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BY M. CAREY.*
In 1820, I imported two copies of this singular work from the United States : one was for myself, the other for a friend. It is written for party purposes, but exhibits extensive historical research, and great force of argument. The main object of the author is to expose the errors and falsehoods of English historians in their various accounts of Ireland ; and especially to show that there was no conspiracy, nor premeditated massacre of British settlers, by the Irish, in 1641.
Page 117. “ In these proceedings of the deputies, under the express directions of James I., there was a signal display of the base ingratitude that peculiarly characterized the wretched Stuart race.” The writer might have made an exception in favour of some of the Stuarts, as far as Ireland is concerned: but of the first James, in defiance of Sir Walter Scott's feeble attempts to eulogize him on some points, I do not hesitate to assert that nothing good could, with truth, be told. His personal deformities and defects, his constitutional timidity, his immoral propensities, his pedantry, his vanity, his genuine vulgarity of soul, as well as of manners, and, among his crimes, the cowardly desertion of his hapless mother, and the inhuman murder of the illustrious Sir Walter Raleigh, being considered, James I. may safely be pronounced the most contemptible miscreant that
* Philadelphia, 1819.
ever wore a crown.
Page 148. "His (Charles I.) pertinacious rejection of this proposition, lost him the support of those who would otherwise, probably, have once more placed the sceptre in his hands.” There is something disingenuous in this observation. Charles, in many respects a worthless person, was, what the author partly denies, in the strict sense of the word, a martyr. He conscientiously thought himself bound to uphold episcopacy; and resolutely preferred death to a surrender of his principles. Had he consented to resign the ecclesiastical body to the opposing faction, he might have preserved both his head and his regal title.
Page 171. The author here speaks of the flight from Ireland of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnel ; relative to which, I transcribe a passage from a MS. memorandum in my possession. “ In August, 1607, Hugh O'Neyle, Earl of Tyrone, landed from Ireland at Quillebeuf, in Normandy, with his countess, their two younger sons, the elder named Henry, and his nephew. And with them, Rory O'Donnell, Earl of Tyrconnell. Qy. Whether there was not with them, also, the son of Tyrconnell; and that earl's brother, Caffer O'Donnell, and Matthew O'Neyle, Lord Baron of Dungannon, Tyrone's eldest son, who had all of them been in arms with him, and were attainted by
act of parliament, in 1612? Tyrone went to Rome, where he had a pension from the Pope, of one hundred crowns a month ; and another of six hundred crowns a month, from the King of Spain. Qy. What became of these fugitives finally? See a very singular proclamation of James I. upon the flight of these earls, dated 15th November, 1607, in Rymer's Fædera, vol. xv. pages 664-5-6."
Page 225. (Vind. Hib.) “ Punishments and penal. ties are held out in terrorem to awe the offenders." This is pleonasm: the sentence should have been, “ are held out to the offenders in terrorem."
Page 247. “ This dishonourable affair occurred previous to his millennium.”
This word previous, as introduced here, is a common usage, but vicious. Previous and prior are both adjectives ; and it is the adverb previously which should be employed here and elsewhere. The adjective scarce is also constantly misapplied, especially by the poets. I do not mean such as . ... . . and others like him; nor yet those gentle sons and daughters of song, who rejoice in making lawn and dawn rhyme to morn and horn, &c.; but Dryden, Pope, and twenty more, genuine votaries of the Muse, who ought to have set the example of correctness. The young writer should remember, that what is practised by men of mighty name, will not convert wrong into right.
Page 289. “In every age of the world, some peculiar folly or wickedness has prevailed, which distin
guished it from those which preceded, as well as from those which followed, with nearly as much accuracy as the varied features of the face distinguish one man from another." This is one of those sentences which, unless carefully examined, impose on the understanding of the reader. It is slovenly and ungrammatical. “Every" is singular, " those " plural. The word those should be that ; otherwise the ante. cedent it (which is singular), has no consequent. Besides, every age cannot be so distinguished, because the first age could not have been preceded. Page 460.
“ Cromwell had besieged this town, (Drogheda) for some time.”
It is past dispute that Oliver Cromwell was, as the author intimates, a canting, hypocritical and sanguinary villain; but he was, as undoubtedly, a man of great determination and profound sagacity. When I was a boy, a relative of mine told me that he had either seen or heard of the original summons sent by Cromwell to the mayor of Drogheda; and that it was in these words: “Mr. Mayor! send us the keys of your town by the bearer, or, by the living God, I will force the place, and cut the throats of man, woman, and child.” The keys were refused, and he kept his oath : piously attributing, in his despatch to parliament, the bloody transaction to Providence.
His cruelty, however, terrified other strong posts ; and, on the whole, certainly saved many thousands from massacre.
Pages 476-7. The writer quotes from Moore's “ Lalla Rookh :"
“Oh, for a tongue to curse the slave,
Whose treason, like a deadly blight,
These most vehement lines were, it is concluded, designed by the poet to apply to Thomas Reynolds : how unfairly, the reference in a foregoing part of this miscellany will serve to show.
A NATURAL HISTORY OF IRELAND.
BY SEVERAL HANDS.*
This work is called “ A Natural History of Ireland, by Boate and Molyneux," as republished, Dublin, 1753. It is a volume of great merit.
* Dublin, 1726, 4to.