10 MARCH 1838, Page 18


ACCORDING to our biographer, "the period comprised in these Memoirs is the most interesting portion of the constitutional his- tory of Ireland. We begin when the dawn of freedom pierces the gloom of past centuries, and we advance as the morning of nation- ality breaks upon us, which promises so much fur its meridian brightness."

Put into English, this bombast means, that FLOOD'S career em- braced a period during which Ireland emerged from the condition of a colony, jobbed for the advantage of the home government by the circuitous and expensive process of a seeming constitutional legislature, into that of an independent though subordinate kingdom. The causes of this advancement were twofold—mental, and material. The general theory of Loom and other Whig authors on Government, with the Irish writings of SWIFT and his followers, had roused the more thinking class of persons to a sense of national rights. Strength and spirit had been given to the smaller gentry and middle classes, by the long internal peace (for Ireland was exempt from the Jacobite insurrections of 1715 and 1745)—the growth of Britain in wealth, population, and the useful arts, and of the effects of which it was impossible for foolish acts of Parliament to prevent Ireland partaking and profiting by— together with the revival of the Catholics from the results of the "Glorious and Immortal Protestant deliverance." Of these things, and of the embarrassment springing from the American War, the party in Opposition naturally took advantage; and the party at that time happened to be Whigs. With this faction noon was connected from circumstances; and his industry, his legal and classical learning, (for his father, himself a judge, had sedulously cared for both,) and his eloquence, easily made him a Parliamentary leader, and gave him the credit of wresting from England certain constitutional rights in favour of his country. But his merits as an orator were eclipsed by GRATTAN; his cha- racter was damaged by the acceptance of a subordinate place, with its consequent compliances or silences; and he was so bigoted or narrow in his notions, that he stopped short even at a modified Catholic emancipation : in fact, he was not a patriot, taking a comprehensive view of his country's rights, and steadily pursuing them, through good and evil report, without regard to self, but a partisan politician, using certain subjects as convenient themes for Opposition declamation, till he ousted his rivals and seated himself. Hence, regarded in his most favourable phase, be was a mere party man, whom the age left behind with its first onward movement ; whilst, if the harsher examiner should not coincide in the severe invective of GRATTAN, he will yet conclude that FLOOD was a political adventurer, always ready to sacrifice his principles on the hacknied plea that he could "accomplish more good in office than in opposition." After an education finished at Trinity College, Dublin, and subsequently at Oxford, HENRY FLOOD spent seven years in the study of the law and in the society of London. Returning to Ire- land when seven.and-twenty, (in 1759,) he got into the Irish House of Commons by his family interest for the county of Kilkenny ; and passed the rest of his life in public affairs. After sixteen years' toil sn Opposition, he accepted, in 1775, the profitable post of Vice- Treasurer under Lord HARCOURT ; and found it too pleasant to re- sign when his Lordship was removed for persisting in carrying out a sort of limited " justice to Ireland." About 1781, however, he was made so uneasy, that he was forced out, and with a suspicion upon his character for having staid so long ; which suspicion was not re- moved by his subsequent quarrel with GRATTAN, and the charges which that single-minded man made against him. This quarrel

took place in 1783 ; and at the close of the year, Feoon, having negotiated a seat for the borough of Winchester with the Duke of

CHANDOS, entered the British House of Commons ; and speaking hastily upon Fox's India Bill, and on the spur of the occasion, succeeded but indifferently. He continued for the remainder of his life an occasional Member of the British Parliament when he could procure a seat ; but, though he produced some effect by a motion for Reform in Parliament, he never sustained his Irish reputation. He died in 1791.

