Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

taught a lesson of liberty to the world, which often afterwards made monarchy tremble on the throne.

In this contest for freedom, glorious in its issue, O'Hara had to lament the fall of many of his former companions in arms; and in the last effort made by the royal army to relieve itself from the miserable dilemma into which the ability of the American leaders had drawn it, before safety was secured by an unavoidable surrender, Malowney and M‘Greggor fell. The Highlander, by exemplary conduct, had attained the rank of captain; and Malowney's luck, as he termed it, having carried him in safety through many a bloody conflict, at length deserted him, when in the command of the fortyseventh regiment, to which he had pushed his way by dint of sheer fighting, without owing a single compliment to either duke or minister. He made his exit from the stage of life in the most summary manner, in an attempt to force the American lines at Saratoga. A bullet in the brain to many would not have been particularly desirable, but honest Dennis was no man for round-about measures, and probably felt this mode of bidding “ his long good night" just as agreeable as in having his last sands eked out under the cautious directions of a regular physician. He fell not in victory, but the attempt was well planned and boldly executed ; and, like Montgomery dying before the barriers of Quebec, even in death and defeat he left a gallant name behind him.

The death of Mrs. O'Hara in 1786, seemed to be the opening of her husband's misfortunes, and from that time his destinies became gradually overcast. The precarious health of his lamented consort had for years before her death precluded any close intimacy from subsisting between Castle Carra and the gayer world. The remote situation of the mansion rendered distant visiting impracticable to an invalid ; but the high crime of inhospitality (a grievous sin amongst the Irish) did not attach its stigma to its hall. The castle was not without visiters, and as O'Hara took a leading part in the politics of these times, many names, afterwards fatally distinguished in the field and on the scaffold, were found among his intimates. Lord Edward Fitzstephen, Wolfe, Russell, O'Moore,

and others of the democratic leaders, composed a group of attached associates. There the occurrences of these stormy times were discussed or arranged-there the necessity of reform was enforced—there election opposition to county aristocracy was embodied; in fine, the retirement of O'Hara was the focus whence the Whigs and Reformers incessantly poured forth their remonstrances, and fulminated resolutions and protests.

Among the many friends of O'Hara, there was one to whom he was particularly attached. At the termination of the American war, Fitzstephen returned to Ireland; he was then a very young man, and a captain in the fifteenth regiment. During the contest with the States, he served with distinguished reputation, and gave early promise of possessing those military talents which afterwards gained him a melancholy celebrity. With the soldiery he was frank, condescending, and humane ; while in the hour of danger, each felt safety and assurance in the unmoved bearing of their chivalrous leader. He bore fatigue and the severities of climate with unalterable composure; and obstacles, which had hitherto bounded the attempts of all, gave way to his enterprise and determination. He seemed to be the very chief of the Poet

Who shall lead a host From India's fires to Zembla’s frost. O'Hara and Fitzstephen became acquainted on service—both were soldiers, and both enthusiasts—their opinions on the subject of civil and religious liberty alike, and their advocacy of its justice bold, warm, and unguarded. Fitzstephen, at the time we mention him, was probably thirty years old ; his figure, though small, was perfectly well formed; his hair and complexion of the deepest brown, his eyes dark and penetrating, his carriage free and active, his step soldierly; such was the exterior—but let those who remember him complete the portrait-the mind gifted and intelligent; the manner exquisitely polished, but warm, wild, and winning ; his honour unblemished as his beauty—but surely Lord Edward, in Ireland, is not forgotten!

To recall to the memory of his country his virtues and misfortunes (and they were many) would be unnecessary; his crimes have received

the fiat of another tribunal—we trust and be· lieve they were but few-peace to his ashes!

The year 1795 opened with prospects of conciliation, which alas! were transitory and delusive. An appointment to the chief government of Ireland had taken place, from which, much advantage was expected to arise. Lord Fitzwilliam succeeded Lord Westmoreland, and one *, who to the last was faithful to the country which gloried in him, gave the discontented strong assurance that the reign of bigotry was drawing to a close. The Viceroy landed in Dublin on the 4th of January, and no time was lost by the Roman Catholics in preparing a petition, praying for a removal of the disabilities under which they suffered. In this appeal to the House the northern Presbyterians heartily concurred; a majority of the Protestants supporting the catholic claims from principle, while many, who had hitherto studiously avoided interference in political affairs, but now, conscious that the ferment of public opinion required some sedative to allay its violence, stepped forward to join their voice to the ge

* Henry Grattan.

« ForrigeFortsæt »