Page images
PDF
EPUB

eting up of wrongs. I must leave them, and seek some better service : their villany goes against my weak stomach, and there. fore I must cast it up.

Shakspeare.

OXXXVI.

DEATH OF HAMILTON.

1

A SHORT time since, and he who is the occasion of our sor

rows, was the ornament of his country. He stood on an eminence; and glory covered him. From that eminence he has fallen suddenly, forever, fallen. His intercourse with the living world is now ended ; and those who would hereafter find him must seek him in the grave. There, cold and lifeless, is the heart which just now was the seat of friendship. There, dim and sightless is the eye, whose radiant and enlivening orb beamed with intelligence; and there, closed forever are those lips, on whose persuasive accents we have so often and so lately hung with transport.

From the darkness which rests upon his tomb there proceeds, methinks, a light in which it is clearly seen that those gaudy objects which men pursue are only phantoms. In this light how dimly shines the splendor of victory - how humble appears the majesty of grandeur. The bubble which seemed to have so much solidity has burst; and we again see that all below the sun is vanity.

True, the funeral eulogy has been pronounced. The sad and solemn procession has moved. The badge of mourning has already been decreed, and presently the sculptured marble will lift up its front, proud to perpetuate the name of Hamilton, and rehearse to the passing traveller his virtues.

Just tributes of respect! And to the living useful. But to him, mouldering in his narrow and humble habitation, what are they? How vain! how unavailing! Approach, and behold – while I lift from his sepulchre its covering. Ye admirers of nis greatness, ye emulous of his talents and his fame, approach, and behold him now. How pale ! how silent ! No martial bands admire the adroitness of his movements. No fascinated throng weep — and melt — and tremble at his eloquence ! - Amazing

change. A shroud ! a coffin ! a narrow subterraneous cabin This is all that now remains of Hamilton! And is this all that remains of him? - During a life so transitory, what lasting monument then can our fondest hopes erect ?

My brethren! we stand on the borders of an awful gulf, which is swallowing up all things human. And is there, amidst this universal wreck, nothing stable, nothing abiding, nothing immortal, on which poor, frail, dying man can fasten?

Ask the hero, ask the statesman, who-e wisdom you have been accustomed to revere, and he will tell you. He will tell you, did I say? He has already told you, from his death-bed, and his illumined spirit still whispers from the heavens, with wellknown eloquence, the solemn admonition.

“ Mortals ! hastening to the tomb, and once the companions of my pilgrimage, take warning and avoid my errors — Cultivate the virtues I have recommended Choose the Saviour I bave chosen – Live disinterestedly – Live for immortality; and would you rescue anything from final dissolution, lay it up in God.”

Dr. Nott.

CXXXVII.

INVECTIVE AGAINST MR. FLOOD.

IT
T is not the slander of an evil tongue that can defame me.

I maintain my reputation in public and in private life. No man who has not a bad character can ever say that I deceived ; no country can call me cheat. But I will suppose such a public character. I will suppose such a man to have existence. I will begin with his character in its political cradle, and I will follow him to the last state of political dissolution. I will suppose him, in the first stage of his life, to have been intemperate ; in the second, to have been corrupt; and in the last, seditious; that after an envenomed attack upon the persons and measures of a succession of viceroys, and after much declamation against their illegalities and their profusion, he took office, and became a supporter of government when the profusion of ministers had greatly increased, and their crimes multiplied beyond example. At such a critical moment, I will suppose this gentleman to be corrupted by a great sinecure office to muzzle his declamation, to

swallow his invectives, to give his assent and vote to the ministers, and to become a supporter of government, its measures, its embargo, and its American war. I will suppose, that with re. spect to the Constitution of his country, that part, for instance, which regarded the Mutiny Bill, when a clause of reference was introduced, whereby the articles of war, which were, or hereafter might be, passed in England, should be current in Ireland with. out the interference of Parliament - when such a clause was in view, I will suppose this gentleman to have absconded. Again, when the bill was made perpetual, I will suppose him again to have absconded ; but a year and a half after the bill had passed, then I will suppose this gentleman to have come forward, and to say that your Constitution had been destroyed by the Perpetual Bill.

With respect to commerce, I will suppose this gentleman to have supported an embargo wbich lay on the country for three years, and almost destroyed it; and when an address in 1778, to open her trade, was propounded, to remain silent and inactive. In relation to three fourths of our fellow-subjects, the Catholics, when a bill was introduced to grant them rights of property and religion, I will suppose this gentleman to have come forth to give his negative to their pretensions.

