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IRISH PORTRAITS.—NO. II.
Sir Ignatius Slattery.
SIR Ignatius" is one of those rare men whom" the Corporation of Dublin" alone produces, and of whom she has produced too few for her glory." He was a cutler in his youth, and by dint of industry and strong nerves, and stronger lungs, and a conscientious attachment to his own interest in every transaction of his life, has raised himself to his present enviable station of personal affluence and civic importance. His appearance is striking, and, until he speaks, rather imposing. He is full six feet high, strongly and regularly built, with an Atlantean breadth of shoulder to sustain the weighty concerns of a great city, and a commensurate rotundity of the anterior frame, the growth of a long and liberal participation in its festive comforts. His features are regular, and even handsome; the complexion a glossy florid, with occasional streaks of claret-colour (claret is his favourite beverage) meandering through the expanse of cheek. A large luscious, blood-shotten aldermanic eye, with an overhanging lid, would at first view point him out as a mere civic voluptuary; but examine it again, and although it may persist in telling, what is undeniable, that he loves a good dinner, you will also discover in its sly and sleeky roll, a character of practical acuteness and comic intelligence as unequivocally marked. His hair is grey, but, though he is now in his fifty-sixth year, it has not yet been thinned by age or care. To conclude, he is neat in his apparel, generally dresses in blue; prefers long gaiters to boots, ties his cravat in the old stock-like fashion, and in the worst of weather never wears a surtout. Such is the external appearance of this worthy corporator, as he may be daily seen moving down Dame-street, to the tune of "The Protestant Boys," with the buoyant and confident gait of a prosperous man, and of one determined to resist all newfangled innovations upon the system under which he has thriven.
Sir Ignatius is a staunch adherent of the Irish Constitution, as settled at the Battle of the Boyne, and illustrated by its favour to Protestant cutlers. Until latterly, however, he was far from pushing his principles to any intolerant extreme. With all his honest horror of extreme unction, he was quite content that matters should remain as they were. He thought it a right and a " mighty proper thing," that his Catholic brethren (poor fellows!) should be eligible to certain minor offices of trust and profit. All he insisted upon was, that they should never be elected. During a contest for the city, he was ever ready to hold out the hand of peace to a Catholic voter; and some years since, when threatened with legal molestation touching a mere arithmetical error in one of the city accounts, he showed so little of the bigot, that he privately sent O'Connell a retaining fee. The thing transpired, and was warmly taken up by some leading members of the Common Council, but, being in office soon after, he completely pacified them by the abundance and excellence of his wines at his public entertainments, and by the jovial fury of his speeches from the chair, announcing "the Glorious Memory." The knight mentions the circumstance of this day, as a proof of the dangers of liberality in politics. Two of the malcontents, he says, brothers Hoolahan and Moriarty, from the Guild of
Heel-tappers, insisted on being made dead drunk no less than three times before they promised to support him in the old way.
Sir Ignatius Slattery's life has been so occupied by more important matters, that he has been rather inattentive to several branches of popular learning. He knows little or nothing of ancient or modern history, ethics, statistics, polite literature, grammar, spelling, or punctuation. The politics of Dublin have been his vocation, and there he shines as the leader of a powerful party in the Corporation. His political talents depend mainly upon his oratory; and that again consists not so much upon his own powers of speech, for he is rather apt to mis-pronounce, as in his rare capacity for interrupting and embarrassing an opponent. He is the ablest cougher-down within the liberties of Ďublin, and gains periodic laurels upon every post and quarter-day, by the boisterous felicity of his cries "to order," and his still more energetic bellowings for an adjournment. He usually makes merry upon all this when the effort is over, for it is a part of his character to be waggish and self-rallying upon his civic displays. There is indeed in his ordinary intercourse with both friends and foes a certain turbulent blunt facetiousness, which wonderfully endears him to the congenial souls of his city friends. This quality, and the circumstance of his being supposed to have picked up a few of the feelings of a gentleman since he was made a city knight, caused him to be admitted at the Castle as the butt and bosom friend of more than one Irish viceroy. His present Excellency has, however, for some Popish reason or other, been strangely insensible to the worthy corporator's claim upon his familiarity; and deep and ineffable is the ire with which he resents the affront. The idea of Ireland being tranquillized without the aid and sanction and occasional veto of the most loyal of cutlers, is a thing so monstrous in itself, and so subversive of every established bye-notion of the Corporation, that he has vowed to bring the patrons of the innovation to public shame. This he does in many ways. He collects authentic calumnies for the anti-Castle press, which, with a few grammatical corrections, produce a profound effect. At public dinners, he is the first to vociferate for "the Exports of Ireland," and such is his zeal, even "tips the wink for the Glorious" before half the company are drunk. He keeps up the spirits of the Orange democracy by calling conciliation a humbug; rouses their fury by wily encomiums upon their forbearance; and by certain hems and nods and other symbols of fraternal significance, conveys to them the inspiring assurance, that, let them go what lengths they please, they will not want friends in the city to back them. When the time arrives, he does all he can to keep his word; for it is in his deep sense of the duties of a political juror, that Sir Ignatius preeminently excels. His golden rule for the jury-box is, never to consent to a verdict against a friend. For this he is content to make the greatest of all sacrifices-the loss of a dinner, and a night's rest. To make the inconvenience however as tolerable as possible, he takes care, on the morning of the trial, to come down to court with his nightcap, a box of sandwiches, and a case-bottle of old sherry in his pocket; and with these he will hold out against the law and the facts of any given case for eight-and-forty hours." And call you not this backing his friends?"
His services in this way, or rather his known readiness to serve, for he has more than once been challenged, have made so deep an impression upon his party, that they have lately proposed setting him up for the city at the next election, as a man of decided parliamentary talents upon Irish questions. The rumour of this (for he has not yet openly declared himself) was no sooner circulated through the lodges than bis own (No. 1603) appointed a deputation of five to wait upon him at his country-house, with a voluntary tender of every vote in the lodge, at the moderate rate of five pounds each. Sir Ignatius" thanked them (from a paper which he held in his left hand); he did so from the bot tom of his heart (upon which he placed his right). He talked of the approbation of his conscience and his love of the constitution being the sole guides of his political life;-exhorted them not to be bullied by any man, or set of men, out of their good old principles of conditional allegiance, and their unalienable privileges of knocking down Papists and dressing the statue ;-assured them that while an Orange ribbon was manufactured in Ireland, he would be found at his post; for that he for one would never submit to see the freemen of Dublin governed like Indian slaves;—and concluded by appreciating (without pledging himself to accept of it) the high honour which his valued brethren of 1603 proposed to confer upon him.”—(Great applause.)
The oratory and cheering over, the deputation were ushered into an adjoining room, where a cold collation, got up by the Knight's direc tions in the very natest style, was prepared on the occasion. Lady Slattery apologized for the absence of Orange lilies, it being the winter sason; but to make amends, Miss S. who presided at the pianoforte, regaled their ears with some favourite constitutional melodies, among which, the "Boyne Water," and "Crappies lie down," with variations of her own, were rapturously applauded. The deputation returned to Dublin in the evening, and conducted themselves so peaceably, that they assaulted only three out of the many Catholic passengers whom they met upon the way. The general opinion in the lodge is, that should Sir Ignatius be returned, Lord Wellesley and his government will be annihilated by his first speech.*
On a Physician observing that he had lost three Patients during an absence from home.
C- kills three patients while from home away,—
If absent, thus his patients he can slay,
How he must kill them when he's on the spot!
* Since the above was written, Sir Ignatius has been seen at Archer's, enquiring for the best Pronouncing Dictionary.
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