Page images
PDF
EPUB

dence of an important nature which required his personal attention, and also to communicate regularly with the Chief Secretary and with several public departments of the Government both in Dublin and London. He had daily communications with the Lord Lieutenant, the Chief Secretary, and the Inspector-General of Police, when they were in Dublin, as well as with the law advisers of the Crown.* In the absence of the Viceroy

* Under the Normanby and Ebrington administrations (May 1835 to April 1840) the following gentlemen were successively selected for the law offices of the Crown : viz., Louis Perrin, Attorney-General from 29th April 1835 to August 31; then Justice, Queen's Bench. Michael O'Loghlen, Solicitor-General from April 29, 1835, to August 31; and Attorney-General from August 31, 1835, to November 10, 1836; then Baron of the Exchequer. John Richards, Solicitor-General from September 21, 1835, to November 10, 1836; and AttorneyGeneral from November 10, 1836, to February 3, 1837; then appointed a Baron of the Exchequer. Stephen Woulfe, Solicitor-General from November 10, 1836, to February 3, 1837; and Attorney-General from February 3, 1837, to July 11, 1838; then appointed Chief Baron of the Exchequer. Nicholas Ball, Attorney-General from July 11, 1838, to February 23, 1839; then Judge of Common Pleas. Maziere Brady, Law Adviser to the Chief Secretary from May 1835 to February 3, 1837; Solicitor-General from February 3, 1837, to February 23, 1839; and Attorney-General from February 23, 1839, to August 1840; then appointed Chief Baron of the Exchequer, afterwards Lord Chancellor. David R. Pigot, Solicitor-General from February 11, 1839, to August 1840; then appointed Attorney-General, and afterwards Chief Baron of the Exchequer. They were all Whigs, and, a fact of greater significance, four of the seven, viz., O'Loghlen, Woulfe, Ball, and Pigot, belonged, by ties of race and religion, to the nation of the tribes—the Lower Nation, as it is common to call it in Ireland. They were the first of their race and religion to attain such high offices after the Emancipation. All these gentlemen, it may be believed, heartily co-operated with the heads of the Government in measures for the benefit of the Irish people. One of them, writing to the Author touching the difficulty of assigning to Mr Drummond the special share taken by him in the proceedings of the Irish Government on each occasion, says—

and the Chief Secretary, he was virtually the Irish Government. The correspondence he had to overtake was overwhelming, the times being critical, and demanding the constant exertion of the powers of Government. Generally, the mere routine duties of the office were such as to occupy him from nine or ten o'clock in the morning till seven in the evening.

There were certain of these routine duties which were of the first importance, and in which Mr Drummond took a very special interest—the control of the stipendiary magistrates and of the police. There were others the discharge of which must have been extremely irksome and tedious to one of his nature. The labours by which he sought to benefit Ireland were mostly

“Much was done by, or in concurrence with, the several successive law officers of the Crown; and of the most important State papers and official letters to which his name was necessarily attached, portions were his and other portions theirs, and in some cases the whole may have been written by them, and only approved of by him. But while we gave him advice as he sought it, he gave us the most hearty and unreserved support and confidence; and we always felt that we had in him one who cordially sympathised and helped in every step which could advance the interests and rights of the people.”

From the Union down to 1835 it had been the practice of successive Administrations in Ireland not to recognise distinctions of party politics as affecting promotions at the bar : the highest legal and judicial offices were filled by Whigs and Tories indifferently. The result was, that while in England there was a liberal Administration, as, for instance, after the passing of the Reform Bill of 1832, the Irish Administration, which was nominally Whig, was yet really, to some extent, carried on in the spirit of Toryism. To this practice an end was put under Lord Normanby, since whose time the system of having an exclusively party (official) bar has prevailed in Ireland. The credit of the change which, all things considered, is said to have been for the advantage of the country, is divided by Dr Madden between Lord Normanby and Mr Drummond.

