Page images
PDF
EPUB

attachment to their common country, and that attachment pre-supposes, and confirms the deep and unalterable attachment to his royal person.

“ His visit, his very approach have already accomplished that, He will be met on the shores of his kingdom by a united, a grateful, by a brave and loyal people. They have given all their animosities to the winds; they have exchanged the calumet of peace and pledged the cup of brotherhood. For the first time in their history, they are united and loyalty is the basis of their union.

" How delightful would it be to the heart of a patriot and benevolent king, could he witness the present scene. Ного his bosom would glow to see his subjects happy at his approach, and vyeing with each other in the manifestations of attachment to his sacred person. It is, indeed, a scene which must delight every unsophisticated mind. It is not a common one, such a scene never occurred in Ireland before, I doubt much whether such a scene has been witnessed any where. The functionaries of his majesty's government; the opposers of his inajesty's ministers; the assertors of ascendency; and the agitators of the people, all have met at the social board, and learned for the first time how easy it is, while they maintain their principles, to sacrifice their prejudices.”

The foregoing may be considered as the essence of Mr. O'Connell's speech, and although imbued as it is with the spirit of conciliation and amity, yet we should do wrong to his good sense and penetration, if we did ni believe that he was hurried away by the enthusiasm of the moment from the consideration of what was real and true, to sport in the more inviting fields of hyperbole ana fancy. Fashionable and universal as the custom may be to eulogize kings in speeches, and to depict them as the pattern of all that is great and grand in human nature, we cannot lay such a heavy tax upon our credulity for a moment as to believe, that Mr. O'Connell could for a moment entertain the opinion, that the aim of the visit of George IV. to Ireland, had any or the slightest reference to the conciliation of the hostile parties in Ireland, or

that, when he determined to exhibit his person to his Irish subjects, the benefit, or advantage which might accrue to Ireland from his visit, had the slightest share in the resolution which he had formed. As to a proper and judicious estimate which he had made of the Irish character, from what data does Mr. O'Connell draw that conclusion ? the only estimate with which, consistently with our knowledge, he ever troubled himself was that of the expences of pulling down and building upof the importation of French and other foreign gewgaws, of Dutch pictures with brass kettles, and the difference of the expence of maintaining a prostitute of right noble blood, and one of plebeian. As to estimate of characters whether individual or national, he could not have known any thing about it, he never could have condescended to make it his study; the associates by whom he was surrounded are a proof that he could not possibly have formed any estimate of their character; and the unparalleled extent of his debaucheries and profligacies were an unerring demonstration that he knew nothing of the English character, or he would not have given such an unequivocal example of a direct departure from it. Could Mr. O'Connell believe for a moment that in the resolution which George IV. formed to visit Ireland, it had the slightest reference to the dispute between Protestants and Catholics, or that he entertained the hope that his presence would put an end to their strife and contentions. It was the direct spirit of vagabondizing that led him hither with no other ulterior view, than according to the advice of his physicians to disgorge by sea sickness from his stomach a mass of bile which his epicurean mode of life had engendered; to know his bolstered person the object of the admiration of a gaping, staring, wondering crowd, and to listen to the vapid effusions of loyalty and love of his sacred person, for which, as became a king, he expressed the sense of his unbounded gratitude, a virtue, in the breast of a monarch as rare as chastity in a brothel, or humility in a bishop. Mr. O'Connell speaks of his majesty reading the history of Ireland, and thence acquiring a perfect knowledge of the cha. racter of the people, their dispositions, and the causes of their dissensions. Who informed Mr. O'Connell that George IV. ever arrived at the kuowledge of Ireland or any other country by reading? We know the kind of books he was wont to read, and they had as much relation to Ireland or to Irish affairs, as the New Testament has with the discovery of the North-West passage, except that in some of those books, the affairs of the Marchioness of Conygnham were now and then touched upon and from which, as her noble husband's family are Irish, he might have arrived at some knowledge of that particular part of Irish history. It certainly was, according to Mr. O'Connell, a wise resolution on the part of his majesty—“the blessed effect of his great beneficence and his unbounded wisdom, that hereafter Irishmen should be united in one sentiment of attachment to their common country, and that attachment pre-supposes and confirms the deep and unalterable attachment to his royal person.” It was a wise resolution, we repeat it, on the part of his majesty ; but it is with kings, as it is with persons of a more plebeian cast, the forming of a resolution, and the carrying it into execution, are two very different things. Irishmen certainly “ were united in one sentiment of attachment” as long as the beams of the sun of royalty shone upon them, but they had no sooner disappeared beneath the horizon of the Irish Channel, than the bond of attachment immediately broke, and feud, dissension, strife, murder, and rebellion overturned at once and set at nought the royal resolution. It was, perhaps, natural in the moment of enthusiastic excitation for Mr. O'Connell and others of the leading characters of Ireland to see in the king's visit to their country, a specimen of that high and noble patriotism which impelled a Peter of Russia, for the benefit of his country to work as a common shipwright in a Dutch dockyard, but was it patriotism which led George IV 'to Scotland with Sir William Curtis in his train, who made a fool of himself with his kilt and phillibegs ? was it patriotism which sent George IV. to Hanover to dance a waltz with the frau of the burgomaster of Hanover, and to be stationed behind a tree, so that he might shoot the hares that were driven past him, but from which he himself was driven by an old infuriated wild sow, who not having the fear of a king of England before its eyes, rushed plump against the Lord's anointed, and England would bave had to bemoan the loss of her beloved monarch, if the hunters had not laid prostrate at his feet, the daring and disloyal brute. Was it then patriotism which led him to Ireland with his pal, Sir William Curtis again in his train, the counterparts of Hal of libertine memory, and the incomparable knight of chivalry, Sir John Falstaff. All the actions of kings are said to be founded on patriotism, wisdom, beneficence and virtue, but whatever portion of patriotic spirit George IV. might have evinced in some other actions of his life, which may be compared to angel's visits few and far between, it is certain, that the Irish people were wrong in their calculation, when they alleged that it was the patriotism of George IV. which led him to their country.

