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able to take spontaneously upon their own cost for years the defence of the kingdom. This was no evidence of either the poverty with which these windy rhetoricians habitually charge the English Government, nor of the disaffection which they laboured so diligently to create. It is notorious, too, that this army was merely the ad. vanced guard, the field-day force, the showy superfluity of the national strength; that if the enemy had landed, ten times that force would have been ready to oppose them, and that a million of men in arms would have been the significant answer to the libellers of their country. So much for " beggared nation and an exhausted exchequer.'
But the influence of Whiggism, always aristocratical when secure, and always revolutionary when in peril, soon perverted the spirit of the volunteers. From being the national defenders, they were corrupted by faction into Government assailants. On the address for "Free Trade," being carried up by the Commons to the Castle, (the Viceroy's residence,) the Dublin volunteers thought proper to line the streets, and present arms to the Speaker and the Ministers as their carriages passed along. Authorizing this forward folly was the Duke of Leinster, at their head as commander, an honest, but a dull and simple man, whose Whig connexions in England had lately suffered him to fall into the hazardous hands of party in Ireland; which finally brought a great deal of misery on himself and his family, betrayed his unhappy brother, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, to an ignominious death, and rendered the simple Duke powerless for any future good to this disturbed and harassed country.
This interference of the volunteers in matters exclusively political, at length awoke the Government; but the American war, the restless clamours of Whiggism in England, and the impossibility of recovering the downward step which the Secretary had taken, made concession run a race with demand. A sort of annual festival, which takes place on the anniversary of William the Third's birthday, gave an opportunity of further displays. The pedestal of the Protestant King's statue was hung with inscriptions: on one side," Relief to Ireland," on another, "The Volun
teers of Ireland, fifty thousand united, and ready to die for their country!' On a third, "A short money bill""a free trade, or else,"—and on the fourth, probably by way of finishing the broken sentence, "A glorious Revolution.' These were expressive enough; but in front were planted, more expressive still, two fieldpieces, with this inscription affixed to each"A free trade, or this." The volunteers of the different corps in Dublin were drawn up round the statue, and fired volleys of musketry; all was acclamation. At night the city was illuminated, and the triumph of the Commons over the Castle was complete. The populace, however, were not content with these demonstrations. Sword and pistol in hand, they stopped the members of the Commons on their way to the House, in order to extort a vote from them for a short money bill. Among the rest they stopped the Speaker's carriage, and tendered an oath to vote" for the bill" and "the rights of Ireland." In the spi rit of mob law, they attacked the house of the Attorney-General; and a party, determined on making "assurance doubly sure, I went to the law courts to put him to death.
We turn from these turbulent and shortsighted follies, to one of those slight biographical sketches which form the true grace of the volumes. The House of Commons, patient while the Government seemed firm, became suddenly impetuous from the moment when it seemed inclined to yield—a capital lesson for Ministers in all ages. The yielding Minister always makes a faction where he does not find one, and enlarges it where he does. vacillation of the Irish Viceroy instantly unhinged the allegiance of all his placemen, and the Treasury Bench resounded with the strange echoes of Opposition. The melting courtesies which had been passing between the Whigs and the Minister were instantly turned into the most rigid patriotism; and Cato of Utica, with Plato in one hand and the sword in the other, if more sincere, was never more sententious than every puny debater who swelled into a patriot, and swore not to outlive the liberties of his country. If later times had not prepared us for every absurdity of popular harangue, nothing could appear more mischie vous and more burlesque than the
affected passion which blazed out in this affected phraseology. They had inflamed their fancies until the most extravagant follies figured before them as solid fact. With them, England was a perpetual oppressor, uniting all the evil qualities of popular prejudice and imperial despotism, an intractable, inexorable compound of mob fury and monarchical malice. No man stopped to enquire whether those things were so; all rushed on, swept down along the same boiling current of rival declamation. With them metaphors were truth, wild rhetoric sound council, and the fogs of a bewildered fancy the light of day; Lord North was Sylla or Nero, Ireland the Capitol, and the petty wranglings of factions, squabbling about short and long money bills, sugar invoices, and flannels, discussions involving the freedom of mankind.
