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William Robinson, Esq. sworn.
Robinson. I have known him about six or seven years. Is he a person capable of his profession?-I believe he is. What has been his behaviour?-I always looked upon him to be a very sober, diligent, frugal man.
Did you look upon him to be in desperate circumstances?—No, not at all.
Thomas Kynaston, Esq. sworn. Kynaston. I have known him six or seven years. What are you?—I belong to the board of works.
What is your opinion of the prisoner's situation?—I think he is in a good one.
What has been his behaviour?-That has been always good.
Mr. Keynton Cowse sworn.
Cowse. I have known him seven years, and been in his company many times,
What is his character?—He is a very worthy young man, sober and industrious, always attending his father's business.
Mr. Uffort sworn.
Uffort. I have known him about six or seven years; he is a sober sedate young man as ever I met with. I have done business for him several times.
Mr. Brent sworn.
Brent. I have known him upwards of three years.
What is his character ?-He has a good character; he is a very industrious man. I have frequently paid him money.
Mr. Jones sworn. Jones. I have known him several years.
What is his general character?-He is very honest; no ways extravagant, that could lead him in into a desperate state; he is as moral a man as any I know, and has had as good a character.
Mr. Wilson sworn.
Wilson. I have known him about seven years.
What has been his behaviour during that time?-It has been always very well. I always looked upon him as an honest man.
Did you ever look upon him to be in a desperate way in his fortune? -No, never.
Q to Mr. Barnard the elder. Where was you when your son was sent for to the Duke of Marlborough's?—Mr. Barnard. I was then out of town. I have not been in town above one week these five or six weeks.
Mr. Sergeant Davy, evidently shaken in his own mind by these witnesses, commented in his reply, with much acumen though fairly, on the evidence; when he had concluded, the jury at once acquitted the prisoner, and a second indictment against him was then abandoned by the prosecution. To complete the mystery, the Duke died within the year of the period of this investigation, before the session had expired, and the matter remains to this day unexplained.
THE CASTLES AND MANSIONS OF GREAT BRITAIN
THE SEAT OF THE EARL OF HOWTH.
And dance and song within these walls have sounded,
And lovely feet have o'er these gray stones bounded
ABOUT nine miles rapid railroad travelling brought me from the metropolis of the Emerald Isle to the lofty promontory, called in ancient Irish by the appropriate name of Ben eider or the Eagle's Cliff. In those primitive ages its secluded position-the extreme point of the coast-and the sterile aspect of the rough hill sides affording little temptation to the agriculturist, left it the retreat for religious men, bent on avoiding a wordly life, and, if these lovers of retirement wished to attain a still more retired habitation, the neighbouring Island of Lambay lay conveniently near. Between Lambay and the coast is Ireland's Eye, distant about a mile-a mass of irregularly shaped rocks, with little soil on the surface, and measuring about a mile and a half in circumference. Here are the remains of an ancient church, founded by St. Nissan, in the sixth century, and the venerated book of the Four Gospels, called the "Garland of Howth," was preserved here. Opposite, on the bold cliff, overhanging the sea, are the picturesque ruins of the Abbey, or College of Howth, supposed to have been built by Sitric, a Danish Prince, A.D. 1038. The ruins are very magnificent, enclosed in a quadrangular area defended by a rampart-the embattled walls pleasingly contrasting with the peaceful aspect of the time worn ruins. The church-yard is shamefully allowed to become a perfect garden of weeds. I could hardly make any way through the groves of nettles, and other weeds which cover the entire space; some effort is made to preserve the buildings, and a strong iron railing protects a curious old monument to one of the Lords Howth, and his Lady, whose effigies, in their respective habiliments, are wrought in the stone forming the lid. The date is 1430. Not far distant is Howth Castle. The entrance, close to the church, is modern, yet tasteful; clusters of circular granite pillars with conical capitals support massive iron gates, and open on a well kept very exclusive demesne. The castle is a long, rather low, structure, flanked by square battlemented towers at the angles, and the square hall door in the centre, surmounted by a pediment, is approached by a lofty flight of steps. The hall is a very fine one, and the lover of antiquities has a treat. Antique armour-the weapons of days when war was the profession of most men-are here. A large two-handed sword is pointed out as having belonged to the founder of the family,
