페이지 이미지

the charge against him could be obtained by the defendant. After the latter is held to bail, witnesses supposed to be able to testify against him, are brought up in public before magistrates, to endeavour to fish out evidence in support of the charge. The prosecution compromises the dignity of the Government by the low and paltry manner in which it is got up. There is nothing that produces a worse impression of a powerful government, than a low and mean manner of transacting a similar affair-which must always affect magnanimity, even if it has no inclination to indulge it. When Great Britain is, as at the present moment, in the plenitude of power, and during a European peace, the most ignorant and disaffected man in Ireland must be conscious of her ability to put down revolt with a trivial exertion of her power. We are convinced that no persons possessing influence and consequence in Ireland, contemplate violent measures, but look to obtaining redress for evils which cannot be denied to exist, to the Government and the laws. The very effort of six millions of persons to relieve themselves from heavy grievances, is by the Orange party and its friends deemed little short of rebellion. Why,' ask these well-fed corporators and portly gentry, are the Catholics not content under present disabilities? They shall get relief as they have got it in times past, if we can have our way. Plots and alarms shall not be wanting to shake the nerves of those in authority.' But the Government, conscious of its own strength, must act with the public feeling at its back, and then the Rev. Sir Harcourt Lees* and his organized rebels will sink into their natural insignificance. The body of the people of Ireland look to the Catholic

* Sir Harcourt, that meek and pious representative of a fox-hunting father of Christianity, has been so fearful lest the Catholic Association and Mr. O'Connel should bear away the crown of martyrdom, or Sir A. B. King remain a solitary example of devotion, that he has claimed it for the Orangemen in his own person! The following is an address to the Orangemen from the pen of this precious specimen of the ministers of the Protestant religion as established by statute in Irelandof this meek divine, who has lately visited England to proselytize it in the Orange cause! Mr. Plunket has proceeded against him, but will the bill be found-the Orange jury may be refractory again? "In the event of the Irish government not being permitted by the infatuated and ignorant cabal in his Majesty's cabinet (who have degraded the British empire, and nearly lost Ireland by their temporising policy) to adopt such immediate measures for the preservation of this country as the pressing exigency of the times requires, I will, at every risk, take the responsibility on myself of protecting this island for my venerated sovereign; and I will instantly recommend to the Protestants of Ulster to form a great military confederation Should this despicable cabinet-system be persevered in two months longer, I will consider it to be my duty, as your acknowledged protector, to pass in review the entire Protestant force of Ulster early in March, by which period I shall arrange such a military organization for the province, as shall render it a matter of perfect indifference to me whether Mr. George Canning and the Popish Grenvilles choose to protect us or join the priests."-This leader of the three or four hundred thousand Orangemen out of seven millions of Irish, leaves Mr. O'Connel at an immeasurable distance in the rear. He will be the Joshua of his injured tribes, and die at their head in chivalrous combat with the government of his country! he is the worthy Peter of the Irish church militant-he appeals to the sword the sportsman, the divine, the merry joker, and the oracle of his band, which variety of character he is about to embellish farther by thus immortalizing himself as an Irish Catiline! What are the bench of bishops about with such a member of their cloth? Will they perform no lustration, to wipe out the deadly sin from their body?-But we forget, we were thinking of England;-the Irish bench of bishops, and the Irish church, are a very different affair!