The private life of such a man could only be made interesting in the bands of a contemporary, who was familiar with his man- ners and peculiarities. The same remark may be extended to

his public life ; for, although the chronicles of the time contain ample memorials of his acts and speeches, yet they belong in

effect to political history. But to a man familiar with the period,

(from 1760 to 1780,) if any such survives, the life of FLOOD would furnish the opportunity of showing up one of the most im- pudently corrupt bodies that ever existed, in the old Irish House of Commons, and of displaying a richly comic state of society, in which duels, drunkenness, and often shameless jobbery and venality alternated, with a breadth to which fiction dared sees* venture ; it appearing to be part and parcel of an Irishman; nature to look upon the public as lawful spoil, and to mid; his principles or even his party on the chance of a place. Still, however, industry, skill, and judgment might have am, duced an informing and useful, though perhaps a dry vol out of FLOOD'S life : but this namesake of his has neither shill, judgment, nor taste. His style is in the very worst tone of florid Hibernianism; there is no consistency or completeness in his matter, no attention to method in his narrative, or the slightest regard to chronological arrangement. Every thing is jumbled together without art or order ; and though some knowledge of FLOOD'S public life may be gleaned from the volume, the readsr must work it out for himself, without any assistance from the author.

A worse biography we know not that we have ever encountered• and the book would be without value of any kind, were it not for a collection of original letters from Lord CHARLEMONT and some other public characters, to which the biographer has had Emu, and for his selections from the debates in the Irish House of Commons. The latter, indeed, have no particular public interest or intrinsic merit; but they are curiously characteristic of a kind of oratory now extinct. The topics of the letters are personal; and their manner undistinguished by grace, spirit, or vivacity; but being written by leading personages, often upon the polities] events of the period, they throw a light upon the characters of the public men, which is any thing but edifying.' FLOOD seem early to have fixed his attention upon the British Parliament, for as early as 1766 Lord CHARLEMONT was on the look-oat for a seat for him : and see how coolly one patriot writes to the other upon the business !

" I have seen and talked to John Pitt. He has spoken to his friend, abs has promised to give him the preference. The price cannot be exactly deter. mined, but will probably not exceed 3,0001., of which it also may fall short; and should it exceed, it will be by n trifle. There will be a security—as fir it that matter can be secured—of reelection : you have no other step to take but to determine, After as some as possible to write to me an account of your deter. urination. After that, you will hare nothing else to do but to hold the abort. mentioned S11114 in readiness, and to think about a qualification."

In 1769, Feoon met and shot a Mr. AGER, on some election.

eering quarrel. The man was a practised duellist, who, piqued at missing his antagonist, called noon out a second time, sod altogether seems to have deserved his fate. Yet the justiced the cause does not appear to have sufficed ; for Lord CuAatinton, always held up as a model of purity--Ita refinement upon Poeta

NIUS ATTICUS—took upon himself the task of endeavouring to tamper with criminal justice, by alternately wheedling and bay. ing the Chancellor. Here is a specimen of the first mode.

"1 then told him, that supposing the commission to be granted, I believed you would not choose that the trial should come on before the first welkin October ; premising, that I now spoke to him rather as a person who honoured me and my friend with his friendship and good wishes, than as the Lad Chancellor ; and therefore begging, that if my ignorance or zeal should induct me to mention any thing improper, he would be so good as to stop me. He replied, that with regard to the time, it could not he earlier than what I lad mentioned, as time is always given upon these occasions to prepare for a de fence ; and that, even when the time had been appointed, you might have it postponed, hr alleging that you were not ready. "I now hinted delicately and distantly, that I did believe there were eer• tale persons who might not be so eligible, &c. Here he stopped me with ' This, perhaps, may not be quite proper: if there he any person a relation to the deceased, or any one who can. lie supposed to harbour any resentment Tint the person to be tried, these, as men of honour, must refuse the comma.' And after thinking a little, be added, I don't know but that I may think it right, when the appointment shall be made, to call upon your Lordship,u a per• sin so nearly connected with your friend, to desire to know of you whether me exception lies against such appointment.' This, with many strong preemies of desire to serve you, was the sum of our conversation ; which I have Warn in such a hurry, as my eyes ache sadly, that I fear you will scarcely alio stand me. On the whole, all goes on, I think, very well."

The plan of wheedling not succeeding,* the pattern of mak- bility takes the other course ; and, apparently, with bette success.