The sense of their victory gave the Whigs new insolence, and they went to the rebel length of "Stopping the Supplies." Grattan proposed, we are thus told, the following short and decisive resolution: "That at this time it would be inexpedient to grant new taxes." Well might the Exchequer be "beggared," and the army dismantled, in such times. Yet this vote he carried, by 170 to 47-the Viceroy being thus in the extraordinary minority of 123. All this, however, is to be accounted for by the wavering of his Council, in direct imitation of the feebleness of the North Cabinet. We now find the Prime Sergeant Burgh denouncing the Government that gave him office, as leaving Ireland in a condition of "smothered war," and by her injustice rousing the volunteers into anticipated hostility, the crop of serpents' teeth, which was already starting up into military supremacy. It is true that this speech was followed by his resignation, of which Grattan afterwards said, in his peculiar style, "The gates of promotion were shut, as those of glory opened." The character given of his general life is pleasing and graphic. "Walter Hussey Burgh, whose conduct was thus conspicuous, was a remarkable personage. He was an ardent lover of his country, and a man of incorruptible principles; an excellent speaker, an excellent House of Commons man; he was most polished in his manners, but rather vain. He spoke often, and was perhaps the most brilliant man in the House."
(This touch satisfies us from whose pencil the whole has come; for while Grattan himself was there, no other man would have ascribed superior brilliancy to Burgh.) "He was the best calculator of questions. He knew better than any other man how to collect the sense of all parties, and to shape a motion that would unite their sentiments. His wit was satiri cal, without being severe. He possessed great knowledge, and was a most powerful member of Parliament; so much so, that he was termed the Cicero of the House.' By his superior art, he steered clear of all personal altercation. In reply he was excellent, and he thought on his legs better than Daly. When Daly was prepared, he would have surpassed Burgh. Daly's best speech would have been better than Burgh's; but the everyday speeches of Burgh were better than those of Daly. He had prac tised much in the courts of law, and been spoiled in consequence."
The origin of this spoiling is odd enough. The law courts bordered on one of the great thoroughfares of the city. This compelled him to vociferate, and Grattan tells us that he brought this with him into the House of Commons. We must dispute neither the cause nor the effect. But all our impression on the subject, from the memory of his countrymen whom we have seen, was totally of another order. We had understood that Burgh's voice was one of his most attractive qualities as a public speaker; that it was of a most singular sweetness; and that in consequence it had procured for him the name of " Silver Tongue."
Burgh seems to have pushed all his qualities to the extreme. He had a fine figure, and he determined to make it too graceful. Thus he got the name of an "attitudinarian." He was a man of fashion as well as figure; and he must have been singularly fond of show, when he was in the habit of driving his carriage with six horses and three outriders. The consequence was, that though his income was handsome, his success at the bar being great, he died poor, and left his family to the chances of a public pension. On the night when the motion for what was then called "Irish independence" came on, Grattan having heard that Burgh's ill health would "prevent him from attending, wrote to
him to mention his wish for his support. The answer was, "I shall attend; and, if it were my last vote, I shall give it for my country.'
the debate came on, he spoke very well; and after he had finished, he turned to Grattan, and said "I have now sacrificed the greatest honour an Irishman can aim at." He had lost office before by his speech on the free trade, and now precluded his restoration to it, by his speech on independence. Yet, without desiring to enfeeble this evidence of his merits, it is to be remembered that the party which he now left was virtually the sinking one; that the days of Lord North's Ministry were already sealed; and as a confirmation of the little hazard incurred by a change which instantly gave him all the honours of popularity, and all the prospects too, in less than four years this patriot, who had thus formally shaken hands with office, found himself Chief Baron of the Exchequer. So slight was the fall, and so advantageous the rebound. He had resigned the Prime Sergeantcy in 1779, and died Chief Baron in 1783, after a too short tenure of office, and in the midst of general regret at the loss of such a man at so early an age; for, varied and active as his life was, and high as he had risen in professional rank and public estimation, he died at forty. Flood, in a brief allusion to his death in the House of Commons, eloquently spoke of him, as in his lifetime "dead to every thing but his own honour and the grateful memory of his countrya man over whose life or grave envy never hovered—a man ardently wishing to serve his country himself, but not wishing to monopolize the service-wishing to partake and to communicate the glory. My noble friend -I beg pardon, he did not live to be ennobled by patent, he was ennobled by nature!"
