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-his eye was almost hid under the relaxed and dropping eyelid, and his voice was querulous, undecided, and weak. He did not recollect Mr. O'Connel, and appeared at a loss to conjecture our purpose. "We have come to pay you a visit, my lord," said Mr. O'Connel. The interpellation was pregnant with our religion; "my lord," uttered with a vernacular richness of intonation, gave him an assurance that we were from "the Island of Saints," and on the right road to heaven. He asked us, with easy urbanity, to walk in. We found that he had been sitting at his kitchen fire, with a small cup of chocolate, and a little bread, which made up his simple and apostolic breakfast. There was an English neatness and brightness in every thing about us, which was not out of keeping with the cold but polished civility of our reception. The Doctor was, for a little while, somewhat hallucinated, and still seemed to wonder at our coming. There was an awkward pause. At length Mr. O'Connel put him " au fait." He told him who he was, and that he and his colleagues were going to London to plead the cause of their holy religion. The name of the counsellor did not give the Doctor as electric a shock as I had expected-he merely said, that we did him very great honour, and wished us every success. He requested us to walk up-stairs, and welcomed us with much courtesy, but little warmth. Time had been busy with him. His faculties were not much impaired, but his emotions were gone. His ideas ran clearly enough, but his blood had ceased to flow. We sat down in his library. The conversation hung fire. The inflammable materials of which his mind was originally composed, were damped by age. O'Connel primed him two or three times, and yet he did not for a long while fairly go off. I resolved to try an expedient, by way of experiment upon episcopal nature, and being well aware of his feuds with Mr. Charles Butler, (the great lawyer and profound theologian of Lincoln's Inn), asked him, with much innocence of manner, though I confess with some malice of intent, "whether he had lately heard from his old friend, Charles Butler ?" The name was talismanicthe resurrection of the Doctor's passions was instantaneous and complete. His face became bright, his form quickened and alert, and his eye was lighted up with true scholastic ecstasy. He seemed ready to enter once more into the rugged field of controversy, in which he had won so many laurels, and to be prepared to fight his battles o'er again." To do him justice, he said nothing of his ancient antagonist in polemics, which a bishop and a divine ought not to say; he, on the contrary, mentioned that a reconciliation had taken place. I could, however, perceive, that the junction of their minds was not perfectly smooth, and saw the marks of the cement, which had "soldered up the rift." The odium theologicum has been neutralized by an infusion of Christianity, but some traces of its original acidity could not fail to remain. He spoke of Mr. Butler as a man of great learning and talents; and I should mention parenthetically, that I afterwards heard the latter express himself of Doctor Milner, as person of vast erudition, and who reflected honour, by the purity of his life, and the extent of his endowments, upon the body to which he belonged. The impulse given to his mind by the mention of achievements in controversy, extended itself to other topics. Cobbett had done, said Doctor Milner, service to Ireland, and to its reli
by addressing himself to the common sense of the English people, and trying to purge them of their misconceptions respecting the belief of the great majority of the Christian world. The Doctor spoke with a good deal of energy of the contests which had been carried on between the clergy and the itinerant missionaries of the Bible Society in Ireland, and congratulated Mr. O'Connel and Mr. Shei on their exertions in Cork, from which the systematic counteraction of the new apostles had originated. Mr. O'Connel expressed his obligations upon this occasion to Dr. Milner's celebrated, and, let me add, admirable work, which has been so felicitously entitled "The End of Religious Controversy." "Oh!" said the Doctor, "I am growing old, or I should write a supplement to that book." After some further desultory conversation, we took our leave. Doctor Milner, who had been aroused into his former energy, thanked us with simple and unaffected cordiality for our visit. He conducted us to the gate before his mansion, (in which I should observe that neither luxury nor want appear) with his white head uncovered, and with the venerable grace of age and piety bade us farewell.