association for the legal redress of their petty wrongs; and it was politic, while that body remained unimpeachable in its loyalty, and open in all its proceedings, not to interfere too nicely with it, for if the hydra of rebellion arose, the head of it was within reach. But when nothing offensive could be urged against it, was it either wise, honest, or politic, to attack a loyal individual looked up to by six millions of his fellow subjects, for uttering a sentence or two in the warmth of indignant feeling, which every man in this empire ought to keep engraven on his heart? We are neither Catholics nor advocates for the intemperance of any members of the Catholic Association. Irishmen always mingle a great deal of froth in their oratory.-Let it, when it comes to no more than it did in the present instance, evaporate. With lawyers, every speech and every writing is libellous which they can find a purpose for so denominating; and we fear that oppressive as this truth is as it regards individuals, there is no help for it ;—but that they should be allowed the full operation of such notions-that they should contaminate statesmen with their professional sophistry, and by officious, ill-judged, ill-timed charges, risk the peace of a people, is going too far. Every honest man must admit that the full and fair meaning of the language spoken by Mr. O'Connel was such as our children should be earliest taught, and our aged die with upon their lips. Great bodies of men are not to be governed en masse by the dogmas that prevail for bringing criminals to the house of correction. The principles and practice of statesmen and lawyers are very dissimilar, and the less frequently the latter come in contact out of court with the interest of their country the better. In this country they smell too much of their grandmothers-they would rule all by the unmeaning and ferocious saws of antique barbarism, and make the world believe that reason and experience are to submit to their surpassing authority. They think only what has been done, may be done again, and do not trouble themselves if evil ensue, provided they can justify it upon an obsolete statute-book. Many will suppose that the act of prosecuting Mr. O'Connel originated in a different quarter-we can hardly conceive it ;-but Mr. Plunket must still bear the onus, for his perfect approbation was the first and most indispensable requisite. Had he disapproved the measure, which the world would in any case attribute to him, what becomes of that high spirit for which he had obtained credit, even if he suffered the first authority in the empire to lay upon his shoulders a proceeding so pregnant with obloquy ?-But some lawyers have different views as to high feeling and lofty principles from unprofessional men !

No one can at this moment characterize the English Government as weak or timid; but the proceeding of Mr. Plunket tends to give it this colouring. To pass by insignificant points to gain great results, overlook hasty ebullitions of feeling and occasional peccadillos in a leading individual among the numerous parties it rules, with a view to their ultimate amalgamation, is the policy of a powerful ministry, such as ours undeniably is at the present moment. The arraignment, therefore, of the leading member of a suffering body of people, on a charge groundless in itself and innoxious as to consequences, was utterly beneath it, and makes its good intentions towards Ireland, which we do not doubt, matter of suspicion to its staunch friends there among the suffering party.

Is Ireland for ever to be an anomaly among nations? The King of Great Britain has just proclaimed perfect religious freedom and equality of civil rights in his Hanoverian dominions; and still a party in the British cabinet-a party in the aristocracy of the country as blind and bigoted as our ancestors of feudal renown-together with a small and interested portion among the people, violently oppose it. Yet none talk more of the blessings of the English constitution, boast more of toleration (as if in these times men could not distinguish right from sufferance), and its surpassing eminence among nations, forgetting that their antiquated notions are the drags which prevent its running an even course with other countries in spiritual freedom, and that they themselves have seen the national prosperity increase in proportion to their abandonment of their absurd hereditary notions.— Thank God! this great and glorious country has attained its present elevation in the midst of state anomalies, that would have kept others for ever in depression; and will continue to rise when the narrow opinions of such shall, with their dust, have perished in forgetfulness.*


FEVER 's a most audacious varlet ;

Now in a general's face he shakes
His all-defying fist, and makes
His visage like his jacket-scarlet:
Now o'er surrounding guards he throws
A somerset, and never squeaks
"An' please your majesty," but tweaks
The Lord's anointed by the nose.
With his inflammatory finger

(Much like the heater of an urn)
He makes the pulses boil and burn,
Puts fur upon the tongue, (not ermine,)
And leaves his prey to die or linger,
Just as the doctors' may determine.

[blocks in formation]

Since the above was written, the Grand Jury have thrown out the bill filed by

Mr. Plunket against Sir H. Lees for his inflammatory address.

Senac, however, his physician,
Soon gave our invalid permission

To be coach'd out, an easy distance,—
First stipulating one condition,
That whensoe'er he took a ride,
Himself should have a place inside,
Lest any syncope, relapse,
Or other unforeseen mishaps,

Should call for medical assistance.

Saxe gives consent with all his heart,

Orders the carriage in a minute,
Whispers the coachman, mounts within it,
Senac the same, and off they start,
Joking, smiling, and time beguiling,
In a facetious tête-à-tête.

The subject of their mutual chatter is
Nothing to us-enough to state
That Marshal Saxe at length got out
To reconnoitre a redoubt,
Projecting from a range of batteries.

