Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

PART II.

.

LITERARY AND MISCELLANEOUS.

CHAPTER I.

BIOGRAPHY-POLITICAL.

Sir Richard Musgrave.—Sir Robert Calder.-Mr Palmer-Major Scott

Waring.-Lord Chief Baron Dundas.--Kotzebue.--Blucher.

SIR RICHARD MUSGRAVE should as sheriff of his county, during a disperhaps have been mentioned in the turbed period, a prisoner, regularly literary part of these biographical convicted by a jury, was committed notices; for it is chiefly as the his- to his charge for execution, But torian of the different rebellions in the hangman had decamped, and no Ireland from the arrival of the Eng- person could be found to officiate lish till the conclusion of that which in his place. In this grievous dilembroke out in 1798, that he is in any ma, the worthy Baronet was redu. degree deserving of notice. Little ced to the fatal necessity of completof his early history is known. In ing the sentence of the law with his 1780 he married the daughter of own hand. Throughout the whole Sarah, Baroness Waterpark in her of his life he continued a strenuous own right, and about the same time advocate for the preponderance of became a member of the Irish Parlia. English councils and interests in the ment, but soon after resigned his seat affairs of Ireland, and a furious enefor the lucrative office of Collector my to the Catholic religion, which, of Excise for the city of Dublin ; in all his writings, he labours to reand was in 1782 created a Baronet, present in the most odious and horby the style and title of Sir Richard rible colours. In his history, if it Musgrave of Lismore in the county may be so called, of the late rebellion, of Wexford, and province of Lein- he is the uniform apologist of the ster. One event of his life is pecu- most violent measures resorted to on liarly extraordinary. When acting that unhappy occasion. Of the misguided and unfortunate men who of master and commander, and then took up arms in defence of what they of post-captain, in the navy. During conceived, however erroneously, the part of the American war he was cause of their country, he speaks employed in the Channel fleet; and with the envenomed bitterness of a in 1779 married Amelia, the only political partisan ; maliciously ex. daughter of John Mitchell, Esq. of aggerating their crimes, and conceal. Bayfield Hall, in the county of Nor. ing whatever in their character was folk. In 1782, he commanded the calculated to soften the darker fea- Diana, repeating-frigate to Rear-Adtures of insurrection. One side of miral Kempenfelt, and, at this pehis picture is all liglit, and the other riod, was doomed to witness the disall shade. The government, accordgraceful flight of the British Aeet, ing to him, could do nothing wrong ; under Sir Charles Hardy, before the and his countrymen never did any combined squadrons of France and thing that was right. He could con- Spain. ceive no better method of redressing At the breaking out of the war with the grievances of the people than by France he was again called into emmilitary execution ; and treated with ployment, and appointed First Capcontempt every other right but the tain to Admiral Roddam's fag, then right of oppression. Like the Indians hoisted on board the Barfleur. He of Louisiana, he thought the surest afterwards commanded the Theseus, way of reaching the fruit was to cut 74 guns, which formed part of Lord down the tree. We are told that Sir Howe's fleetin 1794; but having been Richard Musgrave was hospitable dispatched with Rear-Admiral Monand good natured. This may be; tague's squadron to protect a valuabut there is a contempt of truth, and ble convoy destined for the colonies, a spirit of acrimony and malice in his he did not participate in the brilliant writings, which it is impossible to re. victory of the Ist of June. In 1797 concile with any estimable qualities he was more fortunate ; and acted as of the head or the heart, and for Captain of the fleet, under Sir John which perhaps the best apology is the Jarvis, at the memorable battle fought time when he wrote. He died in off Cape St Vincent on the 13th of A'pril 1818.