With regard to the liberties of America, which were insepar able from ours, I will suppose this gentleman to have been an enemy, decided and unreserved ; that he voted against her liberty, and voted, moreover, for an address to send four thousand Irish troops to cut the throats of the Americans; that he called these butchers “ armed negotiators,” and stood with a metaphor in his mouth, and a bribe in his pocket, a champion against the rights of America, the only hope of Ireland, and the only refuge of the liberties of mankind. Thus defective in every relationship, whether to Constitution, commerce, or toleration, I will suppose this man to have added much private improbity to public crimes; that his probity was like his patriotism, and his honor on a level with his oath.

He loves to deliver panegyrics on himself. I will interrupi him, and say, “ Sir, you are mistaken if you think that you talents have been as great as your life has been reprehensible. You began your parliamentary career with an acrimony and

personality which could have been justified only by a supposition of virtue. After a rank and clainorous opposition you became, on a sudden, silent ; you were silent for seven years ; you were silent on the greatest questions; and you were silent for money! You supported the unparalleled profusion and jobbing of Lord Harcourt's scandalous ministry the address to support the American war - the other address to send four thousand

men,
which

you had yourself declared to be necessary for the defence of Ireland, to fight against the liberties of America, to which you had declared yourself a friend. You, sir, who manufacture stage-thunder against Mr. Eden for his anti-American principles — you, sir, whom it pleases to chant a hymn to the immortal Hampden — you, sir, approved of the tyranny exercised against America ; and you, sir, voted four thousand Irish troops to cut the throats of the Americans fighting for their freedom, fighting for your freedom, fighting for the great principle, LIBERTY! But you found, at last (and this should be an eternal lesson to men of your craft and cunning), that the King had only dishonored you ; the court had bought, but would not trust you ; and, having voted for the worst measures, you remained, for seven years, the creature of salary, without the confidence of government. Mortified at the discovery, and stung by disappointment, you betake yourself to the sad expedients of duplicity. You try the sorry game of a trimmer in your prog. ress to the acts of an incendiary. You give no honest support either to the government or the people ; observing, with regard to both prince and people, the most impartial treachery and desertion, you justify the suspicion of your Sovereign, by betraying the government, as you had sold the people, until, at last, by this hollow conduct, and for some other steps, the result of mortified ambition, being dismissed, and another person put in your place, you fly to the ranks of the Volunteers and canvass for matiny. Such has been your conduct; and at such conduct every

order of your fellow-subjects have a right to exclaim! The merchant may say to you the constitutionalist may say to you

the American may say to you

I
now say,

and

say to your beard, sir, -"you are not an honest man!

A. Grattan.

and I,

OXXXVIII.

GRATTANS REPLY TO MR. CORRY.

HAS

AS the gentleman done? Has he completely done ? He

was unparliamentary from the beginning to the end of his speech. There was scarce a word he uttered that was not a violation of the privileges of the House. But I did not call him to order, — why? because the limited talents of some men render it impossible for them to be severe without being unparliamentary. But before I sit down, I shall show him how to be severe and parliamentary at the same time.

On any other occasion, I should think myself justifiable in treating with silent contempt anything which might fall from that honorable member; but there are times, when the insignificance of the accuser is lost in the magnitude of the accusation. I know the difficulty the honorable gentleman labored under when he attacked me, conscious that, on a comparative view of our characters, public and private, there is nothing he could say which would injure me. The public would not believe the charge. I despise the falsehood. If such a charge were made by an honest man, I would answer it in the manner I shall do before I sit down. But I shall first reply to it when not made by an honest man.

The right honorable gentleman has called me "an unimpeached traitor." I ask why not "traitor," unqualified by any epithet? I will tell him ; it was because he durst not. the act of a coward, who raises his arm to strike, but has not courage to give the blow. I will not call him villain, because it would be unparliamentary, and he is a privy counsellor. I will not call him fool, because he happens to be chancellor of the exchequer. But I say, he is one who has abused the privilege of Parliament, and the freedom of debate, by uttering language, which, if spoken out of the House, I should answer only with a blow. I care not how high his situation, how low his character, how contemptible his speech ; whether a privy counsellor or a parasite, my answer would be a blow.

He has charged me with being connected with the rebels. The charge is utterly, totally, and meanly false. Does the

It was

« PreviousContinue »