"My Dearest Flood—In truth I have passed but shad night : this morning, however, I have been somewhat comforted by the consequences of a visit which I made to the Chancellor. Determined to try a new method, I resolved to wk of the Lord-Lieutenant's behaviour in a more violent style than what 'dd

hitherto used. My Lord,' said I, ' I am come to inform you, that a tied= has yesterday been presented from the borough of L—il, desiring, Ire.: to which his Excellency has been pleased to give a most extraordinary answer, that he would consult your Lordship upon the matter, which, as you know, he has already done long since ; so that, by what I perceive, the Alio left in the same situation in which it was a month ago. -ow, my Lord, had this conduct most amazing ? What must we judge of it? N% hat but that which every one, does think, that his Excellency has a mind to prevent i r. Flood's attendance in Parliament till some favourite scheme be agitated, to which he fears my friend's opposition.' The Chancellor seemed startled, bit endeavoured to excuse him by talking of his dilatoriness and indolence. If! Lord, that may possibly be true, but no one will believe it, nor think it po.„ el? that a person in his character should not be actuated by a motive of a etch worse kind : and indeed, if that should be the case, some friend ought to let him know the certain consquence which must follow from this dilatoriness, raw. the infinite mischief he will bring upon himself by it.' Some more cove tioa of this kind ensued ; when at length he told me, that he now saw the oWter'r. in a very different light ; that the petition had entirely altered the state of; question; that if no objection upou further consideration should occur, 13:0,, saw none to the measure, and should certainly recommend it ; that he see the Lord•Lieutenant this day, who would undoubtedly mention it to 1.1, _ 03 For Heaven's sake, my Lord,' *said I, don't leave it to him ; speak re, hi yourself about it, or ten to one it may, as usual, be omitted or forgot. • We have changed the order of Mr. WARREN FLOOD'S arraogemer,.trt reasons apparent upon the face of the letters. regard of dates, that he sticks a letter of 1766 the slightest reason for it. Brat sthuceliiieus thofe jug We will,' said he, ' and every thing in wy power shall he (lone: in the ";;;-,e'bile, I would have you know of Mr. Flood whether he has any ohjec- ti,to the Judger Henn !mat:, ISnsthiathil, wure, caasrye-oututesot will pirnobtatbeliyr Ippoointed. For, flab b


So much for Whig delicacy and Irish patriotism.

The remote cause of the celebrated quarrel between FLOOD and Gooesra was, the old orator's jealousy of the young one, who had come with higher powers and untainted character to " push him from his stool.' This feeling was aggravated to rage, when the Irish Parliament voted GRATTAN 50,0001. for his public services; for FLOOD, though he never wanted money, appears to have been one of those men who are always greedy of it. After various skirmishes upon various occasions, FLooD began the direct battle, hi, an attack, in which, amongst other sharp things, he alluded Gesressi as "the gentleman who subsists on your accounts," and "the mendicant patriot who was bought by his country for a sum of money, and sold his country for prompt payment." To this effusion GRATTAN replied by defending himself; and then proceeded in this strain of bitter and condensed invective. e It is not the slander of a bad tongue, of a bad character, that can defame me; I maintain my reputation in public and in private life : no man, who is not a bad character, can say I ever deceived him ; no country has ever called

at cheat.

o I will suppose a public character—a man not now in this House, but who formerly might have been here. I will suppose it was his constant practice to abuse every one who differed from him, and to betray every one who trusted him. I will suppose him active ; will begin from his cradle, and divide his hie into three stages. In the first he was intemperate, in the second corrupt, and in the third seditious. Suppose him a great egotist, his honour equal to his oath, and I will stop him and say—Sir, your talents arc not so great as our life is infamous. You were silent for year's, and you were silent for money. When affairs of consequence were debating, you might have been seen passing these doors like a guilty spirit, just waiting for the moment of putting the question, that you might hop in and give your venal vote ; or at times, with a vulgar brogue, aping the manner and affecting the infirmities of Chatham ; or, like a kettlealrummer, Iatherirg yourself into popularity to catch the vulgar ; rayon might he seen hevering over this dome, like an ill-omened bird of night oidt sepulchral notes, a cadaverous aspect, and broken beak, ready to stoop and 'agate on your prey. You can be trusted by no man : the people cannot trust Ins, the Minister cannot trust you ; you deal out the most Impartial treachery *both. You tell the nation tlit.t it is ruined by other men, while it is sold by you. You fled from the Embargo, you fled from the Mutiny Bill, you fled horn the Sugar Bill ! I therefore tell you, in the fare of your country, before all the world and to your beard, you are not an honest man."

