« PreviousContinue »
« God seems to have formed our country like our people (says the eloquent Charles Phillips): he has thrown round the one its wild, magnificent, decorated rudeness; he has infused into the other the simplicity of genius and the seeds of virtue." Ireland is the native land of original talents and splendid imagination: if its intelligent inhabitants and men of wealth were once permitted to have a prospect of arriving at honours, what a mass of high attainments and exalted genius would soon be enlisted on the side of Great Britain! It is not merely of the Chathams and Wolfes, the Nelsons and Wellingtons, which the Catholic disabilities condemn to obscurity that England is deprived, but of all that vast harvest of transcendant talent and liberal exertion which would be reaped from those who would be called into competition,
Several Irishmen of talents, who have arrived at fortune and honours in England, look with pity and disdain on their country. Lord Castlereagh was quite a patriot, when simply colonel Stewart; but as soon as he arrived at the pinnacle of greatness, he kicked down the ladder that supported him, and appeared in his native colours. To use Burke's language, " it was the very same animal that at first crawled about in the shape of a caterpillar, that you now see rise into the air, and expand his wings to the sun.” In '98, he went into power
with Lord Clare, who had published a justification of torture for the guidance of magistrates! He
gives out that he is a friend to the Catholics; but he is still more friendly to his secretaryship, and to the splendour and perquisites of office. Canning also sells himself every year to government, in order to glitter in the pomp of power; a few dozens of claret and the smiles of his most praiseworthy regent are enough to silence him, and he dares not raise his voic to alleviate the sufferings of his country. As to that pander of greatness, Wellington, he is (I am told) perfectly ashamed of his
country, and tries by all means to convince the world that he is not an Irishman born!
It is really sickening to think that at a period when every heart and hand is wanted to rally round the wrecks of this oppressed country, a set of men should guide the vessel of the state, who are absolutely incapable, from gross stupidity or native baseness, of profiting by the great lessons of experience that are continually laid open before them; or, whatever may be their abilities, are willing to sacrifice their country and their souls at the shrine of power and filthy lucre!
“ Far dearer the grove or the prison,
Illum'd by one patriot name,
If I laugh at any mortal thing,
Itself to apathy. Don Juan.
To John D
Dublin, June 26, 1819. As
you always expect to see a little fun in my letters, you no doubt calculate on an exquisite treat of Irish Bulls, when I write you from the Land of the Shamrock; but my mind has been so taken up with the unparalleled distresses of the people, that I could not dwell on the subject of any other Bulls, but those of his Holiness the Pope! However, since you are no politician, and since nothing but gayety will suit your palate, I will do my best to tickle your spleen, ard by so doing, I will probably force
own heart into a more gay and cheerful expansion.
Last evening, I visited the Theatre Royal, which is spacious and elegant. The play was “ Fontainebleau,” which contains some witty dialogues, but much low buffoonery. There is a character in this comedy, copied from that of Jeremy Diddler, than which nothing can be more immoral and contemptible. How shocking is it to behold a fellow, entirely destitute of principle, and even of common honesty, push himself forward by mere dint of impudence and the dice-box, run off with a rich
heiress, and laugh at every one who at the same time envied his impudence and despised his understanding! The evening before, I went to see a melo drama of the horrific kind. Of late years, the German passion for ghosts, bloody daggers, murderers, deep mystery and outrageous madness, has taken deep root in Great Britain. In this heterogeneous mixture of the lowest and most disgraceful buffoonery, with the soul-harrowing exhibitions of ultratragedy, may be seen the decline of their taste for the pure pleasures of the stage. The gal. lery of the Dublin theatre is the resort of the poorest and most profligate wretches in the place; and yet this scum of the creation rules the house in the most tyrannical manner. As I was returning home I accosted one of the
giggling daughters of the queen of Love,” wishing to see what reception she would give me in my present humble attire,
" What the dld’ye want?” said she, surveying me with any eye but that of admiration/" I am looking for a pretty girl”—“ Bread would suit you better!” was her answer -This is what poverty has to expect! (thought I,) as I turned down a street towards the hotel.
I have just heard a diverting anecdote, which made me laugh very heartily. An honest son of Neptune travelling northwards, having put up at one of the inns for the night, had desired the chambermaid to awake him betimes next morning, as he wished to proceed on his journey by the coach; “ and, added he,
as I am a very sound sleeper, you will most likely be obliged to come in and shake me.” Accordingly, he left his door unfastened, and soon sunk under the balmy influence of sleep. The next morning when he awoke, he found
was high, and the coach must have left him some hours behind. Vexation was his first feeling; the next was that of vengeance against the faithless Molly. Accordingly, af. ter supplying his grinders with an enormous quid, he proceeded to inform himself of the time of day, that he might tax her accurately with the omission, aggravated, in his mind, by every additional hour that he had lost. But, after groping for some time under the pillow for his watch, it was not to be found! This ef. fectually roused him, and he launched at once out of bed; but no sooner found himself on his feet, than he discovered that his clothes had likewise vanished. It was now evident to Jack that he had been robbed; but a little more rub. bing of his eyes convinced him that he must have also stolen himself; as the room, bed and furniture were all strange to him! Indeed he was positive in his own mind that he had never been there before. He had read of the En. chanted Carpet in the Arabian Nights;" by this he was informed that persons could be transported to the remotest part of the world in a twinkling-but it never entered his head that these fairy tricks had been played in the Land o' Murphies! The enigma still remained to be explained, and poor Jack Tar had no