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very worthy man, too. He has been loose in his principles, but is coming right.” Goldsmith himself, speaking of some of the persons who, in his day, were called Free-thinkers, said "I never feel confidence in such men; I am far from being what I ought to be, or what I wish to be; but whatever be my follies, my mind has never been tainted by unbelief.” Gold. smith's feelings on religious subjects were strong-were blended with his affections for persons, and his recol. lections of home; and we think one of the most valuable parts of the service that Mr. Forster and Mr. Prior have done, is that their disproof of the hundred vile and unthinking things said against him will allow
the charm of his works to be undisturbed by any but kindly feelings towards the man.
The pictures in the “ Vicar of Wakefield” will assume new truth and beauty, when we seek no longer to refer them to particular persons or places, but to the unobscured feeling of piety in the author's own mind. We will find more pleasure, when we think in this view of his village pastor, than if we identify it with any individual members of his family, though, as we have said, the thoughts were blended in the poet's mind when the “ Village Pastor" was imagined, "Whose good works formed an endless retinue,
Such Priest as Chaucer sang in fervent lays; Such as the heaven-taught skill of Herbert drew,
And tender Goldsmith crowned with deathless
LIFE AND TIMES OF O'CONNELL.
O'Connell's life and times, if properly written, would form an instructive chapter in the history of Ireland.
The period during which he lived and acted, was the period of transition be. tween the old ascendancy principles, which followed, as a necessary consequence, the successes of the Protestant party in the wars of the Revolution; and the latitudinarian, or, as they are called, liberal notions, which now, to a great extent, govern the empire. And if the late Mr. O'Connell was not one of the most efficient agents by whom the spread of the new doctrines was promoted, until, in Ireland, they achieved their ultimate triumph-we, at least, are at a loss to discover any other individual upon whom such a distinction may be more fittingly conferred.
He possessed, in an eminent degree, all the qualities which were indispensable to enable hinı to grapple successfully with all the difficulties which he had to encounter in the contest upon which he entered. With a healthy temperament and a powerful frame of body, he united a sanguine, hopeful spirit, and an untiring energy of mind. His faculties were all acute and vigor. ous; and disciplined, by what may be called the mental gymnastics of his profession, to the highest degree of perfection which they were calculated to attain. Even his faults and defi. ciencies were such as to favour the at. tainment of his favourite objects. His was not that love of truth which would have made him hesitate in giving all utterance to statements or asseverations, which served his purpose when they were made, although they might prove, in the end, unfounded. His was not the delicacy which abstains from epithets by which a true-bred gentleman would feel himself disgraced ; when to use them might be spatter an adversary, or excite against him the hootings of the mob. What ever the object was which he proposed to himself, he scrupled not at the means by which it was to be accom. plished. If his end was to be attained
by plausible argument, no one could be more plausible. If, by coarse invective, an antagonist was to be annoyed, or intimidated, no feeling of self-respect ever interposed to prevent the virulence, or to mitigate the vulgarity, of his vituperation. He was not deficient in wit, while he abounded in broad humour, admirably calculated to catch and captivate the masses, who were often spellbound by his eloquence, and whom he contrived to mould to his views and purposes, by skilfully identifying them with their own.
The precise period during which he lived seems to have been that in which he was calculated to appear to most advantage. In the age precedingthat of Curran, and Grattan, and Flood, and Yelverton-he would not have been endured. Those great men were trained in a different school. The subtle essence of liberty, as it was exhaled from the pages of Grecian and Roman history, was the inspiring influence by which they were animated ; and they addressed themselves to men of cultivated minds, by whom any departure from the usages or the conventionalities of civilized society would be promptly resented. When they did address the multitude, it was like men who sought to raise them to their own level, not to descend to theirs. And when the bully and the swaggerer was to be acted, it was not by words, but by deeds, ther sought to make good their pretensions; and their language was often mildest and most decorous when it preluded those personal conflicts, for which, in their day, every public man held himself prepared, as often as offence was taken at his words, or an adversary felt himself emboldened, or necessitated, to substitute, for verbal disceptation, the arbitrement of the pistol or the sword. To have been found wanting on such an occasion, would have irretrievably damaged the character of a public man, who would lose all his weight when his personal courage was once doubted.
