图书图片
PDF
ePub

destiny I know not, but so it was, that I soon got sick and weary of the law. I continued, however, for form's sake to go to the courts, and wear a foolish wig and gown for a considerable time; and I went the circuit, I beliere, in all three times ; but as I was, modestly speaking, one of the most ignorant barristers in the Four Courts, and as I took little or rather no pains to conceal my contempt and dislike of the profession, and especially as I had neither the means nor the inclination to treat Messrs. the attorneys, and to make them drink (a sacrifice of their respectability which even the most liberal-minded of the profession are obliged to make) I made, as well it may be supposed, no great exhibition at the Irish Bar.”

“ As the law grew every day more and more disgustful, to which my want of success contributed, though in that respect I never had the injustice to accuse the world of insensibility to my merit, as I well knew the fault was my own, but being, as I said, more and more weary of a profession for which my temper and habits so utterly disqualified nie, 'I turned my attention to politics, and as one or two of my friends had written pamphlets with success, I determined to try my hand on a pamphlet :-jusi at the period the Whig Club was instituted in Ireland, and the press groaned with publications against them on the part of Government. Two or three • Defences had likewise appeared, but none of them extraordinary. Under these circumstances, though I was very far from entirely approving the system of the Whig Club, and much less their principles and motives, yet seeing them at the time the best-constituted political body which the country afforded, and agreeing with most of their positions, though my own private opinions went iofinitely farther, I thought I could venture on their defence without violating my own consistency. I therefore sat down, and in a few days finished my first pamphlet, which I entitled . A Review of the last Session of Parliament. To speak candidly of this performance, it was barely above mediocrity,-if it rose so high ; nevertheless, as it was written evidently on honest principles, and did not censure or flatter one party or the other without assigning sufficient reason, it had a certain degree of success. • The Northern Whig Club' reprinted and distributed a large impression at their own expense, with an introduction highly complimentary to the author, whom at that time they did not even know; and a very short time after, when it was known that the duction was mine, they did me the honour to elect me a member of their body, which they notified to me by a very handsome letter signed by their secretary, Henry Joy, Jun. of Belfast, and to which I returned a suitable auswer. But this was not all. The leaders of the Whig Club, conceiving my talents, such as they were, might be of service to their cause, and not expecting much intractability from a young lawyer who had his fortune to make, sent a brother barrister to compliment me on my performance, and to thank me for the zeal and ability I had shewn. I was in consequence introduced to George Ponsonby, a distinguished member of the body, and who might be considered as the leader of the Irish Opposition. With him, how. ever, I never had any communication further than ordinary civilities. Shortly after the barrister above-mentioned spoke to me again. He told me the Ponsonbys were a most powerful family in Ireland, that they were inuch pleased with my exertion, and wished in consequence to attach me to thein; that I

pro

The fatal issue of Wolfe Tone's career may be ultimately attributed to his ignorance of one of the most notorious maxims of the English law on the doctrine of allegiance. Previous to the action of Lough-Swilly, and while Admiral Warren was bearing down with a great!y superior force upon the French fleet, a fast-sailing French brig love alongside the Hoche, and sent a boat aboard to carry off Tone and the other united Irishinen. All but Tone escaped. He could not be persuaded to accompany his friends. He had taken up the notion that his commission in the French army would operate as a legal defence to a prosecution for high treason. He attempted to avail himself of the plea upon his trial, but of course ineffectually,

should be employed as counsel on a petition then pending before the House of Commons, which would put an hundred guineas in my pocket; and that I should have professional business put in my way from time to time that should produce me at least as much per annum. He added that they were then, it was true, out of place, but that they would not be always so, and that on their return to office, their friends, when out of power, would naturally be first considered. He likewise observed that they had influence, direct or indirect, orer no less than two and twenty seats in parliament; and he insinuated pretty plainly, that when we were better acquainted, it was highly probable I might coine in for one of the first vacancies. All this was highly Aattering to me, the more so as my wife's fortune was now nearly exhausted, partly by our inevitable expenses, and partly by my unsuccessful efforts to extricate my father. I did, it was true, not much relish the attaching myself to any great man or set of men ; but I considered, as I have said before, that the principles they advanced were such as I could conscientiously support, so far as they went, though mine went much beyond them. I therefore thought there was no dishonour in the proposed connexion ; and I was cerlainly dazzled at the prospect of a seat in parliament, at which my

