Imatges de pÓgina

into the nostrils of a human image, and awaking him to cast his eyes round a new creation. This language is not exaggerated. The enthusiasm, the rejoicing, the gratitude of Ireland, on her first possession of public rights, were beyond all language. The proceedings of the first few years after 1782, were like a continued triumph. The man who had led the battle, led the march to the capitol; but, unlike the triumph of the Roman, his glory was that his car was followed by no slave. In after years, this man was repelled by the same heated and impetuous spirit which then rushed, rejoicing, before, and around, and behind his progress. The popular feeling grew disturbed. It was a time of European perplexity. The first advances of the great convulsion, which was yet to lift temples and thrones upon it, like weeds upon a wave, were felt in the quiverings of the earth, and the overshadowing of the air; and, far as Ireland was from the central shock, she was reached by the general heave. But her first exultation was be yond all experience. beam of the sun upon Memnon's statue; and if, as the day advanced, the voice died, and the form was tinged with a darker hue, the early miracle was yet the great testimony and tribute, neither to be forgotten nor retracted.

It was the first

It is the praise of Mr. Grattan, and no man needs desire a nobler epitaph, that, with powers supremely fitted to influence the multitude, he restrained himself from popular excitement. The Irish have habitual propensities to public speaking; and Mr. Grattan's celebrity had still more strongly turned the powers of her ambitious minds to oratory. But he withdrew from the temptations of the hustings and the highway, to devote his mind under the only roof where public freedom can be worshipped without reproach and without fear. His place was in the house of commons. There he laboured, and there he lived. It was full of his trophies. He was its true architect. It might have been said of him, "Si monumentum ejus queris, circum"spice." And for this he had his reward. The long succession of demagogues, who each misled the public mind, and who, for the time, were borne above him, perished like the foam when the storm is done. Mr. Grattan's name always rose with the falling of the surge,

and in the returned calmness and sunshine of the great popular expanse, his firm renown stood up like a rock from the bosom of the ocean.

The chief instrument of those successes was his eloquence. It had the first mark of genius, originality. With Burke, Curran, and Sheridan, for his contemporaries, his senatorial oratory had a form and countenance altogether its own. All definitions of the powers of those gifted men have grown common-place; but with a portion of what made the splendour of each, he had a direction distinct and peculiar. He was not a satellite of the most illustrious among them, but a new star, sweeping round its own orbit, and enlightening its own region, undisturbed, and unexhausted. But his style had the merit of being admirably fit for immediate impression. It kept clear from the solemn didactic with which Burke sometimes barred up the torrents of his oratory. It was not seduced into the fantastic wit with which Curran often made his audience laugh where he should have made them feel. The broad bumour that impaired and drew down towards earth the loftiest imaginations of Sheridan, was never attempted by him. But for those he brought keen, solid, vivid thought; in language condensed, and close to its substance, shaped like the sheath to a sword. ful imagination never wasted itself on idle flights, never spread out its ætherial flames and colours to wanton before the eye. It was always strongly employed, always striking home upon its object with concentrated power. Its fault was mannerism :-this has been observed to be the natural fault of all original minds. The torrent and vigour of feeling which has forced away a new channel for its stream, can scarcely be soothed and subjected into other courses. The strength which it inherits from its first mighty bound never deserts it altogether; and, even in its gentlest flow, a trivial check chafes and rouses it into the torrent again.

His power

Mr. Grattan's habit of antithesis was the single fault of his style. It grew on him with the close of life. In his early speeches it was rare. Of those famous speeches nothing now remains but a few imperfect reports, and the fragments that are yet treasured in the memories of their ancient hearers, like oracles, But the true evidence of their

power is in what they had done. They found Ireland a place of desolation and savagery. They collected its scattered powers, and taught them wisdom and language; and, with more than the old miracle of Greece, built up the walls of their polity. Before Mr. Grattan, Ireland had scarcely a merchant, or a manufacturer, or a statesman, or a man of name in literature. He created them all, or rather he smote away the encumbrances of the soil, and left its native fertility to flourish and ascend in the light and air of constitution.

