صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

ture herself; and this great master sit beside our fireplaces at lone of humour moves us to tears or hours, or stroll with us in our solilaughter without the semblance of tary rambles, we owe more of them an effort on his part; and as for to him than to any other writer of those "inexpensive guests" that the century.



Daniel O'Connell used to say wrong. If we stay at home, we that he was the best abused man are told that we are a poor -spiin Europe ; had he only lived till rited set of creatures, satisfied with now he would have seen that the mere subsistence, and content to practice has been extended to all grovel on in our poverty. If we his countrymen of every class and emigrate, we are reproached as condition, of every shade of poli people who have no loyalty, nor tics, and every section of opinion. any attachment to the land of their The leading journal especially has birth. adopted this line, and the adjec- One great authority declared that tive Irish has been assumed as a Ireland could never grow wheat, disqualifier to all and everything and yet Mr Whiteside t'other day it can be applied to. I am sure assured us that we were ruined by that this is not generous I have the corn-laws. This is mighty hard my doubts if it be just.

to understand, and I own it puzzles First of all, we are abused too indis- me considerably. criminately, and for faults diametrically the opposite of each other;

“They've raised the price of malt, I hear;

; But what has malt to do with table-beer?" secondly, we are sneered at for qualities which the greater nation Surely if the country was unsuited is not sorry to utilise ; and, last of to the grape, it could scarcely be inall, we are treated as such acknow. jured by a tax on the exportation ledged admitted inferiors as makes of wine ! it a very polite piece of conde- Again, we are over-populated. scension for Englishmen to occupy The fatal tendency of the Irish to themselves, even in their leisure be venturous led to early marriages hours, by admonishing us of our and large families; and it was faults, and reminding us of our a mercy to think that some had shortcomings. Our unhappy coun- taken courage and gone off to try, too, whose greatest crime we America. used to think was the being our Then came another with “ Adam birthplace, is now discovered to be Smith' in his hand, to protest that a damp tract of dreary bog-un- population meant riches—even a fruitful, unwholesome, and unplea- population of Irishmen ; and, last sant without a soil to grow corn, of all, an indignant patriot declared or a sun to ripen it ; spongy if un- that the day was not perhaps very drained, and if drained, a “parched distant, when Ireland should be expanse of arid limestone." This peopled by Scotchmen. is not cheerful, any more than to The Times,' however, capped hear that it rains ten months in all. It explained that Ireland must the year, and that if it only rained abandon tillage and forego manunine we should have no grass, and factures—that her climate was unwithout grass could no longer fat- stable, her soil unfruitful, and her ten beeves for Britons to feed on, people lazy. She had, however, that being the last resource left us here and there, principally on the in our destitution.

seaboard, some spots of picturesque Whatever we do, or attempt to beauty; and that Englishmen, do, by some unhappy fatality seems partly out of a liking for scenery,


partly from pity, might occasionally well-clad, well-to-do “Manchester" come over and look at these, -made up elements that worked the duties of guide and cicerone into something highly dramatic. being assigned to the native--who L et me assure the happy disthus at last would have found an coverer of this theory for Ireland employment up to the level of his that, so far from increasing the opcapacity and his inclination. This portunities to Paddy to measure his is no exaggeration of mine-I am native quickness with Saxon stolidinventing nothing-I read, twice ity, he would be wiser not to give over too, the article that contained heedless occasion for the comparithis suggestion. It was made in son. perfect good faith, just as the Now, these slights are not peacewriter might have counselled a makers, and we, the poorer and the North American savage to limit more helpless people, ought at least himself to the manufacture of mo- to have kind words; and yet there cassins, and not take to regular is one more grievance which, I own, shoemaking.

is, to my own feeling, harder to Irishmen were deliberately told, bear than even these. It is the by an authority that assumes to be assertion-made so frequently, denot only the political director, but clared so roundly, and proclaimed the moral arbiter of the nation, so unblushingly, that it has passed that there was nothing better for into a popular belief-that any them to do than turn guides to Irishman who has ever risen to Cockney tourists.

high honours and great renown, If poor Paddy's circumstances will be found, on examination, to were such as to permit his having possess traits and characteristics the some leisure time at his disposal, I very opposite to those that distincan easily believe what amusement guish his countrymen-being, in he might obtain from the occupa short, a sort of lusus naturæ Paddy tion recommended-what food for --who knows if not a Saxon egg, laughter he would derive from town- surreptitiously stolen, and placed bred ignorance and moneyed self- in the Celtic nest! Sterne they sufficiency-what stores of fun he only half give us. Swift some would lay by from the crude re- deny us altogether; for my own marks and stupid commentaries of part, I'd not figbt for him. Goldwandering bagmen and the like; smith they only concede to us but the fact of reducing to a pro- whenever they disparage him. As fession what ought only to be a pas- for Edmund Burke, he puzzles them time, gives a very different colour sorely. Burke, the great orator, to the career.