Left in the carriage, our physician
By no means relish'd his position,
When he discover'd they had got
Nearly within half cannon shot;
Wherefore he bawl'd, with fear half melted,
"For God's sake move me from this spot-
Doubtless they 've noticed our approach,
And when they recognise your coach,
Shan't I be fired at, pepper'd, pelted,
(When I can neither fly nor hide)

From some of yonder bristling masses!
"It's not unlikely," Saxe replied,
"And war, I know, is not your trade;
So if you feel the least afraid,
Pull up the glasses!"



AN ingenious popular writer has made a powerful effort to revive the now almost obsolete customs of Christmas merry-making; and, in the indulgence of his warm imagination, has permitted his philosophy to sleep over the causes and concomitants of that oblivion into which the joyous festivities of this season are fast sinking. This fancy of a poetical mind, it must be admitted, was not more seducing from the picturesque imagery it conjured up, than for the sentiment of sympathy with the poor and lowly, in which it was clothed yet is it not a little surprising, that habits of deeper scrutiny into the mechanism of society, did not suggest to the writer in question some doubts, both as to the expedience and the possibility of reviving habits, which are no longer in harmony with the spirit of the age. The noisy hilarity of the wassai! bowl, the cheerful blaze of the Yule log, the distribution of food and clothing to the poor, and the pro tempore courtesy of the rich and powerful towards their humble dependents paint well; but their chief effect, after all, depends upon their contrast with the misery and slavery of the work-a-day life, in those feudal times in which Christmas flourished in its gayest triumphs. Christmas, we are informed by Sel

den, succeeded to the Saturnalia of Rome,-the festival of slavery, the short season of riot and revelry, which was destined to reconcile the unhappy bondsman to a life of wretchedness and degradation ;—and it lost nothing of its original character in the descent. The search after a compensation for permanent miseries, in a temporary paroxysm of extravagant mirth, is inherent in human nature. The theatres are never more frequented than in times of great national misfortune; and the visitations of earthquakes and plagues have ever been accompanied by excessive violence and debauchery in the people. In the immense and varied calamities which fell upon Europe, on the downfal of the Roman empire, the general condition of man was so much depressed, that whatever promised a transient forgetfulness of the evils of life must have been sought with avidity and realized with delight. The old pagan holidays were readily accepted as an excuse for relaxation; and, being baptised with a Christian appellation, and sanctified with Christian recollections, were observed with undiminished punctuality, during the long night which preceded the dawn of modern civilization. Even during the Cromwellian revolution, the people still resisted the ascetic spirit of the day, and clung with a fond regret to their miseltoes and their mince-pies, where they frankly rejected the surplice and the mitre. With the progress of refinement, however,―or rather, with the diffusion of comforts among the people, these customary rejoicings have very much fallen into disuse; and the last fifty years have done more for their abolition, than all the preachings of Calvinistic divines could ever effect. The reason is obvious. To those who habitually fare ill, a feast may be an object of importance; whereas it is regarded with lothing by those whose daily nourishment is palatable and sufficient. What, in fact, makes the Christmas plum-pudding so attractive to our infant gourmands, but the privations and hardships of school, from which they have just escaped? In times when salted mutton was the usual winter-fare, and garden vegetables were unknown luxuries, the Christmas turkey, roast beef, and pudding were sources of intense delight; but who in the present day, above the condition of abject poverty, looks to these objects, save as the ordinary instruments of sociality, served upon all occasions in decent abundance, and never required in the profusion of gluttony? This difference is still more decisive in respect to intellectual amusements. Every small town has now its theatre and its monthly assembly; and if his gracious Majesty, or the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of London, would not now find much amusement, in their "lords of misrule or masters of merry disports, ever contending who should make the rarest pastimes to delight the beholders,"-neither would their worthy subjects, the country puts, and the London cocknies, be more pleased with " mummers and morrice-dancers," after a twelve-month's satiety with Harlequin and Mr. Kean. Now-a-days the daily coach brings its newspaper to the remotest quarter of the kingdom; each month produces its magazine and review, and each quarter its half-dozen of new publications above the level of mediocrity, to cheer the winter's fire-side; and even the students of the humble Mechanics Institution would stand little in need of traditional jokes and conventional antics as a refuge from ennui.

The extreme poor, it must be admitted, are no partakers in these luxuries; but there is no reason to suppose that at any period of society,

« 이전계속 »