His conduct on the public questions which agitated Ireland, in common with the civilized world, was conformable to his wise and pure intelligence. He met the habitual fate of moderation, and was the object of offence to vulgar partisanship on both sides. But his fortitude was as little to be broken down, as his honour; and, when the lunacy of the hour was past, all venerated his cloudless and superior course with the same homage, In his conduct of the Catholic question, he gave a model for the pursuit of all great claims for the time to come. His heart was in his cause; but his zeal was without bigotry, rashness, or irritation. He saw intruders rush before him, and bear away his followers to unfruitful enterprises; but in this attempt to recover the ancient privileges, the Palestine of the Catholic, he neither quickened nor retarded his march for the enthusiasts who hastened to cover the desert with their bodies. His advance was deliberate, but it was secure. 'The leader reflected lustre on the host; and, before he died, he left them in sight of the city to which they had looked in hopelessness for a hundred years.

But Mr. Grattan is defrauded of his highest praise, if his integrity is forgotten. His powers might have commanded all that ambition covets. He was impregnable to place and title. He refused all honours and emoluments, even when they were offered by hands which he honoured. He declared himself to be the purchased servant of the country, and to be incapable of adopting another master. No disclosure that death, the 'great unsealer of cabinets, has made, has been able to throw a shadow on the exalted patriotism of Mr. Grattan. No evil secrets are buried in his grave. He lived till he saw doubt and detraction perish before him,

and was assured of his immortality. But his grave does not bound the services of such a life. While there is memory in

man, his name will be an incentive to the generous ambition of his country. But he is now gathered to the great repository of the human race, and belongs to the infinite assemblage of all tongues, and ages, and nations, that have been. The virtues of the dead patriot become the property of mankind. The small seed is buried in the earth, but from it springs the mighty tree gathering the dews of heaven in its branches, and covering the multitude with its shade. Anonymous.

$138. Character of Mr. CURRAN.

Like his great precursor in England, John Dunning, Lord Ashburton, in his face, form, and figure, there was nothing calculated to attract attention. Nature is never lavish of a variety of gifts; and therefore seldom unites a very handsome person with extraordinary mental accomplishments. Accordingly, it must be candidly allowed that the first appearance of this gentleman did not augur favourably of his talents. His stature was considerably below even the middle size; and being uncommonly thin, as well as agile, which qualities were combined with a certain playfulness of manner, he appeared at a distance like a boy. Nor, on a nearer approach, did his features display any of the finer traits, that look of animation, or those inexpressible characteristics which are usually supposed at once to betoken and to accompany genius.

Yet he gradually improved in conversation, and, as if to demonstrate that the want of beauty may be fully compensated by other accomplishments, all prejudice and prepossession gradually disappeared from the mind of the beholder.

But it was not until he became animated that Mr. Curran appeared interesting. Then indeed, more especially on great public occasions, he assumed a new and imposing aspect. His black piercing eyes lighted up a countenance which before seemed dark, dismal, and unmeaning; every feature became suddenly dilated; he appeared to rise taller and fairer in point of form and stature; and at length seemed actually to occupy a larger space in the eye of the delighted stranger. Every one present felt a generous compunction for the prejudices with which he had been at first viewed;

and at length the pleased and enraptured audience, as if unconscious of the dignity of a court of justice, or the imposing majesty of a representative senate, by one sudden and simultaneous burst of applause, seemed unequivocally to testify that he had awakened and excited all the noblest passions of which the human heart is susceptible.


