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Why are there so many lawyers in Ireland ? This is a question asked by every stranger visiting Dublin; and as its elucidation may also serve to give an illustration of Irish character, we shall endeavour to an. swer it.

The Irish are fond of “a skirmish,” whether it be with the bones. breaking shillelah, or the heart-breaking tongue. They like to witness a row, either in the open field, or in the close court-house. As their forefathers took especial pleasure in the game of hurling, where a man's neck might be smashed, so do the Hibernians of the present day rejoice in beholding a conflict of wits, in which a man's character may be crack.. ed. In neither case can ill-nature be ascribed as the motive for delighting in a hostile exhibition of strength. The Irish are a romantic and an imaginative people ; and what they have thought of in their day-dreams they wish to see aeted in real life before them. In days of old, the pursuits of the Irish aristocracy were, “ war and the chace;" in the times of persecution, the Catholic was shut out from every honourable profession, and his humble ambition (for he could aspire to none above it) was to excel in feats of personal prowess ; now, it is the anxious hope of the poorest to see his son holding the position which O'Connell so nobly occupies, “ the assailant of the tyrant, the protector of the weak, the advocate of the injured.” Whether it be in the capacity of discharging such duties to his client, or of attacking the clients of his opponent, there is nothing so gratifying to the Irish gentry and people as that of witnessing a forensic contest. There is in it all the charms and excitements of gambling; there is, according to their opinions, either the low stake of life, or the high stake of property to be decided; and they consider, that, according to the skill of the lawyer, the game is lost or


Such is the leading incitement that brings a young man to the bar in Ireland. But there are other causes to induce him to attach himself to the profession. The Irish are a genteel people ; they have an instinctive abhorrence of any thing which touches upon what is regularly called “ low life.” The mechanic is ashamed of his trade ; the shopkeeper of his business. When either of them acquire property, instead of bringing up a son to their own occupation, they wish to have him “ an esquire all at once ;” and accordingly the bar is selected, as “ who knows but little Pat might be a Lord Chancellor, or a puisne judge, at the least ?" Master Pat, therefore, goes to a Latin school ; he learns the classics"; enters college ; dines at the King's Inns in Dublin ; posts off to Lon. don ; feeds there, and returns in two or three years, with full leave and liberty to put powdered horse-hair on his head, and is introduced into all companies as “ my son, the counsellor.

The agitation which has prevailed in Ireland for the last nine or ten years has added its quota to the profession. We have known men, who were comfortable farmers, and (it is scarcely credible !) some of them attornies, in good practice, who, unfortunately for themselves, had “ the gift of the gab.” They could, without hesitation, tire a meeting for half an hour, in pouring forth commonplaces, in a most confident tone, and with the most faultless impudence. They could mimic O'Connell, steal a metaphor from Sheil, and throw back the flaps of their coat like Jack Lawless ; and for doing all this, and nothing more, they were, at country meetings, and even in the “ old Association" itself, applauded “ to the very echo." We have known such unmerited approbation to turn the heads of men, who thought the plaudits were given to them,


and not to “ the cause," of which they were the insignificant supporters. The consequence has been, that many, who, but for agitation, would still be comfortable and independent members of society, are now lawyers without briefs, and barristers without clients. They walk the hall of the Four Courts, sad memorials of the weakness and folly of human nature !

It is not necessary for us to allude to those young gentlemen who become lawyers ; because they know that on assuming the character, they set forth on the straight road to sinecure. Those individuals are quite conscious that they have not talent; but they are dependent upon nepotism for promotion. These are the “ waiters upon Providence,” the hangers-on; the sons, nephews, grand-sons, and grand-nephews of chancellors and judges. Each of them is as certain of being provided for by the elevation of a relative, as that the new judge's butler will obtain the exalted perch of “a crier.” It is as improbable that an Irish judge will sit ten years on the bench, without wearing a full-bottomed wig, as it is for him to leave his comfortable nest, without having deposited in his court a young brood of placemen. The Saurins are now fastened on the country ; half a century will not see extinct the Plunketts, the Bushes, and the O'Gradys. A judge's relations are like a bishop's sons and sons-in-law-innumerable. They spring up in the hot-bed of patronage as fast as mushrooms; and there they remain, till death cuts them off, or the new successor to office spreads a fresh layer of corruption, and plants a fresh stock of dependents. To such “ counsellors” our observations can scarcely be applied. They run no risk in adopting a profession ; for they take up the cards in the game of life, certain of having “ all the honours" dealt out to them.

