« PreviousContinue »
countable to the world for his sentiments on religion; but that he had always believed in, and adored one God, the maker of all things ; that whatever his notions were, he had never propagated them, or endeavoured to gain any person over to his persuasion; that all countries and nations had a form of religion by which the people were governed, and that whoever disturbed them in it, he looked upon him as an enemy to society; but that, if he himself was wrong in bis way of thinking, he was very sorry for it. That he very much blamed my Lord Bolingbroke, for permitting his sentiments on religion to be published to the world. That the many sects and disputes which happen about religion, have almost turned morality out of doors. That he could never believe what some sectaries teach, that faith alone will save mankind ; so that if a man, just before he dies, should say only, I believe, that that alone will save him ; “ Shew ine thy faith.”—Here his lordship stopped ; but by which quotation he plainly meant, according to the holy writer, (St. James, chap. ii. v. 18.) whose words they are, that faith without works is a dead faith.
Concerning the unfortunate and much-to-be-lamented Mr. Johnson, whose death occasioned the trouble this day, bis lordship declared, That he was under particular circumstances ; that he had met with so many crosses and vexations he scarce knew what he did ; and most solemnly protested, that he had not the least malice towards him.
The slowness of the procession made this journey appear so very tedious to his lordship, that he often expressed his desire of being got to the end of it, saying, that the apparatus of death, and the passing through such crowds of people, were ten times worse than death itself, but upon the sheriff's taking notice to his lordship, that he was glad to see that he supported himself so well, his lordship replied, I thank you, Sir, I hope I shall continue so to the last.
When his lordship had got to that part of Holborn which is near Drurylane, he said, he was thirsty, and sbould be glad of a glass of wine and water; but upon the sheriff's remonstrating to him, that a stop for that purpose would necessarily draw a greater crowd about him, which might possibly disturb and incommode him, yet if bis lordship still desired it, it should be done ; he most readily answered,—That's true, I say no more, let us by no means stop.
When they approached near the place of execution, his lordship told the sheriff, That there was a person waiting in a coach near there, for whom he had a very sincere regard, and of whom he should be glad to take his leave before he died; to which the sheriff answered, That if his lordship insisted upon it, it should be so; but that he wished his lordship, for his own sake, would decline it, lest the sight of a person, for whom he had such a regard, should unnan him, and disarm bim of the fortitude he possessed.—To which his lordship, without the least hesitation, replied, Sir, if you think I am wrong, I submit; and upon the sheriff's telling his lordship, that if he had any thing to deliver to that person, or any one else, he would faithfully do it; his lordship thereupon delivered to the sheriff a pocket-book, in which was a bank-note, and a ring, and a purse with some guineas, in order to be delivered to that person, which was done accordingly.
The landau being now advanced to the place of execution, his lordship alighted from it, and ascended upon the scaffold, which was covered with
black baize, with the same composure and fortitude of mind he had enjoyed from the time he left the Tower; where, after a short stay, Mr. Humphries asked his lordship, if he chose to say prayers ? which he declined; but upon bis asking him, If he did not choose to join with him in the Lord's Prayer? he readily answered, He would, for he always thought it a very fine prayer ; upon which they knelt down together upon two cushions, covered with black baize, and his lordship with an audible voice very devoutly repeated the Lord's Prayer, and afterwards, with great energy, the following ejaculation, O God, forgive me all my errors,-pardon all my sins.
His lordship then rising, took his leave of the sheriffs and the chaplain ; and after thanking them for their many civilities, he presented his watch to Mr. Sheriff Vaillant, which he desired his acceptance of; and signified his desire, that his body might be buried at Breden or Stanton, in Leicestershire.
His lordship then called for the executioner, who immediately came to him, and asked him forgiveness ; upon which his lordship said, I freely forgive you, as I do all mankind, and hope myself to be forgiven.-He then intended to give the executioner five guineas, but, by mistake, giving it into the hands of the executioner's assistant, an unseasonable dispute ensued between those unthinking wretches, which Mr. Sheriff Vaillant instantly silenced.