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Of his character as a lawyer little requires to be said here. Having been chiefly employed in nisi prius and criminal causes, he doubtless possessed sufficient skill and reading for the purposes of his clients. It was rather, however, from the ample stores of his own mind than either "ancient" "modern reports;" the depths of the "common,' the conflicting but peremptory commands of the "statute law," or the almost-forgotten rolls, denominated the "year books," that he drew his chief resources. On trifling occasions he would condescend to harness and bring forward all the light artillery of raillery, satire, and invective. He dearly loved a classical and appropriate quotation; and did not disdain even a squib or a pun. By his pleasantry he appeared for a moment to conciliate even the bench. But it was his well-directed sarcasms that served instantly to abate the nuisance, or remove the petty injustice of which he complained; and, while the frequent sallies of a happy imagination played like lightning in the faces of his adversaries, the causticity of his wit seemed to smite, and wither, and shrivel up the puny efforts of his discomfited opponents.

On great events he affected pathos;

and then he himself appeared to be fully imbued with, and actuated by, a due and deep sense of the wrongs of which he complained. If we are to give full credit to the testimony of some of his contemporaries, he united two rare, distinct, and opposite qualifications in his own person: the fine style of defensive eloquence, once exhibited by an Erskine, with all the subtle, nice, and discriminating powers occasionally employed by a Garrow, when he was employed to detect subornation; to lay bare guilt; to support and establish innocence.

On several memorable occasions he defied the threats of commitment, and the frowns of the court: these indeed were formidable engines; but, when the life of a fellow-creature was at stake, he always exhibited a daring and a dauntless resistance. One memorable instance is recorded of his courage. At a time when Ireland was unhappily deluged with her own blood, and animosities sharpened to a deadly height, by the fatal feuds of partypolitics and adverse religions, his eloquence was invoked for the protection of some prisoners, whose crimes appeared to him to have originated in the guilty fears of their prosecutors. As he was denouncing vengeance against these, many of whom were present and in uniform, some of the yeomen, incited by a sudden impulse, are said to have actually drawn their swords. On this he assumed a stern and undismayed look; and, after exclaiming aloud, "You


may assassinate, but you shall not inti"midate me," continued his speech as if nothing had occurred!









§ 1. The Story of LE FEVRE.

IT T was some time in the summer of that year in which Dendermond was taken by the allies, which was about seven years before my father came into the country, and about as many after the time that my uncle Toby and Trim had privately decamped from my father's house in town, in order to lay some of the finest sieges to some of the finest fortified cities in Europe -When my uncle Toby was one evening getting his supper, with Trim sitting behind him at a small sideboard;-the landlord of a little inn in the village came into the parlour with an empty phial in his hand to beg a glass or two of sack; 'tis for a poor gentleman,-I think, of the army, said the landlord, who has been taken ill at my house four days ago, and has never held up his head since, or had a desire to taste any thing till just now, that he has a fancy for a glass of sack, and a thin toast.—I think, says he, taking his hand from his forehead, it would comfort me. -If I could neither beg, borrow, nor buy such a thing,-added the landlord, I would almost steal it for the poor gentleman, he is so ill. I hope in God he will still mend, continued he-we are all of us concerned for him.

Thou art a good-natured soul, I will answer for thee, cried my uncle Toby; and thou shalt drink the poor gentleman's health in a glass of sack thyself,-and take a couple of bottles, and my service, and

tell him he is heartily welcome to them, and to a dozen more, if they will do him good.

Though I am persuaded, said iny uncle Toby, as the landlord shut the door, he is a very compassionate fellow-Trim,—yet I cannot help entertaining an high opinion of his guest too; there must be something more than common in him, that in so short a time should win so much upon the affections of his host-And of his whole family, added the corporal, for they are all concerned for him.- -Step after him, said my uncle Toby,-do, Trim,—and ask if he knows his name.

I have quite forgot it, truly, said the landlord, coming back into the parlour with the corporal,-but I can ask his son again— Has he a son with him then? said my uncle Toby.—A boy, replied the landlord, of about eleven or twelve years of age;-but the poor creature has tasted almost as little as his father; he does nothing but mourn and lament for him night and day: he has not stirred from the bed-side these two days.

My uncle Toby laid down his knife and fork, and thrust his plate from before him, as the landlord gave him the account; and Trim, without being ordered, took away without saying one word, and in a few minutes after brought him his pipe and tobacco.