whose adventures by flood and field rival any recounted in romance or fable. The name of Sir Armoricus Tristram deserves to be recorded. He it was who formed the compact with his brother-in-law Sir John De Courcy, in St. Mary's church at Rouen, that they should become brothers in arms as well as brothers in love, and whatever spoil they should take, in land or wealth, should be equally divided between them. On the strength of this agreement, they sought achievements in various parts of France and England, and turning their prow westward they "steered their bark for Erin's Isle," and anchored off Howth. De Courcy was confined to the ship by sickness, and the command devolving on Sir Armoricus, he ordered a landing. The Irish assembled in haste, but not arriving in time to prevent the invaders reaching the shore, attacked them at the bridge of Evora, which crosses a mountain stream on the north side of Howth. This conflict was maintained on both sides with the desperate valour of men preferring to die than yield. Seven sons of Sir Armoricus were slain, together with many of his kindred, but the Irish were routed. In clearing out the foundation of a church built on the spot some years since, a quantity of bones were discovered, together with an antique anvil, with bridle, bits, and other accoutrements. This might have been the armourer's anvil used in closing up the rivets preparatory to the engagement. The result of the victory was to give the lands and castle of Howth to the gallant Sir Armoricus, as his share of the conquest. The account of his death is a strong proof of his valour. While engaged with some of his knights in making an incursion into Connaught, they were surprised and surrounded by a superior force-yet a chance of escape existed-the knights suggested to avail themselves of the swiftness of their steeds and save themselves by flight, but Sir Armoricus disdained life on such terms. He dismounted from his gallant charger, drew his sword, and kissing the cross forming the guard, thrust it into his horse's side. His example was followed by all the knights except two, who acted as videttes, and they alone returned to tell the sad tale that the brave Sir Armoricus, and his companions, died as became Norman knights, with their faces to the foeman. The family name was changed from Tristram to St. Lawrence on the following occasion. One of the lords of the race commanded an army about to engage in battle against the Danes on St. Lawrence's Day. He made a vow to the Saint that if victorious he would assume the name of St. Lawrence, and entail it on his posterity. The Danes fled and the name retained.
A long flight of steps leads from the hall to a chamber, in which is a picture representing a female figure mounted on a white horse, in the act of receiving a child from a peasant. This is supposed to refer to the tradition of the celebrated Granu Uile, or Grace O'Malley, who, returning from the Court of Queen Elizabeth, landed at Howth, and proceeded to the castle, but found the gates shut, the family having gone to dinner. Enraged at this utter want of Irish hospitality, the indignant chieftainess proceeded to the shore, where the young lord was at nurse, hurried with him on board, and sailed to Connaught where her castle stood. An ample apology being made and promise of future hospitality to all such guests, the child was restored, on the express stipulation that the gates should be always thrown open when the family went to dinner. There is a bed shown in which King William III slept. In the saloon is a full length of that curious combination of good and evil-Dean Swift, with the
draper's letters in his hand. The notorious Wood is crouching beside him, and his half-pence are scattered about. In a most entertaining and ably written work, "The Homes and Haunts of the Poets," Mr. Howitt has taken some pains to prove that Mr. Wood was not at all to blame, and much more "sinned against than sinning."
The antiquity of this family in Ireland may be judged from the foregoing remarks. The title of Baron was conferred so far back as 1177, a few years after the arrival of the English. In 1767 the Barony was merged in the title of Viscount St. Lawrence, then created Earl of Howth. The alliances and offices filled by various members of this noble house would occupy a large space; the fifteenth Baron was Lord Chancellor of Ireland, A.D. 1483; he married the second daughter of the Duke of Somerset, which entitles Lord Howth to claim descent from the renowned English Monarch King Edward III. The present peer is the 29th in succession from the founder of the family, Sir Armoricus Tristram. The Earl married, in 1826, Lady Emily de Burgh, second daughter of the late Earl of Clanricarde, and has one son and four daughters: the beautiful and amiable Countess died in 1842, to the universal regret of every one who had the honour of her acquaintance. His eldest son, the Viscount St. Lawrence, is a Lieutenant in the 7th Hussars, and is at present on the Staff of his Excellency the Earl of Clarendon, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.