the master of every form of eloThe writer of this suggestion may quence, we might be permitted to not, however, have seen, as I have, claim, because, by calling it Irish a heavy traveller from the manu- eloquence, its condemnation was facturing districts gaining his Irish fixed for ever. But Burke the experiences from a bare-footed, logician – Burke the statesmanragged, half-famisbed native; and Burke the philosopher—the man it is such an exhibition of intense who foresaw more in the working drollery and sly raillery as one can- out of events than any man of his not readily forget : the quick in- age, who could trace effects to their stinct as to the nature of the causes, and predicate from the acstranger, his class and his habits tual what must be the future-him --the subtle appreciation of the they deny us, and declare that all amount of his credulity--the racy these gifts were English. There enjoyment of his manifold blun- was an Irishman, too, who called ders, and the thorough zest felt by himself Arthur Wellesley, and what a poor, half-naked, potato-fed crea- an amount of ingenuity was exture for his mental superiority over pended to show that his origin was

a mistake, and that he was only papers. When the House is up, and Irish in so far that his birth was a nothing of interest before the pubbull!

lic, why not take a turn at Scotland, Now, I am no Repealer — no or even the Isle of Man? I'm sure, Young - Ireland man— no Feenian for a diversion, one might be able -no Erin-go-braghite; but I am to find out something ill to allege downright weary, heart-sick of that of the Channel Islands. I'll look everlasting depreciation of Ireland up something against Sark myself which is the stock theme of news- before the autumn is over.


“Be always ready with the pis- of even a stamp !” he completely tol,' were amongst the last, if not expressed this principle, and showed the very last, words of counsel how essential it is that high intelspoken by Henry Grattan to his lect should not show itself deficient son, and if they be read aright, are in whatever constitutes the strength words of deep knowledge and wis- of an inferior order of men. dom, and not the expressions of In Grattan's day a duel was a malevolence or of passion.

common occurrence; almost every No man of his age—very few men man in public life had fought more of any age--was ever more exempt than once. Indeed, it was deemed ed by the happy accidents of his a very doubtful sincerity that hesinature from reliance on mere force tated to stake life on the assertion than Henry Grattan. He combined of any line of action; and he who within his character almost every declined a provocation was as irreattribute that gives a man power trievably ruined as if he had been over his fellows. With the vigour convicted of forgery. In fact, it and energy of a lion he had an al- was almost in this light it was remost womanly gentleness. There garded. Courage being deemed so was a charm in his manner, and a essentially part of a gentleman's persuasiveness in his address, that nature, the discovery that it was the most prejudiced of his political wanting implied that degree of enemies were the first to acknow. falsehood and deception that aledge. It was the temperament of mounted to dishonour. an ancient Roman in all that re- Rude as this chivalry was, it regarded dignity, unswerving pur- acted most favourably on manners; pose, and high devotion to country, the courtesy of debate was never blended with a far nobler and purer violated by any of those coarse conpatriotism than ever Roman knew; tradictions and unseemly denials and yet this man, armed with these which lower parliamentary habits. great gifts, endowed with a superi. Men knew well that the questions ority so unquestionable, had to own which touched personal honour that there were not only occasions were to be settled in another place, in life in which all individual supre- and that he who transgressed the macy must be merged that a man limits of a certain reserve did so may measure himself with another with the full consciousness of all vastly his inferior in intellect, but that might come of it. that it is a positive duty not to de- It was rare, too, to find that anycline, but actually to welcome, the thing like bitterness survived the occasion that may prove how ready “meeting." The quarrel once dethe ablest man is to accept the arbit cided, men returned to the daily rament of the most vulgar-minded. business of life without a particle

When Dr Johnson stamped in a of animosity towards each other. discussion because his adversary They had settled their difference, had done so, saying, “Sir, I will and there was an end of it. When not concede to you the advantage Mr Corry was lying ill of his wound

after his duel with Grattan, a friend men who, to resent them, must came to sit with him one day, and have accepted their own irretrievafter talking some time in the dark- able ruin, are themes I dare not ened room, let fall some remark re- permit inyself to discuss. Neither flecting on the conduct'of the other's will I suffer myself to say one late antagonist, — “ Hist!” cried word in disparagement of a system Corry, "there's a little fellow asleep which honourable men are daily at the foot of the bed would send submitting to, with what hearta ball through you if he heard burning and indignation Heaven that," – the little fellow being alone could tell us! but, writing as Henry Grattan himself, who had I do in these sketches fully as much never quitted the bedside of the with reference to a public opinion wounded man, and who had just outside Great Britain as within her dropped off asleep from over-fatigue limits, I desire to say that this legisand watching.

lation of ours about duelling, and Now, to compass generosity like the whole tone of our public opinthis was surely worth something; ion on the subject, has severely and I am by no means so certain damaged us in Continental estimathat an equal degree of kind feel- tion. In the first place, no foreigner ing would follow on one of our pre- can possibly understand an Englishsent-day altercations, when right man's unwillingness to “go out," honourable and honourable gentle except on grounds that would immen are led to the interchange of peach personal courage, because no courtesies more parliamentary than foreigner knows enough of our pubpolite; nay, I am perfectly con- lic feeling to comprehend the fatal vinced that the good-fellowship of injury inflicted on a man's career that time, confessedly greater than in England, by the repute of his now, was mainly owing to the having fought a duel. There is not widely-spread respect for personal a section in all the complex macourage which pervaded public life. chinery of our society against which