Ambition, pride, and vanity, fill the Four Courts' Hall with the majority of its unemployed barristers; but the exceptions to this remark are numerous. There are to be found, at the Irish bar, men gifted with the highest order of genius, of first-rate talents, and unbounded learning. We do not now refer to those who are known to possess those qualifications, but to men to whom the opportunity has been denied of manifesting them ; who pine on in almost hopeless poverty, or are sinking gradually into the chill of despair, to which the continued mismanagement of Ireland and her resources seems to doom them. Such men would succeed in their profession as certainly as O'Loghlen, Wallace, Richards, Bennett, Ball, Jackson, and Greene, have succeeded; but their powers never can be known, unless they betake themselves to the Criminal, or the Civil Bill Courts; and going to either of these, unless upon the most extraordinary occasions, is regarded by the profession as equal to a sentence of banishment to Botany Bay, or transportation to the shores of Africa.

This is the situation of the Irish bar in the year 1832; a profession filled to overflowing, and hackneyed with vulgarity. In the courts, the counsellors are walking over each other; they are crowded together like flies in a bottle of syrup. In the streets, they are meeting you at every corner. They are at tea-parties as common as saffron-cakes; and at balls, there is more attention paid to the fiddlers than to them. They fill the tea-urn, and dance with the governess; they call the coach, and buy the play-bill; they dandle the baby, and carry the matron's muffling; they look on while cards are playing; and if the servant is out of the way, help round the refreshments; they are seconds to all peaceable duellists, and swear informations to have their principals arrested ; they

“ try” the little boys in their Latin, and the young misses in their French ; they are seldom to be met with at dinner-parties, and they are asked out in the evening, as being a more useful stick than a chair in a quadrille; they are the slaves of the women and the drudges of the men, and the butts for children's practical jokes. To“ such base uses” are applied an Irish counsellor--a poor Irish counsellor-an Irish counsellor without a brief!


It may be so, but we have our doubts upon the matter. Heaven, we think, would have made neater jobs than most of them are. Not that we incline, with certain Manicheans, to give the other power the credit of their manufacture. They are a cut above him. That the Devil inhabits hell, we know ; but we also know that he did not make it.

We have sometimes wondered that Milton did not think it necessary to prefix a “ Doctrine and Discipline of Marriage” to his “ Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce.” When his hand was in, he might as well have done it. Whatever evil rumours may be abroad as to his practical fitness for making the married state happy, “and keeping it so,” it is evident, from his account of the life Adam led in Paradise, that he had very pretty theoretical notions on the subject. Perhaps, as some old heathen philosophers held the business of life to be preparation for death, Milton esteemed divorce the great object of matrimony, and, like other great men, forgot the means in the end.

There are two main obstacles to the proper choice of a partner. People are, for the most part, in love, as far as their natures will permit, when they marry; and hence a twofold delusion. Firstly, each party sees the other through the glowing medium of passion; secondly, each is for the time in reality a different being from what he or she was before, and is to be again.

And firstly, of the first.—Each sees the other through the glowing medium of passion; which makes the object seen through it differ as much from its ordinary phasis as Arthur's seat seen through the tremulous atmosphere of a summer's noon-day, with the dim shadow of a drowsy cloud stealing over it at times, like the drooping of woman's eyelid veiling the glow of love, does from Arthur's seat when the rain cloud wreathes its summit, and the damp chilly gale sobs down the Hunter's bog, and every crag stands out with more than wonted blackness and harshness.

It is this that makes poets such pre-eminently bad selectors of wives. They, more keenly alive than other men to every throb of sense and sentiment, have also the marrying instinct more strong within them. Rich in all stores of imaginative wealth, they can, under the access of passion, hang festoons of all that is rich and beautiful round the ungainliest persons. A strange bashfulness ever attendant on the most gifted minds keeps them at a timorous distance from all who do not meet them half-way; and a shrinking sensitiveness, which is pained even by beholding what is unamiable, makes them translate every indication favourably. In short, the exceptions are few in which poets have not made such an owlish choice in marriage as to astonish every one.

But a more serious source of misapprehension than the erroneous opinion entertained of the future partner's character, is the temporary


change which that character really undergoes under the influence of passion. Even in animals a similar alteration is visible. The fox and stag turn upon all passengers during the amatory season, with a valour not natural to them. The hen, under the access of maternal affection, defends her chickens with desperate valour. So in the human race, the most unamiable persons are, while affected by the universal passion, at least to the beloved object, yielding, caressing, generously devoted. Their feelings are for the time purified and ennobled. The folds and sharp points of their character are for the time plumped out and rounded. A new and strange life fills their veins, and tinges all their actions. They can as little recognise themselves in their new state of feeling as others can. They believe that an essential change has taken place in their character.