We proceeded upon our journey. No incident occurred deserving of mention, unless a change in our feelings deserves the name. The moment we entered England, I perceived that the sense of our own national importance had sustained some diminution, and that, however slowly and reluctantly we acknowledged it to ourselves, the contemplation of the opulence which surrounded us, and in which we saw the results and evidences of British power and greatness, impressed upon every one of us the consciousness of our provincial inferiority, and the conviction that it is only from an intimate alliance with Great Britain, or rather a complete amalgamation with her immense dominion, that any permanent prosperity can be reasonably expected to be derived. In the sudden transition from the scenes of misery and sorrow to which we are habituated in Ireland to the splendid spectacle of English wealth and civilization, the humiliating contrast between the two islands presses itself upon every ordinary observer. It is at all times remarkable. Compared to her proud and pampered sister, clothed as she is in purple and in gold, Ireland, with all her natural endowments, at best appears but a squalid and emaciated beauty. I have never failed to be struck and pained by this unfortunate disparity: but upon the present occasion the objects of our mission, and the peculiarly national capacity in which we were placed in relation to England, naturally drew our meditation to the surpassing glory of the people, of whom we had come to solicit redress. An occasional visit to England has a very salutary effect. It operates as a complete sedative to the ardour of the political passions. It should be prescribed as a part of the antiphlogistic regimen. The persons who take an active part in the impassioned deliberations of the Irish people, are apt to be carried away by the strength of the popular feelings which they contribute to create. Having heated the public mind into an ardent mass of emotion, they are themselves under the influence of its intensity. This result is natural and just: but among the consequences (most of which are beneficial) which have arisen from the habitual excitation, and to which the Catholics have reasonably attributed much of their inchoate success, they have forgotten the effect upon themselves, and have omitted to ob
serve in their own minds a disposition to exaggerate the magnitude of the means by which their ends are to be accomplished. In declaiming upon the immense population of Ireland, they insensibly put out of account the power of that nation from whom relief is demanded, and who are grown old in the habit of domination, which of ail habits it is most difficult to resign.
A man like Mr. O'Connel, who, by the force of his natural eloquence produces a great emotion in the midst of an enthusiastic assembly of ardent and high-blooded men, who is hailed by the community, of which he is the leading member, as their chief and champion; who is greeted with popular benedictions as he passes, whose name resounds in every alley, and "stands rubric" on every wall, can with difficulty resist the intoxicating influence of so many exciting causes, and becomes a sort of political opium-eater, who must be torn from these seductive indulgences, in order to reduce him into perfect soundness and soberness of thought. His deputation to England produced an almost immediate effect upon him. As we advanced, the din of popular assemblies became more faint: the voice of the multitude was scarcely heard in the distance, and at last died away. He seemed half English at Shrewsbury, and was nearly Saxonized when we entered the murky magnificence of Warwickshire. As we surveyed the volcanic region of manufactures, and saw a thousand Etnas vomiting their eternal fires, the recollections of Erin passed away from his mind, and the smoky glories of Skifton and Wolverhampton took possession of his soul. The feeling which attended our progress through England was not a little increased by our approach to its huge metropolis. The waste of wealth around us, the procession of ponderous vehicles that choked the public roads, the rapid and continuous sweep of carriages, the succession of luxurious and brilliant towns, the crowd of splendid villas, which Cowper has assimilated to the beads upon the neck of an Asiatic Queen, and the vast and dusky mass of bituminous vapour which crowns the great city with an everlasting cloud, intimated our approach to the modern Babylon. Upon any ordinary occasion I should not, I believe, have experienced any strong sensation on entering London. What is commonly called " coming up to town," is not a very sublime or moving incident. I honestly confess that I have upon a fine summer morning stood on Westminster Bridge, upon my return from the brilliant inanities of Vauxhall, and looked upon London with a very drowsy sympathy in the meditative enthusiasm which breathes through Wordsworth's admirable sonnet. But upon the occasion which I am describing, it needed little of the spirit of political romance to receive a deep and stirring impulse, as we advanced to the great metropolis of the British empire, and heard the rolling of the great tide the murmurs, if I may so say, of the vast sea of wealth before us. The power of England was at this moment presented to us in a more distinct and definite shape, and we were more immediately led, as we entered London, to bring the two countries into comparison. This, we exclaimed, is London, and the recollection of our own Eblana was manifest in the sigh with which the truism was spoken: yet the reflection upon our inferiority was not unaccompanied by the consolatory anticipation that the time was not distant, when we should be permitted to participate in all the advantages of a real and consummated junction of the two countries, when the impediments to our national prosperity should be
removed, and Ireland should receive the ample overflowings of that deep current of opulence which we saw almost bursting through its golden channels in the streets of the immense metropolis.
