Main content

Title: Thomas Cather, U.S.A. to "My Dear Jane", Limavady.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileCather, Thomas/139
SenderCather, Thomas
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationunknown
Sender Religionunknown
DestinationLimavady, Co. Derry, N.Ireland
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceD/3220/5/13: Deposited by the Late Lady Tyler, on Behalf of the Other Trustees of the Will of Sir Henry MacDonald Tyler.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9809172
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 15:09:98.
Word Count703
Transcript12 Blessington St

My dear Jane
I suppose that my letter to my father,
after Shiel's speech and the newspapers which I sent
have been received. The public interest with
respect to the State Trials, which had died away
during the examination of actualities and the reading
of the documentary evidence has revived since the
defence commenced, and the court has been crowded &
then had thronged from morning till night, but there has
been no unseemly excitement, no disturbance, not even
an instance of discourtesy among the mob
on the outside of the court there all was grave; calm
hushed expectancy it was only within the court that any
[intercourse?] did take place.
You have heard of the fracas which took place between
the attorney General and Mr Fitzgibbon, the latter made
use of very coarse and unjustifiable language &
Smith unfortunately had not patience to wait for the
proper time to resent it. The Attorney General [indiscreet?]
outheat was occassioned [occasioned?] I think not alone by
a Fitzgibbons attack, but by the cutting sarcasm of Shiel, & the
concentrated bitterness of Moore which he had previously
endured, and which so galled & intiated [intimidated?] him,
that he was put in the proper temper to turn savagely on
anyone who might look at him. During the defence the degree
of Eloquence & ability was displayed highly creditable to the
Irish Bar. Shiel's speech was a master piece of brilliant
declamation. In polished sarcasm he is unrivalled - he cuts
with a keen & glittering edge, and seems to take no slight
pleasure in the wounds which he inflicts. but to my mind
he is too much of a [_--to-able?], the art of the orator
appears though all he says, and although he always pleases
the fancy, he seldom touches the heart.
The speeches of Moore and Henn were marked by great
ability and fully sustained their high reputation but the
speech which I admired most, and which I consider the
great speech of the occassion [occasion?] was Whitesides -
it was worthy of the best days of Canan, refined, vehement
& impassioned, speaking with not sound in reasoning and
rising at times to the loftiest eloquence, it made a
powerful impression, the bench seemed spell bound and the
bar at the conclusion [rok?] in an uncontrolable
[uncontrollable?] burst of applause, but you will say I am
forgetting O Connell I heard him yesterday, & in common with
everyone in Court. I was disap ointed it was the worst speech
I ever heard him deliver. He had a noble opportunity of
justifying his conduct to the present generation, and making an
appeal to posterity & when I heard him set out by
avowing every act. & almost every word that was imputed
to him, that he stood then not for himself alone, but for his
[-----?] Ireland. I thought he was going to justify the
general expectation that he would make one of the greatest
orations that had ever been heard in an Irish Court of
Justice but he was tame & spineless, has the air of a man
who was going through a weary task, never warmed with his
subject, and never rose with eloquence, his thoughts seemed
to come slow, his manner was laboured, his language
[-in-pl-at?] and he often hesitated for a word, he showed
none of the fire & might that used to distinguish him, his
speech was entirely a repeal speech and the manner of which
it was composed was merely a rechaffle [reshuffle?] of what
he had a hundred times said much better before. he is not the
man he was a few years ago, even his athletic frame and
elastic spirits have begun to yield to the wear and tear
of years. With respect to the result of the trials, many
think there will be an acquittal, but the general impression
seems to be that there will be no verdict.
When I sat down I had no idea that my letter would
move me to such a length, but having spent so
much time latterly in an atmosphere of talk I suppose
I have become [prosy?]
Love to all, & believe
the affet [affectionately?] yours
Thomas Cather
Thursday Morning