網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

of every day by his bedside, to which I am now hastening ; but in all my domestic trials, I can not forget we have a friend whose health deeply interests us all, whom I can not, unfortunately, go to see, and therefore I solicit a few lines to tell us how you are.

M. BLESSINGTON."

“March 20, 1848. “ Thanks for the little book. It is what an Irishman would call a great little book. What a mighty spirit still dwells in the heart of our friend Landor! It is comforting to see that his genius is not tamed by time. I long for your book to be out. We may, indeed, call ourselves the posterity of our own times. What stirring days we live in! I, who witnessed one revolution in France, can well picture to myself this last. I have just read the last No. of Dombey. It gives a fearful picture of a guilty conscience that can find no rest. The catastrophe of that bad man is so powerfully written, that I could wish the number closed with it, for there is no going into the marriage of Florence, with all its simple and touching details, with the spirit with which they should be read, after the strong excitement of the previous pages. Have you read the advice to the people in “The Press,' written by Emile de Girardin? It is full of vigor and good sense. It will give me great pleasure to see you, and soon. You must be oppressed by labor. M. BLESSINGTON."

“Gore House, April 12th, 1848. “Count D'Orsay repeated to me this morning the kind things you said of him when proposing his health. He, I assure you, was touched when he repeated them, and his feelings were infectious, for mine responded. To be highly appreciated by those we most highly value is, indeed, a source of heartfelt gratification. From the first year of our acquaintance with you, we had learned to admire your genius, to respect your principles, and to love your goodness of heart and the honest warmth of your nature. These sentiments have never varied. Every year, by unfolding your noble qualities to us, has served to prove how true were our first impressions of you, and our sole regret has been that your occupations deprive us of enjoying half as much of your society as all who have once enjoyed it must desire. Count D'Orsay declares that yesterday was one of the happiest days of his life. He feels proud at having assisted in the triumph of a friend whose heart is as genial as his genius is great. Who can resist being delighted at the success of one who wins for himself thousands of friends (for all his readers become so), without ever creating an enemy, even among those most envious of another's fame, and simply by the revelations of a mind and heart that excite only the best feelings of our nature? I can not resist telling you what is passing in my breast. You will understand this little outbreak of genuine feeling in the midst of the toil of a literary life.

M. BLESSINGTON.”

“Gore House, September 14th, 1848 My Memoir of Mme. de Grassigny, which I send you, is only one of the series of Remarkable Women of the Eighteenth Century, and will not be the opening memoir of the book. I wrote it first, because I happen to have a very fine original portrait of the lady. The book will open with an introduction explanatory of the influence exercised by women at that time, which I will, with your permission, submit to your judgment. I shall spare no trouble in research for the lives I intend to write. I am now considerably advanced in that of the Marquise du Chatelet, which will not, of course, follow close on that of Mme. de Grassigny, of whom little is known. Indeed, I believe I have noticed every thing that can be stated, for I have consulted every French authority relative to her. I shall perform my task conscientiously, and render my book a useful one of reference. I can hear of no work of a similar nature in English or in French.

M. BLESSINGTON.”

“Gore House, October 18th, 1848. “ Alas! the poem comes too late. "The Keepsake' was closed two days ago, and has been ever since in the hands of the binder. I never read so touching, so vivid a sketch. It melted me to tears, and can be read by no one without deep sympathy. I tried the effect last evening by reading it aloud to my own circle, and I assure you there was not a dry eye among the three persons present to whom I read it. Count D'Orsay said it was only his dear friend Barry who could have written it. I never felt so tempted in my life to steal (if stealing it could be called) as to retain this admirable poem for. The Keepsake' for 1850, but as you requested its return, I send it, but not without a pang. Will you kindly entreat our kind friend to let me have it again? for it would be the greatest acquisition for my book. Pray offer my best thanks and regards to Mr. Proctor.

M. BLESSINGTON."

“Gore House, April 9th, 1649. As I purpose leaving England in a few days, it will pain me very much to depart without personally wishing you farewell; and though I am in all the fever of packing up, I will make time to receive a visit from you, if you can call any day this week between eleven o'clock in the forenoon, or after nine in the evening. Count D'Orsay was called to Paris so suddenly that he had not time to take leave of any of his friends, but he charged me to say a thousand kind things to you.

M. BLESSINGTON."

CHAPTER VIII.

