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good in him to recommend me dressing in my father's clothes, gaiters, shoes, and all, besides his broad hat and spectacles. Even if Mary is een with a man, people can't say any thing when they think it is my father; and, besides, it is impossible for him to hear of my having met with her, as I defy any one to swear to my identity in these clothes."
"Here we are," said Bob at this moment, "never mind the bonnet, 'tis Mary, I assure you. I will go and keep guard, but don't be long.' Mr Bob then walked directly towards the biggest tree in our parish, which is called the Pilgrim's Elm, and is not above fifty yards south of the resting-place of the lovers. Hidden from observation, even if it had been daylight, behind its gigantic trunk stood no other than Mr Padden himself.
"You see if all I say aint true, father," said the son; you go and watch them-such billing and cooing never was disgraceful! phaugh!"
The old gentleman said nothing, but stole quietly to the south end of the little clump of bushes, from which he could catch dim glimpses of human figures, and hear indistinct murmurs of human voices. The conversation between the lovers, as indeed I believe is fitting on such occasions, was carried on in a tone which would scarcely have reached an ear placed nearer to them than that of Mr Padden. A very short time sufficed to explain to each other their sorrow at the dis. agreement of their fathers; and, as I do not pretend to paint Mary as altogether perfect, I will not deny that she made enquiries about Sukey Stubbs, though she felt convinced, without Plantagenet's assertions, that there was no real ground for the report. When Tadgy had told her that such an idea had never entered into any body's head, and was a vile creation of Master Bob's malice, Mary could not refrain from raising her voice a little, while she said,
"My brother is certainly the most spiteful, and malicious wretch in all the world!"
"A good thrashing would do him no harm," was the rejoinder of Plantagenet, in the same tone.
"You old abominable flirt!" thought Mr Padden, before whose eyes floated indistinctly the cloak and bonnet of his sister, Aunt Margaret;
"and you, you old debauchee," he continued, turning his look on the peculiar hat and long-backed coat of his antagonist, Mr Simpkinson—“ I'll work you both for this. I'll expose them both, if Margaret had ten times five thousand pounds. Malicious wretch! thrashing indeed! most ungentlemany language! very."
The old gentleman, however, managed to restrain his wrath within peaceable bounds, and strained every nerve to catch some more of the conversation. But it appears to have sunk into quieter channels, and glided at its own sweet will from the past to the future, and, indeed, through all the tenses of the verb amare.
"Come, now, I must go," said Mary, "'tis getting late.'
"Not yet, my dear girl, we may not meet again for a long time;" and while Mary rose to go, and Tadgy argued to detain her, I will not undertake to swear, that the broad hat of the gentleman did not lift up the front of the straw bonnet in a very peculiar fashion.
"Kissed her, by all that's beastly!" ejaculated Mr Padden, as he hurried round the clump to confront them as they emerged into the middle walk"If he isn't a parabola, and an allucination too, or something worse, if any thing can be worse, I'm no gen. tleman, that's all."
As he rushed to the north end of the bushes, he came suddenly on the object of his search, but Mary had disappeared. Mr Simpkinson had his mouth apparently so filled with big words, that they tumbled and jostled over each other in their effort to escape.
"Sir," he began, "in all my experience of the subtleties of privy conspiracy and rebellion, this is the grand climacteric and apex. Here have I been listening to the plans of your daughter, who is deluding my son."
"My daughter!" broke in Mr Padden, " your son, sir! · My sister you mean, and yourself-most ungentlemany behaviour! Haven't I seen you with my own eyes, salute that foolish old woman, for the sake of her five thousand pounds in the four per cents -haven't I heard you say that a thrashing, sir-a thrashing would do me good; your conduct is ungentlemany, sir-very ungentlemany indeed!"
"What do you mean, sir, you hypercritical paradigma? hasn't your own son, Robert, told me the whole plot; that you told your daughter to disguise herself like her aunt, to have the opportunity of meeting John Plantagenet Simpkinson, my son? Haven't I seen their meeting? I pause for a reply!"
"This won't do with me, Mr Simp. kinson, nor with any gentleman. There is no mistaking your hat and coat-nor poor sister Margaret's cloak and bonnet; and, as her nearest relation, I shall see that she is not trifled with -good-night, sir."
