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In 1795 he resumed and made public his speculations on the Telegraph, which had originated near thirty years before; and corresponded largely with Dr Darwin and Dr Beddoes on poetry, medicine, and philanthropy. Miss E. then gives a very interesting account of the methods adopted by her father in the education of his children. The substance of them is to be found in her valuable works on this subject; but the following have more of an individual character.
"When he was building, or carrying on experiments, or work of any sort, he constantly explained to his children whatever was doing or to be done ; and by questions adapted to their several
ages pacities, exercised their powers of observation, reasoning, and invention. It often happened that trivial circumstances, by which the curiosity of the children had been excited, or experiments obvious to the senses, by which they had been interested, led afterwards to deeper reflection or to philosophical inquiries, suited to others in the family, of more advanced age and knowledge. The animation spread through the house by connecting children with all that is going on, and allowing them to join in thought or conversation with the
grown, up people of the family, was highly useful; and thus both sympathy and emulation excited mental exertion in the most agreeable manner. - In trying experiments, he always showed that he was intent upon learning the truth, not upon supporting his opinion. By the examples he thus set us of fairness, candour, and patience, he trained the understanding to follow the best rules of philosophizing; and, what is of more consequence for the happiness of the individual, he taught his pupils to apply philosophy to the government of the temper. – He knew so exactly the habits, powers, and knowledge of his pupils, that he seldom failed in estimating what each could comprehend or accomplish.' He saw at once where their difficulty lay, and knew how far to assist, how far to urge the mind, and where to leave it entirely to its own exertions. His patience in teaching was peculiarly meritorious, I may say surprising, in a man of his vivacity. He would sit quietly while a child was thinking of the answer to a question, without interrupting, or suffering it to be interrupted, and would let the pupil touch and quit the point repeatedly; and, withput a leading observation or exclamation, he would wait till the steps of reasoning and invention were gone through, and were converted into certainties. This was sometimes trying to the patience of the by-standers, who often decided that the question was too difficult; when, just at the moment that the silence and suspense could be no longer endured, his judgment has been justified, and his forbearance rewarded, by the child's giving a perfectly satisfactory answer. The tranquillizing effect of this patience was of great advantage. The pupil's mind became secure, not only of the point in question, but steady in the confidence of its future powers. It was his principle to excite the attention fully and strongly for a short time, and never to go to the point of fatigue. - It often happens that a precep
tor appears to have great influence for a time, and that this power suddenly dissolves. This is, and must be the case, wherever any sort of deception has been used. My father never used
artifice of any kind; and, consequently, he always possessed that confidence which is the reward of plain-dealing; a confidence which increases in the pupil's mind with age, knowledge, and experience. I dwell on this reflection, certainly, with pride and pleasure, as far as it concerns my father and my beloved preceptor ; but independently of private feelings, I trust that my strong assertion of this fact may be useful to the public. It may tend to convince parents that permanent influence over their children, that that influence which arises from grateful esteem, that which alone can endure from youth to age, may with certainty be obtained by PLAIN TRUTH.
II. 180-184, When considerably turned of fifty, Mr E, married for the fourth time,--and with equal success as in all the later expedients. At the same mature period he obtained his first seat in Parliament; and the following discourse is said to have been actually held on the subject. On his way to Dublin, he met an intimate friend of his; one stage they travelled together, and a singular conversation passed. This friend, who as yet knew nothing of my father's intentions, began to speak of the marriage of some other person, and to exclaim against the folly and imprudence of any man's marrying in such disturbed times" no man of honour, sense, or feeling, would encumber himself with a wife at such a time!"-My father urged that this was just the time, when a man of honour, sense, and feeling would wish, if he loved a woman, to unite his fate with hers, and to acquire the right of being her protector. — The conversation dropped there. But presently they talk, ed of public affairs-of the important measure expected to be proposed of a union between England and Ireland—of what would probably be said and done in the next session of Parliament. My father, foreseeing that this important national question would probably come on, had just obtained a seat in Parliament. His friend, not knowing or recollecting this, began to speak of the imprudence of commencing a political career late in life. *** No man, you know,” said he, a fool, would venture to make a first speech in Parliament, or to marry, after he was fifty.”—My father laughed, and, surrendering all title to wisdom, declared, that, though he was past fifty, he was actually going in a few days, as he hoped, to be married, and in a few months would probably make his " first speech in Parliament," — His friend made as good a retreat as the case would admit, by remarking, that his maxim could not apply to one who was not going either to be married or to speak in public for the first time. II. 199-201.
There is then a little account of the rising in 1798, in the course of which Mr E.'s mansion was for some days in possession, or at least at the mercy, of the insurgents. HỊis large fa
mily was with difficulty conveyed to Longford-except the housekeeper, a staid and resolute person, who consented to wait till the carriage should return, and who did rejoin them the day after. The following traits will not appear in a y general history,--and are far more interesting than most of those that will.
She told us, that, after we had left her, she waited hour after hour for the carriage: she could hear nothing of it, as it had gone to Longford with the wounded officer. Towards evening, a large body of rebels entered the village. She heard them at the gate, and expected that they would have broken in the next instant. who seemed to be a leader, with a pike in his hand, set his back against the gate, and swore, that, “ if he was to die for it the next " minute, he would have the life of the first man who should open " that gate, or set enemy's foot within side of that place. He said the housekeeper, who was left in it, was a good gentlewoman, and had done him a service, though she did not know him, nor he her. He had never seen her face; but she had, the year before, lent his wife, when in distress, sixteen shillings, the rent of flax-ground, and he would stand her friend now.