This book is a phantasmagoria; like that white sheet which spreads before the eye of the audience, and on which so many shapes of the departed pass with such vivid colours and such rapid succession, so come these shadows, so depart. Another Irishman, of remarkable intelligence, strength of mind, and statesmanlike knowledge, Foster, afterwards Lord Oriel, next passes across the stage. John Foster was the son of an Irish Chief Judge, and educated in the University of Dublin,
where he distinguished himself, even in boyhood, by the vigour of his diligence and the mastery of every thing which he undertook. Entering Parliament at the close of George the Second's reign, he soon made himself important by his extraordinary assiduity in the business of the House, the extent of his commercial knowledge, and the soberness of his judgment. In a time when it was a sort of fashion to be politically half-mad, he showed his judgment in choosing his side at once, and shrinking from the follies of that Whiggism which, compounded of the meanest craft and the most tinsel ostentation, perpetually intrigued to enlist all the young, in and out of Parliament; and, when once enlisted, urged them forward by every popular extravagance to every public peril. In adopting the side of common sense, Foster served his country more effectually than all the Opposition together. While their oratory was lavished on wild schemes of national independence, never checked by the consideration that they were impossible, and if not impossible, must have been ruinous, this able and laborious man was employed in examining the true sources of public feebleness, and supplying the public frame with vigour. He found that the great want for the peasantry was employment, and for the landlord an increase of revenue, and for the Church, then reduced to extreme penury, also an increase of the actual means of subsistence. By a single measure he made a memorable advance to meet the calamities of the three. He drew up a code of agricultural laws, in which, by the operation of bounties, the cultivation of corn was especially recommended to the country. The coxcombry of our modern philosophers despises the system of bounties, and the clamour of every pseudo-patriot is for the abolition of every thing calling itself a corn law. Yet, while honest men distrust such enlighteners, from the palpable fact, that the pamphleteering economists are mere dabblers in theory, and the haranguing economists are, to a man, advocates for revolution, practical men remember, that from the operation of such laws, dates nearly_the whole agriculture of Ireland. viously, almost the entire surface of Ireland was pasturage. The south,
west, and midland counties were vast extents of desert, dotted at intervals with wretched villages, and producing nothing but the potato for the peasant's food, the pig for his rent, and the bullock for the landowner. Within a few years, this wilderness was turned into tillage. Rents rapidly increased, the incomes of the clergy grew with them, churches were built, and new attempts were made to civilize the people; and within a quarter of a century, the population, the property, and the comforts of the country, made a greater progress than they had made within the three hundred years before. But one grand change was admitted. The Government left the Church unaided. Popery, the perpetual antagonist to industry, intelligence, and peace in every country, was an evil which soured all the growing pro sperity of the land.
It rendered the increase of population an increase of riot, the additional property a source of personal debauchery and parliamentary intrigue, and consummated the whole by organizing a sanguinary rebellion, which had its natural and fatal fruit in the death of the Legislature.
Foster's financial talents marked him for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, an appointment which had been hitherto exercised by an English functionary, and which he received, with national approbation, in 1784. But in the next year he was placed in the chair of the House, of which he continued Speaker until the House itself
was no more.
The Speaker of the Irish House had duties which rendered him a still more important personage than his fellow functionary in England. He was, in a certain degree, a Cabinet minister, assisted at all the most secret deliberations of Government, and held every day that intimate intercourse with the existing ministry, which to have but touched on, so lately roused the ire of all Whiggism, and swept that clever and unlucky official, Manners Sutton, ruthlessly out of the receipt of six thousand pounds a-year! Yet in IreJand, where every thing is anomalous, this connexion was not considered as involving his impartiality, and probably nothing could have been more beneficial to the successive governments, than the advice of a wise man, perfectly well informed in the interest of
the country, clear-headed and far. sighted, and too highly respected for his real services, to require the giddy popularity to be earned only by de luding the people. As the natural result of this soberness of view and vigour of understanding, Foster was a strong Antipapist. He resisted the Popish demands throughout his whole political career. Another of his acts did almost equal honour to his good sense. The gallery of the House had become not unlike what the gallery of the National Assembly was yet to become the dictator of the debates. A mob regularly took possession of it, who applauded their favourite orators, and for whom, of course, their favourite orators spoke. It is enough to say, that the gallery held no less than seven hundred of those critics, more than double the number of the members! Foster, when he became speaker, made a strenuous effort to restrain this very serious evil, by limiting the gallery. Yet, even to the last, this nuisance, equally injurious to free debate and to the legislative character of the House, continued, to a degree which the English House of Commons have never sanctioned. To the last, the gallery admitted a great number of people, and among them females. One result was, that it became a lounge for the idle hours of the wives and daughters of the members, and for other females not less dear to them, but yet not their wives and daughters, training the whole fe male community into politicians, and embittering every fireside. The public consequence was equally natural: the dignity of debate was wholly lowered by passing under the eyes of those fair spectators. The members were actors upon a stage, the ladies were the audience above. The speeches, repartees, and often the subject of debate, were attuned to the taste of the fair awarders of the palm; and by another consequence, inevitable in Ireland, every trivial dispute, by taking place in the presence of such witnesses, was turned into a point of honour; and what would have been matter of a laugh in the English House, was matter of pistoling on the Milesian side of the Channel.