"By no means, sir," exclaimed the orator, "this is a point involving gigantic considerations of preponderance and importance. Your daughter has inveigled my son to this candlestine meeting, and you now cast the iniquity upon me. You shall account for this before we part."
A low whistle at this instant hindered the two chief inhabitants of Buzzleton from giving each other a bloody nose; for no sooner was the whistle heard than the fons et origo mali, the identical Mr Tapps, the bellman, assisted by his former rival, Mr Hicks, who, by way of a compensation, had been made supernumerary constable, rushed forward on the belligerents, and arrested them, informing them, at the same time, that his worship the mayor had received information from Mr Robert Padden of their intention to fight a duel.
Here was confusion worse confounded! Our two dignitaries to be marched in charge of the authorities to his worship's house, and thence, after examination, to be either bound over to keep the peace, or consigned to the cage! Mutual danger smoothed the way in a great measure to a mutual accommodation, and when at last our magnates appeared in the mayor's parlour, they seemed to have almost renewed their ancient friendship. The eloquence of Mr Simpkinson had seldom shone so much as in his explanation to the mayor of all the circumstances of the case; but that official being perhaps not so deeply read in Cicero as was becoming for so high an officer, professed himself totally at a loss to comprehend one syllable of the whole transaction. Under these circumstances, he judged it best to send for all
the parties implicated, and after the lapse of a few minutes, all had obeyed his summons, with the exception of the Yahoo. Mr Plantagenet, on parting from Mary, had returned to the walk, and, having nothing better to do, had carried into execution his long cherished resolution of thrashing that unfortunate victim to his heart's content an operation for which it is highly probable he could not have had a better opportunity if he had waited a century; for our whole civic force was occupied guarding the prisoners at the mayor's, and the night was dark, and the walk deserted.
It may be observed, as an illustration of the certainty of retribution even in this world, that when the party assembled at the mayor's discovered the cause of Mr Bob's absence; the justice of the treatment he had experienced, struck every one as so exemplary, that, in fact, it acted as a bond of union between the Montagus and Capulets, and rose in the eyes of the indignant Mr Simpkinson to the dignity of a providential dispensation. All things were easily explained-the orator went even so far as to withdraw the expressions parabola and hallucination, and Mr Padden professed himself perfectly satisfied with so gentlemany a proceeding.
That night there was a jolly supper at Mr Simpkinson's house-a supper, I am bound to observe, where the jokes that took place about the mistakes caused by that eloquent individual's coat and hat, and Aunt Margaret's cloak and bonnet, bade fair to produce a realization of a close connexion between those useful articles of apparel. Mr Padden looked a little alarmed; but the fit passed off, Mr Simpkinson is still one great man and unmarried. The Yahoo has been a settler in Australia for a year; and the christening of John Plantagenet Simpkinson, junior, took place about six months since. Our friend Tadgy has retired from London, and, with his wife, resides alternately with the two sires. He is churchwarden, and holds two or three offices, besides; for now that the two families are united, they make one parish in a regular pocket borough. No other interest can resist them, so that one of the morals to be derived from this story is, that division is weakness, and union strength.
THE descendants of a great man owe it to their birth and their country to tell the world all that can be wisely known of him who has illustrated their name and his age. Biography conducted on this principle of honest purpose, and exact detail, would be among the most valuable legacies which could be devised to a nation. History is on too large a scale for the guidance of individual life. It is the map of an empire, where we require the topography of a village; essential to statesmen as an especial study, and important to all men as the contemplation of objects on that large scale which enlarges the mind of the contemplatist, placing before us all times, and their memorable men, in successive galleries, through which no man can pass without feeling his standard of human nature elevated. They want that fireside portraiture in which we see the actual features of our own line. The solemn stature and heroic costume of those figures of intellectual and physical greatness, whom the common voice of mankind has placed in the universal historic temple, are too remote from the forms and habits of popular life for our personal instruction; and we long to find some models more familiar to our eyes, and more corresponding to the exigencies of our career. This is the first value of biography, and the writer who gives us the fullest intelligence of the progress, the pursuits, the difficulties to be overcome, and the means which lead to victory, in a single mind, even though the career were simple, and the success obscure, would render a service for which every man of sense must feel a debt of gratitude.
But the service is unquestionably of a higher order when it comprehends both public and private instruction. The history of the last fifty years of Ireland bears upon every page of it, the name of the subject of this memoir. Whether for ultimate good or evil, Henry Grattan was always prominent in the affairs of his country, and that country one of the most
hasty, violent, and capricious on the earth. The singular moral condition in which Ireland has found herself placed, by her at once possessing the highest rights of political freedom, and being subjected to the severest religious slavery, alone can account for her perpetual political disturbance. She is the only country of Europe in which complete freedom and complete superstition subsist side by side. She accordingly affords the most extraordinary displays of the phenomena of those conflicting elements. collision of hot and cold, moist and dry, which disturbs the tropics, is only an emblem of her political atmosphere. She is in a political monsoon. If freedom in other lands brings out their rankness along with the fertility of the soil, or if superstition makes some imperfect atonement for the stagnation of the people in the silence of religious discord; in Ireland even those feeble palliatives are not to be found. The slave of the priest is the revolter against the laws; the unquestioning subject of Rome is the intractable rebel to England; the man whose whole life is a series of prostrations to the Popish altar, never looks but with towering defiance and arrogant hostility towards the British throne.
The causes which produced this eminently disastrous state of things, are best to be sought in the conduct of the chief men of the country; and of those Grattan was, beyond all competition, the chief himself. The “Irish Constitution" was wholly his work. It had subordinate labourers, some of remarkable vigour, and some of striking ability; some of remarkable dishonesty, and some, we shall not doubt, of unimpeachable virtue. But Grattan was the architect. It is true, that his model was as unwisely chosen, as his fabric was slightly built-that instead of a temple he built a theatreand that, giving way to the fantastic fashion of his time, instead of preparing the people for the calm and decorous worship of liberty, he crowded them into his theatre to witness
Memoirs of the Life and Times of the Right Hon. Henry Grattan; by his Son Henry Grattan, M.P. 2 Vols. 1839.
his mingled melodrame, where tragedy and farce confused each other, until the spectators themselves grew weary; the manlier retired, the weak, the wild, and the intoxicated only remained, until the alarm of the empire was awakened by the furious follies of the scene; and, to prevent the name of the constitution from being used as the pretext for a den of Papists and rebels, the doors were shut, and the fabric was left to fall by its natural decay.
The memory of Henry Grattan holds the highest place in the recollections of Ireland. No man before or after him has eclipsed it—no man has rivaled it no man has even been able to disturb it. The popularity of Irish leaders since his day has been built on foundations which must give way: public intrigue supporting scanty honesty-desperate appeals to popular ignorance, supporting tainted character the brawling affectation of patriotism, supporting notorious selfishness-guilty temptation to peasant violence, supporting the pretences of a peacemaker. Such claims must be seen through, and from that moment they must be rejected. Their monuments of such men are not merely built of sand, but they are built on the sea-shore. The natural progress of opinion sweeps them away. The monument of men like Grattan is the watch-tower, to be washed perhaps by the tide, but to stand: in the season of serenity a noble memorial of the in dustry and power of the past-in the tempest, the object to which the eyes of the steersman of the state are naturally turned, to discover the true bearings of their course, and assure them of safety.
But in this tribute to the talents of Grattan, we must protest against giving any share to his politics. In fact, one of the most important lessons to be learned from this book, by men who are yet to emulate his ability, would be to avoid his footsteps. The unhappy accident of early association involved him in Whiggism.
public circumstances of Ireland held him in the chain, until nearly the close of his life. Grattan was forced to drag the manacles of a partisan at the wheels of a faction; while he had inherited faculties from nature to have mounted a triumphal chariot of his own, and led his country rejoicing
after him up the steep of peace and honour.
Nor must we include in the tribute any portion of the authorship before us. Mr Henry Grattan, the son of a distinguished father, has only shown how fatal a possession may be the frailties of a man of talent, without the talent which relieved them of public ridicule, or the prudence which could fling them off in times requiring public and personal manliness. The fantastic antipathy to England, the love of imaginary grievance, and even the coxcombry of the parental style, have been transmitted to the descendant with the most scrupulous exactness. In the father, those follies were forgotten in the first moment when his real strength was to be put forth. They were the mere creations of his idle hours-the weeds that gathered round the trunk of the tree, but were swept off at the first blast of the storm. With the son, they have climbed and covered the whole tree; and will climb, till they have brought it to the ground: he is all over one parasite plant. Every sentence which his pen drops, blisters the paper with bitterness against England.
An Irish member of Parliament, expressly brought in by the priests, he complains against the slavery of the Irish Papist; indulging in the utmost extravagance of speech, he tears his locks over the fettered freedom of Hibernian elocution; and, contemptuously aspersing all the political opponents of Popery and O'Connellism in England, he pronounces all the anathemas of an inflated fancy and a reckless tongue, against the English injustice of charging faction with the disturbances of Ireland.
Of his style we have no desire to say any thing. In the narrative of great men and things, style is scarcely important. But the style adopted by a great man, is a melancholy instrument in the hands of the smaller generation. The lion's hide that hangs with such ease on the shoulders of Hercules, suffocates the attendant dwarf. The truth is, that the genuine great man has no permanent style. Whatever affectations may have grown on him, they are matters which are altogether extraneous to his mind.. They disappear at the first moment when the interest of his topic awakes his powers. The lounging attitude, or the mincing step, are forgotten
when he once treads on the field. The first impulse of a struggle worthy of himself, brings out all his native proportions-the muscles are shown, and the coxcomb is lost in the champion. Grattan's chief fault was a style disfigured by antithesis; but this fault almost wholly disappeared when he became once fully warmed with his subject. They were but the clouds which gathered over his eloquence in the hour of listlessness and tranquillity; but when the storm was up, they were drifted away before its breath. In his argument he is often difficult and obscure; but in his passion never. There all is plain; he speaks with a force equal to his feeling, and the fruit of his feeling. He is never more successful than when he thus abandons his mind and his cause to the ardour of his impressions; to this his chief triumphs were due in Parliament; he never showed greater genius, more of that unequivocal sense of mastery within, which constitutes the orator, than when, letting his ship drive under bare poles, he steered her before the wind, and when all guidance seemed helpless, still exerted that fine science which brought her into harbour. The extraordinary questions which he carried in the Irish Legislature, are an evidence of the not less extraordinary ardour with which his passion furnished him, and which still, even in the wrecks and remnants of Irish legislative history, remain specimens of the intense fire with which he less forged, than fused, the popular mind into the wildest shapes of his own will. However rugged, discordant, and intractable he found the materials of party and the people, he subdued them, he urged them into one mass, he vitrified them. We now regard those mea. sures with astonishment, alike at their rashness and the frenzied unanimity with which they were adopted; for Grattan's policy was as precipitate as his eloquence was powerful. It is to the errors of this singular man that a large share of the Irish disabilities for all rational government, and all pure religion are owing, even to this hour, when they seem thickening more inveterately than ever. But let justice be done to the memory of genius. If he was a mistaken prophet, he was not a willing deceiver.
His imperfect science betrayed him into false calculations of those signs of
earth and heaven which regulate the changes of empires. He was the political astrologer, fantastic in his mys. tery, but a believer in his own reading of the stars. The oracle was fallacious, but it was not fraudulent; it was wholly the reverse of that system of determined deception and imposture for pay, which characterises the oracles of Ireland in later times. The charlatans who now mount the tripod, are alike gross and evil, disgusting in their aspect, and dangerous in their announcements. We turn from them with disdain to the sincere dreams and lofty credulity of the enthusiast who once held the seat of the fancied inspiration, and whose language, erroneous though it be, still gives us images of unborrowed beauty, and the majestic rapture of a brilliant, though a wayward mind.
But we must wholly remonstrate against the views which these volumes give of every individual whose public opinions happen to fail of exact coincidence with those of the author. Outrageous in demanding his right to be heard, he insists on the silence of every other claim. Clamouring for the best construction of his own dubious motives, he denies that any man in possession of his senses can be other than a knave, unless he should happen to be a Whig; and plunged in faction to a depth which has palpably buried him from the light of common reason, and the benefit of common knowledge, he deals with history as if it were a Papist witness, put in the jury-box to prove against the fact. His character of George the Third, for example, is a continued extravagance: determined to be malignant, without the skill to be severe, he pours out upon the name of this best of men and monarchs, an expectoration of vulgar wrath, which naturally falls back upon his own visage. The simple character of the king is stamped with a succession of brands, each effacing the other. With a more than womanish spirit of defamation, he alternately rails at the deceased monarch as a monster, and a mime; as something too fearful to approach, and too trifling to be worth punishment; as a Machiavel on the throne, and a simpleton every where: as a sullen hypocrite and a senseless devotee; as the cause of all the national evils from the commencement of his reign, and as having no influence what..