The executioner then proceeded to do his duty, to which his lordship, with great resignation, submitted.—His neckcloth being taken off, a white cap, which his lordship had brought in his pocket, being put upon his head, his arms secured by a black sash from incommoding himself, and the cord put round his neck, he advanced by three steps upon an elevation in the middle of the scaffold, where part of the floor had been raised about eighteen inches higher than the rest; and standing under the cross-beam which went over it, covered with black baize, he asked the executioner, Am I right?—Then the cap was drawn over his face : and then, upon a signal given by the sheriff (for his lordship, upon being before asked, declined to give one himself) that part upon which he stood, instantly sunk down from beneath his feet, and left him entirely suspended ; but not having sunk down so low as was designed, it was immediately pressed down, and levelled with the rest of the foor.
For a few seconds his lordship made some struggles against the attacks of death, but was soon eased of all pain by the pressure of the executioner.
The time from his lordship’s ascending upon the scaffold, until his execution, was about eight minutes ; during which his countenance did not change, nor his tongue falter :-The prospect of death did not at all sbake the composure of his mind.
Whatever were his lordship's failings, his behaviour in these his last moments, which created a most awful and respectful silence amidst the numberless spectators, cannot but make a sensible impression upon every human breast.
The accustomed time of one hour being past, the coffin was raised up, with the greater decency to receive the body, and being deposited in the hearse, was conveyed by the sheriffs, with the same procession, to Surgeons-Hall, to undergo the remainder of the sentence (viz. dissection). Which being done, the body was on Thursday evening, the 8th of May, delivered to his friends for interment.
He was privately interred at St. Pancras near London, in a grave dug twelve or fourteen feet deep, under the belfry.
Pursuant to a distinction in law, peculiarly fine, the Earldom of Ferrers, was not forfeited by the attainder for felony, but passed to the convicted lord's next brother, Vice Admiral, the Hon. Washington Shirley, who consequently became the fifth Earl: bis nephew Washington, the eighth Earl, was the grandfather, and immediate predecessor of the nobleman who now enjoys the title. The reason for the non-forfeiture of the Earldom of Ferrers lay in the difference between a dignity descendible to heirs general, and one that is (as it was) entailed; the former, it seems, being absolutely forfeited by the attainder of felony of the person possessed of such dignity, while the entailed honour is only forfeited during the lifetime of the offender.
During the interval between sentence, and execution, Earl Ferrers made a will, by wbich he left £1300 to the children of Johnson whom he had murdered, £1000 to each of his own four natural daughters, and £60 a-year to Mrs. Clifford, their mother, who it will be remembered is mentioned in the course of the trial as residing with the Earl at the time of his offence. This will, however, being made after his conviction, was not valid, yet the same provision was allowed to the parties by the unfortunate nobleman's successor.
The following verse is said to have been found in Earl Ferrers' apart. nient in the Tower, after he had quitted it for his last fatal journey.
In doubt I liv'd, in doubt I die,
A RECOLLECTION OF KILLARNEY.
BY AN IRISHI LADY,
in an cld mansion on that part of the beautiful peninsula of Mucruss, where the land rises gently from the lahes to the horizon of distant mountains, an old gentleman re-ided with his orphan niece; he had passed the greater part of his life in the army, and had seen much foreign service. Many years scparation from his country had not weakened his attachments to the land of his birth; he found that land poor, and beautiful as when he left it, and its lakes as fresh, and fields as green ; but the loved companions of those early haunts, he found them not. The spoiler death had claimed them in his absence, and left him on his return a mourning stranger in his own country. Sorrow and gloom hun over his spirits, until his attention was directed by the clergyman of the parish to his orphan niece, the only child of his favourite sister. This young lady had been placed, on the death of her parents, in a neighbouring convent, where she remained until her uncle took her to his lonely home and heart, where her presence soon shed such lichts on both, as made the old man young aguin.
To the aclmirers of the grand and picturesque in Nature, the Lake's of Killarney present a combination of all that is sublime and beauti. ful. Magnificent mountains encircle them, some of which are bare and ro kv, while others are clothed in wood; numerous islands float on the w tere-islands lovely in eternal verdure, where the sweet-scented arbutus, and shining holly cluster round hallowed ruins of antiquity, shading their fallen greatness, and embalming their relics in frugrant perfume. The tourist, the poet, and the painter, become enthusiasts amidst those magic scene. It is not therefore strange that those who have been familiar with them from childhood, should love them with a proud attachment. Such was the case with Captain Fitzallan and his fair niece Rose O'Brien. Rore was one of those bright beingre who seem formed for so pure and lofty a region, where Nature presides in all ber loveliness amidst her own bold and beauteons work.
