Ireland and its Rulers, since 1829. Part the Second Newby. Fzurron.
Peregrine Pultuney ; or Life in India. In three volumes Mortimer.
Illustrations of the Theory and Practice of Ventilation, with Remarks on Warming, Exclusive Lighting, and the Communication of Sound. By David Boswell Reid, M.D., F.R.S.E., &c. &c. Longinus and Gb.
IRELAND AND ITS RULERS SINCE 1829: PART SECOND.
THE purpose of the author is more distinctly perceived in this Second Part than in the first : he seems to have designed a politi- cal and legislative history of the country since 1829, mixed with biographical sketches of the leading actors, and an occasional dis- quisition on some institution—as the Church. Even had the au- thor possessed the organ of construction in greater perfection, this plan would have been difficult to maintain, from the necessary break that the introduction of an elaborate biographical notice would cause in a narrative. But he seems to have paid little atten- tion to the strict development of his subject, or to have regarded it in no other light than as a quarry for materials. Hence, the second volume of Ireland and its Rulers is, like the first, rather a succes- sion of vigorous, striking, and very clever " articles," than a con- tinuous or complete whole.
The general history treated of by the present volume is the latter part of the GREY Administration, the brief government of PEEL'S first Premiership, and the administration of Lord NoR- MANBY, entitled the " The Mulgrave Era "—though it is as much a sketch of the man as of his rule. The characters exhibited at full length are Chief Justice BUSTLE, Baron SMITH, Mr. SHELL, and Chief Baron WOULFE : Lord WELLESLEY, like Lord NORMANBY, is considered under his Viceroyalty. There are two more general sections ; one descriptive of the Parliamentary Repealers in 1834; the other disquisitional on the Church of Ireland,— whose stability the author holds to be essential to the stability of the Union. If, argues he, you abolish the Irish Church, you unite the Upper Nation with the Lower, and fuse them into one people with one national object. What the Repealers want is educated and comprehensive mind, with respectability of status and family ; both of which are now pretty much confined to the Protestants, by possession, Trinity College, and the English alliance, mainly kept up by the religious distinction : destroy this, and the power which is now in league with you, and the intellect which is either in league with you, employed abroad, or unpolitically occupied at home, will unite with the rest of Ireland in demanding inde- pendence ; for that class which is now the uppermost will have been reduced, and have no other means of recovering its position. than beading the people. All which may be true, if Ireland is still to be ruled upon the old Machiavellian policy in a milder form ; but if a real union is to be established—if laws are to be equally administered, advancement opened equally to all, patronage bestowed without regard to religion, and Irish interests judiciously considered by the Imperial Parliament, (which is, we believe, what English people mean by " justice to Ireland,")—there seems no reason to dread the removal of what the majority feel a religious degradation, after measures have been taken with a direct tendency to conciliate the people to the British rule, or rather to make them an integral part of the empire.
The Second Part of Ireland and its Rulers exhibits the same broad, dashing, popular qualities, as the First ; with much of the same floating and worldly knowledge, derived from observation or discourse rather than from study : but the tone is, we think, a shade more subdued, and perhaps the impression hardly so striking. Something of this may be attributed to the mere fact of the book being a continuation. "An author who cannot ascend will always appear to sink," says GIBBON when narrating the cooler reception of his own second and third volumes ; and a continuation of the same subject must always want the freshness of the first appearance. But, as the great historian eventually is "inclined to believe" that the cause was chiefly in his book, so we may be allowed to suspect that the character of this portion of Ireland and its Rulers has less both of force and of interest than the former. The style of the author does not well bear subduing; for it loses in spirit what it gains in sobriety. Some of the topics, too, have less attraction. for English readers. The name of BUSHE is well known as that of an eminent pleader and accomplished man; but the mass of British readers care nothing about him, especially if they have to get the information out of two chapters. They will reecho the name of WOULFE—" Woulfe ? " and may perhaps have to be told that he was an Irish lawyer, of Liberal principles and good cha- racter, promoted by the Whigs. Nor will every one, even among politicians, at first remember that Baron SMITH was the Judge who made so many strong political charges in 1833, and was assailed by O'CONNELL in the next session ; when the first attack, sup- ported by the Whigs, succeeded, but, PEEL coming to the rescue, the vote was rescinded shortly after. 'What makes these notices less attractive is, that they are not necessary for any object in view, and are therefore felt as incumbrances. They seem put there be- cause the author could write them.
Still, they are well done ; and some of the chapters, especially the review of Lord WELLESLEY and his Administration, the career and character of Mr. SHELL, and very many of the shorter notices and remarks interspersed throughout the other sections, possess both vigour and spirit; whilst the whole is of a very readable cha-
racter—as readable as a good newspaper or review. The book is also useful, as bringing past events again before us, whilst many of its topics have a temporary and personal interest, even when they happen to be past.
