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steal, boys, by Jekers, I'll have Plunket!" On being told that his successor in The Common Pleas, the late Chief Justice Doherty, had little or nothing to do, Plunket replied, "Well, he is equal to it." A clerk in the Court of Chancery, named Moore, prided himself upon his style of writing, his caligraphy, as he used to call it; and a frequent visitor to the Court was an attorney, named Morris, who was somewhat vain of his dress, and generally wore a bunch of flowers at his buttonhole. "Plunket," said Bushe one day, while they were waiting for the Chancellor, "Why should this Court remind us of the road to Chester ?" "I give it up," replied Plunket. "Don't you see," said Bushe, "we are near Pen-man-Moore." "I was stupid, indeed," rejoined Plunket "with Beau Morris opposite me." Being told of the appointment of a person who had the reputation of indolence, to a judicial office where there was little business, "It's the very Court for him!" he exclaimed, "it will be up every day before himself."

Until about the year 1820, there were no regular Reports of the Irish cases. All the new authorities were imported from England; so that the accident of a fair or foul wind might sometimes affect the decision of a cause. "Are you sure, Mr. Plunket," (said Lord Manners once) "that what you have stated is the law?" "It unquestionably was the law half-an- . hour ago," replied Mr. Plunket pulling out his watch, "but by this time the Packet has probably arrived, and I shall not be positive." Charles Phillips writes:

"I never saw Lord Redesdale more puzzled than at one of Plunket's best jeux d'esprits. A cause was argued in Chancery, wherein the plaintiff prayed that the defendant should be restrained from suing him on certain bills of exchange, as they were nothing but kites.—' Kites,' exclaimed Lord Redesdale; 'kites, Mr. Plunket? Kites never could amount to the value of those securities! I don't understand this statement at all, Mr. Plunket.' 'It is not to be expected that you should, my Lord,' answered Plunket,-In England and in Ireland, kites are quite different things. In England, the wind raises the kites; but, in Ireland, the kites raise the wind.' 'I do not feel any way better informed yet, Mr. Plunket,' said the matterof-fact Chancellor. Well, my Lord, I'll explain the thing without mentioning those birds of prey:'-and therewith he elucidated the difficulty."

When Sir Walter Scott visited Ireland, in the year 1825,

he became intimate with, and attached to, three very remarkable Irishmen,-Sir Philip Crampton, Plunket, and Anthony Richard Blake. It was whilst staying at Old Connaught that Plunket proposed to Scott they should pay a visit to the Seven Churches, and to St. Kevin's Bed. Scott insisted on entering St. Kevin's Bed, and after he had left the spot, Plunket told Cathleen, the guide, that Scott was a poet. "Poet," said she, fancying that Plunket was quizzing her,"the devil a bit of him faith,-he's a fine daycent gentleman -he gave me a half-crown." Plunket used to tell this story with considerable humor. Of those who, as we have stated, pleased Scott most of all whom he met in Ireland, Lockhart writes:-"The acute logic and brilliant eloquence of Lord Plunket he ever afterwards talked of with high admiration; nor had he, he said, encountered in society any combination of qualities more remarkable than the deep sagacity and broad rich humor of Mr. Blake. In Plunket, Blake, and Crampton, he considered himself as having gained three real friends by this expedition; and I think I may venture to say, that the feeling on their sides was warmly reciprocal."


We have heard it frequently asserted that Lord Plunket has said, "History is only an old Almanack;" we take this opportunity of showing the error of the assertion. Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, Vol. XII. N. S. p. 808, in the debate on Sir Francis Burdett's motion for a Committee on the Roman Catholic Claims-February 28, 1825— Plunket spoke thus:—“Time, as had been said by one of the clearest observers of its effects, was the greatest innovator of all. While man would sleep or stop in his career, the course of time was rapidly changing the aspect of human affairs. All that a wise Government could do was to keep as close as possible to the wings of time, to watch his progress, and accommodate his motion to their flight. Arrest his course they could not; but they might vary the forms and aspects of their institutions, so as to reflect his varying aspects and forms. If this were not the spirit which animated them, philosophy would be impertinent, and history no better than an old almanack. The riches of knowledge would serve them no better than the false money of a swindler, put upon them at a value which once circulated, but had long since. ceased." Mr. Secretary Peel, at page 820, replies-" My right hon. friend says, he would not convert the philosophy


of history into a miserable almanack, or represent experience as a swindler passing base money upon mankind. I agree with him, and I look back to history for the instructive lesson it affords, and consult experience upon the abuses of power in all ages." A portion of this extract, which we have printed in italics, has been considered very clever and approaching somewhat to an aphorism, but it is not original; thirty-four years before Plunket spoke it, Boswell had published, in his Life of Johnson, the following remarks: "Johnson. must consider how very little hstory there is; I mean real authentic history. That certain kings reigned, and certain battles were fought, we can depend upon as true; but all the colouring, all the philosophy of history is conjecture. Boswell. Then, sir, you would reduce all history to be no better than an almanack, a mere chronological series of remarkable events." Whether Boswell had ever seen the remark of Mercier, in his Nouveau Tableau de Paris, that "Malet de Pan's and such like histories of the Revolution, are no better than an old almanack," we know not; the observations of Boswell, and of Lord Plunket, may be, as Johnson would say, "a proof of coincidence, sir, but not of plagiarism."