The Captain enjoyed many amusements in his rural retirement, as the lakes poupag a variety of excellent fish, and the mountains and woods abound with game. He was a good sportsman, and with his rod or gun, he never knew a weiry moment; Rose bestowed social refinements on his domestic hours. She was as happy as beautiful, and lived unfettered by care or sorrow. Her young heart was as free as the mountain breeze, which floated round her from infancy. She shared her uncle's enthusiasm for the grand and sublime «cencry which surrounded them, and was his constant companion on the lakes and mountains. Every returning month of June, her birthday was celebrated by a rural fete on the beautiful mountain of Glenaà, a favourite spot with both, for it was covered with the richest moss, shadowed by woods of oak, and ash, and planted by Nature's own cunning hand, with the loveliest shrubs, forming in truth a Paradise of tranqui beauty and repose. The old man loved to call his child the Rose of Glenaà, and she was so designated by his friends and household. Anonget the many travellers who visited the lakes in the autumn of 18 , were Edmund Beaumont and his tutor; the former was the youngest son of an aristocratic and wealthy English family, and the best beloved child of a doting mother. His tutor, though many years his senior, (for Edmund had only completed his twentieth year,) appeared more in the character of a companion, than of one in authority; he certainly interfered but little with the amusements or wishes of his young charge, who not a little romantic and enthusiastic, often left his friend absorbed in his books, and stole away to enjoy the lovely scenery with which he was so enchanted, that he left no spot, however difficult of access, unexplored.
On one of those sweet mellow days in September, when the varied tints of autumn lend additional beauty to the wooded mountains, Edmund was early on the lakes fishing. After much successful sport, he steered for O'Sullivan's cascade, in order to see it to greater advantage after the heavy rains of the two preceding days. The fall was magnificent; but not satisfied with viewing it in the ordinary way, he determined to ascend the rocks and look down on it from above. This fall is situated in a romantic glen between the mountains of Glenaà and Toomish. Edmund bad just reached the top, when two more visitors approached, one of them an old gentleman, with a lovely girl leaning on his arm. They both stood enraptured, gazing on the cataract, as it fell with deafening sound down the precipice, dashing its white foam from rock to rock, until it reached the basin below, where it seemed boiling in angry contact with the large granite stones which vainly opposed its passage. The view was one of a grand and sublime character. As additional figures to this landscape, two or three wild looking peasant girls, barefooted, dark-haired, of sunburnt hue, were gathering nuts from the surrounding wood. Our fair heroine Rose,—"the Rose of Glenaà” (for the new visitors were her uncle, and herself)—formed not the least beautiful object in the wild scenery. As she stood enraptured, an object caught her attention on one of the rocks above the cataract; it soon became evident to her, that a man was in the act of descending, holding by branches of trees and low growing shrubs ; it was a perilous undertaking, and she scarcely breathed, watching bis movements; he came, after overcoming many difficulties, within ten feet of the ground; the descent here was still more precarious, owing to the rocks and stones, rendered slippery from the spray of the waters ; on one of those his feet gave way, and, the branches by which he held yielding to his weight, he fell with a heavy splash into the roaring torrents. The young man with the instinct of self-preservation, grasped a shelving rock to which he clung, but the force of the water was so great, that it was evident he could not long remain thus suspended. Rose, who had been observing him with deep interest sprang forward in a moment, and taking an arm of one of the nut-girls, made her hold by some shrubs, while she took her other hand, then lightly stepping on one of the large stones which projected into the water, she threw her scarf towards the young man, who quickly caught it, and in this way supported him until the boatmen who were loitering among the trees caine to his assistance. It was soon found that he had received but little injury, with the exception of a few bruises, and a wet jacket. This ascertained, Rose drew back, and prepared to accompany her uncle to their boats. She deemed the service she had rendered the stranger a very simple one, but he viewed it far differently, and in the romantic enthusiasm of his disposition, he thanked her in the most fervent manner. Perhaps her beauty might have somewhat enhanced his gratitude. He begged to know the name of his fair guardian, and presented his card to her uncle, requesting permission to call on both the following day.