Immediately after our arrival, we were informed by the agent of the Roman Catholic Association in London, Mr. Eneas M'Donnel (and who, in the discharge of the duties confided to him, has evinced great talents, judgment, and discretion), that Sir Francis Burdett was desirous to see us as soon as possible. We accordingly proceeded to his house in St. James's Place, where we found the Member for Westminster living in all the blaze of aristocracy. I had often heard Sir Francis Burdett in popular assemblies, and had been greatly struck with his simple, easy, and unsophisticated eloquence:-I was extremely anxious to gain a nearer access to a person of so much celebrity, and to have an opportunity of observing the character and intellectual habits of a man who had given so much of its movement to the public mind. He was sitting in his study when we were introduced by Mr. M'Donnel. He received us without any of that hauteur which I have heard attributed to him, and for which his constitutional quiescence of manner is sometimes mistaken. We, who have the hot Celtic blood in our veins, and deal in hyperbole upon occasions which are not calculated to call up much emotion, are naturally surprised at what we conceive to be a want of ardour upon themes and incidents in which our own feelings are deeply and fervently engaged. During my short residence in London, I constantly felt among the persons of high political influence to whom we approached, a calmness, which I should have taken for the stateliness of authority in individuals, but that I found it was much more national than personal, and was, in a great degree, an universal property of the political world. There was a great deal of simple dig nity, which was entirely free from affectation in the address of Sir Francis Burdett. Having requested us to sit, which we did in a large circle (his first remark indeed was, that we were more numerous than he had expected), he came with an instantaneous directness to the point, and after a few words of course upon the honour conferred upon him by being entrusted with the Catholic question, entreated us with some strenuousness to substitute Mr. Plunket in his place; he protested his readiness to take any part in the debate which should be assigned him; but stated, that there was no man so capable, and certainly none more anxious than the Attorney-General for the promotion of our cause. But for the plain and honest manner in which this exhortation was given, I should have suspected that he was merely performing a part,—but I have no doubt of the sincerity with which the recommendation was given.
He dwelt at length upon the great qualifications of Mr. Plunket as a parliamentary speaker, and pressed us to wave all sort of form with respect to himself, and put him at once aside for an abler advocate. We told him that it was out of our power to rescind the deci sion of an aggregate meeting. This he seemed to feel, and said that he should endeavour to discharge the trust as efficiently as he was able. His heart, he said, was in the question-he knew that there could not be peace in Ireland until it was adjusted; and for the country he professed great attachment. He loved the people of Ireland, and it was truly melancholy to see so noble a race deprived of the power of turn
ing their great natural endowments to any useful account. observations, which an Irishman would have delivered with great emphasis, were made by Sir Francis Burdett almost without a change of tone or look. He made no effort at strong expression. Every thing was said with great gentleness, perspicuity, and candour. I thought, however, that he strangely hesitated for common words. His language was as plain as his dress, which was extremely simple, and indicated the favourite pursuit of a man who is "mad at a fox-chase, wise at a debate." I watched his face while he spoke. His eyes are small and bright, but have no flash or splendour. They are illuminated by a serene and tranquil spirit: his forehead is high and finely arched, but narrow and contracted, and although his face is lengthy, its features are minute and delicately chiselled off. His mouth is extremely small, and carries much suavity about it. I should have guessed Dhim at once to be a man of rank, but should not have suspected his
spirit to be a transmigration of Caius Gracchus. I should never have guessed that he was the man whose breath had raised so many waves Hupon the public mind, and aroused a storm which made the vessel creak. I saw no shadow of the "tower of Julius" in his pure and ruddy colour, and should never have conjectured that he had inhaled the evaporations of its stagnant moat. At the same time I should observe, that if there were no evidences of a daring or adventurous spirit about this champion of the people, there are in his demeanour and bearing many indications of calm resolve and imperturbable determination. I was a good deal more occupied in watching this celebrated person, than in observing my companions. Yet I at once perceived that we were too numerous and gregarious a body for a council of state, and was glad to find Mr. O'Connel take a decided, and what was considered by some to be, a dictatorial tone amongst us. I saw that unless some one individual assumed the authority of speaking and acting for the rest, we should, in all likelihood, be involved in those petty squabbles and miserable contentions of which Bonaparte speaks as characteristic of the Irish deputies who were sent to Paris to negotiate a revolution. I was much pleased to find that Mr. O'Connel gave, even in this early communication, strong proof of that wise, temperate, and conciliatory spirit by which his conduct in London was distinguished; and by the manifestation of which, he conferred incalculable service on his country. After this interview with Sir Francis Burdett, the chief object of which, upon his part, was to sound our disposition to confide the conduct of our cause to the Irish Attorney-General, we proceeded to the House of Commons, for the purpose of attending the debate upon the petition to be heard by counsel at the bar. We had already been informed by Sir Francis Burdett, that it was very unlikely that the house would accede to the petition, and that Ministers had collected their forces to oppose it. For the result we were, therefore, prepared; but we were extremely anxious to hear a discussion, in which Mr. Brougham was expected to display his great powers, and in which the general demerits of the association would, in all probability, be brought by Miisters under review. The Speaker had the goodness to direct that he Catholic deputies should be allowed to sit under the gallery uring the discussions which appertained immediately to the object of eir mission; and we were, in consequence, accommodated with places