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the temperament of his Royal Highness. He speaks with great correctness and fluency is perfectly kind and affable, and laughs with all his heart at his friend's jokes as well as at his own. If the Duke of Sussex were our Lord Lieutenant, (as I hope he yet may be,) he would put us into good humour with each other in a month. I would substitute Oberon's whistle for Alecto's horn.* I should like to hear the honest and cordial laugh of the Duke of Sussex at an aggregate levee of Catholics and Protestants at the Castle. I should like to hear the echoes of St. Patrick's hall, taking up the royal mirth in a long and loud reverberation. What might, peradventure, be an excess of vivacity in a gentleman, would be condescending pleasantry in a prince.
I understood at Mr. Brougham's, that it was intended to give a public dinner to the Catholic deputies, at which the leading advocates of emancipation were to be present. Much preparation was made for this festival of liberality, but it was afterwards conceived that it would be more judicious upon the part of the friends of religious liberty, not to provoke their antagonists into a re-action, which it was thought likely might be produced. The idea was abandoned; but, in order to give the deputies an opportunity of expressing their sentiments in public, the British Catholics held a general meeting at the Freemasons' Hall. The Duke of Norfolk was in the chair. The assembly was not as numerous as I had expected—it was in a great measure composed of Irish. Many persons were deterred from attending by the title of the meeting, which seemed to confine it to Roman Catholics. In consequence of the impression that Protestants were not invited to assist in these proceedings, few of the parliamentary supporters of emancipation attended. Mr. Coke of Norfolk, who sat next to the chairman, was almost the only English Protestant of distinction whom I observed at the meeting. I believe, however, that an anxiety to hear Mr. O'Connel, induced a great number of the literary men attached to the periodical and daily press to attend. Mr. O'Connel appeared to me extremely solicitous about the impression which he should produce, and prepared and arranged his topics with unusual care. In public meetings in Ireland, he is so confident in his powers, that he gives himself little trouble in the selection of his materials, and generally trusts to his emotions for his harangues. He is on that account occasionally desultory and irregular. But there is no man more capable of lucid exposition, when he previously deliberates upon the order in which he should array the topics upon which he intends to dwell. He undertook, on this occasion, the very laborious task of tracing the progress of the penal code, and epitomised in some measure the history of his country. For the first hour he was, perhaps, a little encumbered with small details; but when he advanced into the general consideration of the grievances under which the great body of the people are doomed to labour-when he painted the insolence of the dominant factionwhen he shewed the effects of the penal code brought to his own door-he seized with an absolute dominion upon the sympathies of his acclaiming auditors, and poured the full tide of his own emotions into their hearts. I did not greatly heed the results of Mr. O'Connel's
* In Wieland's Oberon, at the sound of a magic whistle, laughter is instantaneously produced, and merriment takes the place of strife.
oratory upon the great bulk of his audience. Many a big drop compounded of heat and patriotism-of tears and of perspiration, stood upon the rude and honest faces that were cast in true Hibernian mould, and were raised towards the glory of Ireland with a mixed expression of wonder and of love. I was far more anxious to detect the feeling produced upon the literary and English portion of the audience. It was most favourable. Mr. Charles Butler, near whom I happened to sit, and whom I should be disposed to account a severe but excellent critic, was greatly struck. He several times expressed his admiration of the powers of the speaker. The applause of such a man is worth that of a" whole theatre of others." Mr. Coke also, whose judgment is, I understand, held in very great estimation, and who has witnessed the noblest displays of parliamentary eloquence, intimated an equally high opinion. Immediately under Mr. O'Connel there was an array, and a very formidable one, of the delegates from the press. They appeared to me to survey Mr. O'Connel with a good deal of supercilious distaste at the opening of his speech, and although some amongst them preserved to the last in their intimations of national disrelish, and shrugged their shoulders at "Irish eloquence," the majority surrendered their prejudices to their good feelings, and ultimately concurred in the loud plaudits with which Mr. O'Connel concluded his oration. It occupied nearly three hours and a half.