ambition began to expand. I signified, in consequence, my readiness to attach myself to the Whigs, and I was instantly retained, on the petition for the borough of Dungannon, on the part of James Carrigen Ponsonby, Esq. I now looked upon myself as a sort of political character, and began to suppose that the House of Commons, and not the Bar, was to be the scene of my future exertions. But in this I reckoned like a sanguine young man. Month after month elapsed without any communication on the part of George Ponsonby, whom I looked upon as most inmediately my object. He always spoke to me, when we met by chance, with great civility; but I observed that he never mentioned one word of politics. I therefore at last concluded that he had changed his inind, or that, on a nearer view, he had found my want of capacity: In short, I gave up all thoughts of the connexion, and determined to trouble myself no more about Ponsonby or the Whigs ; and I calculated that I had written a pamphlet which they thought had served them, and that they had in consequence employed me professionally in a business which produced me eighty guiveas.' Accounts were balanced on both sides, and all further connexion was at an end. But my mind had now got a turn for politics. I thought I had at last found my element, and I plunged into it with eagerness. A closer examination into the situation of my native country had very considerably extended my views; and, as I was sincerely and honestly attached to her interests, I soon found reason not to regret that the Whigs had not thought me an object worthy of their cultivation. I made speedily, what was to me a very great discovery, though I might have found it in Swift and Molyneux, that the influence of England was the radical vice of our government, and consequently, that Ireland would never be either free, prosperous, or happy, until she was independent, and that independence was unattainable while the connexion with England lasted. In forming this theory, which has ever since unvaryingly directed my-political conduct, to which I have sacrificed every thing, and am ready to sacrifice my life if necessary, I was exceedingly assisted by an old friend of mine, whom I look upon as one of the very very few honest men in the Irish House of Commons.' It was he who first turned my attention to this great question, but I very soon ran far ahead of my master. It is in fact to him I am indebted for the first comprehensive view of the actual situation of Ireland. What his conduct might be in a crisis, I know not; but I can answer for the truth and justice of his theory.

“I now began to look on the little politics of the Whig Club with great contempt their piddling about petty grievances, instead of going to the root of the evil: and I rejoiced that if l' was poor, as I was actually, I had preserved my independence, and could speak my sentiments without being responsible to any body but the law, An occasion soon offered to give vent to my newly

received opinions. On the appearance of a rupture with Spain, I wrote a pamphlet to prove that Ireland was not bound by the declaration of war, but might and ought, as an independent nation, to stipulate for a neutrality. In examining this question, 1 advanced the question of separation with scarcely any reserve, much less disguise. But the public mind was by no means so far advanced as I was, and my pamphlet made not the smallest impression. The day after it appeared, as I stood perdu in the bookseller's shop, listening after my own reputation, Sir Harry Cavendish, a notorious slave of the House of Commons, entered, and throwing my unfortunate pamphlet on the counter in a rage, exclaimed, • Mr. Byrne, if the author of that work is serious, he ought to be hanged.' Sir Harry was succeeded by a Bishop, an English doctor of divinity, with five or six thousand a year laboriously earned in the church. His Lordship's anger was not much less than that of the other personage. Sir,' said he,' if the principles of that alominable work were spread, do you know that you would have to pay for your coals at the rate of five pounds a ton!! Notwithstanding these criticisms, which I have faithfully quoted against myself, I continue to think my pamphlet a good one; but, apparently, the publisher, Mr. Byrne, was of a different opinion, for I have reason to believe that he suppressed the whole impression, 'for which his own Gds damn him!'»

[blocks in formation]

The Wind has a language I would I could learn :
Sometimes 'uis soothing, and sometimes 'tis stern,
-Sometimes it comes like a low, sweet song,
And all things grow calm, as the sound floats along,
And the forest is lulld by the dreamy strain,
And slumber sinks down on the wandering main,
And its crystal arms are folded in rest,
And the tall ship sleeps on its heaving breast.
Sometimes, when Autumn grows yellow and sear,
And the sad clouds weep for the dying year,
It comes like a wizard, and mutters its spell,
-I would that the magical tones I might tell-
And it beckons the leaves with its viewless hand,
And they leap from the branches at its command,
And follow its footsteps with wheeling feet,
Like fairies that dance in the moonlight sweet.
Sometimes it comes in the wintry night,
And I hear the Aap of its pinions of might,
And I see the flash of its withering eye,
As it looks from the thunder-cloud sailing on high,
And pauses to gather its fearful breath,
And lists up its voice, like the angel of death,
And the billows leap up when the summons they hear,
And the ship flies away, as if winged with fear,
And the uncouth creatures that dwell in the deep,
Start up at the souud from their floating sleep,
And career through the waters, like clouds through the night,
To share in the tumult their joy and delight,
And when the moon rises, the ship is no more,
Its joys and its sorrows are vanish'd and o'er,
And the fierce storm that slew it, has faded away,
Like the dark dream that flies from the light of the day!

0.

GRIMM's Ghost.

LETTER XVIII.

Advisers. There is a family named Partington, that has lately commenced its residence in Upper Harley-street. It consists of a father, a mother, two sons, and two daughters. The father is a sturdy, red-faced, good sort of man, and the mother is a slender, sallow, good sort of woman. John, the elder son, is with his father in the wine and spirit line, in America-square: Charles, the younger son, is in the law : the two girls expect to be married. There is at present a great deal of Advice stirring about London, and the Partingtons have given and received more than their due proportion of it. It has often astonished me why so much of that commodity has been, and continues to be given : nobody thanks you

for it: indeed, nine people out of ten tell you, in pretty plain terms, to keep your advice to yourself--yet still we continue to give it. Never was benevolence more gratuitous than ours !