By the efforts of those great men, the galley-slaves were unmanacled, and
the pack-staves placed in their hands; who then constituted another audience for demagogues like the late Mr. O'Connell to address, whose sympathies, as they were coarser, required a coarser species of entertainment; and who were not revolted by the rudeness and the vulgarity in which they but recognised an image of themselves.
Then commenced the era of what may be called centaur agitation. The demagogue became a mixture of the man and the beast. He was, as it were, the eye and the mind of the brute multitude, which saw and thought as he directed. And never, from the days of Cleon, did there exist an individual who filled this office more effectively than the late Mr. O'Connell. He impersonated all the passions, prejudices, and instincts, of the body whom he addressed, while he infused into them a portion of the intelligence by which he was himself distinguished; and gave a unity and consistency, as well as an energy and determination, to the movement upon which he never ceased to urge them forward, until it resulted in the achievement of eman. cipation.
He found the body to whoin he belonged subject to disabilities the most galling. They had increased in numbers, and risen in wealth, while they yet continued excluded from some of the most desirable privileges of constitutional government; which had been imparted to them in such stinted mea. sure as only to stimulate the desire for more, and inspire them with a passionate determination to rest short of nothing less than entire and perfect equality with their Protestant fellow-sub jects.
A feeble and ineffective coterie of the Roman Catholic aristocracy had previously governed their affairs; aided by some turbulent and energetic indi. viduals who had risen up amongst the mercantile community, and whose not very doubtful participation in the views and the practices of the United Irish men, while it won for this body the hearty co-operation of such men as Lord Edward Fitzgerald and Wolfe Tone, in a corresponding degree disgusted and alienated from them the friends of constitutional order.
The Romish priesthood were not, at that time, the political characters they have since become. A large proportion of them had been educated abroad,
VOL. XXXII.-NO, CLXXXIX.
had acquired a salutary horror of the evils of Jacobinism, and were, more or less, possessed by a spirit of old gentility, which inclined them to the aristocracy rather than to the people. They had, moreover, witnessed the miseries caused by the rebellion of ninety-eight, and the abortive but most mischievous insurrection of 1803; and they were very little disposed to see the country plunged into similar troubles for any, even the most desirable, political objects.
But Maynooth had begun to be felt in its working; and this race of peace. loving and inoffensive ecclesiastics began rapidly to disappear. It was no longer necessary to go to the continent for education, or even to pay for one at home; and the consequence was, that a new order of men were introduced into the Roman Catholic ministry-men, who as they sprung from, so they became identified with, the masses of their countrymen, and brought with them, into the clerical office, the sympathies and the antipathies, both national and hereditary, by which they have ever since been dis. tinguished.
We do not here propose to discuss the policy or the impolicy of this endowment. Upon that subject we have, upon former occasions, expressed ourselves at large. We are only desirous at present to point out the new element which was then introduced into the agitation now seriously recommenced for the entire removal of the Roman Catholic disabilities, and of which Mr. O'Connell so skilfully and so powerfully availed himself-first, to scatter to the winds the domination of the Roman Catholic aristocracy; and next, to mould and methodise into united and energetic action, the rude and scattered elements of democratic power, until they became a mighty influence, to coerce and to regulate the councils of the empire.
