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1835]
OʻCONNELL AND THE WHIGS

349 accepted the question of the integrity and perpetual endowment of the Irish Church, as marking the frontier-line between Liberal and Tory principles. I therefore proposed to bring forward a resolution which, on the one hand, would be supported by Lord Howick, and was, on the other, the basis of an alliance with O'Connell and the Irish members. Compact there was none, but an alliance on honourable terms of mutual co-operation undoubtedly existed. The Whigs remained, as before, the firm defenders of the Union; O'Connell remained, as before, the ardent advocate of repeal; but upon intermediate measures, on which the two parties could agree consistently with their principles, there was no want of cordiality. Nor did I ever see cause to complain of O'Connell's conduct. He confined his opposition fairly to Irish measures. He never countenanced the Canadian Catholics in their disaffection, nor promoted a recurrence to physical force, nor used trades unions as a means of discord and separation among classes."

This was the genesis of the Melbourne administration of 1835. O'Connell agreed to hold repeal in abeyance on condition that the Whig Government should seriously undertake the redress of Irish grievances. It appears, from the “Life of Melbourne," that O'Connell had reason to expect that he would be invited to take office in the new Government which Melbourne undertook to form on the resignation of Sir Robert Peel. Whether the post of Attorney-General for Ireland was actually offered him is not clear; it is certain that he expected the offer to be made. The opposition of the king, however, and the ob

i Brougham wrote to Althorp in the spring of 1834, “I so entirely agree with all you say of O'Connell, that were I the master that is, were I minister-I should begin my reign by making O'Connell attorney-general in Ireland ; that I hold clear. But as that will not now be done, though it will before twelve months pass (mark my words), I am thinking of another means of securing perfect tranquillity, and giving you an easy session and a quiet recess” (Althorp Papers). It was at this time that Mr. Lambert wrote to Lord Cloncurry, “ If you want to carry any point with the Government, apply to Mr. O'Connell for his interest ; it will not fail. It is actually rutting season with that great character and our illustrious rulers ” (Lord Cloncurry's • Memoirs," p. 387).

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jections of certain members of the new Cabinet proved to be insurmountable, and O'Connell silently acquiesced in his exclusion from official life. Lord Mulgrave was appointed Lord-Lieutenant, and Lord Morpeth became chief secretary. The attorney-general was Mr. Louis Perrin, a highly respected Protestant barrister; and the solicitor-general, Mr. O'Loghlen, who, next to O'Connell himself, had the highest reputation, and the greatest amount of practice among Catholic lawyers. These appointments were all acceptable to O'Connell, and some of them were probably suggested by him, though he would no doubt have preferred that O'Loghlen, who had previously been solicitor-general, should have been promoted to the higher office. He had full confidence, however, in the moderation and judicial temper of Perrin, and it was noticed that when the writ was moved for the county of Monaghan, which Perrin represented, O'Connell rose, with several of his immediate followers, and crossed the floor, to take his seat on the ministerial side of the House, a position which he retained throughout the whole period of the Melbourne administration. Perrin's first acts was to rescind the rule, till then observed by the Crown prosecutors in Ireland, which required that Catholics should be set aside when called on the jury panel. “If we Protestants,” he said, "when accused rightly or wrongly of crime, were not allowed to have one of our own creed among the jurors, what sort of loyalists would we be ?" The Ascendency party bitterly resented this act of Perrin's, but it was stoutly supported by Melbourne.

It put an end once for all to the worst evils of jury-packing in Ireland. The Crown still largely exercises its right of challenge, but in theory the panel is now constructed on the principles laid down in 1835 by Perrin and O’Loghlen, and when Catholic jurors are now ordered to stand aside, it is, as is always alleged, not on account of their creed, but in order to secure a true and impartial verdict.

It is needless to say that the Ascendency party and its organs, both in England and in Ireland, were deeply incensed by the Irish appointments of Lord Melbourne. The viceroy was at once nicknamed “O'Mulgrave," and de

1835]
THOMAS DRUMMOND

351 nounced because he was supposed to have conducted the negotiations which secured the support of O'Connell for the Whig Government. He received, probably for the same reason, an enthusiastic welcome from the people of Dublin, and this again gave great offence. The support of O'Connell and the goodwill of the Irish people were, in the eyes of the Ascendency, the worst credentials an Irish Executive could have. Yet the alliance was an honourable one on both sides. On the one hand, it signified that an English Government was at last resolved to make Catholic emancipation a reality; on the other, it implied that the agitation for repeal was to be dropped or left in abeyance, while the imperial Parliament endeavoured to find a remedy for the social maladies of Ireland. It is melancholy to reflect that the weakest Government of this century was the only Government since the Union which persistently strove to make the Union a reality, and that its efforts in this direction were the main source of its weakness.

