Sayfadaki görseller

Rejoicings upon the completion of this event. 73 successively rose to express his delight at the completion of the important transaction. Only two dissentient voices were heard, (Mr. Walsh and Sir Samuel Bradstreet,) and that was in consequence of the following sentence in the address: "That there will no longer exist any constitutional question between the two nations that can interrupt their harmony." The house divided upon these words, when the numbers were, for the address as it stood 211, against it 2, viz. the gentlemen already mentioned.

Thus was accomplished this great revolution by means, and with a degree of moderation, unparalleled in the history of any other country; accomplished through the instrumentality of an armed force, and yet not an act committed which violated their duty as citizens. Their cause was a sacred and a just one, and accordingly they found many persons of talent, wealth, and distinction willing to co-operate with them; but that cause obtained, the connexion was dissolved when, as we shall afterwards find them, they endeavoured to mix in the affars of state, and assume a military controul over civil transactions.

The completion of so great and illustrious an event was suitably celebrated, and a day of general thanksgiving was appointed to return thanks to Almighty God for that union, harmony, and eordial affection which had been happily brought about between the two kingdoms. In the fever and tumult of their exultation they did not forget

their deliverer, but testified their gratitude in a manner unprecedented. No sooner was the address disposed of in the house of commons, on the day already mentioned, than Mr. Bagnal, after having congratulated his country, Great Britain, his majesty, and his ministers, for having obtained the greatest of all political blessings, called upon the house to confer some signal mark of a great and grateful nation upon their illustrious benefactor Mr. Grattan, whose efforts in procuring then those blessings had been timed and conducted with so much wisdom. After some further eulogium he gave notice, that he should, the next day, move that the house resolve itself into a committee to take into consideration what sum they should grant for the purchasing an estate and building a suitable mansion for their illustrious benefactor Henry Grattan, Esq. and his heirs for ever, in testimony of their gratitude for the unequalled service he had done for the kingdom of Ireland. The sum was finally fixed at 50,0001. in the committee, which resolution the house unanimously agreed to, and resolved that an address should be presented to the lord lieutenant to lay before his majesty the humble desire of that house that he would direct such sum so to be laid out, in testimony of the gratitude of the nation for Mr. Grattan's eminent and unequalled services, and that the house would make good the


Before we dismiss this subject it will be but

justice to the character of the illustrious patriot, who is still living, to record a circumstance connected with this vote, which is not generally known, and for which we are indebted to that valuable and most interesting work, Hardy's Life of Charlemont. There is the following paragraph in a letter from that nobleman to his friend Dr. Halliday, dated Dublin, Aug. 11, 1782.


Respecting the grant, I know with certainty that Grattan, though he felt himself flattered with the intention, looked upon the act with the deepest concern, and did all in his power to deprecate it. As it was found impossible to defeat the design, all his friends, and I among others, were employed to lessen the sum. It was accordingly decreased by one half, and that principally by his positive declaration, through us, that if the whole was insisted on he would refuse all but a few hundreds, which he would retain as an honourable mark of the goodness of his country. By some, who look only into themselves for information concerning human nature, this conduct will probably be construed into hypocrisy. To such the excellence and pre-eminency of virtue and the character of Grattan are as invisible and as incomprehensible as the brightness of the sun to a man born blind."

We are very far from suspecting the motives of Mr. Grattan, or doubting the exalted impulses under which he acted in achieving the deliverance

of his country; yet, in the severity of truth, we must say, that he would have acted a nobler part, he would have pursued a course that might have defied suspicion and dared calumny, had he rejected every species of pecuniary recompence. It tarnished the lustre of a glorious event; it became assimilated too much with the spirit of mercantile dealing. What more exalted reward can a real patriot wish or deserve than the success of his measures, and the consequent happiness and applause of his countrymen. View it as we will, there is something ignoble in the thought of rewarding a man who saves his country as you would reward one who does you any friendly office. It differs only in degree, not in principle; it is the same whether you give 50,000l. or half a crown. The transaction wears the same mercenary stamp upon it, and seems to degrade the elevated consciousness of a great mind acting nobly, and from the influence of steady definite conceptions, to the selfish feelings of an inferior being acting from sudden and dubious impulse. Surely an ancient patriot-a Greek or Roman— a Leonidas or a Cato-would have spurned at the idea of pecuniary remuneration; but they would have accepted the civic crown-insignificant in value, rich in representing the gratitude and admiration of a nation. Again, we deprecate any deduction being made from these sentiments, as being individually applicable to Henry Grattan, a name

[ocr errors]

which we never hope to pronounce but with respect and veneration. They apply to the general principle adopted in modern times of rewarding great moral excellence by that which equally rewards the minor virtues, and sometimes vice. Nor do we conceive that these reasonings apply to the display of eminent military talents. The toils and dangers of a soldier's life may be balanced by rewards that secure his family from the penury that his death in his country's service may entail upon them; but he who fights no war, except the nobler one of civil strife within the senate's walls, who incurs no hazards, braves no dangers, sickens in no pestilential climate, nor destroys his frame in severity of toil, seems to be more adequately rewarded by success and the inward satisfaction that accompanies success. To return, however, to Ireland and her concerns.

The general happiness diffused by the accomplishment of all her wishes was but short lived. The clouds began to gather. Two or three gentlemen, at the head of whom was Flood, who, │before the address was moved, had been not only

asked but solicited to give their opinion as to any omission or addition if necessary, and then made no objection, now declared that nothing was done, and that any measure short of an entire renunciation on the part of England to bind this country by English laws would be invalid and inefficient. A simple repeal would leave Ireland pre

« ÖncekiDevam »