Squeamish refinement was not the vice of the day either in England or Ireland, but this was held a touch too strong. Per- soul consequences were prevented by arresting the parties on their way to the ground, and binding them over to the amount of twenty thousand pounds each. But all moderate men were shocked at the patriot's speech ; and, according to a letter from the Duke of CmaNnos, " this morning at the levee it was much talked of, and his Majesty expressed his astonishment at the vio- lence." Unmeasured it undoubtedly is ; much of it may be ex- aggerated; and there is too strong a personal and national cha- racter infused into it, to allow it to rank in the highest class of eloquence. But it is unequalled for terseness of expression ; and there is an universal truth in particular sentences, which says much for its individual correctness. The three phases of the self-seeking politician, in place-hunting, place-holding, and place-losing, were never more aptly described than by the words—" in the first in- temperate, in the second corrupt, and in the third seditious." The shade of GRATTAN might now stalk into the House of Commons, and point to several pseudo-patriots—" silent for years and silent for money." He might see many to whom would apply his accu- sation of " just waiting for the moment of putting the question to hop in and give your venal vote," or just as bad—of skulking from the division. And there are some to whom he might thunder forth, " You fled from the Ballot," or " You fled from the Cola Bill."—though the delicacy of our age, which imputes oily pure motives to every one, would stop him ere he got to his "seclusion.

Of Fumes specimens of oratory which have been preserved, time are few that take him very much beyond the able " Par- liamentary speaker ;" a somewhat measured and artificial style, -with a strong provincial or Irish spirit, being their pervading cha- racteristic. 1Ve learn from WRAXALL, that his manner of speak- * strange to say, was " slow, measured, and sententious, ap- pearing to English ears cold and stiff." If, however, there was any tiptoes of application in GRATTAN'S simile of the " kettle-drum- mer lathering hitmelf into popularity " he must occasionally have been vehement enough. The "vulgar brogue" implies at least an Irish accent. The " infirmities " were the effects of the gout, to Which FLOOD was often in the habit of alluding in a depreca- tory way ; and sometimes he addressed the House sitting, in imitation of Chatham." Although his efforts in the English House of Commons did not support his reputation, yet we suspect they will meet most favour with the English reader, as being more close, argumentative, and general. And as it might be somewhat of a bull to close the notice of an orator without a specimen of his oratory, we will take one from his speech on introducing his English Refurm Bill. It will be found not only able in itself, but curious as showing the opinion of


,," My Proposition is free from all these objections ; for it is, that one hundred limbers should be ;ttliled, and that they should be elected by a numerous and a aurlsody of responsible electors—n=10v, the resident hoUseholders in every emlotr• Resident, 1 sow, because that the primiplc of the constitution is so 5411 in favour of ret,tdenee, that it ordained that no non-resident could be an elector; and with remain : first, because residents must be best acquainted with every local circumstance ; and next, because they can attend at every place of election with the least inconvenience and expense to themselves or is the candi- date. Householders, I say, because, being masters or fathers of families, they must be sufficiently responsible to be entitled to franchise. There is ne country in the world in which the householders of it are considered as the rabble : no country can be said to be free where they are not allowed to be efficient.- they are, exclusive of the rabble, the great mass of the people—they are the natural guards of popular liberty in the first stages of it ; without them it cannot be retained. As long as they have this constitutional influence, and till they be- come generally corrupt, popular liberty cannot be taken away. Whenever they do become generally corrupt, it cannot be retained. Neither will it be pos- sessed if they have not this constitutional influence; for the liberty of a nation, like the honour of individuals, can never be safe but in their own custody. TI • householders of this country have a better right to consideration and franchise than those of any other country, because they pay more for it. It is admitted that every individual of this country, one with another, pays fifty shillings a year to the revenue in tax. The master or father of a family mast contribute in proportion, for himself and for each individual of his family, even to the child that is hanging at the breast. Who shall say that this clam of men ought to be confounded with the rabble 1 who shall dare to say that they ought to be prescribed from franchise ? They maintain the affluence of the rich, the dig- nity of the noble, the majesty of the crown ; they support your fleets and your armies ; and who shall say that they shall not have this right to protect their liberty? "