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PREFACE.

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Few things are more calculated to give pleasure to those interested in the welfare of our country, than the rapid progress which education has made amongst the people within the last few years.

In the Memoir of Grattan, prefixed to this volume, I have confined myself to indicating the growth of his character and genins, to commenting on the most important crisis of his life, concluding with a general review of his career, and with some plain remarks on the inestimable value of his example. I might have gone seriatim through all the facts of his life; but, within the limited space assigned to me, there would have been room for scarcely more than a meagre abridgment of his biography. The course ! have adopted seemed to be more useful.

This edition having been designed for the public, and not for students of oratory, 1 have refrained from extended criticism on Grattan's eloquence. The topic has been treated of by Lord Brougham, Sir James Mackintosh, the Rev. George Croly, the late

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Chief Justice Bushe, William Taylor (of Norwich), and by a host of other eminent persons. Upon a critical subject so beaten it would be impossible to grow a blade of fresh thouglit. In the following Memoir, therefore, I have principally regarded the man and his life, rather than the orator and his style.

The valuable edition of Grattan's Speeches (published by his son in 1822) has long since been out of print. It was very carefully edited, and I have freely availed myself of some of Mr. H. Grattan's prefatory notes. I have also to acknowledge my obligations to that gentleman's interesting life of his parent; but it will be seen that our views are not exactly in concurrence. In reverence for his father's memory,

however, I believe all rational Irishmen of every party have long since been agreel.

A MEMOIR

OF

HENRY GRATTAN.

Sew things in the perusal of history are more striking than the total dissimi. Parity in character of ages that closely succeed each other. In one country, and within the space of a single century, it is possible to observe a remarkable contrast between the successive passions and prejudices, tastes and manners of the same people. The English of the times of James the First and Lord Bacoli, were as unlike their countrymen in the days of Cromwell and Milton, as these again were totally dissimilar from the contemporaries of King William and John Locke. So also in the eighteenth century the dissimilarity between the age of Walpole and Bolingbroke, and the era of Pitt and Fox, was as marked ks the difference in Irish politics between the days of Swift and those of Floon -between the times of Grattan and those of O'Connell.

When, therefore, we examine the character of any public man, it is abselutely necessary to consider closely the nature of that society in which le existed, and the influence of the passions of his age. A political leader is not like the poet or philosopher, who lead isolated lives, ren:ote from the passions of their contemporaries. The existence of a public man is necessarily blended with that of the community at large; between him and the people around him there is an active reciprocating influence, which is influential on the character of the leader as well as his followers. Of course, the really great public man is not the creature of his own times. If he were, his life would hardly be worth studying: but neither can he have a character totally at variance with that of his contemporaries. His life is a compromise between his own individuality and that of the public whom he strives to govern and direct. In proportion as he sympathizes with the aspirations of his own times, does he obtain present and popular authority; in the same degree as he rises superior to the transient prejudices of his age, and guides his course by general principles and exalted views, will he obtain posthumous fame. And in apprehending with intuition the exact confines between theory and practice, between the far-sighted views which reach to posterity, and those which regard the pressing claims of the passing hour, may be said to consist the art of all great and genuine statesmanship, as distinguished from the charlatanism, which, grovelling in the preseat, is sure to meet with the contemptuous oblivion of future agez.

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