February. Being selected to bring

home the Admiral's dispatches, he Sir Robert Calder.—This of. received the honour of knighthood ficer, who, in any other age but that as a reward for his services during which produced Nelson, and witness- the engagement, where he was uned the unparalleled triumphs of the derstood to have displayed very suBritish Navy, would have been rec- perior seamanship. In 1799 he obkoned a successful commander, was tained the rank of Rear-Admiral by born at Elgin, in Scotland, in June seniority; in 1804 became Admi1745, and received the rudiments ral of the White, and in 1805 was of his education at the school of his employed by Admiral Cornwallis, native town. When only fourteen, who then commanded the Channel he entered the pavy as midshipman, fleet, to blockade the harbours of and, in 1766, accompanied the Ho. Ferrol and Corunna ; a service which nourable George Faulkener, as Lieu. he performed with great diligence, tenant of the Essex, to the West In- notwithstanding the manæuvres of dies; but it was not till many years the Brest fleet, and the inadequacy after that he obtained the rank, first of the force under his command. Being soon after joined by Rear- in this finding, and certainly it is the Admiral Stirling, with five sail of the first instance of an officer having been line, a frigate and a cutter, making put upon his trial for gaining a vichis whole force fifteen sail of the tory; but it tended to encourage the line, two frigates, a cutter, and a lug, idea, that a British Admiral ought ger, he put to sea for the purpose of never to be satisfied with partial and intercepting the French and Spanish indecisive success, and was in perfect squadrons on their return from the keeping with the lofty notions of our West Indies. On the 22d of July, maritime ascendancy, which teach us the combined fleet, consisting of on every occasion to look for comtwenty sail of the line, three fifty gun plete victory. ships, five frigates and two brigs, hove Sir Robert Calder was some time in sight about sixty leagues to the afterwards appointed Port-Admiral west of Cape Finisterre, and bore at Portsmouth, and died at Holt, in down in order of battle. After a sharp the county of Hants, on the 31st of action of four hours, he captured an August 1818, being then in the 74th 84 and a 74, and then thought it year of his age. necessary to bring to the squadron for the purpose of

securing the prizes. John Palmer, Esq.—Most men “ The capture of two ships from so are endowed by nature with some superior a force," says Mr Southey talent or faculty in greater perfecin bis Life of Nelson, “ would have tion than the rest, or with a peculiar been considered as no inconsider aptitude for a particular pursuit or able victory a few years earlier ; but profession, in which alone they are Nelson had introduced a new era in fitted to excel; while on a few, and our naval history; and the nation but a few, nature confers the rare felt, respecting this action, as he distinction of a plastic versatility of had felt on a somewhat similar occa- character, which readily accommosion. They regretted that Nelson, dates itself to circumstances, and (who had gone in pursuit of them) enables them to do, in many things, with his eleven ships, had not been what others are only fitted to do in in Sir Robert Calder's place; and one. Of the truth of this last remark, their disappointment was generally Mr Palmer was an example. Equaland loudly expressed."

ly qualified to manage a theatre and Influenced by this state of the pu. to direct the complicated machinery blic feeling, Sir Robert Calder de. of the Post-Office, we find the same manded a court-martial, which was man, at one period of his life, superaccordingly granted, and assembled intending the amusements of the on board the Prince of Wales, in gayest city in the empire ; at anoPortsmouth Harbour, on the 23d of ther projecting a new system of inDecember. The witnesses on behalf ternal communication; aiding comof the prosecution being examined, merce by his contrivances and regu. Sir Robert Calder read a long de- lations; and at length accomplishing fence; and the Court having delibe- and perfecting his original plan for rately weighed and considered the facilitating the intercourse, not only whole case, were of opinion, that Sir between different parts of the kingRobert “ had not done his utmost to dom, but with all the nations of the renew the engagement, and to take world. or destroy every ship of the enemy." John Palmer, the so

of a reThere was perhaps something hard spectable brewer, was born at Bath in the year 1742. He was origi- acting manager ; but instead of ennally destined for the Church; but deavouring to conciliate them, the from an aversion to the clerical pro. subject of this notice immediately fession was brought up to his fa- proceeded on a theatrical tour, rea ther's business, to which he applied cruited a new corps dramatique, and himself so closely as to injure his dismissed the mutineers. We menhealth. At this period, Bath, which tion these things as characteristic of had already become a place of fa- the man, and as exemplifying that shionable resort, was totally unpro- turn of mind which he afterwards vided with that essential requisite, displayed in such perfection in mata regular theatre, the disciples of ters of vital importance to the interThespis having no better accommo- nal prosperity of the country. It is dation for exhibiting their perfor- highly to his credit, that, notwithmances than an old ruinous barn. To standing the singularity of his charemedy this defect, a subscription racter and pursuits, he was highly was raised for building a new play- respected by his fellow-citizens, who house, upon the understanding that soon after conferred upon him the the proprietors of the old one highest civic office in his native town. would apply their premises to some Whatever originally suggested the other purpose, the moment the new idea, he seems to have been early one was completed. But the play. impressed with the possibility of ers chose to forget this understand. greatly improving the communicaing; and when the new house was tion between different parts of the opened, a competition took place, country; and, accordingly, in 1782 which threatened ruin to both par- or 1783, he presented a memorial to ties. The subscribers became dis- the Lords of the Treasury, explainheartened, and withdrew, one by ing his plan, and pointing out the adone, leaving the whole management vantages of which it would be proin the hands of Mr Palmer senior. ductive, both to commerce and to the From this moment all opposition revenue. This having met with due ceased, and the new theatre became attention from Mr Pitt, Mr Palmer the sole point of universal attraction. removed with his family to town, in But the house was still unprotected order to facilitate his negociations by law, and a very severe act at that with the Minister.