Stay in the room a little, says my

uncle Toby.Trim!-said my uncle Toby, after he

had lighted his pipe, and smoked about a dozen whiffs-Trim came in front of his master, and made his bow: my uncle Toby smoked on, and said no more. Corporal! said my uncle Toby,-the corporal made his bow.-My uncle Toby proceeded no farther, but finished his pipe.

Trim! said my uncle Toby, I have a project in my head, as it is a bad night, of wrapping myself up warm in my roquelaure, and paying a visit to this poor gentleman. Your honour's roquelaure, replied the corporal, has not once been had on, since the night before your honour received your wound, when we mounted guard in the trenches before the gate of St. Nicholas; and besides, it is so cold and rainy a night, that what with the roquelaure, and what with the weather, 'twill be enough to give your honour your death, and bring on your honour's torment in your groin. I fear so, replied my uncle Toby; but I am not at rest in my mind, Trim, since the account the landlord has given me.-1 wish I had not known so much of this affair-added my uncle Toby, or that I had known more of it:-How shall we manage it?-Leave it, an't please your honour, to me, quoth the corporal;-I'll take my hat and stick, and go to the house and reconnoitre, and act accord ingly; and I will bring your honour a full account in an hour.--Thou shalt go, Trim, said my uncle Toby, and here's a shilling for thee to drink with his servant -I shall get it all out of him, said the corporal, shutting the door.

My uncle Toby filled his second pipe; and had it not been, that he now and then wandered from the point, with considering whether it was not full as well to have the curtain of the tennaile a straight line, as a crooked one, he might be said to have thought of nothing else but poor Le Fevre and his boy the whole time he smoked it.

It was not till my uncle Toby had knocked the ashes out of his third pipe, that corporal Trim returned from the inn, and

gave him the following account. I despaired at first, said the corporal, of being able to bring back your honour any kind of intelligence concerning the poor sick lieutenant-Is he in the army then? said my uncle Toby-He is, said the corporal-And in what regiment? said my uncle Toby-I'll tell your honour, replied the corporal, every thing straight for

wards, as I learnt it---Then, Trim, I'll fill another pipe, said my uncle Toby, and not interrupt thee till thou hast done: so sit down at thy ease, Trim, in the window seat, and begin thy story again. The corporal made his old bow, which generally spoke, as plain as a bow could speak it-" Your honour is good :"---And having done that, he sat down, as he was ordered,---and began the story to my uncle Toby over again in pretty near the same words.

I despaired at first, said the corporal, of being able to bring back any intelligence to your honour, about the lieutenant and his son; for when I asked where his servant was, from whom I made myself sure of knowing every thing which was proper to be asked---That's a right distinction, Trim, said my uncle Toby---I was answered, an' please your honour, that he had no servant with him ;---that he had come to the inn with hired horses, which, upon finding himself unable to proceed, (to join, I suppose, the regiment) he had dismissed the morning after he came.---If I get better, my dear, said he, as he gave his purse to his son to pay the man,---we can hire horses from hence.---But alas ! the poor gentleman will never go from hence, said the landlady to me,---for I heard the death-watch all night long and when he dies, the youth, his son, will certainly die with him: for he is brokenhearted already.

I was hearing this account, continued the corporal, when the youth came into the kitchen, to order the thin toast the landlord spoke of ;---but I will do it for my father myself, said the youth---Pray let me save you the trouble, young gentleman, said I, taking up a fork for the purpose, and offering him my chair to sit down upon by the fire, whilst I did it.--I believe, sir, said he, very modestly, I can please him best myself.---I am sure, said I, his honour will not like the toast the worse for being toasted by an old soldier.---The youth took hold of my hand, and instantly burst into tears.---Poor youth! said my uncle Toby,---he has been bred up from an infant in the army, and the name of a soldier, Trim, sounded in his ears like the name of a friend ;---I wish I had him here.

I never, in the longest march, said the corporal, had so great a mind to my dinner, as I had to cry with him for company :--- What could be the matter with

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