« PreviousContinue »
steps of each careless passer-by. The “gets (if her husband has been a man apparition would follow on the clearing “ of good character) from 101. to 201. away of a shower almost with the regu- “At other times collections are made in larity of the lady in the toy barometer. “the chapels, and almost in every inNor should we omit to say that some “stance they show great liberality.” attempt at a library is rarely absent from He adds that these occurrences are unthese quarriers' cottages. The selection fortunately very frequent; several such may not contain the newest publications, calls on the workman's pocket having and is not perhaps very choice; but at quite recently occurred in a single least it shows literary aspirations—a quarry in the short space of a few svul for something above the quarry. months. The Bible, generally in Welsh, I observed Such then is the “contract system " held a constant and honoured place in of the slate quarries, and such are its the literary store.
fruits. Divested as it is of certain exThe simplicity of character and kind- traneous advantages which accompany ness of heart among the poorer classes other forms of “co-operation," it sets, as of Welsh people are very striking and it seems to me, in all the stronger light attractive. In illustration of these the inherent virtue of the principle qualities I may mention an admirable itself—the principle of combining the trait, which may I think be fairly con- exertions of labourers towards a common nected with their co-operative system. result in which they have a joint in• The occupations of the slate quarry terest—an interest varying with the involve, as may readily be believed, no success of their common efforts. The small amount of risk to the limbs and results here obtained are obtained not lives of those who engage in them; so much through the increased force of the accidents from blasting, falling in the external inducements to prudent or of rocks, &c. being unfortunately very righteous conduct, as by strengthening the numerous, and frequently fatal; and, character of the workman, calling into as might be expected, there is no lack action qualities of mind which in the of provision against such disastrous ordinary condition of the labourer's life contingencies. Besides the ordinary lie dormant, enlarging his mental horizon, friendly societies which flourish in im- stimulating his reflective powers, widenmense numbers all over the country, no ing his sympathies-in a word, developquarry of any importance is without its ing those principles and habits which sick club. Numerous associations exist furnish the only solid basis for any perframed with a special view to com- manent improvement of his state. pensate for the losses incident to , How far the particular arrangement mutilation and death. But such ma which I have described admits of being chinery does not satisfy the cravings extended to other departments of proof the fraternal feeling that subsists duction is what actual experiment can among the workmen. The assistance alone determine. Primâ facie, it would from this source (where the accidents seem that one condition only was inare of a serious nature, involving ca- dispensable to its adoption—the possilamitous consequences to the family of bility of splitting up the work to be the injured man) is almost invariably done into a number of small and indesupplemented by voluntary contributions pendent tasks. It is at all events certain raised among his fellow workmen. “As that the success of the plan in the in“a class," writes a correspondent, him- stances in which it has been tried has self extensively engaged in this business, been remarkably great; and this, conto whom I have already expressed my sidered with reference to commercial, obligations, “ As a class, quarriers are no less than to social, results. As an ex“ very liberal. If by accident a father pedient for the practical solution of the “of a family is killed, the wife will go Tabour-problem, the weakness of the “through the quarry and frequently “contract system " seems to me to lie in the fact that under it the labourer and the capitalist are still distinct persons; the two capacities do not coalesce in the same man. The difficulty which under the ordinary relations of labour and capital, occurs in settling the rate of wages might equally occur under the “contract system " in settling the terms
of the contract. That it does not in practice arise is to be ascribed, I imagine, chiefly to the circumstance to which I have already adverted—the double capacity in which the contractor acts, as at once employer and employed ; and, for the rest, to the general intelligence which the system engenders.
IRISH LAWYERS AND STATESMEN OF A BYGONE GENERATION.
BY A MAN ON THE SHADY SIDE OF FIFTY.
