Valentine M'Clutchy, The Irish Agent eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 594 pages of information about Valentine M'Clutchy, The Irish Agent.

Such is the anxiety to snap up a convert in Ireland, it matters not from what church or to what church, that Mr. Lucre lost no time in securing the appointment of honest Darby to the office of Castle Cumber Deputy Goaler—­an appointment to which both M’Clutchy and M’Slime strongly recommended him, not certainly from an excess of affection towards that simple and worthy man, but from a misgiving that an important portion of a certain correspondence in the shape of two letters was in his possession, and that so far they were prudent in declining to provoke his enmity.

CHAPTEK XXII.—–­Castle Cumber Grand Jury Room

—­A Concientious Hangman—­Way to a Glebe House of More Importance than the Way to Heaven—­Irish Method of Dispensing Justice—­Short Debate on the Spy System—­Genealogical Memoranda—­Patriotic Presentments—­A Riverless Bridge

We pass now, however, to the Grand Jury Room of the county, and truly as a subordinate tribunal for aiding the administration of justice, it was, at the time of which we write, one of the most anomalous exhibitions that could be witnessed.  It was a long room, about thirty-six or forty feet in length, by thirty, with a fire-place at each end, and one or two at the sides.  Above the chimney-piece was an oil painting of William the Third, together with a small bronze equestrian statue of the same prince, and another of George the Third.  There were some other portraits of past and present jurors, presented by themselves or their friends.  But there was certainly one which we cannot omit, although by whom presented, or on what occasion, we are wholly unable to inform the reader.  We are inclined to think it must have been placed there by some satirical wag, who wished to ridicule the extent to which mere royalty was carried in those days, and the warmth of admiration with which its most besotted manifestations were received.  The picture in question was the portrait of a pious hangman, who was too conscientious to hang any one but a Papist.  They called him Jerry Giles; a little squat fellow, with a face like a triangle, a broken nose, and a pair of misplaced or ill-matched eye-brows, one of them being nearly an inch higher up the forehead than the other.  Jerry, it seems, had his own opinions, one of which was, that there existed no law in the constitution for hanging a Protestant.  He said that if he were to hang a Protestant felon, he would be forced to consider it in his conscience only another name for suicide; and that, with a blessing, he would string up none but such vile wretches as were out of the pale of the constitution, and consequently not entitled to any political grace or salvation whatever.  And, indeed, upon the principles of the day, the portrait of Jerry was nearly as well entitled to be hung among the grand jurors as that of any one there.

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Valentine M'Clutchy, The Irish Agent from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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