The State trials drag their slow length along. At the end of last week, Dublin was fall of rumours—such as that the Attorney-General was ill, and that there had been some new " blunder " in the filling-in of the demurrer to the plea of abatement. However, on Monday, the Attorney-General appeared in Court ; and when the Clerk to the Crown stated that rejoinders to the demurrer to the plea had been handed in by the attornies for the defendants, the Attorney-General said that the rejoinders should have been put in by the defendants in person. But he did not want to put any of the parties to inconveni- ence; he would take it as if they had done so, and the omission might be repaired next day. He moved also that the argument on the de- murrer be taken the following morning. Mr. Ford, one of the attor- nies for the defendants, said that, according to a rule of Court Made in November 1842, an argument on demurrer must be taken in the follow- ing term. It was objected that that rule applied to proceedings in quo warrant°. Mr. Ford then pleaded for one day to prepare the briefs ; but the Court decided that the argument should be taken on Tuesday. On Tuesday, the Court was crowded : many distinguished strangers, amoittewhom was Lord Ingestre, were accommodated with seats ; - several 'es were allowed to sit in the Jury-box ; and Mr. Jones, a licaJptop, aM permitted to come within the bar, and was busy in sketch- ing the cátk The Attorney-General exacted the due observance of forma, and 0/opine defendants personally handed in their rejoinders to the ttemurrer,' Mr. Smith then proceeded with the argument against the plea of
• b t, he tenour of the plea was, that the indictment was the evidence of four witnesses not sworn in open court, ding td the provisions of the 56th George III. c. 87; and the
1191*this act dispensed with the swearing in open court, as productive of A-raised was, whether the 1st and 2d Victoria extended to Dublin.
hindrance ; and directed that the oath should be administered to witnesses before the Grand Jury, by the Clerk of the Crown at Assizes and the Clerk of the Peace at Sessions.] He contended that it did apply. Such was the construction put upon it by all the Judges—expressly by Chief Baron Woulfe and Chief Justice Doherty. The practice of swearing the witnesses before the Grand Jury had been uniform : sentence of death had been pronounced and carried into execution ; hundreds of persons were now undergoing sentence of transportation pronounced under that construction of the act. In the law of England, the practice had been similar. The object of the 56th George IIL was, not to define the place of swearing, but to alter the preAxisting practice on the part of Grand Juries, of finding bills upon sworn informations, and not upon civet voce evidence; and that act was general, referring to every Grand Jury in Ireland. The object of the 1st and 2d Victoria was evidently to meet the inconveniences arising from the swearing witnesses in open'court ; inconveniences felt at every court of Oyer and Terminer, and in none more than in the Court of Queen's Bench. But it was altogether a mistake to suppose that the Court of Queen's Bench was not a Court of Assize : the Attorney-General cited several authori- ties to show that it had been deemed so, and that the Clerk of the Crown was authorized to act as Clerk of Assize. He took some exception to the form in which the rejoinders had been drawn up; and especially to their not stating the names of the witnesses in question, or stating that their names were unknown.
Sir Colman O'Loghlen, who led on the other side, contended that though practice might be a good guide in matters of detail, on great points of law it was not allowed to govern : Lord Kenyon reprobated the maxim "communis error facit jus." The Attorney-General, said Sir Colman, " had quoted some authorities, not many," to show that the practice of swearing in open court was not necessary; but he would have found many more the other way—which Sir Colman cited. He denied that the word " assize " meant the Queen's Bench : Blackstone and several authorities, which he named, were against that acceptation; further, Coke and others laid it down that the words of statutes were to be taken in the ordinary sense, as the "jas et norma loquendi"— and again, "loquendum eat ut vulgus." Thus, the Queen's Bench was not a Court of Assize at common law : that it was not so at statute law was proved by the fact that an act of the 9th William IIL c. 9, "for the better suppression of Tories, robbers, and Rapparees," which enabled persons suffering damage to sue such offenders at Courts of Assize, was held not to include the Court of Queen's Bench ; and the 6th and 7th William IV. specially provided that in a particular case the Court should be entitled to act as a Court of Assize ; thus clearly establishing the distinction.. Indeed, the very act under consideration, the 1st and 2d Victoria, could not be meant to include the Court of Queen's Bench; for it did not give the modus operandi of the Court, though it specifically mentioned the Clerk of Assize and so forth. If the Judges should de- cide that this was a cares omissus, he was sure that the Attorney-Gene- ral would be happy to introduce a bill into Parliament next session to remedy it.