As a school-boy of twelve years old, frequent opportunities of seeing him in I had been taken by my father to visit private, and I must say that never bethe great patriot and Irish orator, Grat- fore or since have I met with one whose tan. I well remember that the im- manner so captivated and charmed me. pression he produced, on a mind then It was eminently distinguished and wellso little competent to comprehend his bred. I was intimately acquainted with powers, was one of reverence, not un- the Right Hon. Robert Day, a retired mixed with awe. There was about him judge of the King's Bench in Ireland, a simple, gentle dignity, a courtesy and who had been Grattan's contemporary elaborate politeness, which reminded me in the University of Dublin and at the of what I had read of the vieille cour. Temple, and who lived a great deal He was dressed in a blue coat and buff with him in a house which they rented waistcoat, with knee-breeches and silk together at Windsor Forest; and Day stockings. He had not abandoned the old always spoke of his friend as being the pigtail, and the studied politeness and most fascinating man in private life, and elegant elaboration of his manner pro more especially in female society, he had duced on me an impression which time ever known. They made a tour in cannot efface. He had the look and France together in 1768. Grattan, bearing of a thorough gentleman. His though not speaking the language enunciation in private life was slow, and fluently, read largely the French authors his pronunciation seemed, to my child- and dramatists. like ears, somewhat quaint and foreign. The first time I ever heard Grattan “James,” he pronounced Jeems; "oblige," speak was at a dinner of about twenty obleege ; and he used the words, “a dish persons, given in his honour by an of tea,” and “a dish of coffee :" but attached friend and admirer, and at this was the fashion in his early day, which his health was proposed by the and to that fashion he adhered to the host. For the first minute or two he last. It has been written by the late faltered and hesitated; but this nervousCharles Phillips, in his “Curran and his ness soon disappeared, and, once fairly Contemporaries," that Grattan was short started, he riveted and charmed attenin stature, and unprepossessing in ap- tion. I subsequently heard him at a pearance. He was rather over than public meeting, where he spoke for about under the middle height, being about ten or fifteen minutes. He was then five feet nine ; and, so far from being seventy-two years of age, and his voice, unprepossessing in appearance, his fea- never in his best days powerful, was tures were regular,and full of expression. thin and somewhat reedy. A critic
For three or four years after the time might have observed that the gesture when I first beheld him, as a boy, I had was somewhat theatrical, and that anti
thesis and epigram were too frequently the day of his being chaired through resorted to; but the impression produced Dublin, after his return in 1818. One on me, as a whole, by this great speaker of the miscreants flung at the old statesin his decline was, that in boldness of man a stone, which cut open his cheek thought, in grandeur and gorgeousness under the eye. While still bleeding of language, in intensity of feeling and and suffering from pain, he jumped imagination, he was unequalled.
from the chair, and, seizing the stone, The private life of Grattan was as pure which had fallen at his feet, flung it as his public life. His affections centred with failing strength in the direction in his family; and, after country and from which it came. From the place family, his dominant passions were litera- where he received this wound he was ture and the pleasures of a country life. carried to one of his committee-rooms On one of the occasions in which I was in the neighbourhood, and from the in his company, he recited long passages balcony of the drawing-room he imputed from Cowley, Dryden, and Pope-among the injury and insult, of which he had others the “ Elegy on the Death of an been the victim, to chance, not design. Unfortunate Lady ;” and I was amazed On the accession of George IV. in not more at his powers of memory than 1820, Grattan proceeded to London to at his powers of elocution. The late present the Roman Catholic petition ; Mr. Justice Day informed me that but the exertion, though he travelled by Grattan could repeat all the finest pas- easy stages, and by canal, was too much sages in Dryden and Pope without for him, and he died, shortly after his missing a line.
arrival, on the 4th June, 1820. At the Day, and Day's friend Lord Plunket, request of the foremost men of the always used the word “Sir," in speaking nation, he was buried in Westminster to Mr. Grattan ; and Mr. Commissioner Abbey, two of the Royal Dukes being Burrows, an eminent member of the pall-bearers. It might truly be said, Irish Bar, as well as Mr. Serjeant Good, Mr. Wallace, and Mr. John Burne,
“Ne'er to these chambers where the mighty
rest, eminent King's Counsel, followed this Since their foundation, came a nobler guest; example. In mentioning this to the Nor e'er was to the bowers of bliss conveyed Knight of Kerry, he said Mr. Peel, A purer spirit, or more holy shade.” when Secretary for Ireland, treated Mr.