Alas, it is but a transient moment! It is like the glowing sunset changing to gold the clouds which were grey before, and will be black afterwards. It is like the period of blossom, the love era of the vegetable world, when the least beautiful herbs load the evening air with rich, voluptuous perfume, the herald of their own speedy emaciation and death. Love is a deluding guide to matrimony. It is like the green fields and bowery woods seen by those sick of a calenture in the rippling sea, luring the maniac to a cold and weltering tomb. It is lightning in the night, revealing for a moment all surrounding objects, to leave us in double darkness. It is a faint though delicious note borne on the evening breeze, less pleasing from its own mellowness than painful from its transitory character, and the ineffectual striving to catch and retain its fellows which it excites.

“ No one then should marry in love or for love." It is easy speaking. Marriage contracted without love is generally the consequence of some motive which poisons the union in its source. Friendship, if such a cool feeling can exist between persons of different sexes, does not seek for identity of abode and all worldly interests. It is satisfied with a less incorporating union ; feels that occasional absence is necessary. No man or woman either will promise and vow eternal fidelity for the sake of friendship alone. Cool and unimpassioned marriages are uniformly the fruit of interested views-means to an end-entered into for the promotion of ambitious purposes, or the attainment of money, which is supposed to command every thing. This is mending the matter with a vengeance. Marry for love, and you may eventually feel marriage a burden; marry for any other reason, and you take it up as such from the first.

There is another way, which has sometimes been found to answermarrying because one cannot help it. In some countries—in our own, in the good old times—marriage was the business not of those who entered into the solemn contract, but of their parents. The old people agreed that their children should marry, and the young people assented with the best grace they could. Were the old of the world always the wise, this would not have been so far amiss. But, unluckily, “ there are no fools like old fools.” The young feel that there must be sympathy in so close a connexion ; they only err in dreaming that they find sym. pathy where it really does not exist. The old, with hearts which have lost the first edge, or with sickly frames more sensitive to physical discomforts than those of youth, are apt to restrict their notion of worldly comforts to the possession of a fair share of its goods. Regarding this alone, the grave and the gay, the cold and the passionate, the old and




the young were united in preposterous union. Had compatibles been linked together without previous acquaintance, and left to love each other as they best might, history gives strong reason to believe that such matches would have been happy. One old proverb hath it

Happy's the wooing

That's not long a-doing.
And although one eminent philosopher has said :-

Thus grief still treads upon the heels of pleasure :

Married in haste, we may repent at leisure ! Yet another, not a whit behind him, has told us :

Some by experience find those words misplaced ;

At leisure married, they repent in haste. It is not, however, to such old saws alone that we are called upon to yield credence. Isaac, who had his wife brought home to him on a camel, and married her a few hours after sight, made no complaints of his fortune. Boaz, who was persecuted into marriage, honest man, by a young woman in want of a settlement, made an eminently happy marriage. Of Jacob's two wives, poor Leah, whom he never dreamed of marrying till he found himself lying beside her the morning after his nuptials, proved, by all accounts, the more amiable wife of the two. And to pass from sacred history to profane, we do not read that the matches with the Sabine women, clapped up on such short notice, and with such slender ceremony, proved less happy than the subsequent marriages of Rome. In fetes-champêtres, pic-nics, and pleasure excursions, we find those which are extempore always the most agreeable. Where the pleasure comes unlooked for, and the mind has not been worked up to impossible expectations, or jaded with anticipations of pleasure, it is naturally sweeter. So it may be with marriage.

After wandering, however, in retrospect over all the possible methods of entering into this holy and mysterious state, we always recur to the natural portal, love, as the most natural.* It is appointed unto all men once to marry, and after marriage-Well, that's the business of nobody but the married couple. Every thing in life commences with passion and headlong enthusiasm, to fade by degrees into insipidity and commonplace. Equal laws are achieved by popular commotions ; they are enjoyed in utter forgetfulness of their existence. In childhood, the mere consciousness of existence is rapture; in mature years we require something to live for-some conserve to give a relish to the dry-bread of life. It is a uniform and pervading law of nature, and must be submitted to in marriage as in every thing else. Marry then for love, in God's name, all who are fools enough to marry! Love is the only apology for such an absurd step. Burning, over-mastering passion, fusing two beings into one; satisfied with nothing short of a perpetual struggle to attain such an intermixture of soul, body, and interests as nature has rendered unattainable ; this alone can justify the tying of the knot which may not be unloosed. It is madness, but it is a madness which is in the order of nature, and must be undergone. The only advice that can be given to

* The only philosopher who has satisfactorily elucidated the efficient cause of mar. riage is an old woman,-as most philosophers are. Mrs. Alison Wilson of Milnwood, sagely observes, “ Folk maun either marry, or do waur."-See Old Mortality.

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