Hardly was old Partington well settled in Upper Harley-street, in a most commodious situation, inasmuch as it commanded a corner view of the outside of the Diorama, with a peep at the little statue of the late Duke of Kent at the top of Portland-place, when he received a visit from his crony Mr. Chapman, of Devonshire-square, Bishopsgatestreet, who called to give him some advice as to his recent proceedings. Mr. Chapman commenced his harangue in one of the accustomed forms : “Now, Mr. Partington, I am sure you have too much good sense to be offended at what I am about to say:" Mr. Partington assured him, in answer, that he had a great deal too much good sense; whereupon the adviser, in reply, began to descant upon the extreme folly of Mr. Partington in quitting his city residence to sojourn in Upper Harley-street. The adviser reminded the advisee of those happy days when, Bedlam being then standing upon London Wall, they used to walk up and down Moorfields in front of the iron gates of that edifice, for half an hour before dinner, to get an appetite. A needless ceremony, but persisted in notwithstanding. Mr. Partington owned, with downcast eyes, that such had been their practice; but alleged in his defence, that nobody lived in the city at present,—"even Bedlam has deserted it," exclaimed he, with a sigh. " True," answered the adviser, "and if you moved your quarters to St. George's Fields, I should not have so much wondered; but what the deuce could draw you to Upper Harley-street? Why, now, there was last Thursday, you gave us a dinner; the party consisted of Tom Jackson, Chatfield, Shuttleworth, Newman, and myself. Jackson lives in Watling-street, Chatfield in Crutched Friars, Shuttleworth in Barbican, Newman in Sise-lane, and I in Devonshiresquare. We came, as you may remember, in a hackney-coach together, and we talked you and your family over all the way, from Cheapside to the corner of Cavendish-square. We each of us agreed to give you some good advice with respect to coming back again to the city: but, somehow, when it came to the push, nobody was bold enough to begin. Let me now advise you as a friend: if you have not yet signed and sealed, declare off, and come back again. We have dined with you once, in the way of friendship; but, my dear Jonathan, when you could have us all to dinner in a ring fence, within one hundred yards of the

had re

Royal Exchange, what could put it into your head to drag us four miles off, to cut your mutton in Marybone parish ?" Mr. Chapman now tetired, and Mr. Partington took his advice as children take physic, by canting it out of the window the moment the apothecary's back is turned. The lease was executed that very morning, and Mr. Partington, notwithstanding a strong internal aversion to the hot chalky dusty corner of the Portland-road, became tenant of the house in Upper Harley-street for twenty-one years, from Christmas-day then last past. Men in the spirit line are not to be advised with impunity.

Whilst this affair was transacting in the small back apartment behind the dining-room (the only one in the whole house which a married man can call his own, and even this is apt to be invaded by hats, canes, and umbrellas out of number), advice was going on at a great rate in the front drawing-room upstairs. Mrs. Chambers was full tilt at Mrs. Partington, advising her how to manage her family. “My dear Mem, (for to this diminutive is our French madame humbled since the Revolution)—my dear Mem,” said this matronly Mentor, “only conceive that you should never bave heard of Doctor Level. I've got three of my girls down under his hands, and I hope to get Julia down the moment she comes from school.”—“Down! Mrs. Chambers, I don't quite understand you.”—"No! only conceive how odd! By down, I mean down flat upon their backs upon three sofas. Doctor Level says it's the only way to bring up girls straight. All depends upon the spine : nerves, bile, tooth-ache, asthma, and every thing of that kind: all springs from the spine.”—“Well! but, Mrs. Chambers, is not horse exercise a better thing? my girls ride in St. James's Park now and then, with their brother Charles, as a make-weight. I can assure you, several young men of very considerable property ride there; and, according to my calculation, men are more apt to fall in love on horseback than on foot.” – “Horseback! only conceive how dreadful! Doctor Level won't hear of it: he says girls should be kept quietquite quiet: now you know Anna is short and rather thick in her figure: the poor girl burst into tears on reading that Lord Byron hated a dumpy woman: I was quite in despair about her: only conceivel no more figure than my thumb! I spoke to Doctor Level about it, and he said, “It's no matter, she must have the long gaiters.'”—“ Long gaiters, Mrs. Chambers! a very pretty appurtenance to a grenadier, but surely for a diminutive young lady - "_"Oh, Mem, I beg your pardon; it's the best thing in the world : let me adv

you as a friend to try the long gaiters.* I'll venture to say, that in six years he would make little Crachami as long as the Queen of the Sandwich Islands. How he manages it I don't know: but there are two long straps that keep down the shoulders and flatten the ankles; then he turns a sort of screw, under the sofa, which sets the straps in motion, and pulls out the body just for all the world, as if he were rolling out paste for a gooseberry-pie crust. Well, my dear Mem, would you believe it? we have already gained two inches; and Doctor Level promises me, if I keep Anna quite quiet for three years and seven months, she may get up quite a genteel figure-Jemima and Lucy are rather better figures: I hope to have them up and about in a twelve

Qu. Elongaters ? EDITOR.

« 上一页继续 »