THE NECESSITY OF O'CONNELL TO THE WHIGS.
The Repeal party was powerful as ever, and threatened even to increase in resources and enthusiasm. From the year 1830 to 1833, no want of vigour could be imputed to the energetic Executive of Ireland. Was it possible that mild means—in short, a friendly and familiar understanding with the Agitator, would reduce the turbulence of the Irish Opposition ?
All the proud, and nearly all the wary minds of the Whig party, were averse
to any such measures. But some of the shrewder and less fastidious Whigs thought it impossible to carry on a Whig Government in Ireland without taking O'Connell into counsel. And they were right in thinking so. So long' as Daniel O'Connell lived, he bad it in his power to cover with unpopularity any Whig Administration. The Tory party relied less on popularity fur retaining its power, and consequently was comparatively indifferent to his philippics ; but the Whigs stood between two fires, and were assaulted on each Rank by furious opponents. Yet it was very galling to the Whig pride, ever to think of humiliating the party by any arrangement with such a man as O'Con- nell. The Cabinet wavered to the last before it would venture on so decided a step. It clung to the hope of being able to manage Irish affairs without taking O'Connell into its confidence.
CONSISTENCY OF MR. MEI&
Considering Lim by an Irish standard, Shell may be pronounced a man
who, with considerable talents, aims at paltry things, and prefers to be formidably factious as an expectant partisan, rather than morally influential as an Irish regenerator. If he bad moral courage and a noble purpose, he might have been the Parliamentary leader of the Irish Whig party, which now con- siders him as its mere retained advocate. But he has no pretensions to the character of a statesman, and aims only at the reputation of a mere orator. Be is a political hybrid—neither Whig nor Repealer ; he has all the factiousness with very little of the principled consistency of the first, and nearly all the violence without any of the generous enthusiasm of the second. He sneers at Lord Stanley fur having seceded from the Melbourne Whigs, and yet not one man in public life has during the last fourteen years led so devious a political career as the right honourable gentleman himself ! In 1829, after the Eman- cipation Bill had become law, be was so eager for the downfall of agitation, that from "the bloody Beresfords " he accepted a retaining fee of three hundred guineas for his services as an electioneering counsel ; and in 1844, after having left off professional life, he volunteers as counsel for the Corn Exchangers, though their avowed purposes have been condemned by the Sovereign, of whom be is the sworn servant, and though their principles have been repudiated by the party among which he is enrolled. He was a neutral in 1830, and a par- tisan in 1840. He was a Whig in 1831 ; he was a Radical in 1833. lie was a Doionist in the summer of 1832, and a Repealer in the autumn of the same year. In 1834, he spoke and voted for the dissolution of the Union ; and in 1843 he kept aloof from the party whose principles he had formerly espoused. And yet, forsooth, the vacillating Whig of 1833 and the renegade Repealer of 1843 is the man who delights in harshly taunting others with inconsistency
The following goes back to the time of the first Reformed Par- liament; but it is very clever.
TROUBLES OP THE "TAIL."
Notwithstanding the abuse which the Agitator continued to pour forth upon the Whigs, there was on the part of many of the Popular party a growing de• sire for a truce with the Government. In truth, some of the Popular leaders began to find that keeping up the Repeal cause was very expensive to them- selves. Several of the Tail M.P.s were very desirous of a good understanding with the men in power. They found themselves hard pinched to keep up a Senatorial appearance. Some of them had a little professional practice previous to their Parliamentary election, and they had lost it altogether. Others of them had hoped to achieve eminence in the House of Commons, and had been heartily laughed at for their pains. Elevated to situations that had once been highly honourable, they found the res t:gusto domi excessively disagreeable ; for tbeircold mutton was particularly flavourless to men who had little resemblance to honest and witty Andrew Marvell, except in their straitened circumstances. They found themselves beset by a horde of place-hunters, followers, election- eerers, and hungry, half-starved adventurers. Moat persons despised them, but the truly charitable pitied them ; and really they had got into such a plight, that their own feelings were sufficiently hard to bear without being exposed to the contumely of others. The mere vulgar John Bullish public, at wit- nessing their shabby appearance, despised them as poor in purse ; the men of the world, when they saw them crawling at the heels of O'Connell, condemned them as poor in spirit ; and politicians, at observing their want of wit, acquire- ments, eloquence, and information, derided them as poor in talent. Their position with their followers was excessively embarrassing. They were excruciated by constant appeals for the patronage which they did not possess— for the money of which they had so very little—for recommendations to their "'high acquaintances," who dwelt not in May Fair, but in the Isiah fancies of the needy applicants. Every post brought them urgent requests from some of their most active supporters and influential constituents. Not a day passed over their heads without some Irishman of " decided genius," or " wonderful talents," or " unparalleled acquirements," being recommended to their especial friendship and favour. And then, the dreadful difficulty of having to maintain appearances in London I Imagine the situation of persons who had been nobot.ies at home trying to be somebodies in England !
