Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

A. Emmet, and in 1820 was the mother of ten children When she accompanied her husband to America, two of the sons, John and Thomas, were left behind in the charge of their grandmother, and were sent out to America in 1805. Two of the sons who had grown up to manhood, died in the United States ; Temple about 1822, who entered the American navy at an early period, and John in 1842 who had been brought up to the medical profession under the care of Dr. Macneven, and became professor of chemistry in the University of Virginia.

The eldest son Robert, was brought up to the profession of the law, and has risen to an eminent position in it, having been Judge of the Superior Court of New York. Thomas, the second son, who married the step-daughter of Dr. Macneven, was likewise brought up to the legal profession, and was Master in Chancery for twenty-five years, until the office was abolished in 1847. Margaret, the eldest daughter, never married. Elizabeth was married to Mr. Le Roy ; Marianna to Mr. Graves, both those gentlemen rank among the first

*

*

left that dock, in which Mitchel stood, for the scaffold. He avowed the principles of Mitchel-he assumed their responsibility—that the prisoner was not morally guilty—that Ireland was enslaved ; and being interrupted by Baron Lefroy, exclaimed that he could not do justice to his client without doing justice to Ireland."" On the succeeding day after sentence had been passed, the prisoner carried off, and the disturbance that succeeded, quelled, Holmes arose to add his defiance to that with which Mitchel frightened the judges from the benches. A portentous calm had succeeded the storm, upon which again the old man's voice broke—“I wish now to state," said he, " that what I said yesterday as an advocate, I adopt to-day as my own opinion.

The Attorney-General is presentI retract nothing—these are my well-judged sentiments—these are my opinions, as to the relative position of England and Ireland, and I have, as you seem to insinuate, violated the law by stating these opinions. I now deliberately do so again ;" and warming into a dignified fervor of patriotism never surpassed, he concluded—“Let her Majesty's Attorney-General do his duty to his government, I have done mine to my country !

With unimpaired intellect, preserved by the purity of a sincere life, and a single-minded faith, from that chaotic abyss into which Plunket and others equally unstable fell, the venerable patriot went into retirement, from which the grave will drag him once more, and for all time, before the public and the unborn students of his country's history.

merchants of New York. Jane Erin, who was born at Fort George, was married to Mr. M'Iver, he is since dead.

The task which Haines undertook in 1812, and left uncompleted, has been finished by another hand. Shortly after the death of Emmet, the following account of the close of his life was drawn up and published in the same little volume containing the memoirs of Haines and Emmet.

Early in November, 1827, he had been much engaged in the defence of Lieut. Percival, on a charge of extortion, and also in a cause of unusual importance, generally called the great Astor case, involving the right of Mr. Astor to some lands in Putnum county, to the amount of perhaps eight hundred thousand dollars. In the former case, he defended his client with all his accustomed vigour and ability, and the result was a verdict of acquittal. In the latter, on Monday, the 12th, be addressed the jury in a style of animated eloquence, of prompt and overwhelming retort, and of powerful argument, which was said by many of his audience to have surpassed even his earlier efforts. On Wednesday the 14th, while attending the trial of another cause of importance, (the case of the Sailor's Snug Harbour,) in which he was counsel, in the United States Circuit Court, he was seized with an apoplectic fit; and on being carried home, he expired in the course of the following night, being in the 63rd year of his age. He had made no exertion in particular that day, but had taken notes of the testimony through the morning, and on examination these notes were found to be a full and accurate transcript of what had occurred up to the moment when the pen fell from his hand on being seized with a fit. The scene in the Court-room was in the highest degree impressive. Every individual present,—the Court, the bar, the audience, all were absorbed in the most anxious interest for the fate of this eminent man. The Court was instantly adjourned. When his death was known, the expression of sorrow and respect was universal ; his funeral was attended by the members of the bar, the students at law, and a crowd of other citizens, all desirous of paying their respect to the memory of the great deceased. A neat monument of white marble has since been placed in the wall of the apartment where Mr. Emmet was seized with the fatal illness. It it surmounted with his bust, and bears the following inscription :

THOMÆ ADDIS EMMET,

VIRO
DOCTRINA. IURE. SCIENTIA. ELOQUENTIA

PRÆSTANTISSIMO
INTER, HÆC. SUBSELLIA. ET. OFFICII. MUNERA

SUBITA. MORTE. CORREPTO
SOCII. FORENSES. POSUERANT.