On this subject, the author of the volumes, as might be expected, takes the side of the mob. He tells us that the galleries, in their original
state of repletion, were of peculiar value.
"The House of Commons," says he, "is the property of the people. They attend to observe the conduct of their representatives. In Ireland they applauded the patriot, but did not pay much attention to the courtier. When Mr Burgh put a period to his official existence, by the splendid declaration which he made in favour of the liberties of his country, the galleries applauded. In 1782, when Mr Grattan asserted their liberties, they again applauded; and their efforts animated the patriot, though they displeased the courtier." Such is the wisdom of the younger patriot of the name, which would transfer the debate from the House to the galleries; and, not content with the check imposed upon the members by the daily publication of their speeches, would either extinguish discussion altogether, by the fear of an irresponsible audience, or, in defiance of common sense and common decorum, stimulate political folly into fever, and give a shelter to treason under the shouts of the rabble.
Foster resisted the Union in 1800, but he resisted it on the ground which the whole body of patriots had been uniformly denying for the last twenty years. His argument was, that the country had prospered with such singular rapidity, that the change was unnecessary, and might be disastrous. But his irritation against the Government which carried that Union, could not have been very vehement; for, immediately after, he appeared in the English Parliament, and took office as Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer, and First Lord of the Treasury. It was remarkable that this man, who was so adroit, intelligent, and effective in the management of the nation's money, should have been singularly unlucky in the management of his own. With a large rental, and totally free from all expensive habits, he was always one of the most embarrassed men of his time. He was more successful in point of honours, for he obtained a title for his wife, another for himself, and, dying full of years, transmitted his honours to his successor, to whom he left the still better inheritance of his principles.
The year 1780 made Grattan at once the most conspicuous man of his country. He had hitherto distinguish
ed himself by great personal activity in the general objects of Parliament, by a bold seizure of public questions, and by a rapid, forcible, and pungent eloquence; but he now stepped forward in front of all his contemporaries, and stepped so far forward, that none of them ever reached him again. Having gained what was called "free trade," he determined to demand what was called" free government." The English Privy Council and Cabinet had hitherto possessed the right of putting a veto upon the laws passed in the Irish Parliament. It was Grattan's ambition to abolish this privilege, and demand that Ireland should be bound only by the laws of her King, Lords, and Commons. In this effort he instinctively took the lead. Never was a measure more wholly the work of an individual. He found his whole party hostile to it as a desperate experiment. "Burgh, Daly, Ogle, Perry, and the Ponsonbys, were adverse; they could not be seduced, but they were mollified and afraid. Lord Charlemont, too, was rather timid; but he evinced a delicacy on the occasion, for which he deserved great credit, (Grattan sat for one of his burghs.) He did not, like the rest, seek to dissuade him from bringing forward the motion; he merely recommended him to consider it well-he thought the measure too bold, and the country not yet ripe for it."
In fact, among the whole Opposition, there seems to have been but one man who stood beside Grattan. The Whig principle is the same at all times. An utter absence of sincerity, a desire to agitate exactly to the point in which it can make itself an object of alarm to government, that it may become an object of purchase; and an utter recklessness of the desperate evils which may be produced by this agitation, while they are startling the minister into that degree of fear which is necessary for his dishonour and its corruption. The Whigs of Ireland, after having inflamed the passions of the people into little short of an abhorrence of England, having perverted the spirit of the volunteers into little short of rebellion, and having trod as closely upon treason as they could, without setting their own feet upon the steps of the scaffold, thought proper to pause, that they might see how far those specious