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course of several years, the fourth part of that number could not have suffered by the insurrection, and in a contest, evidently provoked by the English party, with a view to authorize the forfeiture of estates ; the sure consequence of defeat.
The rebellion, if such it must be called, did not really extend, at any period, much beyond the province of Ulster, where the number of British was altogether less than twenty thousand, and where the Scottish settlers remained unmolested. He quotes Carte for the fact, that the extravagant numbers said to have been massacred, were many more than there were of British, at that time, in all Ireland; and states that the survivors of the persecuted Protestants were, notwithstanding their diminution, sufficiently numerous and powerful ultimately to rally, successfully oppose their Irish assailants, subdue them, and take their country from them ! The whole population of Ireland at that day is fairly estimated at one million four hundred and sixty-six thousand: the Protestants, or British, altogether, at two hundred and thirty-three thousand : nevertheless, a statement was solemnly made before parliament of the murder of two hundred thousand in the space of one month after the commencement of the, asserted, insurrection; and by the accounts of different writers, it would appear that more than four hundred thousand persons in Ireland were alleged to have perished on the occasion.
Fables like these were not indeed believed, but were said to be believed, for the obvious reasons already assigned. Magistrates, however, might give them credence, who could gravely receive and publish depositions on oath, such as the following: that the cruel Irish made candles of Protestant fat craped from the blades of their knives; that the spectres of the slain were seen floating on the rivers, and heard to shriek for vengeance; that crowds of the persecuted came for refuge into Dublin, on their knees ; having travelled a distance of one hundred miles from their places of residence, &c.; and that one old lady (she swears to that effect) was during her flight seven times robbed of all her clothes, and left utterly naked : she does not add how her wardrobe was supplied !
With reference to the dispossessed Irish, it is now easy enough to vilify them as blood-thirsty, treacherous, and rebellious; but it would be a matter of considerable difficulty to prove that they were so; or that if they were, they were not bloody and perfidious in their own defence, and could not deserve the losses they sustained, and the injuries of which they complained. Their country, which, strictly speaking, was never conquered, was seized upon by the English, for the precise reason which rendered it so precious to the original owners—its genial climate, and fertile fields. The treachery with which they are upbraided, might, perhaps, more properly be termed the artifice of a weaker and less refined people, wherewith to counteract the efforts of their more powerful and opulent oppressors. Their rebellion may, on the same grounds, be thought justifiable ; and their cruelty could not be greater than that of their enemies, nor, atrocious as it may have been, worse than what inevitably belongs to a state of warfare.
Their lot, it must be conceded, was a hard one ; differing in no respect, except in magnitude, from that of an individual, whom we will suppose lord of a stately castle, waving woods, broad acres, herds and flocks; and of a tenantry over whom he held sway little inferior to that of prince and father. Let us next imagine this personage assailed by a power greater than his own, overcome, and so reduced, that the only choice left him lies between death and servitude. Compelled to be a serf, where he had been a chieftain, and to witness and administer, in his native hall, to the revels of the usurper; and to behold his honourably born children, his kindred and friends, digging in rags, and for hire, that ground which once was theirs. Shall a manful struggle on the part of these abased, and degraded, and insulted beings to retrieve their social station, and expel the intruders, be stigmatized with the epithets of cruelty and rebellion ? If so, then be it remembered, that while this is a representation of the admired Briton in the days of Claudius, it is also that of the vilified Irishman in those of Elizabeth of England !
THE NOVEL OF WERTER.
In the year 1828, I accidentally spoke of “The Sorrows of Werter,” in the library of a bookseller at Clifton, when a gentleman present addressed me, in rather a foreign accent, but with much politeness of manner, and said, his name was Sella ; that he was a native of Nuremberg, and had been an officer in the Bavarian army. He then proceeded to say that he was acquainted with the celebrated Göethe, who was intimate with his family, and particularly with his (M. Sella's) aunt; who, when young and mirthful, proposed to Göethe to write a novel, and make her the heroine. This G. agreed to do, wrote Werter, and assigned the part of Charlotte to M. Sella's aunt ; feigning himself to be the demented hero, Werter. As the work advanced, he read portions of it to the lady; and the two, together with the lady's husband, used to scream with laughter at the conduct and catastrophe of Göethe's totally imaginary story. M. Sella also mentioned, that his aunt, a woman of exemplary propriety of character, was but recently dead; and that he had not long before paid her a visit, when she was about seventytwo years old.
The English translation, in two minute volumes,
of “ The Sorrows of Werter,” is by the Rev. Richard. X Greaves, of Claverton, near Bath. Göethe, the
author, died in the spring of 1832, aged eightyfour.
To one as old as myself, and who, during the last century, mingled with what is called the world, few things can be more amusing than to compare the facts revealed in the above literary anecdote, with the remembrance of the effects originally produced in these countries by Werter, when the work appeared in an English dress. Charlotte and Werter figured perpetually in the windows of the print-shops. Muffs, fans, and fire-screens were adorned with representations of the hapless pair ; bonnets like Charlotte's were worn by fashionable females, some of whom wept over her sorrows till they were sick; and divers young, sad, and slender gentlemen fell in love with the wives of their particular friends, as fast as they could ; while some of them, in England, as well as in Germany, shot themselves, in tender emulation of the admired and lamented Werter! Yet whoever, at the present day, shall be at the trouble to read Göethe's performance, will, after M. Sella's statement, be inclined to admit its truth: and perceive, without much help from fancy, that there is something enormously ludicrous in the plot and narrative, and will probably be so irreverent as to laugh more than once at its most pathetic scenes. spite of all this, nevertheless, the work sparkles with the lustre of a master hand, and proclaims the writer a being of refined sensibilities, a man of genius, and a poet.