apart from the routine ; and to these, for a long period, he devoted the hours when he should have rested -beginning work between five and six in the morning, and often labouring far into the night, after dining at eight o'clock. No portion of the routine was ever neglected, however distasteful it might be, or however the time might be grudged which it withdrew from more congenial and cherished labours. This, indeed, has been made a ground of complaint against him. “The spirit of his early education for an engineer clung to him," says Dr Madden ; work—work—work,' was always before his mind, and it is not going too far to say that he set a preposterous value on mere toil. Thus, for so eminent a man, and so distinguished an official person (enjoying a degree of moral power far greater than his possession of the Under Secretaryship could confer), he stooped to a quantity of unnecessary drudgery which he might have safely left to the underlings of office. But this fault was indicative of his ardent and energetic character, of his untiring mind, and his indefatigable zeal in doing what he considered his duty."

“One thing," continues Dr Madden, “he completely lost sight of in his unintermitting exertions, namely, the idea of political power. He appeared totally unconscious that the ground was rapidly breaking beneath the Melbourne Ministry, and he slaved away in his office as if he had been destined to remain in the Viceregal department during all his life."*

This was not so,

* The office of Under Secretary was then a political office, vacated on a change of Government. It is now a permanent office, at present ably filled by Major-General Sir T. A. Larcom. It may be believed that at this moment (12th March 1867) General Larcom is the true ruler of Ireland. Ministries come and go with their suc

The

Drummond was keenly alive to the state of parties and the dangers of the Government—most anxious about and watchful of the proceedings of the Ministry, and often profoundly vexed at their mistakes. No one connected with or dependent on the Government had a more intense interest in its endurance. Not because he clung to the emoluments of his post. Since his marriage he was raised above pecuniary considerations. Not because he took pride in his position. He could have entered Parliament, and aspired to the highest offices of the State. Many of his friends, confident of his success, pressed him from time to time to do so. reason why he so eagerly desired the continuance of the Government was that he believed himself to be engaged in a great and good work, and dreaded lest an opportunity should be lost of carrying it, if not to completion, yet far on the way. "I should anxiously desire to have another year," he writes to his mother, “ because I think in that time we should have reaped a part of our harvest." This, written in July 1836, exhibits the spirit in which he toiled on to the end. The work in which he conceived himself to be engaged was the redemption of Ireland, as noble a work as a man ever proposed to himself.

A man of his powers, animated by his spirit, and

cessive Viceroys, Chief Secretaries, and legal officers. The Under Secretary alone remains, familiar with the state of the country, the persons to be dealt with, and the forces at the disposal of the Government. Some years ago Mr Fitzstephen French, in a debate on an Irish question in the House of Commons, remarked, in terms more neat than complimentary to the heads of the Administration :“Ireland is governed by a colonel of Engineers. In the departments, Carlisle does the dancing, Horsman the hunting, and Larcom the work."

having his opportunities, could be the real subordinate of no one.

Dr Madden says, in contempt for Normanby, that it mattered little who was Lord-Lieutenant, provided “ he had Drummond as Under Secretary, and Lord John Russell to give him his political cue.” The fact is, the subordinate office, always a most important one, became, while Drummond filled it, one of the most important in the Government. The Under Secretary's influence extended beyond the sphere of his duties to almost

every branch and act of the Irish Administration. “ There is no survivor of that Administration,” says Miss Martineau,* “ who will not eagerly assent to the avowal, that one member, Mr Drummond, was the mind and soul of it.” The assent has been given, in general terms, as amply as the warmest admirer of Drummond could wish. No proposition, indeed, could well be more strongly asserted or readily admitted.

Still, ex facie, Drummond was a subordinate in the Administration, and his life in Ireland falls meantime to be handled with that fact steadily in view. Special acts, admitted to have been his, there still are. He helped in the work of redeeming Ireland—a work yet so far from completion—in three several ways. He helped in the establishment of order, first, by the energetic handling of the forces for maintaining order at the disposal of the executive, and next, through the reorganisation of those forces. He did much towards satisfying the people of the impartiality of the Government, inspiring them with hope, and rendering them content and trusting under English rule. The chief labour of his life, his work on the Irish

History of the Peace," vol. ü. p. 288.

« PreviousContinue »