Mr. Moore followed on the same side ; and the Solicitor-General re- plied. The Court then adjourned.
The Court pronounced judgment on Wednesday. Chief Justice Pennefather declared the opinion of all the Judges, that the construction hitherto put upon the 1st and 2d Victoria was the right and true one; a statement which produced a marked " sensation " in court. He went on to say, that he could not but feel satisfaction at the thought that most disastrous consequences, which must have followed from an opposite decision—invalidating so many past proceedings—had been avoided by that conclusion. He gave reasons for his judgment; beginning with the express opinion of Chief Baron Woulfe and Chief Justice Doherty at the first operation of the act, followed up by uniform practice, and fortified by the concurrence of all the Judges. He administered a mild rebuke to Sir Colman O'Loghlen, for the unceremonious manner in wilich he took upon himself to say that all the Judges who had declared against him had fallen into a common error! After citing several legal authorities in support of his view, the Chief Justice said, that in con- struing the act it must be taken as a whole—including in the consider- ation the preamble, and even the title. It was called for to remedy an inconvenience which existed all over the country—as much in Dublin as elsewhere; and was intended (in the words of the act) to apply "in all cases where bills of indictment are to be laid before Grand Juries in Ireland for their consideration." Had it been necessary to consider the objection to the plea in point of form, he should have pronounced the plea bad. In this judgment Mr. Justice Crampton expressed his con- currence. Mr. Justice Perrin stated reasons for concurring; and in doing so put one point more clearly than the Chief Justice seems to have done. The act in question was defective, in so far as it specified Clerks of Assize and of the Peace but did not specify the Clerk of the Crown in the Queen's Bench : but it applied to every bill of indict- ment sent up to a Grand Jury ; it authorized the foreman to authen- ticate the jurat by his signature ; and, though no express authority was given by the act to the Clerk of the Crown in the Queen's Bench, no act of Parliament was necessary to enable the proper officer of the Court to do his duty—an order of his Court would be sufficient, without an act of Parliament. He did not say that the Queen's Bench was in- cluded in the word " Assize" ; he should be sorry to use such a subtlety as that; and the Court itself had formerly given a distinct decision on that very point. Mr. Justice Burton also concurred. The Attorney-General then called for a judgment of respondeas ouster. That entered, he called upon the defendants to plead instanter. Mr. Hatchell contended on their part, that they were entitled to a four-days rule to plead. Mr. Brewster insisted that they could not be entitled to four days over and above the four days allowed by law : they had already had a fortnight. The Chief Justice regarded the application as one made to the discretion of the Court ; and as no reason had been shown why the justice of the country should be delayed, it coald not be complied with. The defendants must plead at once. In a few minutes they appeared, and handed in pleas of "Not Guilty" to the indictment. The Attorney. General stated that he intended to move, on Friday, that there be a trial at bar, and to ask the Court to.fix a day in the sittings after term. It is said that the defendants intend to ask for a postponement of the trial till next term, on account of the immense extent of the indictment, and the difficulty of arranging the evidence to meet it. The effort of the Repealers to procure a thorough revision of the Jury-list is said to have recoiled on themselves ; for the result is to leave a majority of thirty Conservatives to one of the opposite party, Repealers and Whigs.
The "O'Connell Compensation," vulgarly called " rent," was col- lected in the churches and chapels on Sunday the 19th. The produce, so far as known, is immense—about three times the average : in the Dublin district it amounted to more than 4,000l.