Grattan's second son, and his bioGrattan with as respectful a deference.
grapher, succeeded him in the represenIn truth, in private life Grattan was
tation of the city of Dublin ; and his universally respected and beloved. “I
eldest son sat for many years as one of never knew a man,” said Wilberforce, the members for Wicklow County ; but “whose patriotism and love for his to neither of these gentlemen, now country seemed so completely to extin
passed away, did the genius or talents guish all private interests, and to induce
of their illustrious father descend. him to look invariably and exclusively
Fourteen of Grattan's great speeches to the public good.” His life was a great
were on the Roman Catholic question, moral lesson, and death has neither four were on the declaration of the diminished nor tarnished his renown.
rights of Ireland, two were on Tithes, He was a man of undaunted and and four or five were speeches against fearless courage, at a time, and in a the Union. He spoke in the English country, when not merely moral but House of Commons on June 23rd, 1815, physical courage were indispensable on the Corn Laws, and on May 25th of He fought and wounded Corry, the
the same year on the downfall of BonaIrish Chancellor of the Exchequer, and
parte. Here is an extract from this he would have fought Flood, his rival,
speech :had not the House of Commons inter
“I agree with my honourable friends in poged. When entering his seventy- thinking that we ought not to impose a Governthird year, an Irish mob assailed him on ment upon France. I agree with them in de
precating the evil of war, but I deprecate still inore the double evil of a peace without securities, and a war without allies. Sir, I wish it was a question between peace and war ; but, unfortunately for the country, very painfully to us, and most injuriously to all ranks of men, peace is not in our option ; and the real question is, whether we shall go to war when our allies are assembled, or fight the battle when those allies shall be dissipated ? Sir, the French Government is war ; it is a stratocracy, elective, aggressive, and predatory; her armies live to fight, and fight to live ; their constitution is essentially war, and the object of that war the conquest of Europe. What such a person as Bonaparte, at the head of such a constitution, will do, you may judge by what he has done. And first he took possession of the greater part of Europe ; he made his son king of Rome ; he made his son-in-law viceroy of Italy; he made his brother king of Holland ; he made his brother-in-law king of Naples ; he imprisoned the king of Spain ; he banished the Regent of Portugal ; and formed his plan to take possession of the Crown of England. England had checked his designs ; her trident kad stirred up his empire from its foundation; he complained of her tyranny at sea : but it was her power at sea which arrested his tyranny on land-the navy of England saved Europe. Knowing this, he knew the conquest of England became necessary for the accomplishment of the conquest of Europe, and the destruction of her marine necessary for the conquest of England. Accordingly, besides raising an army of 60,000 men for the invasion of England, he applied himself to the destruction of her commerce, the foundation of her naval power. In pursuit of this object, for his plan of Western empire, he conceived, and in part executed, the design of consigning to plunder and destruction the vast regions of Russia. He quits the genial clime of the temperate zone; he bursts through the narrow limits of an immense empire ; he abandons comfort and security, and he hurries to the pole, to hazard them all, and with them the companions of his victories, and with them the fame and fruits of his crimes and his talents, on speculation of leaving in Europe, throughout the whole of its extent, no one free or independent nation. To oppose this huge conception of mischief and despotism, the great potentate of the North, from his gloomy recesses, advances to defend himself against the voracity of ambition amid the sterility of his empire. Ambition is omnivorous-it feasts on famine, and sheds tons of blood, that it may starve on ice, in order to commit robbery or desolation. The Power of the North, I say, joins another prince whom Bonaparte had deprived of almost the whole of his authority-the king of Prussia, and then another potentate, whom Bonaparte had deprived of the principal part of his dominions--the eniperor of Austria. These three Powers, physical causes, final justice, the influence of your victories in Spain and Portu.
gal, and the spirit given to Europe by the achievements and renown of your great com. mander, together with the precipitation of his own ambition, combine to accomplish his destruction. Bonaparte is conquered. He who said, 'I will be like the Most High,' he who smote the nations with a continual stroke, this short-lived Son of the Morning, Lucifer, falls, and the earth is at rest; the phantom of royalty passes on to nothing, and the three kings to the gates of Paris ; there they stand, the late victims of his ambition, and now the disposers of his destiny and the masters of his empire. Without provocation he had gone to their countries with fire and sword; with the greatest provocation they came to his country with life and liberty. They do an act unparalleled in the annals of history, such as nor envy, nor time, nor malice, nor prejudice, nor ingratitude can efface ; they give to his subjects liberty, and to himself life and royalty. This is greater than conquest.
A contemporary and friend of Grattan during his long life, though eighteen years his junior, was William Conyngham Plunket, afterwards Lord Plunket. This contleman though the sono This gentleman, though the son of a Poor Tresbyterian minister in the nort of Ireland, claimed descent from the same stock as the Louths and Fingalls.