-Mr. O'Hanlon succeeded Mr. O'Connel. He spoke well, but the auditory were exhausted, and began to break up. Less attention was paid to Mr. O'Hanlon than he would have received at a more opportune moment. The excitation produced by Mr. O'Connel, the lateness of the hour, and the recollections of dinner, were potent impediments to rhetorical effect. Mr. Sheil rose under similar disadvantages. He cast that sort of look about him, which I have witnessed in an actor when he surveys an empty house. The echo produced by the diminution of the crowd drowned his voice, which being naturally of a harsh quality, requires great management, and, in order to produce any oratorical impression, must be kept under the control of art. Mr. Sheil became disheartened, and lost his command over his throat. He grew loud and indistinct. He also fell into the mistake of laying aside his habitual cast of expression and of thought, and in place of endeavouring to excite the feelings of his auditory, wearied them with a laborious detail of uninteresting facts. He failed to produce any considerable impression excepting at the close of his speech, in which, after dwelling upon the great actions which were achieved by the Catholic ancestors of some of the eminent men around him, he introduced Jean of Arc prophesying to Talbot the observation of his illustrious name, and the exclusion of his posterity from the councils of his country. I should not omit to mention the speech delivered by Lord Stourton at this meeting. It was easy to collect from his manner that he was not in the habit of addressing a large assembly, but the sentiments to which he gave utterance were high and manly, and becoming a British nobleman who had been spoliated of his rights. His language was not only elegant and refined, but adorned with imagery of an original cast, derived from those sciences with which his lordship is said to be familiar. Some of the deputies dined with him after the meeting. They were sumptuously entertained.-I had now become more habituated to the
display of patrician magnificence in England, and saw the exhibition of its splendour without surprise. Yet I confess that at Norfolk-house, where the Duke did Mr. O'Connel, Lord Killeen, and others of our deputation the honour to invite them, and in compliment to our cause, brought together an assemblage of men of the highest rank and genius in England, I was dazzled with the splendour and gorgeousness of an entertainment to which I had seen no parallel. Norfolk-house is one of the finest in London. The interior, which is in the style prevalent about eighty years ago in England, realizes the notions which one forms of a palace. It was indeed occupied at one time by some members of the royal family; and the Duke told us that the late King was born in the room in which we dined. We passed through a series of magnificent apartments, rich with crimson and fretted with gold. There was no glare of excessive light in this vast and seemingly endless mansion; and the massive lamps which were suspended from the embossed and gilded ceilings, diffused a shadowed illumination, and left the distance in the dusk. The transition to the great chamber where the company were assembled, and which was glowing with light, presented a brilliant and imposing contrast. Here we found the Duke of Norfolk, surrounded by persons of high distinction. Amongst the company were the Dukes of Sussex, Devonshire, and Leinster, Lord Grey, Lord Fitzwilliam, Lord Shrewsbury, Lord Donoughmore, Lord Stourton, Lord Clifford, Lord Nugent, Lord Arundel, Sir Francis Burdett, Mr. Butler, Mr. Abercrombie, Mr. Blunt, Mr. Denman, and other persons of eminence and fame. The Duke of Norfolk came forward to meet us, and gave us a cordial and cheerful welcome. This amiable nobleman is distinguished by the kindness and goodness of his manners, which bespeak an excellent and unassuming spirit, and through all the political intercourse which we had with him upon the great question, in which he feels so deep an interest, manifested a shrewd sound sense, and a high and intense anxiety for the success of the great cause of religious liberty, from which very beneficial results have already ensued. He has been very instrumental in effecting a junction between the English and Irish Roman Catholics, and has thus conferred a great service upon both. We were received by him with the most gracious and unaffected urbanity. I was struck with the perfect freedom from authoritativeness which characterised most of the eminent men who were placed about me. There is among the petty aristocracy of Ireland infinitely more arrogance of port and look than I observed among the first men of the British empire. Certain of our colonial aristocracy are far more bloated and full-blown with a notion of their own importance. The reason is obvious. The former rest in security upon their unquestionable title to respect. Their dignity fits them like an accustomed garment. But men who are raised but to a small elevation, on which they hold a dubious ground, feel it necessary to impress their consequence upon others by an assumption of superiority which is always offensive, and generally absurd. Lord Fitzwilliam was the person with whom I was disposed to be most pleased. This venerable nobleman carries, with a grey head, a young and fresh heart. He may be called the old Adam of the litical world; and England might well exclaim to her faithful servant, in the language of Orlando,
"Oh, good old man, how well in thee appears