He had stiputime existed against the public ex. lated for 2 per cent. for life on the hibition of dramatic performances. future increased revenue of the PostTo obviate this inconvenience, the office; but that he should not reelder Mr Palmer presented a peti- ceive a shilling if his plans did not tion to both houses of Parliament, succeed. The terms were considerand his son John was sent to London ed fair, the trial was made, and the to solicit the act as it is called ; and scheme succeeded beyond all expecthis he managed so well, that at the tation. Under his management, the end of two or three months he re. annual revenue rose from L.150,000 turned home, armed not only with an in 1783, to L.600,000 in 1798. act of Parliament, but with a patent, The jealousy engendered by succonferring the title of Theatre Royal. cess had, however, created him great But his difficulties did not end here. and powerful enemies, by whom atA sedition took place among that tempts were made to deprive him of genus irritabile,"

," the actors, upon the fair reward of his labours and some disgust they had taken at the combinations. But he had the courage to appeal to Parliament for re- very warm interest; but of late years dress, and the appeal was not made his name has hardly been mentioned, in vain ; for a resolution of the House and, indeed, he appears to have taof Commons, of date the 12th of May ken but little share in any political 1818, declares, " That this House is proceedings of a recent date. Mr of opinion, that Mr Palmer is enti- Scott was a native of Scotland, and tled to L.2, 10s. per cent. on the net early in life entered into the service revenue of the Post-Office, exceed- of the East India Company. While ing the sum of L.240,000 to be paid in India, he appears to have recomup from the 5th of April 1793 ; de. mended himself to the particular noducting the sum of L. 3000 a-year tice of the Governor-General; and, received subsequently to the 5th of when it was certain that an impeachApril 1793.” The balance of the ment was resolved on, he was selectpercentage thus declared to be due ed and sent to England by Mr Hasto him, and which he afterwards re- tings as his private agent. Soon ceived, amounted to L.54,702. But after his arrival, he procured a seat no pecuniary reward could have been in the House of Commons, where, so gratifying as the eulogium pro- he appeared as the authorised renounced upon him by Mr Sheridan: presentative and champion of the “ None but an enthusiast, said he, Governor-General ; in which chacould have made such an agreement; racter he assumed a high tone of none but an enthusiast could have defiance, and had the temerity to carried it into execution; and I am throw down the gauntlet to his eneconfident that no man in this coun- mies, and to dare them to the contry, or any other, could have per- test. If by this means he expected formed such an undertaking but that to intimidate Mr Hastings'accusers, very individual, John Palmer.” the result proved that he was wo

Mr Palmer sat in Parliament as fully mistaken: Burke, Fox, and member for his native city, in the Sheridan, were not men to be moved representation of which he was suc- from their purpose by the big and ceeded, a considerable time before bullying words of an Indian Major : his death, by his eldest son, Colonel while the mighty torrents of invecPalmer. Another of his sons rose tive, afterwards poured forth against to the rank of Post Captain in the the unfortunate Governor-General, lavy, and married the greai niece of were certainly rendered more irrehis former patron, Admiral the Earl sistible and overwhelming by the of St Vincent, with whom he ob- premature and imprudent rashness tained an ample fortune. At length, of his accredited defender. after witnessing the complete suc- In another department, however, cess of all his plans, and the advance- he laboured with more success. In ment of his family, the subject of this order to influence the public voice memoir died at Brighton, in 1818, in favour of Mr Hastings, innumein the 76th year of his age.

rable pamphlets were written and

circulated, either by himself or unMAJOR Scott WARING.-As a der his immediate direction ; and pamphleteer

and parliamentary in higher quarters, more powerful speaker, this gentleman acquired means were said to have been employa considerable degree of notoriety ed in his favour. No expedient, in during the celebrated trial of War. short, was left untried, to array the ren Hastings, in which he took a public sentiment on the side of the

VOL. XII, PART I.

« AnteriorContinuar »