Renny, co. Cork,
THE SEAT OF HENRY SMYTH, ESQ. J. P.
"Swift Anniduff, which of the Englishman
WASHES the trunks of tall trees that fringe the lawns of Renny, and the Irish Rhine, as this noble river has been justly termed, still murmurs past a magnificent oak, under the shade of whose far stretching boughs the Poet of the Age, Edmund Spencer, is said to have composed the Faerie Queene. And to this monarch of the wood comes many an humble bard, desirous to pay the tribute of his homage; full of veneration for the genius which flourished beneath its branches. What glorious aspirations were poured forth on the spot? How many splendid stanzas, rich in wondrous imagery, and brilliant thoughts, found a voice and birth under this tree! It is a meet spot for a poet to compose in. The banks here are high and precipitous, and clothed in wood, and their solitude would lead you to suppose the busy world shut out, and this the happy valley of Rasselas. The fame of this tree is a great attraction to Renny, and Spencer's Oak is regarded with becoming honour. Though there is no doubt that Renny formed a portion of the poet's estate in this county, his usual residence was several miles distant at Kilcolman Castle; and, it was not until after his death, which was hastened by the ruin of his fortune attending the destruction of Kilcolman by the insurgents in 1597, that his family occupied Renny prominently. This property was a portion of the great Desmond estate, from which Edmund Spencer obtained a grant of 3028 acres. And close by the Mansion-house are the venerable remains of a castle, boldly situated on the verge of a magnificent ledge of rocks. This castle is considered to have belonged to
the Geraldines. The dwelling of the Spencers lay in the rear of the present house, which is not of any antiquity, and some of the rooms have been turned to account. In one, now used as a dairy, there is a tragical circumstance related as having occurred to a descendant of Spencer's. He had contracted an intimacy with his housekeeper, which she expected would cause him to marry her-great was her anger to learn that he was on the eve of consigning her to infamy, by marrying another. She resolved on vengeance, and, while in the act of shaving him, as was the habit of this Lothario, she cut his throat. This Mr. O'Flanagan correctly states in his Guide to the Blackwater to have occurred in the small antique dwelling at Renny; but he does not, as Mr. Howitt in the "Homes and Haunts of British Poets," attributes to him-thereby mean the present mansion, which, as the latter writer justly observes, is a good modern mansion.
Renny-House, formerly the property of the Reverend C. Wallis, who evidently aspired to high dignities in the church, as the stone mitres on the gate piers attest, is a quiet respectable country seat. The rooms are well proportioned, and commodious, and afford several exquisite views. One, from the large drawing room, is a perfect picture. It takes in a shelving steep bank well wooded, and overlooking a spacious dell, with the bright mirror-like river flowing through fair meadowy niches. This charming landscape presents a constant variety, every change of sky causing a change of aspect. Now the sun is gleaming on hill and tree, and wave, and all is brilliant and gay. A cloud dulls the heavens, and darkness comes on, and black shadows steal out like robbers from gloomy caves, and mists hang on the hill tops. A little distance from the house the path leads round an angle of wood, and majestic rocks stands before us. Here all is sublime and beautiful, not ideal, such as Burke wrote on, but real and substantial. These giant rocks rise up bold and frowning, a rugged feature in the quiet scene. Some natural caverns seem scooped in their sides, and water lies at the base. These rocks are surmounted by the buildings, and the ancient walls of the Fitz-Gerald . Castle, still crown the top. Fine pasture lands stretch from the base, and lowing herds of cattle, and flocks of fleecy sheep, and sportive lambs, brouse to their full content. Some slender greyhounds chasing each other in rapid circles gave animation to the scene. We gazed, and gratified our curiosity by a minute survey of the dwelling with its pretty garden and ruined castle, the spreading lawn and its fine clumps of trees shading the flocks and herds, the massive rocks forming the solid foundation for the mansion, the wooded slopes descending the meadows, the river flowing hurriedly past, and Spencer's oak with its hallowed association of poetry and history, until in the words of Wilson
Thus gently blended many a human thought,
VOL. IV. NO. XVI.