On the 17th of August, the king entered Dublin amidst the enthusiastic acclamations of all classes of his Irish subjects. No lamentation of grievance, no petition for redress was beard during the whole of the royal visit. Every thing looked happiness, harmony, and good order. The Catholics with a temperance (it has been given a worse name) that was the astonishment of all Europe, refrained from the slightest allusion to their oppressed condition. Mr. O'Connell and Mr. O' Gorman were the first to proffer, at the head of the Catholics, their unbounded devotion to his gracious majesty. Every where was he hailed by popular enthusiasm as the extinguisher of faction, the healer of religious discord, the harbinger of future grace, the father of all his people. The lying, chronicles of the day proclaimed aloud that these manifestations of affection made a deep impression on the royal Keart, whereas common reason tells us that that which is impervious, cannot possibly have any impression made upon it. The same hyperbolical journals, in the plenitude of their falsifying spirit proclaimed that he pressed the national symbol to his breast, in the same manner as a vampire presses its victim, to the bo

R

som, which means to destroy it—that he, with hypocrisy on his tongue, assured his faithful and loyal subjects of Ireland of his unalterable affection, of his undeviating protection, and by way of a climas, that he left their shores in tears, overpowered by the acclamations of “his faithful people.” A monarch in tears, and such a inonarch as George IV. was, must have been a most rare sight to the people of Ireland, and especially if those tears were drawn forth by the sufferings or the oppressions of his people. He never shed them for the sufferings of his English subjects, and, therefore, it must have been a phenomenon in the annals of his reign, that he should on a sudden have been so given to “ the melting mood,” as to shed his tears, because the noble-hearted Irish in the fulness of their enthusiasm, hailed him as their deliverer, whereas, in fact, they ought to have looked upon his appearance amongst them, as more the effect of an hour's indigestion, when all the splenetic humours were afloat, and the imagination ran riot in the formation of schemes, which Don Quixote only could have surpassed in extravagance and folly. Nevertheless, he had his agents around him, who were willing to obey his royal commands, no matter to what those commands referred, whether it was to delude an oppressed nation with promises, which were never intended to be fulfilled, or to express the sense of his royal gratitude for the nauseating flattery with which his truckling minions bespattered him. To Lord Sidmouth, the pious, the conscientious Dr. Addington, whose name will stand blasted with infamy, whenever the bonds are mentioned, which those phenomena of morality and virtue, George Prince of Wales, Frederick Bishop of Osnaburgh, and William Duke of Clarence entered into for the payment of one million of money, which they never intended to pay at all: to this Lord Sidunouth was it commanded to address a farewell letter, full of excellent counsel to the Irish people, which may be looked upon as the counterpart of the gracious conduct of another scion of the same royal branch, who being asked to relieve a meritorious family in distress, considered that he had acted up to the fullest spirit of royalty in giving them his—advice.

« PreviousContinue »