The usual weekly meeting of the Repeal Association was held on Monday. Mr. O'Connell began the proceedings by saying, that not a moment should be lost before they expressed their veneration for the Right Reverend the Catholic Prelates of Ireland. He read the resolutions recently passed by the Archbishops and Bishops repudiating a State provision, and proceeded to eulogize the hierarchy— This was emphatically the period for the Roman Catholic Bishops to speak out. They had done so manfully. The thing that people refused least was monied provision for their wants; but their Prelates would have none of it. (Cheers.) What had religion to do with the mammon of the world ? what connexion had been discovered with it and the Bishops and Fathers of the Church of old ? Yes; there had been the connexion of antagonism. (Cheers.) Their Prelates were too much devoted to the altar they served, and regarded too much the purity of their robes, to accept the paltry pay of any Govern- ment. (Cheers.) Mr. O'Connell went on to say that these resolutions were of no recent growth, but that some of them were of the date of 1837, when the Whigs were in power. However, as authentic information existed that some such attempt would be made as that repudiated, (for the Tory press were rather free in their statements on the subject,) the Prelates were right in reiterating them. That press said, " We don't want the priests to preach re- ligion, but we want them not to preach rebellion." (Cheers.) The Times sneered at him for saying that 600,000/. would be too little, and that it should be a million, and said, " Well, let it be a million." (Cheers and laughter.) Thus, a million of pounds sterling was held out to the Catholic clergy, and they refused it. The Tories said to them, " Here's a million for you—you are preachers of rebellion : had you been quiet loyal men, we Ebould never have thought of paying you." That was the way to make rebels. (Cheers and laughter.) "As long as you are good, you shall have nothing; become rebels, and you shall have a large income." (Laughter.) Lord Castlereagh had tamed the Presbyterians by the regium donum. How quiet they were!
Mr. O'Connell moved the following resolutions, which were caned by acclamation- " Resolved—That we, the Catholic members of the Loyal National Repeal Association, have read with the profoundest respect and the most dutiful ac- quiescence, the resolutions adopted at the meeting of our venerated Archbi- shops and Bishops, the sacred and venerated hierarchy of the Catholic church in Ireland. These Most Reverend and Very Reverend Prelates possess our entire veneration, respect, and Christian submission to their Apostolic autho- rity.
That the Catholic laity of Ireland hold in the utmost abhorrence any attempt to influence our venerated clergy by tendering to them the filthy mam- mon of this world. That laity will universally support and uphold them in their rejection of any species of State provision ; firmly convinced as they are that the control of the Church by the State is calculated only to degrade and contaminate ths sacred offices of religion, to diminish the utility of the clergy, and to introduce hirelings into the place of the sainted pastors of faithful flocks.
"That the Catholic laity of Ireland, who never deserted their venerated clergy even in the midst of pains, penalties, confiscations, and death, gratefully acknowledge that their clergy (although against them persecutions most vehe- mently raged) never deserted their faithful followers; and they are convinced that all the bribes of England could not purchase off one single Catholic clergyman from the people throughout this entire isle."
Dr. Gray proposed a resolution on behalf of the Protestant members of the Association, expressing their approbation of the conduct of the Roman Catholic hierarchy with regard to a State provision; he felt degraded as a Protestant that he could not express himself in the same terms of his own clergy. This resolution also was carried by accla- mation.
Mr. Gordon took occasion to express dissent from some of the views with regard to a State provision for the Roman Catholic clergy ; but he approved of glebe-endowments. Mr. O'Connell also coincided in thinking that the Roman Catholic clergy should have glebes, to be passed from one to the other ; but he did not wish Protestants to pay for them.
Mr. Dunn having postponed a motion of thanks to Mr. John O'Con- nell for having exposed the financial injuries of Ireland, (the gentle- man who was to have seconded it being absent,) Mr. Hume gave notice of an amendment, to the effect that some eminent artist should be engaged to execute a statue of "the Young Liberator." Mr. John O'Connell begged his kind friends not to press the matter until he was more deserving of it : he should be ashamed to look a statue in the face.
Mr. O'Connell moved an address in answer to Mr. Joseph Sturge's last letter. Mr. Sturge had asked, who was to advise the Queen in the exercise of her prerogative of calling a Parliament ? Mr. O'Connell's address is no reply : it amounts to a declaration that the control of the Irish Parliament over the Executive should only be exercised within Ireland,—not extending to foreign treaties, colonies, or to the other parts of the United Kingdom ; though the Irish Parliament would be able to negative foreign treaties so far as they applied to Ireland. Ministers would still be chosen by the British Parliament. [The queStion was—who was to advise Queen Victoria to summon an Irish Parliament in College Green ? Must the British Ministers advise her ? must she have separate Ministers for Ireland? or must she act without advice ? And who is to advise her to begin to have separate Ministers in Ireland? The English has checkmated the Irish constitution- monger.]
The Members for Waterford, Mr. Thomas Wyse and Sir Winston Barron, have been called upon by the Repeal Association of that city to become Repealers. Last week a meeting was held at which the re- plies were read : both gentlemen referred to their formerly-expressed opinions on the subject, and declined to enrol themselves in the Repeal Association. Their answers excited much displeasure.