Plunket was an excellent host, and few could propose a health with more feeling and grace. On one occasion he thus toasted his old friend Peter Burrowes :-"I know no man who has more to answer for. He has spent his life in doing acts of kindness to every human being but himself. He has been prodigal of his time, and his trouble, and his fortune, for his friends, to a degree that is quite inexcusable. In short, I know no way of accounting for such an anomaly, but by supposing him utterly destitute of the instinct of selfishness." On another occasion he proposed Bushe's health thus:Gentlemen, I am going to give you a toast; and it will be necessary for me to say a word or two, before I tell you what it is. If I were to say, I am going to give you the Solicitor General, perhaps yon would be at a loss to know whom I mean. And if I were to say that I am going to give you the Chief Justice, I would certainly mention a very respectable and most distinguished individual; but it is not exactly him I mean at present. In order, therefore, that there should be no ambiguity, that


*See Boswell's Life of Johnson, Vol. III. p. 241 edited by Croker, Ed. 1831.

you may all perfectly understand who it is that I do mean, I beg leave to give you, the ornament of the Irish Bar; the man who has endeared himself to all who know him, not merely by the richness of his genius-not merely by the splendor of his eloquence-not merely by the captivations of his manner-not merely by the extent and the variety of his erudition; but by the essential goodness of his heart and nature, which eclipses them all."

A witness was being examined by Plunket, and on crossexamination refused to answer, as the counsel put him into a “doldrum.” A" doldrum" said the judge, Lord Avonmore,― "What is a doldrum? I never heard the word." "Oh! my Lord," replied Plunket, "its a well known affection; merely a confusion of the head arising from a corruption of the heart." The day upon which Lord Campbell was expected to arrive, for the purpose of assuming his Chancellorship, was remarkably rough and windy, and a friend remarked to Plunket how sick Campbell must be. "Yes," said Plunket, "but it won't make him throw up the seals." Such a man as this was Plunket. -Brilliant, eloquent, thoughtful, persevering, honest, and unswerving in friendship. The younger Grattan writes:—

"Mr. Plunket was a deep reader, a profound thinker, and a sagacious observer of mankind. He could learn quicker than any man; at one view he perceived the tendency of a measure, and saw from afar its errors and its consequences. His power of perception was great; his power of discrimination greater; and the clearness of his intellect was surprising. He was full of sense and judgment; he was a close and acute reasoner, a powerful debater, and most argumentative even when most eloquent. His speeches were ironbound on all sides, solid and compact; never exposing a weak point to his adversary. His eye discovered not merely reflection, but command, and his irony was the most effective and most to be dreaded; it was not simply dissecting the human body, but flaying it alive. When he arraigned Lord Castlereagh for his plan to buy the members, by a million and a half to be expended for the purchase of the boroughs, it was more than the denunciation of an injured and indignant mortal,-it was fire snatched from above; he soared beyond the low region where he was placed, to draw from a superior armoury the fittest weapons to defend his country, and poured down on the devoted head of her implacable foe the storm, and tempest, and lightning of his anger. All his speeches were remarkable, but his finest speeches were most finished performances, they were masterpieces of oratory; they contained profound views and answered everything. His speech on the Catholic question, in the Imperial Parliament, will long be remembered. He put forward the strength of their case in

a manner that not only caught the auditory, but drew from one of the greatest opponents of their claims the remark, that Plunket had done more to advance their cause in the House than any of their advocates; and from another, that his talents had excited the greatest admiration, and his convincing speech would never be forgotten. His speech on the French war in 1815 was powerful and masterly; no man in the House of Commons could have put the several cases of right to go to war, and of the right to interfere with the government of other states, in so powerful a manner; so clear, and each so distinct, like a stream that pours from the rock, strong and pellucid. His pleading in the case of the King against O'Grady was a masterpiece of forensic ability; so much so, that it was stated in private by one of the Judges, that he had never known what argument was until he heard Plunket in that cause. A common observer might consider him cold and cautious in private, but that was not his character; he possessed a humour at once agreeable and instructive, and in the minutest things he showed that his understanding was of the first order. Take him altogether, he was an extraordinary man. The son of a worthy Presbyterian clergyman in the north of Ireland, possessed of a small fortune, who died leaving a large family with little to support them, and this individual then a very young child. Deprived of his father, he managed to procure for himself the best education, and to gain the highest name in the University of Dublin; so high that he would not even accept a fellowship if it had been conferred upon him. He thence raised himself at the bar, and became a most distinguished advocate. He then got into the Parliament of both Kingdoms; the Irish Parliament first, the Imperial Parliament afterwards. He was advanced to the highest offices in the state,Attorney General, Chief Justice, Lord Chancellor of Ireland. He was offered the Rolls in England, and finally received a British Peerage. All this he did,-not by dint of art or money,-not by stoop. ing to the vulgar ways of low ambition, or of crafty pride,-not, as Lord Clare did, by abusing and selling his country-nor, as Lord Eldon did, by cringing and crouching to royalty; he excelled every where, and succeeded in almost everything; he upheld the rights of `Ireland, defended her cause, and advanced himself solely by his gigantic abilities and fearless energy."

There is not a syllable of exaggeration in this beautiful tribute to the genius of a great man, who, like Wedderburn, united, at once, all the highest qualities of a lawyer, of an orator, and of a statesman. He might have been a poor man through life, had not his brother's bequest enriched him. He refused all patronage and all place from those whose friendship might be looked upon as the price paid for bartered principles. During life the base, virulent, falsehood of faction, from Cobbet's time, even to the day upon which the earth received his corpse, was ever ready to defame him. But when wealth and power were within his grasp, he resigned them because he

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