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young men of good natural parts, they acquired a considerable degree of reputation."
Mr. Henry Sheares died in the spring of 1776; and I find his will was proved in the Prerogative Court, the 14th day of May in that year. He directs that his remains should be interred by night, and in the most private manner. This request is found also expressed in the will of his father, Mr. Henry Sheares of Golden Bush, in the county of Cork, proved in the year 1750, wherein he directs that the expense of his funeral shall not exceed five pounds. The same desire is also specified in the will of Mrs. Jane Anne Sheares, the mother of Henry and John, to be buried as privately as possible, in the vault of Mr. Rogers of Cork, where the remains of her excellent husband are laid, provided the expense did not exceed ten pounds; but if more, in the words of Scripture, employed by the testator, "where the tree falls there let it lie."
Mr. Sheares had carried on the banking business, in Cork, for many years, in conjunction with Dr. Rogers and Mr. Travers, gentlemen of landed property in the county. In Smith's "History of Cork," published in 1750, the name of Henry Sheares is found in the list of magistrates of the county; and by the "Parliamentary Debates" for the year 1763-4, he appears to have taken an active part in the proceedings of the house.
In the journals of the house, 30th of November, 1765, I find the following entry :—
Ordered, that leave be given to bring in the heads of a bill for the better regulation of trials in
cases of treason and felony; and that Mr. Sheares, Mr. M'Aulay and Dr. Lucas, do prepare and bring in the bill."
The bill was brought in by Mr. Sheares, and committed the 31st of January, 1766; received an additional clause the 11th of March, and passed into law June 7th, 1766.
I have been particular in specifying these circumstances, as an erroneous opinion generally prevails, even among well-informed people that it was a clause in this bill, introduced by Mr. Sheares, by which the evidence of one witness, was declared sufficient, in cases of treason, to convict in Ireland. But having carefully examined this short act, I find there is not one word on the subject of evidence in it; but the whole tenor of the act, is in favour of the accused persons-its two chief clauses being to the following effect:
"That the prisoner shall be furnished with a copy of the indictment, five clear days before trial, on application for the same; and shall be admitted to defend himself by counsel, and the court shall on his request assign him counsel, not exceeding two.”— 5th Geo. III.
The patron of the borough for which Mr. Sheares sat in parliament, was his friend, Richard Earl of Shannon, whose successor, at the period of the Union, had no less than thirteen boroughs at his disposal; and disposing of them to the best advantage, according to Sir Jonah Barrington, received at the rate of £15,000, for each borough.*
* Vide Barrington's Memoirs of the Union, vol. ii. 378.
Mr. Sheares's name is to be found in the pension list, presented to the House of Commons, in 1771; the sum of £200 per annum having been granted to him, on the score of his services, which pension was continued to him, till he obtained the lucrative appointment of Weigh Master of the City of Cork.
MR. SHEARES left a numerous family. The names of the children mentioned in his will are, Henry, Robert Bettesworth, Richard, John, and Christopher Humphrey; Letitia, Mary, Jane Anne Bettesworth, and Julia.
Mrs. Sheares was left sole executrix: and, "to his dear friend, the Earl of Shannon," Bayley and Joseph Rogers, (and not to his friend Carleton, one of the judges, who presided at the trial of his sons, as it is generally supposed) he committed the charge of watching over the interests of his wife and children.
His real estate and personal property, devolved on his eldest son Henry, subject to an annuity of £200 a-year to Mrs. Sheares. The sum of £2,500 he left for the advancement of his youngest son. In the "Annual Register," an account is given of this family, in which there are several erroneous statements respecting the property left to the widow and children of the elder Sheares, and the fortune which his son Henry is there stated to have received with Miss Swete on his marriage, namely, £600 a-year.
Christopher entered the army, and died at an early age of yellow fever, in the West Indies. Richard entered the navy, and rose to the rank of lieutenant, and perished on board his majesty's ship Thunderer, which ship sailed from St. Helen's with the other vessels of the British fleet, in 1778, under the command of Admiral Keppel, and was lost on the West India station, in the great hurricane of October, 1779, the Honourable Robert Boyle Walsingham, son of the first Earl of Shannon, then having his broadpennant on board the Thunderer. Robert Sheares, at a very early age, was drowned in attempting to save his brother John, when they were bathing together. I am informed by a lady, to whom I am indebted for much information respecting the latter, that she had often heard John say, with great emotion, that "he had caused the death of two of his brothers: one, who was drowned in attempting to save him, when a boy; and Christopher, his youngest brother, who being reluctant to go to the West Indies, he had persuaded to go there." Henry was born in 1753: he entered the army at an early age, and first served in the fifty-first regiment of foot. He subsequently renounced the military for the legal profession. John was nearly thirteen years younger than his brother, and was born about the year 1766. He was placed under the care of the Rev. G. Lee, of Cork; and appears to have distinguished himself there in his fifteenth year.
By a singular accident, a set of books, "The Beauties of the Spectator," recently fell into my hands, which had found their way to a bookstall,