The ministers of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland even now lead a hard and rugged life. Their stipends are small, their lives are simple, their ministrations are laborious, their course of life is frugal. One hundred and forty years ago they were in a worse position than they are now. They subsisted altogether on the voluntary offer ings of their flocks, which were not then supplemented by the “Regium Donum.” For the most part, though better born and better educated than the Roman Catholic priests, they were but a couple of degrees higher in the social scale. But they possessed more self-control and discretion.
Plunket's father was said to have been a man superior to his fellows. He was sagacious and solid-headed, a man not merely book-learned, but keen-witted and worldly-wise. Strongly tinged with the intrepid and inquiring spirit of his creed, he was a Liberal in politics, and an Arian in religion. But so staid was his character, so respectable and repected was he, that he was called from Monaghan to the care of the church of
Enniskillen, the capital town of the tion of the younger children of the county Fermanagh. There he married family. The great advocate and statesMary, the sister of Redmond Conyng- man that was to be was then in his ham, Esq. somewhere at the close of fourteenth year. He was at once sent 1748 ; and in 1750 a son was born to to a classical school to complete the him in the person of Patrick Plunket, education well commenced by his father ; the elder brother of William, afterwards and a provision was made for his one of the most eminent physicians in mother, for whom a residence was purthe city of Dublin. Fourteen years chased in Jervis-street, near the Strandafterwards, namely, in 1764, while his street meeting-house. Here she was father was still a minister in Fermanagh, established as a tea-dealer, being patronWilliam Conyngham Plunket was born ized by the elders and congregation of in that county.
her late husband. Four years after this his father re- In 1779, Plunket, with his friend and moved to the metropolis, having been fellow-townsman Magee (the son of a selected by the elders to fill the place of shopkeeper of Enniskillen—some say of minister to the Socinian congregation a strolling player-and afterwards Archin Strand Street. Some of the ablest bishop of Dublin), stood for a sizarship men in Dublin-as Sampson, the bar- at the University of Dublin. They failed rister, Drs. Tennant and Drennan—and in attaining what they desired, and some of the most intelligent and re- probably deserved, and entered as penspected merchants—Travers Hartley, sioners. From the period of their who represented Dublin in Parliament, entrance into the Irish University, both Alexander Jaffray, the Graysons, the Plunket and Magee, who were fast Wilkinsons, the Wilsons, the Stewarts, friends and companions, exhibited great the Lunells, the Maquays-belonged talents. Plunket obtained a scholarship to this congregation, and were ha- with ease, and highly distinguished bitual attendants at it; as also were himself as a member of the Historical Sir Archibald Acheson, of Markethill, Society. Armagh, Colonel Sharman, the ancestor The ablest undergraduates of the Uniof Sharman Crawford, Sir Capel Moly versity were all members of this society, neux, the descendant of the author of and all of them had the liberty of · Molyneux's Case of Ireland," and entering the Irish House of Commons, Archibald Hamilton Rowan, afterwards as the Westminster scholars had and implicated in the Rebellion of 1798. have that of entering the Commons With many of these gentlemen the House in London. It was the privilege father of William Conyngham Plunket of Plunket, as a student of Trinity, to was intimate, and he also associated with have heard Henry Burgh, Flood, Yelthe Liberal politicians and chief men of verton, Grattan, and Duquery. Charmed letters in Dublin. For ten years he by the silvery voice, the inimitable gave eminent satisfaction to his hearers, manner, the simple dignity of Burgh ; winning daily upon their affection swayed by the powerful diction and and regard. But in 1778, while still luxuriant fancy of Yelverton ; subdued comparatively a young man, he died, by the “resistless powers," as he himleaving a widow and young family. He self called them, “that waited on the lived, however, long enough to see his majesty of Grattan's genius ”—Plunket eldest son Patrick established as a rising seems nevertheless to have modelled physician, with every prospect of attain himself more on Flood than on any ing to the very summit of his profession. orator that appeared during his early As he had died not merely without youth. Curran, who idolized Grattan, wealth, but in unprosperous circum- used to say that Flood was immeasurably stances, the Unitarian congregation of the greatest man of his time in Ireland ; Strand-street, very much to their credit, and this seems also to have been the subscribed a sum of 5001. for the educa- opinion of Plunket, who admired, re
No. 63.-VOL. XI.