• He kept back the mob; they agreed to send him to the house with a deputation of six, lo know the truth, and to ask for arms. The six men went to the back-door, and summoned the housekeeper: one of them pointed his blunderbuss at her, and told her, that she must fetch all the arms in the house; she said she had none. Her champion asked her to say if she remembered him—" No; to her know
ledge she had never seen his face.” He asked if she remembered having lent a woman money to pay her rent of flax-ground the year before ? “ Yes,” she remembered that, and named the woman, the time, and the sum. His companions were thus satisfied of the truth of what he had asserted. He bid her not to be frighted, “ for that
no harm should happen to her, nor any belonging to her ; not a
soul should get leave to go into her master's house ; not a twig “ should be touched, nor a leaf harmed. His companions huzzaed and went off. Afterwards, as she was told, he mounted guard at the gate during the whole time the rebels were in the town; and thus was our house saved by the gratitude of a single individual.' II. 220-223.
• When, on our return after several days, we came near Edgeworth-Town, we saw many well known faces at the cabin doors, looking out to welcome us. One man, who was digging in his field by the road side, when he looked up as our horses passed, and saw my father, let fall his spade and clasped his hands; his face, as the morning sun shone upon it, was the strongest picture of joy I ever saw. The village was a melancholy spectacle; windows shattered, and doors broken. But though the mischief done was great, there had been little pillage. Within our gates we found all property safe ; literally not a twig touched, nor a leaf harmed.” Within the house every thing was as we had left it ;-a map that we had been consulting was still open on the library table, with pencils, and slips of paper containing the first lessons in arithmetic, in which some of the young people had been engaged the morning we had been driven from home ; a pansy, in a glass of water, which one of the children had been copying, was still on the chimney-piece. These trivial circumstances, marking repose and tranquillity, struck us at this moment with an unreasonable sort of surprise, and all that had passed seemed like an incoherent dream. The joy of having my father in Asafety remained, and gratitude to Heaven for his preservation. These feelings spread inexpressible pleasure over what seemed to be a new sense of existence. Even the most common things appeared delightful; the green lawn, the still groves, the birds singing, the fresh air, all external nature, and all the goods and conveniences of life, seemed to have wonderfully increased in value, from the fear into which we had been put of losing them irrecoverably.' II. 231, 232.
We have then a spirited sketch of the distraction produced by the first discussions on the Union, on which occasion Mr E. made his debut in Parliament, by speaking in favour of the measure, and voting against it--on the ground that, though expedient in itself, it ought not to be passed against the decided will of the country chiefly concerned. In a note found among his papers, we have the following brief, but striking memorial, of the means by which this great measure was ultimately brought about.
· The influence of the Crown was never so strongly exerted as upon this occasion. It is but justice, however, to Lord Cornwallis and Lord Castlereagh to give it as my opinion, that they began this measure with sanguine hopes that they could convince the reasonable part of the community, that a cordial union between the two countries would essentially advance the interests of both. When, however, the ministry found themselves in a minority, and that a spirit of general opposition was rising in the country, a member of the House, who had been long practised in parliamentary intrigues, had the audacity to tell Lord
Castlereagh from his place, that, “ if he “ did not employ the usual means of persuasion on the members of 66 the House, he would fail in his attempt; and that the sooner he
set about it the better.”—This advice was followed; and it is well known what benches were filled with the proselytes that had been made by the convincing arguments which obtained a majority.' II. 253, 254.
During the peace of Amiens, Mr E. went with his family to Paris, where he renewed several of the friendships he had formed thirty years before; and, by the kindness of the Abbé Morellet, passed at once into all that remained of the polite and enlightened society of France. The result of his comparison of its old and new state is given in these few words.
• He observed, that, among the families of the old nobility, domestic happiness and virtue had much increased since the Revolution, in consequence of the marriages which, after they lost their wealth and rank, had been formed, not according to the usual fashion of old French alliances, but from disinterested motives, from the perception of the real suitability of tempers and characters. The women of this class in general, withdrawn from politics and political intrigue, were more domestic and amiable; many wives, who had not formerly been considered as patterns of conjugal affection, having made great sacrifices and exertions for their husbands and families during the trials of adversity, became attached to them to a degree of which they had not perhaps known themselves to be capable, during their youthful days of folly and dissipation. — With regard to literature, he observed, that it had considerably degenerated. For the good taste, wit, and polished style which had characterized Frenclı literature before the Revolution, there was no longer any demand, and but few competent judges remained. The talents of the nation had been forced, by circumstances, into different directions. At one time, the hurry and necessity of the passing moment had produced political pamphlets, and slight works of amusement, formed to catch the public revolutionary taste. At another period, the crossing parties, and the real want of freedom in the country, had repressed literary efforts. Science, which flourished independently of politics, and which was often useful and essential to the rulers; had meanwhile been encouraged, and had prospered. The discoveries and inventions of men of science showed, that the same positive quantity of talent existed in France as in former times, though appearing in a new form.' II. 283-4.
He very narrowly escaped being detained on the breaking out of the war; and came afterwards to Scotland, where he left one of his sons, and where the literary society of this city had a trausient opportunity of admiring the talents of his affectionate biographer. Mr . scon after lost two children of the greatest promise and interest; and was actively employed in the establishment of telegraphic stations from Dublin to Galway. In 1806, he engaged in the greatest, and by far the most useful of all his public undertakings, the introduction of a better system of Education for the poor of his native country. He was one of the Commissioners appointed for that great national object, under the enlightened government of the Duke of Bedford, and cortributed the most valuable of those Reports by which their labours have since been so wisely directed, and copied in other quarters. In 1809 he also took a most active and zealous part in the labours of another Parliamentary Commission for surveying and reclaiming the boys of Ireland, and made up a most minute and elaborate Report upon the condition of that