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[316] June, during the discussion of the Irish Municipal Corporation Bill; and there I sat from six o'clock till the cry of ‘divide’ drove me out at twelve.1 Need I tell you that the interest was thrilling during the whole time? Peel2 made a beautiful speech,—polished, graceful, self-possessed, candid, or apparently candid, in the extreme. We have no man like him; in some respects he reminded me of William Sullivan,3 but he made more of an effort than I ever heard Mr. Sullivan make; and yet there was rather a want of power. Lord John Russell4 rose in my mind the more I listened to him. In person diminutive and rickety, he reminded me of a pettifogging attorney who lives near Lechmere Point. He wriggled round, played with his hat, seemed unable to dispose of his hands or his feet; his voice was small and thin, but notwithstanding all this, a house of upwards of five hundred members was hushed to catch his slightest accents. You listened, and you felt that you heard a man of mind, of thought, and of moral elevation. Shell5 then broke forth with one of his splendid bursts, full of animation in the extreme; in gesture and glow like William Sturgis;6 in voice, I should think, like John Randolph. He screamed and talked in octaves, and yet the House listened and the cheers ensued. Sir Edward Sugden7 tried to speak, but calls of ‘question,’ ‘divide,’ and all sorts of guttural, expectorating sounds from members in a corner, or outstretched on the benches of the gallery, prevented my catching a word of what he said during the half-hour he was on his legs. Sir John Campbell, the Solicitor-General,8 and Follett, all spoke; and of these Follett was by far the best. O'Connell spoke several times, but only long enough to give me a taste of his voice, which is rich in the extreme, more copious and powerful than Clay's, though less musical. But I have not space to write you all my impressions. I must reserve them for conversation.

The first court I entered was Doctors' Commons. The Prerogative Court was sitting, and Sir Herbert Jenner9 was on the bench. I was taken by one of my friends among the doctors (there are but fourteen or fifteen in all) into their seat, where I sat a solitary wigless man. In one case I heard Doctors Adams and Haggard,10 with an opinion from Jenner. All


1 Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, Third Series, Vol. XL. pp. 617-655.

2 1788-1850. Peel was at this period the leader of the Conservatives. In 1835 he had been succeeded by Lord Melbourne as Prime-Minister; afterwards, in 1841, he succeeded Lord Melbourne.

3 1774-1839; an eminent lawyer of Boston, and a Federalist in politics. As an author, he wrote upon the characters and events of the American Revolution. Ante, p 83.

4 Lord John Russell (now Earl) was born in 1792. In 1838 he was the Secretary of the Home Department. Sumner wrote to Lieber, Sept. 3, 1838: ‘You are right in your supposition about Lord John Russell. He is one of the greatest men I have seen in England.’

5 Richard Lalor Sheil, 1793-1851.

6 1782-1863; a merchant of Boston.

7 1781-1875; author of law treatises on ‘Vendors and Purchasers’ and ‘Powers;’ entered Parliament in 1828; Solicitor-Genera in 1829; Lord Chancellor of Ireland, 1834-35 and 1841-46; and, in 1852, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain, with the title of Baron St. Leonards.

8 Rolfe.

9 Died Feb. 20, 1852, aged 75.

10 John Haggard: reporter in cases in the Consistery, Admiralty, and Ecclesiastical Courts.

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