*

“Mr. Emmet was a diligent student. He confined himself to study and business more than twelve hours a-day. After returning home in the evening, he would retire to his own apartment, and continue the investigation of any subject in which he was engaged till twelve or one at night. His constitution was vigorous, and his habits uniformly temperate, so that his devotion to study never seemed to injure his health. It was one consequence of this intense application that he was remarkable among his brethreu at the bar for his perfect knowledge of the cases in which he was engaged. * Although the prime of his life was darkened by misfortune, although he was severely disciplined by the hardships of imprisonment and the bitterness of exile, yet he was trusted and revered in the land where he was persecuted as a rebel, and in the country of his adoption, where he arrived in the vigour of his manly strength, and held the erect attitude of an unbroken and unbending spirit, he readily obtained the confidence of all those who became acquainted with him, mingled largely in the transactions of important affairs, placed himself at the head of his profession without having one blot on his escutcheon for envy to point its finger at, and acquired a brilliant reputation as a lawyer and an orator."

Judge Duer, of New York, (brother of the President of the College, one of the most distinguished lawyers in America, in speaking of Emmet at the meeting called for the purpose of carrying measures into effect for the erection of a monument to his memory, observed, “It was his fortune to have known him from his first arrival in New York, and to hear him, he believed, in a majority of the important cases in which his talents were most successfully exerted. His opinion was unbiassed since, from peculiar causes, there were no relations between them beyond those of mere civility.

“ Thomas Addis Emmet in head and heart, and in no vul.

gar sense of the term, was a great man, and as an orator, with the single exception of Burke, unsurpassed by any that his country has produced. Superior in judgment, in taste, in the extent and variety of his learning, in persevering skill, in chastened fervour, in true pathos, the abilities of Emmet were never displayed on their proper theatre. His large and philosophic views of society, government, and law, his ample stores of knowledge, his unrivalled promptitude, and invariable selfcommand; his elocution, flowing, copious, rapid, unlimited in the range, most fortunate in the choice of his language ; his brilliant imagination and ardent feelings, when most excited, disciplined to obey the suggestions of his reason; his power of sarcasm and irony rarely excited, but when put forth, resistless ; and above all that imperitorial tone of voice, (if the phrase be allowed,) which his superior genius enabled him, without affectation, to assume in a deliberative aud popular assembly, would have combined to invest him with controlling sway.

The observations of one of the most attached, the most sincere, the most upright and intrepid of his associates, Dr. William James Macneven, are as follows:

“The attributes of genius are not rare among the Irish and American countrymen of Emmet, and time is constantly developing the resources of mind. The labors of intellect press onward for distinction, while names of high endowments are forced back to make room for new reputations. They alone will be long remembered who have acted with an impulsive power on the destinies of their country and kind.

Among those who first taught how to overthrow the misrule of Ireland, who exposed its causes and prepared its cure, Emmet is distinguished. He had great influence on the adoption of those measures which are still at issue between Ireland and her foes, and which in part obtained, in part withheld, are determinative of her future happiness, as they shall finally fail, or be signally successful. He espoused the unqualified emancipation of the Catholics when that measure had few supporters out of their own body. He brought to that cause virtue and talents, and he and a few more influential members of the Protestant Church redeemed the errors of their predecessors. It is due to their memory to record that their rigorous interference broke the religious bonds which the Protestants of a

former period had bound. Emmet, with the aid of his standing at the bar, and of his commanding eloquence, exerted upon every fitting occasion, strenuously advanced those principles and policy for which we now do honour to his name.”

From Magoon's American Orators, in which work Emmet is particularized as “The Orator of deep feeling," the following extracts are taken :-“But mental stimulus was essential to the development and display of Mr. Emmet's nobler and more commanding traits, as light is necessary to unfold the beauty grandeur of a landscape. When his soul was thoroughly aroused, his figure assumed a majestic mein, every motion of which was graceful, an expressive countenance was lit up by a sparkling and piercing eye, that almost commanded victory, 'while it spoke audience ere the tongue. While thus invested with the robes of splendid intellect, his person seemed made to contain his spirit ; his spirit filled and animated his person. His look answered to his voice, and both spoke with simultaneous power to the soul. He was crowned with the diadem of mental majesty, and stood forth a monarch in the realms of eloquence.

* But Emmet's success was founded on a power superior to the ordinary gifts that command popular favour—to undoubted genius there was added that moral interest which irresistibly commands the best sympathies of an audience. He had conducted himself with such gentleness and dignity through all the vicissitudes of adversity, persecution, imprisonment, and exile, that every generous heart took pleasure in contemplating the splendour of his talents as he exercised them without ostentation on the serene heights of prosperity and fame. * "In the base of a glorious morn not yet risen to-day, Thomas Addis Emmet was dragged from dungeon to dungeon, hunted from continent to continent, athwart seas and oceans, until he found a safe and honourable protection under the ægis of America. Here he persued a long and glorious, career.

The whole nation mourned his fall. Precious and splendid testimonials immediately indicated the high place he occupied in popular regard. Nor was the respect then proffered a transcient emotion. In the crowded thoroughfare of Broadway, the admirers of genius and exalted worth may still be often seen to pause and contemplate the noble monument to his memory in St. Paul's church-yard.

" This perpetuity of admiration mingled with grief, comports

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »