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ceed, but I don't think they will.” On 14th April he reported that the meeting had been held, and was a great success :
“Our meeting has gone off admirably, and has produced a strong sensation. It will have its effect on the other side. There has not been such a reunion of all classes of reformersnobles, gentry, merchants, and shop-keepers-here for years. The Orangemen attempted some little interruption, but they were crushed, and their presence gave vivacity to the meeting, and energy to the speakers.
We now wait the result of Monday's discussion, having done our part well. It was no small matter getting the Duke of Leinster to preside. He had declared that he would never meet O'Connell at a public meeting for political purposes. I had some share in getting all this managed. I got Lord Charlemont to go down and dine with the Duke, and then .propose to him to take the chair. This succeeded. The next consideration was where to get a room large enough, and I proposed the theatre. The objection was, not having sufficient daylight, but this was met by proposing to have the usual gas-light.
My new master [Lord Ebrington] goes on very well. He is an excellent man, very different in manner from Lord Normanby, of a much graver cast, and the ladies will miss the gaiety of the Normanby Court; but the course of policy will be as firmly and inflexibly followed as before."
A similar meeting, attempted to be got up in Edinburgh, was a failure—the Radicals and Dissenters ousting the local Whig leaders from the platform, and converting the intended demonstration in favour of the Government into a demonstration against the Whigs, and all unprincipled favourers of the papacy !
The Government had a temporary triumph; it was quickly succeeded by a virtual defeat on their Jamaican policy, which again was followed by their resignation. Sir Robert Peel, at the call of the Queen, proceeded to form an administration, but declined to go on with it because Her Majesty insisted on retaining in attendance upon her the sister of Lord Morpeth and the wife of Lord Normanby—the men whose policy in Ireland was the subject, of all others, most keenly contested at the time between parties in Parliament. On Peel's declinature the Whigs resumed office—a course of which Drummond much disapproved. On 5th May 1839 he wrote to his mother, stating that for some days back he had been preparing to quit Ireland, but that the state of things had again changed, and he was to remain. “I do not at all like the grounds on which the Government has been resumed,” he says; “I think Peel is right, and that the struggle will end in our discomfiture and in the humiliation of the Queen.” He was right so far, that the event was for a time prejudicial to the interests of the Liberal party.*
Drummond's examination before the Roden Committee commenced on the 14th of June 1839, and ended
* Lord Brougham made the conduct of ministers on this occasion one of the chief grounds of attacking thein when they were defeated in the Lords, 6th August 1839. He said, “I will not deny I desired their fall when I saw them—with astonishment saw them, stand on the most Tory ground-ground ever most bitterly assailed by them in their better days—for the Tories always had the decency to cover over the nakedness of their courtly propensities with some rag of public principle, and spoke of danger to the church and the other institutions, when they really meant risk of the king being thwarted and their own power subverted. But these Whig ministers under my noble friend, stripping off all decent covering, without one rag of public principle of any kind, stand before the country stark naked, as mere courtiers—mere seekers of royal favour, and do not utter a single whisper to show that they have a single principle in their contemplation, save the securing a continuance of their places by making themselves subservient creatures of the palace." This indignation would have been virtuous, if it had not been spiteful.
on the 27th. The nature and objects of that examination have already, in part, been exhibited, and, in part, briefly referred to. The inquiry involved an investigation into the whole government of Ireland during Drummond's previous official life in the country; and in the Report of the Committee, which occupies 1584 pages folio, will be found the best record of his acts. The origin of the inquiry I formerly pointed out. There were charges against the Government of contravention of the Police Act of 1836, raised in connection partly with the trials of certain constables for offences, but chiefly with the resignation of the Inspector-General of the force—Colonel Shaw Kennedy.* The Government were charged with having abandoned or impaired the right of the Crown in regard to the challenging of jurors; with having produced, by their arrangements, an inferior class of jurors; and with failure in various other ways in the prosecution and punishment of offenders. They were farther charged with having shown partiality to the Roman Catholic people, with undue severity towards the Orangemen, and with neglect of duty in regard to the suppression of Ribandism and other illegal societies. They were also specially charged with an improper exhibition of clemency to convicts. The issue of the inquiry has already been stated. A draft report, adverse terms, was prepared by or for Lord Brougham. This was met by a counter draft of a report, referring to the various passages in the evidence which supported conclusions favourable to the Government. The counter draft was supported by the late Lord Hatherton. After a good deal of discussion, the committee resolved to report the evidence, and do
The result was, that the adverse opinion
* Referred to ante, p. 277.
which, upon Lord Brougham's motion, was expressed in the House of Lords, was in effect confined to one of the charges only—the liberation by Lord Normanby of some prisoners from jail, almost at the commencement of his Administration.
A few days after the close of his examination, Drummond paid a visit to Lord Spencer. They had met in London ; Drummond afterwards visited him at Althorp before returning to Dublin. This was the visit to which he was pressed by his lordship, in words already quoted, “This gives me a chance of seeing you again once more before I die." * Their conversation seems to have turned chiefly on the state of Drummond's health, his future career, and the propriety of his still remaining for a time in Ireland. There are two written accounts of the conversation-one, in a letter from Lord Spencer to Mr Drummond's mother, written on April 26, 1840; and the other, written July 12, 1839, by Drummond himself to his sister, from Liverpool on his way home. An extract from his lordship's letter will be given further on ; a passage from Drummond's is subjoined. His sister had written to him urging him to enter Parliament, and laying down some rules to which she recommended him to adhere with a view to parliamentary success.
"So far on my return. I have been in such a constant turmoil that I have not had time till now to thank
for your excellent note; it contains most judicious advice, and, be assured, that if ever the circumstances arise, I shall follow the plan you suggest. I have seen Lord Spencer, and his advice was given almost in your words. My examination before the Roden Committee has been, I believe, publicly useful and privately beneficial. Lord Spencer, who never flatters, though he may sometimes err, said, Your reputation has been immensely raised by your conduct in Ireland; it was well before that, but it stands much higher now. I do not think you should leave, because you cannot fill any other at present in which you could do so much good to your fellowcreatures; but, in the event of a break up, you must get into Parliament; and if you do, as you soon must, and as I think you will, there is no situation which you may not look to'. But then he added, in his usual frank manner, “I believe I am right; but, at the same time, my partiality may have warped my opinion.' I have doubts of my, success as a speaker ; but, if the time should come when I must make the experiment, I shall follow the plan which you and Lord Spencer prescribe."
The circumstances here contemplated were, however, never to arise. His resolution to remain to the last at the post where he conceived he could do most good to his fellow-creatures, was to be fatal to his prospects of a further career.
How he would have succeeded in Parliament has often since been a subject of speculation among the friends who survived him. It was understood that the department for which he was qualifying himself, and to which he was looking forward, was that of finance-in short, that his ambition was to become some day Chancellor of the Exchequer. Lord Hatherton's opinion, agreeing with that of Earl Spencer, is recorded, and was frequently expressed to Mr Drummond's friends in the Administration, “ that he was fitted for any department,” and that nothing could have prevented him, had he lived, from rising to the highest political eminence. A more prosaic view is Dr Madden's :
“ He had a mind of sufficient reach to grasp a large system of policy, and he knew how to grapple with the difficulties of execution. Indefatigable in labour, observant in spirit, and