THE MARQUESS WELLESLEY. RICHARD COLLEY WESLEY, first Marquess Wellesley (eldest son of Yarrell, second Baron Wesley, and, subsequently to the birth of said Richard, Earl of Mornington), was born in Dublin, the 20th of June, 1760, and died in London, in 1842, in his eighty-third year.* To his mother's excellent understanding and great mental accomplishments is chiefly to be attributed the careful cultivation of the Marquess Wellesley's elegant tastes for literature and classical learning. His first display of oratorical talent was in an eloquent academical address pronounced at Eton in 1778, and, two years later, he gained the University prize for the best composition in Latin verse. At a subsequent period of his career, the provost of Eton College, Dr. Goodall, before a committee of the House of Commons on academic education, spoke of the Marquess Wellesley as “ infinitely superior to Porson in Greek composition.” The marquess, he said, as a genuine Greek scholar, exhibits the exquisite style and manner of Xenophon. He sat in the Irish House of Peers from the date

* In “ Pue's Occurrences," a weekly paper published in Dublin, No. 50, from June 17th to June 21st, 1760, I find the following notice among the births : June 20th. “In Grafton Street, the lady of the Right Honorable the Lord Mornington was safely delivered of a son and heir, to the great joy of that family.” This is the first time, as far as I know, that the above notice has been referred to in relation to the place of birth of the marquess. A great deal of confusion of dates, names, and of ideas, that have led Colonel Gurwood, Mr. Peter Cunningham, and other writers into error, have arisen, as I imagine, from there being a traditional account of a son of Lord Mornington, born in Grafton Street, in the house lately occupied by the Royal Irish Academy, and, from some cause or other, that son being erroneously supposed to be Arthur Wesley, the third son of Lord Mornington. The notice I discovered in “ Pue's Correspondence" disposes of that error; but there remains another to get rid of. The house of Lord Mornington, in Grafton Street, was not the one which became the property of the Royal Irish Academy. The Academy's premises were built on the site of that house; in fact, the house in which the Marquess of Wellesley was born has long ceased to exist. A writer of great research and accuracy, in his second article on "The Streets of Dublin,” treats largely of this locality.

of his succession to the title of his father, the Earl of Mornington, in 1781, for few years. In 1784 he was sworn in a member of the Privy Council; in 1786 he was appointed one of the Lords of the Treasury. He sat in the English House of Commons, for several boroughs, from the year 1784, and distinguished himself particularly at the time of the regency question by his advocacy of the English view of it, and at the period of the French Revolution by his denunciation of its excesses. He married, in 1794, his first wife, the daughter of M. Pierre Roland, by whom he had previously several illegitimate children. A separation took place soon after the marriage, and the marchioness died in 1816, leaving no legitimate issue. In 1795 he was appointed a member of the Board of Control, and subsequently chief governor of India.

In 1797 he was created Baron Wellesley, in the peerage of Great Britain, and in 1799, Marquess Wellesley, in the peerage of Ireland, on account of his great services in the office of Governor General of India. In 1805, after a career of unparalleled successes, signal civil and military triumphs, and services of the highest importance, thwarted, and distrusted, and interfered with in his great and comprehensive schemes and governmental measures by the Court of Directors, he resigned his office and returned to England when he had attained the forty-fifth year

of his age.

In the latter part of 1809 he was appointed embassador to Spain. He landed at Cadiz the day the battle of Talavera was fought, but remained only a short time in Spain, and on his return home was appointed Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. His known opinions in favor of Catholic emancipation did not leave him long in office, and for fifteen years he continued in opposition to government.

In December, 1821, the Marquess of Wellesley was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. From 1807 up to that period, Ireland was governed for the interests, and in the interests solely, of Orangeism, nominally by the Duke of Richmond, but virtually by the attorney general, Saurin, and an English chancellor, Lord Manners, who was wholly under the control of the former.

The Marquess of Wellesley, in 1822, struck a blow at the Orange ascendency regime from which it never recovered. From 1807 up to that period Ireland had been governed by William Saurin, of Huguenot descent, a black-letter lawyer of eminence, of much astuteness in his profession, but of a narrow mind, illiberal and unenlightened, a partisan of Orangeism without disguise or any affectation of impartiality in his high office -an open adherent of that system, deriving all his power from its fanaticism, and exercising all his influence for its objects, under the cloak of zeal for the interests of religion. All the administrative power of the state was placed by him and the chancellor, the governors of the chief governor, in the hands of Orangemen. The Duke of Richmond, who had been appointed viceroy in 1807, and held his office till 1813, had delegated his authority to the chancellor, Lord Manners, and by Lord Manners the chief power and control of the government, civil, military, and religious, had been transferred to Saurin.

Such was the power in Ireland which the Marquess of Wellesley found more difficulty in dealing with than that of Tippoo Saib in India. And yet, at the period of his arrival in that country as governor general, the sovereignty of India had to be disputed with three native powers, and sultans of vast resources. But the struggle of one power alone, of Orangeism in Ireland, with Saurin for its legal sultan, cost the illustrious statesman more trouble than all the strife of his government in India, and his wars with the princes of the Mahrattas and Nizam. He broke the stubborn neck of Orange influence and insolence, however, though at an infinite cost of trouble, vexation, and disquiet. And this attainment, perhaps, after all, is the greatest achievement of the illustrious marquess.

Lady Blessington had reason to know that such was the opinion of the marquess; among her papers she has left a very remarkable piece of evidence of the fact, of unquestionable authenticity, in the following statement of the marquess to her in March, 1840.

Bushe is one of the first men produced by our country. When I went to Ireland in 1821, I found him depressed by an old Or

« 上一頁繼續 »