A meeting of the Repeal burgesses was held in the Tower Ward of Waterford, Jan the 16th, to promote the return of stanch Repealers at the coming municipal elections. The notable fact was the appearance of the Reverend Mr. Sheehan, who came there as a priest to protest against the exclusive nature of the meeting. The law had turned out the old Corporations because they were exclusive, and had invested every man with the right of voting : therefore had not the Anti-Repeal burgesses a right to be present ? had not the Protestant burgesses such a right ? He moved that the Aldermen of the Ward " be requested to convene a meeting of all the burgesses of the said ward, without dis- tinction as to creed or political feeling." He did not find a seconder! After some altercation, Mr. Sullivan moved an amendment, declaring it right to hold a preparatory meeting among the Repeal burgesses ; which was seconded by the Reverend Mr. Prendergast; and it seems to have been carried unanimously.
Much alarm has been created thoughout a wide extent of country by the simultaneous lighting of signal or " bale" fires on the nights of the 16th and 18th instant. The occasion of all this turmoil is said to have been Mr. O'Connell's " triumph " in obtaining some delay of the trials, on the 15th. The fires were generally made with straw ; and the crowds usually collected around them uttered alarming shouts, and often threats against the Protestants. Horns were blown in many instances, and sometimes Temperance bands contributed music : we even see mention that shots were fired. The Police interfered in some places, and seized some of the men about the fires : one, at Cahir, is said to have been the servant of the parish-priest. Such were the scenes witnessed in the counties of Cavan, Cork, Limerick, Kerry, Kilkenny, King's County, Meath, Tipperary, Waterford, and Wexford. Some idea may be formed of the number of these signals visible in any one district, from the fact that in the line of view between Middleton and Cork a gentleman counted forty-five such fires ! The details of the picture were not un- frequently alarming enough : a letter from Moyston, written on the 17th, says- " Travelling last evening from Athlone to Bannagher, as soon as it grew dark, I saw the whole country lighted up in every direction with bale-fires. I passed close to two of those fires : one was on the top of an old castle, and was of straw ; the other was a large bundle of blazing straw held upon a fork by a countryman, and a circle of men were sitting close by. I fancy many of the fires were of this kind, for I could perceive they were raised up and down. I observed a lantern tied up in a high tree near High Street Chapel. I also ob- served that in a moment the fires were extinguished, and blazed up simulta- neously after a pause of some minutes, I passed some groups of people who yelled most ferociously at the carriage. The Protestants of this district sat up, armed, awaiting their fate. Whether this is practising secret signals, by way of telegraph, concerted at the Grand Ribbon Lodge, and forwarded to the country lodges, thus directing the movements of the peasantry in tbeforthcoming rebellion—or whether it is meant to intimidate the Protestant inhabitants and urge them through fear to emigrate—or whether it is meant to frighten the Government—it is bard to guess. But these inferences are quite plain : it is of revolutionary tendency—it may be turned to the very worst of purposes—and it shows that the people are in expectation of some immediate movement, and that they are all organized and ready for it."
The Tipperary Constitution deprecates such tranquillity-
" The fires and yells of last night reminded one more of a country of savages than of civilized human beings. We are told that the country never was more 'tranquil' than at the present period but, we should ask, can that country be styled tranquil, where such fearful excitement prevails—where such demonstrations as that of last night are of frequent occurrence—and where an impatience on the part of the peasantry is daily evinced for an onslaught
against the lives and properties of the gentry ? We deny that such a country is tranquil. Were it so in reality, we would be second to none in our anxiety
to announce it. Men of property are denounced and held up to public odium for living out of the country : but can they be blamed, when such a frightful' state of things exists ? "
In the neighbourhood of Cork, the Police visited six places where fires had been seen ; but "they found only embers and a few straws : every thing was quiet, the houses closed, and the people apparently in bed."
Miss Vereker, the sister of Mr. Waller, whose family were so bru- tally attacked at Finnoe last week, died at an early hour on Tuesday morning. The other sufferers are doing better than could have been expected. A letter written at Limerick on the 17th ins!ant mentions a straige circumstance connected with the attack-
" It was reported ten days before he really was attacked, that it had taken place. I was at Shinrone on Saturday week, a fortnight tomorrow, where I heard that Mr. Waller had been attacked, when he and his family were at dinner; and the report went on to say, that when the men fired at Mr. Waller, his servant rushed at him (the man that fired) with a carving-knife in his hand, and secured him. The cause alleged for the attack WRS revenge of a servant who had been dismissed. I was afterwards, on Monday week, in the neigh- bourhood of Finnoe, and heard that the report was false ; but I think it proves that the attack was planned, and even the very time it was to take place, and also that it was well known through the country."
