« PreviousContinue »
necessary arrangements befitting so important an occasion The motion for the dinner was made and seconded by two Catholic gentlemen, Mr. James Conolly and Mr. O'Conneil. Mr. Lawless proposed that the Duke of Leinster, as the premier peer of Ireland, should preside ; this, however, was opposed by Mr. O'Connell, who said that as the dinner was to be given by the citizens of Dublin, the Lord Mayor as chief magistrate of the city ought to hold the first place at the dinner, and the Lord Mayor himself declared that he could never consent to compromise the dignity of the station, in which the kindness of his fellow-citizens had placed him. The Lord Mayor was accordingly appointed to preside at the dinner, and on the following day, the Lord Mayor and Mr. O'Connell were represented in a close fraternal embrace, the meaning of which, the Irish people could not understand, knowing the bitter animosities which had for a long time subsisted between them.
Mr. Shiel moved that the Protestant gentlemen to be se. lected as stewards, should be named by Catholics, and the Catholic gentlemen by the Protestants. This plan was adopted and amongst the gentlemen on the side of the Catholics were Mr. O'Connell, Mr. Shiel, and several other eminent men of the Irish bar. At the close of the meeting, Mr. O'Connell congratulated all who were present and the country at large on the harmony, which had now been so happily completed. He looked upon this day as most auspicious, and he trusted that no unhallowed hand would at any future time attempt to dis-unite the people of Ireland, The example of the metropolis, he hoped, would be followed by the provinces. He concluded a concise and animated address, by moving that an anniversary dinner should be henceforward held on or as near a day as convenient to the 19th of April, being the day appointed for the celebration of his majesty's birth-day. This resolution was carried by acclamation, the manner in which it was carried into effect, will be seen in a future part of this memoir.
The conciliation dinner was held on the 1st of August, and amongst the 300 noblemen and gentlemen, who sat down to dine, it was remarked that the Catholics far predominated To enter upon a detail of any of the speeches on the occasion, would be only to fill our pages with a sickening mass of fulsome personal eulogium, and an hyperbolical exaltation of the character of certain individuals to which the world knew that they possessed no positive, nor even a partial claim. That spaniel that genuine lick-spittle of royalty, Sir Benjamin Bloomfield, who like the jackal, had preceded his royal master and patron to cater to his love of pomp and show, was designated as the distinguished stranger, and on his health being drank, the band struck up • Welcome here again.” A few leaves from the Chronicles of Carlton Palace would be amply sufficient to show for what he was distinguished, and it scarcely amounts to a question, whether if it had not been known that he was one of the satraps basking in the sunshine of royalty, the good Irish people could have found any thing about him, for which they would have welcomed him to their country. However, it fell to the lot of Sir Benjamin to propose the health of the stewards, on which Mr. O'Connell rose to return thanks. He said that he was sincerely sorry that there was no voice but his to seply in fitting language to the distinguished stranger, * who proposed the toast. His (Mr. O'Connell's) heart had its rich reward that day in the attainment of unanimity amongst all classes of Irishmen. In sorrow and in bitterness, but with the
This distinguished man, was of the lowest possible extraction in Ireland. By the possession of an uncommon portion of impudence, rather natural to a particular class of his countrymen, he made his way as a menial into the household of the Prince of Wales. Ben Bloomfield was an adept at the violencello, with the strains of which, he so enraptured his royal master, that step by step he ascended to the post of privy purse, and thence, as Lord Bloomfield to be ambassador at Stockholm. My Lady Bloomfield (God bless her for her virtues, is saddled upon the nation as a pensioner, in the important and laborious office of Ranger of Hampton Court Park, and if Mr. D. W. Harvey had been fortunate enough to have carried his motion for an inquiry into the nature of the services which the royal and noble paupers on the pension list huve rendered to the country to entitle them to the pensions paid to them by the people of that country, there is perhaps scarcely one, whose services would have been more emusing and edifying than those of Lady Bloomfield.
best intentions, he had for the last fifteen years ineffectually laboured for his unhappy country. One bright day now had realized all his fond expectations. Next to the gratification of the present scene, was the expected arrival of his majesty. He had erer been the friend of Irishmen, and he came here of his own free accord, and not with the advice of his minis ters. The sound of his footsteps came before him, proclaiming unanimity and peace. On this occasion, the Protestant was as ready to meet the Catholic, as the Catholic was the Protestant, and surely from a prince, who had declared that the crown was only kept in trust for the benefit of the people, every thing was to be expected. His majesty. had committed his health to the care of an Irishman; and many of his select friends are Irishmen.* It was said of St. Patrick that he had the power to banish venomous reptiles from the isle, but his majesty has performed a greater moral miracle, the sound of his approach has allayed the dissensions of centuries. His majesty had long witnessed the pernicious effects of those feuds which have distracted the country. He has taken a judicious and proper estimate of the Irish character. From his youth he has been surrounded by Irishmen. He knows their national peculiarities; he knows their ardour and fidelity, he knows that however easy their notions may be on other points, they are obstinate upon what they consider points of honour. He saw much of the ill temper prevalent among our parties arose from mistaken views from pertinacity in maintaining certain opinions, and maintaining them too, with the characteristic heat of the country. Of the ill effects of these dispositions, his majesty must have had frequent experience. He had only to read the history of the country to feel their effects, it was a divided country. His majesty in his beneficence and wisdom, resolved that hereafter, Irishmen should be united in one sentiment of
* This was rather an unhappy allusion of Mr. O'Connell. The names and characters of the friends of George IV. are well known to the Engli-t public. En land and Scotland are ashamed to acknowledge them as belonging to the soil, and we can assure Mr. O'Connell that the people of this country are not much ind-bled to the Irish friends of George IV. when Prince of Wales, for their ac. tive and successful cooperation is rendering their royal companion one of the most accomplished profligates of his aga.