I think I hear someone say, the delinquent does not hurl his “This bloodthirsty Irishman wants defiance. As an eminent Irish to throw us all back into the bar- judge, more remarkable for the barism that prevailed in the days bathos than the accuracy of his before the Union ;” but I want eloquence, once said, “The pracnothing of the kind. I think that, tice is inhuman, it is uncivilised, it at the period referred to, the point is unchristian; nay, gentlemen of of honour was too pedantically up- the jury, I will go further-it is held; I think men resigned life illegal !" on grounds totally unequal to such Now, what man has the courage an appeal; I think there was an to face not merely the chance of beundue touchiness, an over-tensity, ing shot, but the certainty of being in the intercourse of the time that stigmatised ? I desire to declare was neither wholesome nor benefi- here that I am not speaking vaguely cial; but I will by no means con- or from hearsay. So far as a long cede that all the advantage is on residence amongst foreigners in one side, because we have decreed nearly all parts of Europe enables that a duel is a disgrace, and that a man to pronounce, I claim the the man who fights one is disquali- right to declare that I know somefied for everything.

thing about them; and I know of Of the consequences that have nothing that seems, through every followed on the severe penalties separate people of the Continent, against duelling in the service, I so universal as the belief that own frankly I cannot venture to Englishmen do not like to "go speak, and for this reason I cannot out." trust my temper to speak calmly. If a Frenchman or an Italian The gross insults, the cruel wrongs, accept a challenge to a duel, it is a the insufferable outrages passed on sort of brevet of bravery; wounded or unwounded, he comes home of the unfortunate man in question ? from the field a hero. The news. Be ready with the pistol indeed ! papers record the achievement as Be ready to accept loss of station, something glorious, and his friends loss of respect, disinheritance, call to see him as a species of Pala- estrangement of friends, coldness din. If he can but drive out with of every one — not because you bis arm in a sling, his fortune is were quarrelsome or contentiousmade; and his recogpition in a not because, being steady of hand café, his smile of bland and tri- and unerring of eye, you could umphant heroism, is a thing to be venture to assume a tone that was accepted with gratitude. Contrast likely to be resented—but simply this with the Englishman, hiding because, with such French as they not alone from the law, but from taught you at Rugby, you would public opinion; not merely dread- not permit the Count Hyppolite de ing the Attorney-General, but far Coupegorge to revile your nation and more fearing his aunt in Chelten- defame your countrywomen in an ham, whose heir he was to have open café, but threatened to throw been, but who, being “a Christian him and his shako into the street. woman," will certainly have nothing Turn for a moment from the into do with one who sought the dividual to the nation, and see if blood of a fellow-creature-albeit a this damaging conviction has not a fellow-creature who had inflicted great deal to do with the estimate the deepest wound on his honour of our country now formed by all

Think of him, I say, neither foreigners. We have not, it is true, backed by the press, nor sustained any enemy so grossly unjust as to by his friends, but nursing his frac- deny courage to our nation ; but tured femur in solitude, with the there is a current belief fast settling consciousness that he has ruined into a conviction that we are not his fortune and done for his char- “ready with the pistol”—that we reacter— that all the moments he quire more provocation, and endure can spare from his poultices must more outrage, than any one else ; be passed in apologies to his and that it is always safe to assume friends, and reiterated assurances that we will never fight if we can that he only accepted the issue of possibly help it. arms after an amount of provoca- The sarcasm of the first Napoleon, tion that almost brought on an apo- when he called us a nation of shopplexy! And, last of all, imagine all keepers, had a far deeper and broadthe ridicule that awaits him—the er significance than a reference to pasquinades in the 'Saturday,' and our trading propensities. It went the caricatures in 'Punch;' and to imply, that in cultivating a spirit while the noble Count, his antago- of gain, we had sacrificed the sentinist, struts the “Bois” as a Bay- ment of glory; and that the lower ard, he must skulk about like a ambition of money - getting had felon that has escaped by a flaw in usurped the place that should be the indictment; a creature of whom occupied by a high and noble chithe world must be cautious, as of a valry. It was a very good thing to dog that was once mad, and that teach Frenchmen this; no better no one will guarantee against a re- lesson could have been inculcated turn of hydrophobia!

than a contempt for a people who They say no man would ever had always beaten them. Still, as wish to be rescued from drowning a mere measure of convenience, it if he only knew the tortures that is rather hard on us that we must awaited him from what is called be reduced to maintain our characthe Humane Society. Indeed, the ter for courage by far more daring very description of them makes the feats—by bolder deeds and more guillotine or the garrotte seem in enduring efforts, than are called for comparison like a mild anodyne; from any other people. The man but is not this exactly the position who is ready with the pistol goes

« السابقةمتابعة »