Louth county has been the scene of a bad murder. On the night of the 1st instant, a body of men broke into the house of Nicholas Byrne, at Toorus, after the family had gone to bed. Byrne and his son got up to defend themselves; Byrne was knocked down by the blow of a stick, a man at the same time attempting to stab him with a knife. Byrne's skull was fractured, and he died on the 11th instant. On the 14th, Coroner's Jury returned a verdict of "Wilful Murder" against one Hinchy and two other men whose names are suppressed.
Apropos to some considerations respecting the Land-Occupation Commission, the Morning Chronicle extracts from the report of a Par- liamentary Committee in 1830, a case in which judicious benevolence on the part of Lord Headley, as a landlord, converted a population of outlaws into a comfortable, peaceable, intelligent, and moral tenantry. The estate which was the scene of that miracle is in the barony of Iveragh, and in the county of Kerry— "The estate consists of about 16,000 English acres, and is situated in a very mountainous district; by the sea-side. In 1807, the population was extremely wild and savage; and the district was an asylum for all the robbers, murderers, and other felons of the whole county. No criminal was ever carried out of it for punishment ; and it was impervious to the King's authority, even though backed by a military force. No taxes were paid. The only occupation of the inhabitants was that of plundering the wrecks which were cast upon the shore. Their habitations were even below the general misery of Irish cabins. The few cattle which they possessed—at the rate of one small cow to every twelve acres—were so effectually starved, that it often happened, after they had laid down, that they were through weakness unable to rise. They pos- sessed not even a single cart of any sort, nor one road which could be traversed by • wheel-carriage. Their clothes were of the most ragged character ; and their time was spent in the perpetual commission of assaults, amounting to
ahnost a permanent riot. A greater congeries of miseries it would seem to be impossible for humanity to endure. Such was the hideous condition of this people in 1807. "In 1830 the same population were well clothed, extremely industrious, and
orderly ; attending chapel twice a day; and as neat and well-conducted as the population of any village in England. They had reclaimed 2,000 acres of land. During the scarcity of 1821, they had a sufficient surplus produce to supply Me rest of the adjoining country with food. They had taken in 500 acres from the sea by building a wall a mile long, making the estate of the landlord by many thousands of pounds more valuable than before ; and for this work they received no wages, not even their diet. The value of the work, estimated at 10d. a day, was merely carried to their credit against an arrear of 4,0004 which they had incurred in consequence of the high rents to which they were subject. They had made plantations of the most flourishing description, built excellent houses, as neat as any in England, filled their farms with a superior stock of cattle, and improved their agriculture in such a manner as to produce a most extraordinary contrast between the past and present condition of the country. The extension of education had advanced along with that of religion, morality, and personal comfort. The population was in 1807 all Catholic. There were in 1830 several Protestants. There are, however, no religious differences, and a violation of the law by the native population is absolutely unknown. Such is the account given of this estate by Lord Headley's agent, a gentleman who then resided in the middle of London, and who occupied a /urge quantity of laud in Essex at the time.
"The reader will, of course, be anxious to learn by what enormous expendi-
ture of capital upon the part of the landlord, were produced consequences of such important private and public advantage. The agent informs us that the means employed in effecting this wonderful transformation were an attention to the character of the people, and a constant desire to make it available for the improvement of the lands as well as of the condition of the population itself. Whenever any particular degree of skill, industry, frugality, or good conduct appeared, ' it was encouraged by some little emolument, attention, or allowance. The first thing done was to allow the people out of their rents half the value of answaadyimprovements which they made; although, as the rents were very con - higher than COULD RAVE BEEN PAID, the allowance was rather nominal than real. It had, however, the real effect of improving the estate.' When the Whiteboy disturbances extended to the neighbourhood of the district in question, the inhabitants held a meeting, and passed resolutions in "style rather of superiority," disavowing any participation in the feelings of the insurgents, and assigning as a reason for their disavowal, the attention which kad been for so many years paid on the part of the landlordto their improvement.' "This account, which we present in almost the very words of Lord Headley's agent, includes all the philosophy which it will ever be necessary to apply to the improvement of the Irish peasant."