The spirit of the Irish Executive was changed with the change in its personnel. Mulgrave and Morpeth, Perrin and O'Loghlen, were all of them resolved to govern justly, firmly, and impartially, and to break with the old Ascendency party; and to this end it was deemed expedient to appoint a new under-secretary at the Castle.

The man chosen for this part was Thomas Drummond, an officer of engineers, who, in his professional capacity, had visited all parts of Ireland in connection with the ordnance survey, and, as private secretary to Lord Althorp, had impressed that statesman with unbounded confidence in his integrity, firmness, and sagacity. Drummond had been employed by the Government to make the calculations on which the scheme for the redistribution of seats in the Reform Act was based, and in the discharge of this delicate and difficult task he had given an example of his rare industry and capacity. Perrin insisted urgently on the necessity of a change in the office of under-secretary. “My lord," he said to Lord Mulgrave, "he will be your right eye, and if we have to spend time in plucking old beams out of it, your Government will not go straight.” Sir William Gosset, the former under-secretary, was accordingly appointed to the post of serjeant-at-arms, and, on the recommendation of Lord Spencer (formerly Althorp), Drummond was appointed in his place. "A dandified coxcomb," Drummond was called by the organs of the Ascendency. No two words in the language could be more thoroughly misapplied. Drummond had been trained in the service of the most unselfish, the most unpretending, the most conscientious, and not the least sagacious of English statesmen. He was himself a man of rare simplicity of character, whose native equity of temper was never disturbed by faction or clamour, whose courage nothing could daunt, whose judgment nothing could disturb, and whose industry and devotion to duty were such that in five years his life was sacrificed to the service of his adopted country.

1 Drummond, who was born in Edinburgh in 1797, was the son of James Drummond, a Writer to the Signet, and a landed proprietor in Perthshire, known to his contemporaries as "the last Laird of Comrie.” His mother was Elizabeth, daughter of James Somers, an Edinburgh gentleman. Mrs. Drummond was a woman of great beauty and rare intelligence. Thomas Drummond was educated in Scotland, and early gave proofs of his exceptional powers of mind. In 1813 he obtained from Lord Mulgrave, then Master-General of the Ordnance, a cadetship at Woolwich, and in 1815 he entered the Royal Engineers. For several years he was employed on the ordnance survey, both in Scotland and Ireland, and his inventive genius and aptitude for scientific studies were shown by his invention, during this period, of the heliostat and of the lime-light, which was long called by his name. He became private secretary to Lord Althorp in 1833, his services on the boundary commission of the Reform Bill having brought him into political notice.

The history of Ireland under the Melbourne Government may be summarised in a sentence. It was a history of legislative weakness and failure, of administrative firmness and success. The latter proposition may doubtless be questioned. The administration of Lord Mulgrave, for which Drummond was primarily and mainly responsible, was impugned in the House of Lords. It was not acceptable to the Ascendency party. Orangemen and Protestant magnates were not accustomed to find themselves treated as equal, and no more than equal, to their Catholic fellowcountrymen. They regarded a Government which treated Catholics and Protestants in Ireland as equal before the law, and enforced the law firmly and impartially against

1835)

DRUMMOND'S ADMINISTRATION

353

both, as little better than an organised anarchy. The House of Lords was in sympathy with them, and to this tribunal they appealed. In the session of 1839, Lord Roden, the grand master of the Orange Society, moved for and obtained a committee of inquiry into the state of Ireland since 1835 with respect to the commission of crime. Before this committee Drummond, who was examined at great length, triumphantly vindicated the principles on which Lord Mulgrave's administration of Irish affairs was conducted. The committee made no report, but contented itself with publishing two bulky volumes of the evidence taken before it. In the House of Commons the same subject was debated at great length, and resolutions were passed approving of the principles of the Executive in Ireland. If further proof were needed of the wisdom, firmness, and humanity of Drummond's administration, it would be found in the circumstance that from 1835 to 1841 Ireland, although torn and racked by grievances for which Parliament could find no adequate remedy, and by dissensions and crimes which those grievances engendered, was governed without the aid of coercive legislation, and that Drummond is the one ruler of Ireland during the past century whose memory is cherished with affectionate regard by all classes of the Irish people. To the day of her death his widow frequently received tokens of regard from Irishmen and Irishwomen whom she had never personally known, but by whom the name of her husband was revered as that of the man who first taught Irishmen to respect the Government by showing that the Government could be just to them. Drummond was no time-serving ruler who strove to curry favour with the populace. He could and did rebuke O'Connell on occasion as fearlessly and as sternly as he rebuked a turbulent Orangeman. Irishmen respected and loved him not because he flattered them, but because he ruled them quietly, firmly, temperately, and impartially. In the whole history of Ireland there is no more significant example of the sedative influence of impartial justice and kindly firmness on the turbulent and tormented spirit of Irish patriotism.

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