21 NOVEMBER 1840, Page 11


Eranx, while practising at the Edinburgh bar as JOHN CLERK, was one night busy coneoctina. an important law-paper with the assistance of his amanuensis, hen a conclave of cats set up a fighting and caterwauling beneath his window. The noise rendered further study impossible ; and JOHN, in a transport of fury, snatching an old musket from above the chimney, threw up the sash, exclaiming," Mr. George! read the Riot-act.'" The Mayor of Limerick has insisted upon having the Riot-act read, under circumstance.: much more questionable than did JOIIN CLERK. There was noise at least in JOHN'S case; but the riot which frightened the Mayor of Limerick from his propriety, was neither snore nor less than a few citizens assembled in the Northum- berland Rooms, quietly listening to a lecture on the Corn-laws. And the contrast is still further heightened by the consideration, that JOHN CLERK'S explosion was one of his queer practical jokes, whereas the Limerick Mayor's was an act of solemn owl-like seri- ousness.

Ireland must be strangely altered if its Magistrates are so much at a loss to know what a riot is. Every fair used to furnish them with practical illustrations of the meaning of the word. -lint Father MaTnEw has done away with those practices, and Mayors have short memories.

The events of this new kind of riot are narrated by the graphic pen of no less a person than Tuomas STEELE, " O'Connell's Head Pacificator for Ireland"; who dates his history from a place whose very name is ominous of peace—" Eagles' Crags, O'Connell Mountains, County Clare." Mr. STEELE informs us, in the out- set— " Somc (lays ago, that respectable and respected and patriotic citizen, Me. John Bands, told me that the Mayor, and other city authorities of Limerick, had under their consideration as matter of discussion, how they were to deal


wh an itinerant political lecturer from England, who had advertised a lectore on the Corn-laws, at the Northumberland Rooms. 1 said to him in reply, that it would be a most outrageous act of tyranny to take any measure to pre-

vent his addressing any auditory which might choose to to hear if there acme nothing objectionable in his hand.bills and posted placards."

After this promising introduction, Mr. STEELE goes on to nar- rate, that the Mayor dispersed one meeting which had assembled to hear Mr. MttunAy, (the lecturer in question,) upon what infor- mation "I do not know, and therefore cannot know how far the Mayor was or was not justified in acting on it." Hearing, how- ever, that the lecturer had announced a second lecture, proceeds Mr. STEELE- "I deemed it my bounden duty to attend it, in oiler that, as far as lay in my power, 1 by my presence, and exhortation if necessary, might cedeavonr to PrLvent disturbance or confusion of imv kind in our city. I listened fir some tittle; and while t was doing so, the Alayor and Aldermen Cripps entered time room, accompaniod by Major Yokes, and approached the place where 1 wagStanding. AlidiT,:zing the Chief 3lagistrate in an undergone, and without interrupting the lecture, 1 told him, that' as far as I had heard, not a sentence had been uttered by Mr. Murray which, in my opinion, could be deemed objec- tionable or tending to disturbance.' Time Mayor replied, that notwithstanding it were so, the information he hail on oath was of stud' nature as would render it lmis imperative duty to act in his Magisterial function in the same manner as on the night before, viz. by obliging the Assembly of people to retire front the room."

Now we must observe, par parentla'se, that. Mr. STEELE does

not seem to entertain the highest opinion of these civic functiona- ries. He says in the very document from which we are quoting- " As a Radical Reformer, I of course hold all corporate mono- polies in execration ; but the old City Corporations of Ireland ane fiendish in their organization—(like the Protestant Church Esta- blishment in Ireland)—they are public plunder and religious per-

secution in combination." Nevertheless, Mr. STEELE, seeing that

the people were to he dispersed, volunteered to take that task upon himself—to disperse the unoffending audience of a lecturer who had said nothing that " in his opinion could be deemed objec-

tionable as tending to disturbance," in contomity with the wish of public plunder and religious persecution in combination." It is true, Mr. STEELE tells us that he resolved to do this " as the most

softened mode of proccesling which could be adopted, and the one

best calculated under the circumstances to avoid the extremity of angry excitement." But Mr. STEELE knew that the people had

dispersed peaceably the previous es ening ; end Isis truly Hibernian

method of avoiding "angry excitement" was, to hint that the lec- turer was a Chartist in disguise ! lie did not rest contented with

uttering this inuendo in the room ; but, " on getting into the street,

and in one or two observations made rapidly in trunsitu, gave the proper caution against any attempts of the Fergus O'Connor gang." Mr. STEELE reminds us flireibly of his countryman who sought to avoid the extremity of angry excitement by crying out, " Mind boys, dee./ nail his ears to the pump"; and we are not surprised to find that ha sloes not omit " to do the Mayor the justice of declaring," that "he warmly shook hands with use and thanked me, while I was retiring amidst my shouting citizens."

Poor Mr. Mersaay seems to have been treated, between the Limerick Magistrate and the "Pacificator" from "Eagles' Crags," (Ganderscleugh would be a more appropriate domicile,) after the plan adopted by one of their countrymen towards Isis wife, whose "aggravating" silence provoked him to beat her. They have ex- agger4ted the Scriptural metaphor : a man asks for bread, and they give him a riot-act.

We are' anxious to hear what Lord MostrEan will say to "Mr. Justice Overdo," the decor, and What O'CONNELL will say to hie " head Pacificator for Ireland."