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we do not regard it as a mere question of personal feeling, or of simply giving honour to whom honour is due, although even such a purpose would have amply warranted our comments. The question is one of far deeper importance, and directly concerns the interests of the public. The moral and political influence of the sentiment so happily expressed by Drummond tells with prodigious force when it comes before us as the almost breathing emanation of a mind remarkable, not less for a calm, reflecting, and penetrating intellect, and most extensive acquirements, than for extraordinary justness of perception, tried integrity, and intense sympathy with the wrongs, sufferings, and happiness of those to whose welfare he dedicated his days and nights, and for whom he sacrificed his life. But that influence dwindles into comparative insignificance when we regard the same sentiment as merely a lucky hit from a clever intellect. No doubt its inherent truth would even then impart an interest to it; but it would fall upon the public ear like any other clever truth which attracts attention for the moment from its felicitous expression, and soon ceases to be remembered. While, viewed as a true type of its author's mind, it will constitute an imperishable monument to his memory, and continue to operate upon society with a powerful moral effect, when all that was mortal of him shall have crumbled into dust."
Twenty years later, on Mr Gladstone's speech at Liverpool, which referred to the aphorism, appearing, the controversy was renewed in the pages of the Examiner, and evoked the following letter to the editor (dated November 9, 1864) from one of Drummond's friends
“SIR,—More than twenty years ago the question was first raised of Mr Drummond's paternity of the maxim ; 'Property has its duties as well as its rights ;' and his mother, who had always believed the letter containing it to have been written as well as signed by him, then inquired upon the subject of a friend likely to be well informed, who replied, 'Fear not, Mrs Drummond ; the expression has taken hold of the country, and
is all your son's.' She wrote at the same time to her friend Sir George Stephen, in London, who replied, 'When your son announced, in his celebrated letter to the Tipperary magistrates, not long before his death, that Property has its duties as well as its rights, it surprised none of us, it was so like his usual mode of expression. When I urged him to take out a patent for his brilliant Lime-ball Light, he answered with almost equal point, 'No; the discoveries of science belong to the world.'
"Until 1844, when a contrary statement was put forth in a work called “Ireland and its Rulers,' nobody questioned Mr Drummond's authorship of that letter. I send
I send you the Dublin Evening Post of May 5, 1840, containing the report of a meeting of the Irish National Association, at which Mr O'Connell regretted the absence, on account of illness, of his 'esteemed friend Chief Baron Woulfe,' of whom he said, “a higher order of intellect than his never adorned the bench, and a purer soul than his never animated the human breast; but this warm eulogist of Chief Baron Woulfe, in the very next speech made on that occasion, proposed, as you will find, that there be printed on the right hand of the chair—" Property has its Duties as well as its Rights”—the words of the respected friend of Ireland, whose premature death they all regretted the late lamented Mr Drummond.'
“When Lord Normanby, who had been Lord Lieutenant at the date of its being written, seized upon the Tipperary letter in the House of Commons by speaking of it as 'my letter,' and at about the same time the author of Ireland and its Rulers' put forth the new idea that Mr Woulfe had been the writer of the famous letter, Mr Drummond's claim was at once vindicated by the late Dr Andrew Combe, in an article contributed to the Scotsman, of which I now send you a copy. It was reprinted in the Morning Chronicle, the Dublin Evening Post, and other papers, and not only remained uncontradicted, but in the Dublin Evening Post of Saturday, June 29, 1844, a copy of which I also send to you, the Editor adds this corroborative note :
“Our contemporary is quite right in the opinion he ex
presses, that Lord Normanby never intended to convey any such meaning as the words quoted imply, if those words were ever used by him at all. So far from detracting from the just fame of Mr Drummond, Lord Normanby, who had the best opportunities of estimating his great ability and the untiring zeal with which he had devoted himself to the welfare of Ireland, would be the first and the most earnest in vindicating the claim of Mr Drummond to the authorship of the memorable letter to Lord Donoughmore and the Tipperary magistrates. With respect to the late Chief Baron Woulfe, our Scotch contemporary has done no more than justice to the memory of that high-minded man. But it is quite absurd to connect the name either of Lord Normanby or that of Chief Baron Woulfe, in any manner with the paragraph which has given rise to the observations of the Scotsman. That paragraph, we find, has been copied from a recent work, “ Ireland and its Rulers since 1829.” The writer, who, we are certain, is utterly incapable of any wilful mis-statement, must have been misled by the gossip of some ignorant pretender.