The first remarkable instance in which O'Connell decidedly identified himself with the Romish democracy, was the celebrated “ Veto" question. The Roman Catholic advocates in the Houses of Lords and Commons had admitted the necessity or the expe. diency of such a concession to the crown, in the appointment of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, as might serve, ostensibly at least, to guarantee the loyalty of that order. In this ar
rangement, the Romish aristocracy, and a majority, we believe, of the pre. lacy. concurred. and Mr. Grattan believed that he had their full autho. rity for stating so in his place in parliament. But he soon found that he had reckoned without his host. O'Connell declaimed against the proposition, as one that invaded the spiri. tualities of his Church. He was powerfully seconded by the alumni of Maynooth, some of whom have since been much distinguished, and who then, for the first time, entered upon the arena of politico-theological agitation. The press thundered its anathemas against those who, for political or personal purposes, were ready to sacrifice their religion. The young demagogue invoked the sympathies of the people in favour of their faithful priests. The question was made one of conscience. They were asked whe. ther they would tamely consent to suffer a corrupt and profligate aristo cracy to make a merchandise of their faith. And if not, they were called upon to uprouse themselves for an effort of resistance, by which the project of courtiers and hypocrites might be defeated. The appeal was success. ful. The people were aroused. The noblemen and gentlemen whose moderate views, or time-serving spirit, had suggested this expedient for disarming Protestant hostility, were compelled to retract their words. And O'Connell, backed by the Romish democracy, both lay and clerical, soon felt himself more than a match for any combinations of hostility which the jealousy of his titled or mitred opponents could form against him.
The following is Mr. O'Connell's description of the manner in which a country friar announced a meeting on the Veto. The reader will see in it the influence which the demagogue had already obtained over the more ignorant and fanatical portion of the Romish clergy :
is a Latin word, ma boughali, and none of yez undherstands Latin. But I will let you know all the ins and outs of it, boys, if you'll only just listen to me now.
The veto is a thing, that you see, boys, the veto is a thing that that the meeting on Monday is to be held about. (Here there were cheers, and cries of "hear, hear.") The veto is a thing that --in short, boys, it is a thing that has puzzled wiser people than any of yez! In short, boys, as none of yez are able to comprehend the veto, I needn't take up more of your time about it now; but I'll give you this piece of advice, boys: just go the meeting, and listen to Counsellor O'Connell, and just do whatever he bids yez, boys.'"*
All who have seen the agitator in his workshop—the committee-roomand witnessed his actings therein, will recognise the fidelity of the following description :
“ The stranger who visited it saw a long low apartment, rather narrow for its length; of which the centre was occupied, from end to end, by a table and benches. By the light of three or four gasgas-burners, he discerned a numerous assemblage, who were seated on both sides of the long central table, earnestly discussing the various matters submitted for their consideration. At the upper end of the apartment might be seen a man of massive figure, wearing a broad-brimmed hat, and a dark fur tippet. He is evidently wide awake' to all that pass. es. Observe how his keen blue eye brightens up at any promising proposition, or at any indication of increasing strength-how impatiently he pshaws away any bêtise intruded on the Repeal Councils. Difficult questions are submitted for his guidance ; disputes in remote localities are referred to his adjudication; reports are confided to his care to be drawn up. He glides through all these duties with an ease that seems absolutely magical. He originates rules and regulations. He creates a working staff throughout the country; he reders the movement systematic. He cautiously guards it from infringing, in the smallest particular, upon the law. No man is jealous of him, for his intellectual supremacy places him entirely beyond the reach of competition. And as he discharges his multifarious task, the hilarity of his disposition occasion. ally breaks out in some quaint jest, or playful anecdote.....::::
"Ray was the ordinary mouth-piece of all matters submitted to O'Connell
“Now, ma boughali,' said the friar, you haven't got gumption, and should therefore be guided by them that have This meeting is all about the veto, d'ye see. And now, as none of ye know what the veto is, I'll just make it all as clear as a whistle to yez. The veto, you see,
*“ Personal Recollections of the late Daniel O'Connell, M.P.” By Wm. J. ON. Daunt, Esq. London : Chapman and Hall. 1848.
