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circumstances which led the untrained people to regard, and hate, the new laws and institutions as mere instruments of oppression; the unfortunate laws which from the first prevented the intermixture of the conquering with the conquered race, and rested society on a basis of settled antipathies between its upper and lower sections; and, finally, the peculiar history of the emancipation of the native race. Winning nothing except through the rivalries and fears of their Anglo-Irish and English oppressors, the native Irish were trained to watchfulness, organisation, and agitation for more than half a century, and so were cursed alike with evil habits and vile leaders, whereby their freedom, when obtained, was robbed of value and effect. The Union, though carried by fraud, was the first really good thing done for Ireland by this country, and, had it been accompanied with the concession of the Catholic claims, might have done as much for its peace as it has done for its prosperity. Neither the land nor the Church question is now hopeless. In a manner truly appalling, famine has solved at once the problems of over-population, bankrupt landlords, and insecure titles. The Church, human justice must soon dispose of. And since, from 1835 at least, the aim has been to govern Ireland well and justly,—could Irishmen now be reasonable, being free and well governed, they might be happy. Yet the country itself is as disaffected as ever; a race of expatriated Irishmen inherit the traditions and hatreds of their proscribed and disinherited forefathers ; and the “secret scourge” is still hanging over England.
No one can visit Ireland without being impressed with the universal discontent. There is disaffection in some form everywhere, and in almost every grade of society. It seems to be hereditary in the Irish heart and brain. Nay, it is even, as it were, in the very soil or in the air. It may be seen in some who have been but recently settled in the country, and the sojourner may feel that, did he remain long there, he should grow disaffected himself. The discontent in the better classes has no distinct assignable cause. It seems rather to be referable to a chronic mental perplexity, induced by the national history. The cause of disaffection among the lower orders is more apparent. The poor peasant, with his famished features, keen eyes, and murderous bludgeon, is, naturally enough, always ready to try the desperate chances of revolt. Till he is transformed into a well-fed, and, as a consequence, gay and happy being, there is no hope for Ireland.
What part Mr Drummond took in the government of Ireland, what he did and co-operated with others in doing, and what he aimed at doing for the good and tranquillity of the country, it is now my business to
IRELAND, 1835–1839; A NEW REGIME FOR IRELAND; THE
MULGRAVE ERA; DRUMMOND'S PART IN THE ADMINIS-
The feeling was general, in 1835, that something, or several things, must be done for Ireland. The state of parties in Parliament made it probable that something would be done, and certain that several things would be attempted. The Whigs owed their resumption of office, as they were for years to owe its continuance, to the support of the Irish Liberal Members. The exigencies of their position thus urged them to efforts on behalf of Ireland. Measures which had been initiated or contemplated on principle, were now to be pursued on party policy ; which also made more manifest the necessity for other measures before unthought of. The Whigs announced a new regime for Ireland. They set to themselves the task of amending, by legislation, some of the social and some of the most important political institutions of that country. They sent over to it a government directed to administer its affairs on new principles; which should aim at discharging religious rancour from the public mind by acting with imparti
ality between the rival Churches ; which should reform the Justiciary of the country ; which should establish and maintain order by the vigorous exercise of the ordinary powers of law; and which should develop in the Irish, what they so much wanted, respect for the law, by admistering it with the strictest integrity. The declaration of this new order was as honest as it was hopeful. It was certainly as honest as the terrified opposition which brought the new order to naught. The radical evils of Irish society, it may be conjectured, would not have yielded to any or to all of the methods of treatment proposed by the Whigs. But how much more satisfactory would it have been to-day had the insufficiency of the methods been a fairly ascertained fact, instead of a conjecture !
The three leading figures in the Administration established in Ireland to carry out the new regime were the Viceroy, Lord Mulgrave, afterwards Lord Normanby ; the Chief Secretary, Lord Morpeth ; and Mr UnderSecretary Drummond.
The Viceroy, is described by Dr Madden* as, “ in figure, accomplishments, habits, and talents, the nearest approximation ever witnessed to the ideal of an Hibernian Viceroy.” He was amiable, generous, and even princely in his disposition. “Without a tenth part of the resources that former viceroys possessed; without the aid of the Irish aristocracy; he nevertheless, by his tact and skill, contrived to keep up one of the most showy and sparkling vice-royalties that ever gratified the local pride of the Dublin public, and the provincial tastes of the Irish gentry. He was gay, dashing, and brilliant, always setting something on foot to amuse and gratify the public, who were caught at first
* “ Ireland and its Rulers,” vol. ii. p. 278. London, 1844.
sight' by his flashy and semi-military appearance, as he gracefully curvetted through the streets.” His lordship had abundance of tact, suavity, courtesy-in short, of all the arts of society. “He was the politest statesman, the most gentlemanly governor, and the most urbane minister of his age.” It is a fall from this to the highest tribute of all which is chattingly paid to him, that he looked and bore himself like a true Milesian—“the very model of a superfine Paddy.” The mental fibre was as Milesian as the physical contour and general bearing. He was more sharp than masterly, more ready than profound.” How far the truth may be hit in an account written in this fashion, it would be difticult to say. There is no doubt that Lord Mulgrave was personally highly popular in Ireland, and was an able man, though not a man of the highest order of ability. A triumphal procession over the country, in the course of which he liberated a considerable number of persons from the jails, and everywhere received ovations as the deliverer of the people, was in keeping with the character above depicted. It was an act of dexterous though questionable policy which, for a time, gave a favourable turn to the popular sentiments.
Lord Morpeth, who afterwards became Earl of Carlisle, is better known. He combined fair business talents with scholarly acquirements and literary tastes. Accomplished, able, and amiable, he was liked by the Irish at once as a man and a minister.
Mr Drummond was the subordinate of these noblemen, with which fact is connected the chief difficulty encountered in dealing with this portion of his life.
The three figures are touched off in a sentence by Dr Madden, in which he speaks of "the savoir faire of Lord Normanhy, the virtue of Lord Morpeth, and