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its expense. Mr Drummond's personal attention was, of course, directed to the political principle of this remarkable Bill, being one of those most vexed by party; and it may perhaps be remarked, that its tendency to localise and distribute power appears to have been somewhat overlooked by a recent writer, when he elsewhere dwells on the general effort of the present Government of Ireland to develop the Norman as opposed to the Saxon principle of the constitution. To the former principle the habits of a soldier may naturally be thought to incline, and so far, therefore, as the opinions of a subordinate inay influence the guiding power above him, Mr Drummond's weight was probably felt in centralisation, but he was too well read in mediæval history to slight the influence of municipia.”*
The abolition of the hulks is thus referred to in Mr Drummond's evidence before the Roden Committee:
“The nature of the convict service in Ireland came under the Lord Lieutenant's observation, I think, some time in the
It appeared to him that it was a very injurious system to keep prisoners confined for a length of time on board the hulks, which formed a most imperfect prison, and did not admit of that attention to classification which a prison on shore allows; and, finding upon inquiry that it would be quite practicable to carry the sentence of transportation into immediate effect in almost every instance, he thought it would be very desirable to abolish the hulks altogether. This was carried into effect after considerable trouble.
The prisoners are now conveyed directly on board the transport vessels ; by which, in addition to other beneficial details, a saving of about £8000 a-year has been effected.”
It would not be gathered from this that Mr Drummond himself was a chief agent in effecting the economical improvement. General Larcom, however, states that it was among the earliest objects which engaged his attention in Ireland; adding, that in the work of carrying it out “he was ably assisted by Captain * The Larcom “Memoir,” p. 14.
Brandrith, R.E., who, with instructions from Lord John Russell, was sent to Ireland for the purpose. Captain Brandrith was strenuously supported by Mr Drummond, and on his report and plans, it is believed, the system was abolished, and that which prevails was substituted.”
The following account of the suppression by Mr Drummond of the fairs that formerly used to be held on Sundays in the Phoenix Park is supplied by his sister:
“On the Sunday afternoons and evenings crowds used to assemble in the Phænix Park. Drinking booths were opened, and few Sundays passed without riot and mischief ensuing. My brother talked over the matter with some friends, who told him he must not dream of interfering, because it was a very old custom, and it would not do to attempt to put it down. He resolved, however, that he would make the attempt; so one Sunday afternoon, the people having assembled as usual, and the booths being erected, he rode out unattended among the crowd. To the keeper of the nearest booth he represented the consequences of the meetings—drunkenness, brawls, fighting, and then punishment; he said these things were to him very painful, and that it would give him great satisfaction could the meetings be altogether given up. The man immediately, without a word of remonstrance, complaint, or even a show of sullenness, set about packing up. He quickly left the grounds, and never returned again. The same result followed at other booths, and in a short time the park was cleared, and the old custom' given up for ever."
There is some evidence, however, that he did not leave the result to depend altogether on moral suasion. As Ranger of the Park, he issued placards prohibiting the meetings; and, for several successive Sundays, he massed the police in considerable force in the neighbourhood of the Park to make effectual the prohibition.
MR DRUMMOND'S LIFE IN IRELAND; HIS CORRESPOND
ENCE; HIS HEALTH ; VISIT TO THE CONTINENT; PRIMING THE HEADS OF THE IRISH GOVERNMENT IN PARLIAMENT; THE RODEN COMMITTEE; VISIT TO EARL SPENCER ; PLANS FOR THE FUTURE.
From the day of his arrival in Ireland, in 1835, Mr Drummond was, with one short interval, absorbed by public business. His letters to his mother and sister, formerly so full of the details of his occupations, suddenly became for the most part mere apologies for not writing more at length. He found time, indeed, as his marriage approached, to open his heart very fully to his mother in a short series of long letters : his home correspondence after his marriage may be described as a long series of short letters. He wrote home once a week; the fulfilment of this obligation to the home-folk continuing to the end to be with him an imperious necessity. The details which he now had no time to communicate were very regularly supplied by his wife or by her mother-by-adoption, Mrs Sharp, who lived in family with them.*
* The month after he arrived in Ireland the meeting of the British Association was held in Dublin. “In the din of politics which now echoed round him," says Larcom,“ he found an atmosphere uncongenial to his former studies, and he was seldom seen among the men whom he had formerly esteemed the most."
Shortly after his marriage, he seems to have been unusually busy, and for a short time even remiss (judged by his former practice) in writing to his mother. The following letter, in which this remissness is explained and apologised for, is very touching, and is but one of several which show the strength of the filial affection · in the man :
“ DUBLIN CASTLE, April 13, 1886. MY DEAREST MOTHER,-For the last five weeks I have travelled daily between this and Bray with a small packet of your letters in my box, in the hope of being able to clear off the superincumbent load of official matter, and then of sitting down and sending you a chit-chat letter. Unfortunately this box never empties, and it requires unremitting exertion to keep down the mass which is constantly flowing in. I have been obliged to entreat Mrs Sharp to tell you of our proceedings ; but of yours? No note from you or John has come to me for a long time. Are you offended with me, my dearest mother? I confess you have some reason to be so; but you would not be very angry could you see how I have to slave. I sent you all the Dublin papers respecting the society,* not so much with a view to your reading about a controversy of which you care nothing, as that you might see how intensely I have been occupied, and might make some allowance for my not writing. But why, my dearest mother, when I sent you the papers, not a word from you? You must be very angry when you did not say a word on such a subject. That lettert occupied a
* The reference here is to the Royal Dublin Society--a body of some importance in Ireland. It is a Society for the promotion of Arts, Agriculture, and Manufactures. At the date of this letter a controversy was being waged as to a reform of the constitution and proceedings of this Society. See next note, infra.
*+. The letter referred to is dated 17th March 1836, and was published in the Warder of March 26 in that year. It is a very
letter, occupying nearly two columns of the newspaper, and is ersant with the new regulations of the Royal Dublin Society. It
great deal of time, because it required a good deal of previous investigation; and all that was to be done over and above the usual business of the office, which was severe enough. However, I mean to adopt a different system, not to attempt a long letter, but to write you a scrap every Sunday; and, if you
do the same, we shall keep up a regular though brief communication. So, my good, dear angel mother, pardon all that is past and let us begin a new score.
Believe this, that a day never passes without my thinking of you all, when I am dressing or riding for the exercise which is absolutely necessary to keep me alive. So write to me, my dear mother, and let me see your beloved handwriting again, and pardon your son. I have been meditating—but whether I shall be able to accomplish it I can hardly say, but I think I shall—to run over for a fortnight and see you all, and to bring you and John back with me, if my dear Eliza could spare you for a time. My visit would be to her. Or perhaps it would be better to return with you and John, and the prospect of our all returning together would cheer her up; and when I left you she would not be so desolate. I think I shall be able to accomplish this if Lord Morpeth comes over soon. I am delighted Eliza was so pleased with her tippet.
My poor, dear Eliza ! this cold and cheerless weather must chill her languid frame sadly. I must try and get over to cheer you all up, and have a look at or a walk among the beautiful hills of Braid. Adieu, my ever dear mother. Kindest love to my poor, dear suffering Eliza. I'll come and see her and comfort her. Again adieu.--Yours ever affectionately,
The Under Secretary might well be excused the neglect of his private correspondence at that time. The goes greatly into details with much comment and reasoning, showing the research and care with which Drummond entered into every part of his work, but it is not otherwise now of any interest. It was printed in the Transactions of the Society. It is also to be found in the House of Commons Papers. The subject excited much controversy and debate, and a Committee of the House sat for some time upon all the business of the Society.