Billeder på siden

University, but his collegians they could not have been !

Page 79. Sir Jonah here commences a story which continues for several pages, intended as a humorous description of a drunken Irish revel among gentry visiting at his brother's hunting lodge; and the reader, who pleases, may consult the printed statement. It is a miserable performance,-a mess of gross vulgarity, ungrammatical writing, blundering application of words, outrageous exaggeration of incidents scarcely laughable, and totally inadequate to the production of the merriment averred to have been provoked; falsehoods, and, which are still more nauseous-half-falsehoods ; a sordid picture of sordid manners, resembling in no one feature the frolics of .gentlemen of any nation in any age.

Page 105. “And bring back the book, and a dead man's bone.” Here the adjective dead would appear to be rather superfluous : but the whole story in which the expression occurs is contemptible, and contemptibly related.

Page 137. “ I had the pleasure of meeting her frequently at the Lady-Lieutenant's parties." There is no such functionary as a Lady-Lieutenant in Ireland, nor any where else. Who ever heard of the Governor and Governess of India !

Page 145. “My reader need not.” This usage may be termed the universal error; yet, it is an error: reader is singular, and should govern the verb in the singular number, needs.

Page 152. “ When you ask any peasant the distance of the place you require, he never computes it from where you then are, but from his own cabin." Admitting this sketch of the Irish peasants to be correct, it proves that they are a people deficient in the quality of common sense. The same fact could not be alleged against the peasantry of any other nation in Europe. Many, indeed, if not most things which are complete elsewhere, are incomplete in Ireland; the cause of which is not poverty, nor want of example, but a savage peculiarity in the national mind. The Irish are satisfied with inferiority: they have a popular maxim, -" Oh, it will do very well.” Of such a sentiment as this, beastliness instead of refinement must be the result.

Sir J. B. mentions two men with whom I had a slight acquaintance; as I had with many others recorded in his strange volumes; but the two here alluded to were, Mr. Thoroton, and Sir John Blaquiere, afterwards Lord de B. The first, Robert Thoroton, an Englishman, was clerk to the Irish House of Commons. The story in circulation of him was, that he consulted surgeon Bowes, a very eminent practitioner, on the state of his debilitated constitution ; and on being candidly told by Bowes that he might live, but that he would inevitably be disfigured, he withdrew and shot himself. He was a fair-complexioned, handsome man, in the prime of life.

Sir John Blaquiere was of French descent, and of

[ocr errors]

a good family. As a public character in Ireland, he was considered rapacious, and of morals not over rigid; but in private circles he was supremely agreeable and courtly in his manners. He had talents for business, spoke and wrote several languages, could draw with skill, and had a just taste in the arts. He was celebrated for temper in debate; and for his sang froid and personal courage. Of both of these properties he exhibited proofs, on the occasion of taking his share in a duel. Looking steadily at his antagonist, who was to no purpose pulling at his trigger, Sir John called to him, Sir,


have neglected to cock your pistol!” This was the fact : the gentleman refused to fire at his cool and courteous opponent, and the affair went no further.

Many of Sir J. Barrington's sentiments are preposterous and badly weighed. For instance, speaking of the Duke of Wellington, as Sir Arthur Wellesley,

“ He was sent as second in command with Lord Cathcart to Copenhagen, to break through the law of nations, and execute the most distinguished piece of treachery that history records.” Nothing can be more absurd than the author's opinion on the above-mentioned point.

There is no room to doubt that all wars are the result of wickedness and madness united on the part of mankind. But, once involved in the contest, each power must do its utmost to diminish its own share of danger and suffering. Had England not seized the Danish fleet at the period specified, the French,

he says,

then in hostility with this country, would indisputably have employed the ships of that fleet, to oppose and embarrass the interests of Great Britain.

Sir J. B. expatiates, with astonishing minuteness of detail, and no small share of self-complacency, on the craft and mystery of Irish duelling. His whole account of duels, and the rules and practices of duellists, is matchless for its ridiculous air of solemnity, for vulgarity of thought and expression, and for foul depravity of taste and morals. Such a blazon of avidity to fight, among tribes of self-styled gentry, savours a little of cowardice, very much of reckless barbarism, and still more of an unsound national mind.

Of the labouring classes of Irish, he says, “ They are, since 1800, mostly sunk in the lowest state of want and wretchedness," &c. This is true, and deplorable: but not more true since the commencement of the present century, than for five hundred years before. Let it be supposed that each of these miserable individuals had one hundred pounds sterling per annum given to him: the probability is, that in twenty-five years, ninety-nine out of every hundred fathers of families, so endowed, would be re-converted into idlers, beggars, drunkards, and thieves. The people of Ireland want employment and education. Were Ireland possessed solely by Flemings, or Scots, it would, in half a century, become one of the happiest and most flourishing regions of the civilized world.

A certain Sir Boyle Roche is represented by Sir J. B. as a blundering speaker in parliament, and a constant and unconscious utterer of bulls ; “and these, on one particular occasion,” adds Sir Jonah, “ excited unusual roars of laughter,” &c.

In the first place, it may be remarked, that Sir Boyle was an exceedingly shrewd, worldly man, who (as was suspected at the time) designedly converted himself into a senatorial jester, so as frequently to turn the current of debate; and thereby more than once caused questions, to which he was opposed, to be lost sight of for the moment, if not altogether. Next, it may be as well to intimate that the Court of Dublin was much such another as that of King Arthur in Tom Thumb, and her Parliament-a farce. In fact, the sort of silliness referred to by Sir J. B. runs through Irish business of every kind; and this, in a great degree, accounts for the low estimation in which Ireland is held-however unjustly—by other better trained, more enlightened, and more fortunate countries. But-transplant the Irishman ;-snatch him from the atmosphere of contagion which surrounds him at home; from the “ tipsy jollity” which intrudes itself into every class of society in Ireland; from the habit of giving promises without limit or reservation, breaking them without "scruple, and treating the violation as a trifle, a pleasantry to be laughed at-instead of being a national practice deserving of all scorn for its meanness, and execrable for the incalculable ills it produces ;-hurry him

« ForrigeFortsæt »