance."
Captain O'Driscoll—"I would not trust any man who would join himself with an illegal mob of 30,000 or 40,000 persons.' • * • Mr. Downing—" The person who opposes me is a near relative to my wife. I have been sworn, and now on my solemn and sacred oath I say, that if I were called upon tomorrow—if an outbreak took place—in defence of life or property, I would take my stand on the defence as soon as any man on the bench. At the same time, I am a steady Repealer, because I think it would be for the good of my country." Mr. Jones—. Now, you and Mr. Driscoll live in the same town, and were close friends ; and may I hope—" Mr. Downing—" This comes badly from Captain O'Driscoll; for I have often had the honour of being at his table, and he at mine." Captain O'Driscoll— If you go into that, I will show that you are an un- grateful man, and not to be trusted." Mr. Downing—" I often defended you." In this case the licence was granted. Similar scenes were repeated.
A third story is almost incredible. At the same Sessions, on Friday, Matthew and Cornelius Sullivan were charged with having rescued a cow, distrained for rent due to Captain O'Driscoll. The cow was dis- trained in October last, by Captain O'Driscoll's driver ; but the prison- ers would not allow it to be removed. These facts were elicited, in cross-examination, from the witnesses for the prosecution. A year's rent was demanded, 22/. Captain O'Driscoll's tenants are in the habit of signing bills for rent, before that rent falls due ; because, said the landlord's agent, he pays very heavy " head-rents " : the prisoners bad signed a bill for rent ; the bill was not due when the cow was distrained ; and Captain O'Driscoll had the money in his pocket at that time! The driver, however, did take some things : he took " only " forty-six loads of potatoes : the driver himself was auctioneer ; he was also a builder ; he sold "every six weights" for 8d.; and afterwards got the potatoes himself. He also took a stack of straw. The reason why he distrained was, that the prisoners were "top-dressing" their corn ; but he knew that it was by the produce of their corn that they were to meet the bill. The men were acquitted.