in committee for his decision or his advice. Here's an application, Liberator, from Mr. - a Presbyterian clergyman, for pecuniary aid to enable him to go on a Repeal mission,' Does any body here support that application, Ray? I will oppose it, because I saw the reverend gentleman as drunk as Bacchus at the dinner at - But he is quite reformed, Liberator, and has taken the pledge.' •No matterafter such a public exposé of himself, we ought to have nothing to do with him. The case is the worse for his being a clergyman.' "Very well, sir. Here's a letter from the Ballinakill Repealers, wanting Mr. Daunt to go down to ad dress a meeting there. I'm glad of it: I suppose Daunt will have no objection ? Not the least,' said I. And here's a letter from the people of Kells, wanting Mr. John O'Connell to attend their meeting next week.' My son John will gowon't you, John ? Yes, father.' Then write and tell 'em so.' "Counsellor Clements,' resumed Ray, 'has made an objection to the words, “We pledge ourselves,” in the Irish manufacture declaration; he's afraid of their being illegal.' Then alter the passage thus-_* We pledge ourselves as individuals"_if there be any difficulty, that will obviate it.
it. What's that large
What's that large document before you?' • That, sir, is a report sent up by Mr. — ; it came by this day's post. He wishes us to print it.' Umph! Let us see what sort of affair it is.' Ray then unfolds and peruses the report. When he has done, O'Connell exclaims • What a waste of industry! There is absolutely nothing in that voluminous paper that it would be of the smallest utility to lay before the public. “I think,' said I, the last two pages contain a few good facts.' ' Then print the last two pages, and throw away the rest.' Some remark being made on the mortification of a disappointed author, O'Connell half mutters the quizzical compliment paid to a pamphleteer by a waggish friend'I saw an excellent thing in your pamphlet.' What was it?' cries the author.
A penny bun !' says his friend.' O'Connell would then apply himself to the dictation of a report, or of answers to letters of importance, until half-past four or five o'clock; the hour at which the committee usually broke up."
dazzled their audience, and who, as long as they adopted his views, and worked under his guidance, were warmly, and even extravagantly, commended by him. But if they presumed to differ from him, or attempted to assume a lead, they soon felt the weight of his indignation. The priesthood were always at his back, to sustain him against any pretenders who sought to take the people out of his hands; and no refinements of reasoning, or flights of eloquence, could resist the untiring energy which rested for its support upon Irish instincts and Irish prejudices, and made the maintenance of the Romish religion, in its integrity, a “sine qua non” in the contest for political freedom.
Thus he became a dictator to the party of whom he was the recognised leader. With scarcely a single exception, all his rivals or antagonists, either shrunk from a contest with him, or reluctantly submitted to his sway. Mr. Shiel himself soon found, after some bootless struggles, that his political existence depended upon moving in the orbit which the agitator had prescribed.
But, after all, O'Connell's ascendancy, in the groups who gathered around him, was that of a man amongst boys. He was a Gulliver in Lilliput. They were small, very small deer, amongst whom his branching antlers were conspicuous. And any vigorous government, who were wise enough to discern the signs of the times, could at any moment have arrested him in his career of mischief. We well remember Saurin's remarkable language upon one of the state prosecutions, when O'Connell was defending a client for a seditious libel, and tauntingly called upon the government to prosecute him, or some others of the leaders. The Attorney-General replied with a quiet scorn, that he might depend upon it he would not be found wanting in his duty, whenever the agitators became as mischievous as they were contemptible. This was, we then thought, and still think, a mistake. True policy would have been “obstare principiis." The falsehood, and the exaggerations of the demagogues were, it was thought, so monstrous, as to defeat themselves. Their violence was so extravagant as must, it was supposed, disgust and alienate
It is undoubtedly true that he did attain the ascendancy here indicated amongst his fellow-labourers, both for Emancipation, and the Repeal of the Union. More brilliant men occasion. ally appeared, whose flash oratory