It is elevating, if not cheerful, to turn from the dilemmas of pre- sumptuous vanity to the delineation of a great statesman—not perfect, certainly, in the intellectual qualities, but characteristic in the personal traits.
THE MARQUIS WELLESLEY
Was a man characteristically fitted for the task of administering regular laws, and as essentially unsuited to the business of propounding new ones. In a trite quotation of Pope might be found his views of government ; which he deemed a matter of personal skill, and not of political science. In politics strictly so called he might have been pronounced a sceptic. He appeared not to be aware that the contest, even in agitated times, is as much between principles as between parties. As there never was a man of his personal reso- lution with so little of what was overbearing or tyrannical, so probably there never was a governing mind with so much toleration of fanaticism, and at the same time such little respect for popular convictions. Lord Wellealey—the fact is curious—was liberal, because he rated very low the moral power of the multitude. It was not in his disposition to be splenetic or contemptuous, and hiairiews of human nature were rather generous and noble ; but for men hud- dled together in masses, or for what crowds of any kind thought, he had not the slightest feeling of respect. He cared little fur general opinion, except so far as it was entitled to a conventional respect; but his indifferency did not so much spring from a philosophical contempt for prejudices, as from his depre- ciating the worth of the mere multitude of men. Those who knew him most intimately in Ireland, and who had occasion, whether in military or legal capacity, to listen to the expression of his wishes, will assuredly concur in the ascription to Lord Wellesley of a certain Oriental- ism of bearing, more suitable to an Asiatic dignitary than a British Peer. Not that be was.pompous, bombastic, or absurd—his taste and great mind pm- served him from the ridiculous ; but it was evident to those around him, in lesser authority than himself, that he affected a subdued majesty of carriage, and that at heart he preferred the elevation of a splendid despot with arbitrary power to the rank of a mere constitutional statesman acting in a responsible capacity. In politics he was too much of a connoisseur, and in forming his opinions upon men and things allowed too great a sway to his feelings of refinement. For racy and simple nature he had no appreciation, and he wished that every thing should be in full costume. His Liberalism (such as it was) sprung from no quick resentment of wrong, but from the acquired feelings of a man min- gling in political strife. He was deficient in some of the finest qualities that are necessary to a first-class English statesman. His character wanted the charm of earnestness, and his low opinion of the multitude contributed to deaden his feelings on party politics into a stoical and well-bred insouciance. As he had nothing of the austerity or Puritanism of Grey, so neither had he any of the haughty Earl's moral obstinacy and pertinacity of disposition. What then was it that impressed all who approached him with such lofty notions of the greatness of his mind and character ?
It was his personal superiority to the mob of politicians, whether composed of peers or paupers ; it was his majestic calmness of soul, unruffled by a single paltry feeling.; it was his classical simplicity, the result of careful training and familiarity with lofty historical models; it was the artistic candour of his man- ners, and his directness in all affairs of business. Such were the qualities, united with his high breeding and extensive acquirements, that dazzled those who ap- proached him. There was a certain greatness in his mien also, which was par- ticularly striking; for assuredly none of his contemporaries, whether sovereigns or statesmen, could assume the august with such perfect .propriety as Lord Wellesley. His deportment, when he chose, was inimitably impressive, and he
possessed the art of making it appear perfectly natural. • • • On problematical questions—such as the reform of a political system, and similar topics—he was apparently apathetic; and his mind was never quickened by the eagerness of hope, or agitated by any speculative alarms. He thought that so long as the British constitution would stand, our political affairs would always go on much in the same way, and that nothing but the entire sub- version of the constitutional system would make any sensible difference in English society. Hence the perfect calmness with which he viewed changes that roused the fears of his wisest contemporaries.
He was indeed an admirable administrator of affairs : for his habits were regular, and he was constant in purpose ; his mind was tranquil, and be was sagacious in his views. He never was popular or unpopular. He followed Burleigh's advice—" Seek not to be Essex, shun to be Raleigh." His con- versation was by no means so interesting as might reasonably have been an- ticipated. He seldom dropped any remarkable expressions. He appeared to be more at home with military men than with lawyers or active politicians. It is also a curious fact, that the military officials in Ireland understood his haracter, and appreciated his abilities, far more than the members of the learned erofessions.