“We, however, have it in our power to put an end to any possibility of doubt on the subject of the letter in question. Being, at the period mentioned, in the habit of almost constant intercourse with Mr Drummond-he read to us—we remember the circumstance as if it only occurred yesterday—the original draught of the letter which was about to be dispatched on that evening to Lord Donoughmore. We recollect, perfectly well, complimenting him on the sentiment so felicitously expressed -observing, that the style would be new to the gentlemen of Tipperary, and that it would be sure to bring an old house about his ears, or words to that effect. We asked him, had the Lord Lieutenant approved of the letter? His reply was, that he had not yet seen it, but he had no doubt of his Excellency's approval. The letter was dispatched in due course, and it produced, we well know, a prodigious uproar in Tipperary. By recurring to our files it will be seen that at the time, in reply to the various attacks made on the Government, we gave him all the credit of the letter--defending him by name, and justifying his language__"Property has its duties as well as its rights."
"This noble sentiment struck us, at the time, as one that would become memorable in relation to the landlord and tenant system; and subsequently, we repeat it, after the letter was published in this journal, we have availed ourselves of every opportunity of irrevocably connecting the name of Thomas Drummond with a maxim which must endear his memory in the hearts of the Irish people.'
“The evidence contained in that note is decisive.-I am, &c.”
One addition which the
hands enable me to make to the evidence that the expression in dispute was Drummond's, is contained in the postscript of a letter addressed to him by the author of "Lalla Rookh,” on 5th April 1839, and which he forwarded to his mother. “How I envy you,” says Moore, “ that pregnant sentence about duties and rights, teterrima belli causa, or as I would suggest reading tetorymi ! ”
Another addition is to be found in a passage in the Irish Railway Commissioners' Report, which emanated from Mr Drummond's pen shortly prior to the date of the Tipperary letter. That passage (which will be found in its place in the next chapter) occurs in a discussion of the policy and justice of the evictions which were in progress in Ireland in the years 1835-38, and is as follows:
“There is a compact implied, at least, between the landlord and the peasantry who have been brought up on his estate, by which the latter has as good a right to protection as the lord of the soil has to make arbitrary dispositions for the future management of his property. Nor do we think that it makes much difference as to the force of this obligation, whether the injurious sub-division of the lands was made by the direct sanction, and for the immediate benefit, of the tenant in fee, or by others to whom the power of a landlord over the property had been delegated by lease. It is not denied that those sub-divisions were lawful at the time they were made. They were a part of the system then recognised and in operation for the management of property ; for their effects, therefore, upon the general welfare and security, the property itself is to be justly held accountable. Nor is this responsibility to be shuffled aside, or laid at the door of persons who, having ceased to possess an interest in the lands, are no longer in a state to repair the error that has been committed ; but the country will look to those who now hold the property, having received it charged with all its moral as well as legal engagements.”
On comparison, it will be seen that this is simply a fuller and more argumentative statement of the proposition embodied in the disputed passage in the Tipperary letter. In both passages the leading idea is, that property has it duties as well as its rights.
A last and conclusive addition is the evidence of the Right Hon. Maziere Brady, Solicitor-General in Ireland when the letter was written, and one of its joint authors. He states that the paragraph in the letter, containing the important phrase as to the rights and duties of property, was certainly written by Mr Drummond.*
On the whole evidence, no doubt can remain that this phrase was Mr Drummond's.
As to the authorship of the Tipperary letter the following may be taken as a correct statement of the facts :—The letter was written by Mr Drummond,t but whether from a first draft or sketch by Mr Brady, then Solicitor-General, is uncertain. It was revised and
* Various letters to the present writer, dated in March and April 1867.
+ Letter from Mr Browning (who at the time acted as amanuensis to Mr Drummond) to the Right Hon. Maziere Brady, dated 26th April 1867. Mr Browning distinctly remembers copying the letter from the draft in Mr Drummond's handwriting. #Letter from Mrs Drummond to Mr Drummond's mother,