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Employment Of Informers

Irish Humour Home






I speak not of the fate of those horrid wretches who have been so often
transferred from the table to the dock, and from the dock to the
pillory; I speak of what your own eyes have seen, day after day, during
the course of this commission, from the box where you are now sitting;
the number of horrid miscreants who avowed, upon their oaths, that they
had come from the seat of government--from the Castle--where they had
been worked upon by the fear of death and the hopes of compensation, to
give evidence against their fellows; that the mild and wholesome
councils of this government are holden over these catacombs of living
death, where the wretch that is buried a man lies till his heart has
time to fester and dissolve, and is then dug up a witness. Is this
fancy, or is it fact? Have you not seen him after his resurrection from
that tomb, after having been dug out of the region of death and
corruption, make his appearance upon the table, the living image of life
and of death, and the supreme arbiter of both? Have you not marked, when
he entered, how the stormy wave of the multitude retired at his
approach? Have you not marked how the human heart bowed to the supremacy
of his power, in the undissembled homage of deferential horror? How his
glance, like the lightning of heaven, seemed to rive the body of the
accused, and mark it for the grave, while his voice warned the devoted
wretch of life and death--a death which no innocence can escape, no art
elude, no force resist, no antidote preserve? There was an antidote--a
juror's oath; but even that adamantine chain, which bound the integrity
of man to the throne of eternal justice, is solved and molten in the
breath that issues from the informer's mouth; conscience swings from her
mooring, and the appalled and affrighted juror consults his own safety
in the surrender of his victim.--Informers are worshipped in the temple
of justice, even as the devil has been worshipped by pagans and
savages--even so, in this wicked country, is the informer an object of
judicial idolatry--even so is he soothed by the music of human
groans--even so is he placated and incensed by the fumes and by the
blood of human sacrifices.





Next: Curran And The Farmer

Previous: The Serenading Lover



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