It is impossible to look upon this amiable and dignified patrician of the olden stamp, without a feeling of affectionate admiration for his pure and distinguished patriotism and the warm love of his country, which lives (if I may so say) under the ashes of age, and requires but to be stirred to emit the flashes of its former fire. The natural apathy incidental to his time of life, appears habitually to prevail over him; but speak to him of the great interests of the empire-speak to him of that measure which at an earlier period he was delegated by his sovereign to complete-speak to him of Ireland, and through the dimness that loads his eye, a sudden illumination will break forth. For Ireland he entertains a kind of paternal tenderness. He reverted with a Nestorian pride to the period of his own government; and mentioned that he had preserved the addresses which he had received from the Roman Catholic body as among the best memorials of his political life. That he should live long enough to see the emancipation of the Irish people, seemed to be the wish nearest to his heart. It does one good-it is useful in a moral point of view, to approach such a person as Lord Fitzwilliam, and to feel that there is in public men such a thing as a pure and disinterested anxiety for the benefit of mankind, and that the vows of all politicians are not, whatever we may be disposed to think," as false as dicers' oaths." In describing the impression produced upon me by Lord Fitzwilliam, I have mentioned the result of my observation at Mr. Ponsonby's where the deputies afterwards met him, as well as at Norfolk-house. Lord Grey also dined at Mr. Ponsonby's, where I had a better opportunity of noting him. He is somewhat silent and reserved. It is the fashion among Tories to account him contemptuous and haughty; but I cannot coincide with them. He has, indeed, a lofty bearing, but it is not at all artificial. It is the aristocracy of virtue as well as rank. There is something uncompromising, and perhaps stern as well as inflexible in his aspect. Tall, erect, and collected in himself, he carries the evidences of moral and intellectual ascendency impressed upon him, and looks as if he knew himself to be, in the proudest sense which the poet has attached to the character, not only a great but an honest man. And why should he not look exactly what he is? Why should he not wrap himself in the consciousness of his political integrity, and seem to say, "mea virtute involvo," while so many others, who were once the companions of his journey, and who turned aside into a more luxuriant road, in taking a retrospect, as the close of life is drawing near, of the mazy course which they have trod, behold it winding through a rich and champaigne country, and occasionally deviating into low but not unproductive declivities? This eminent man, in looking back from the point of moral elevation on which he stands, will trace his path in one direct and unbroken line-through a lofty region which has been barren of all but fame, and from which no allurement of ease, or of profusion, could ever induce him to depart. Lord Grey has a touch of sadness upon him, which would look dissatisfaction to a placeman's eye; but there is nothing really morose or atrabilious in his expression. He
has found that sorrow can unbar the palaces of the great, as well as unlatch the cottages of the lowly. His dear friend and near ally is gone-his party is almost broken. He has survived the death, and, let me add, the virtue of many illustrious men, and looks like the lonely column of the fabric which he sustained so nobly, and which has fallen at last around him. It is not wonderful that he should seem to stand in solitary loftiness, and that melancholy should have given a solemn tinge to his mind. He spoke of the measures intended to be made collateral to emancipation, and said,
(The conclusion in our next Number.)
THE THOMPSON PAPERS.
MR. THOMPSON having favoured us with another bundle of the letters he has received from various correspondents during the last thirty days, we proceed, agreeably to the promise held out in our March number, to lay them before our readers.
Russell Square, 31st March.
Sir,-Having had the pleasure of meeting you last year at a Mansion-house dinner given to a few parliamentary' advocates of Catholic emancipation, and about a hundred select friends of the Lord Mayor, of whom I had the honour to be one, (which I dare say you will recollect, as it was I who helped you to the very best part of the haunch of venison) I take the liberty of requesting your interference in the House of Commons to protect this respectable quarter of the metropolis against the sarcasms and lampoons which are daily levelled against it, both in and out of parliament. It has become the fashion to make a dead set against this and the adjoining squares, a sort of unmerited indignity to which we cannot tamely submit. In a recent debate, Mr. Croker spoke sneeringly of our whole vicinity, as if we constituted a terra incognita which might perhaps have been heard of, but which no fashionable people could possibly think of visiting. The author of "Sayings and Doings," although it is currently reported that his father resided for many years in Charlotte-street, Bedford-square, indulges in perpetual taunts against our neighbourhood, and not only talks of a vulgar expression as a "Bloomsburyism," but has lodged his Abberly family, that immortal specimen of a lawyer's wife, and her frugivorous children, in Montague-street, Russell-square. Grimm's Ghost in the New Monthly Magazine rises up every thirty days to twit us with some new ridicule, pretending, forsooth, that any one undertaking a journey to us from the fashionable haunts of London, must necessarily change horses by the way, so that we threaten to be held up as a by-word and a laughing-stock unless some speedy measures be adopted for the assertion of our gentility.
You are therefore, Sir, authorised by me to state, should any member make further attempt to quiz us that there are two aldermen and two knights in our square, besides eight other persons who keep
VOL. IX. No. 53.-1825.