Images de page
PDF
ePub

We are first of all told that the monarch“ meets" the dart of death; this suits the character of the warrior: but this boldness is of short duration, we find him afterwards, groaning, crying, calling for help, and making a most un-heroic exit indeed." The repetition of " in vain," and he dies” was perhaps thought to be an improvement on the “ fall'n, fill'n, &c. of Dryden; as a certain iragic author, from the success which attended the introducing a mother and child upon the stage, conceived he should double the pathos by the introduction of two children. Perhaps it was thought unnecessary to notice from whence the last line of the extract is taken, as the line itself is so well known.

ART. 29. Poctical Trifles. Written on various subjectsferious and comic. By Edward Trapp Pilgrim, Esq. 15. 6d. Debrett, 178,

Mr. Pilgrim does not " aspire to folid fame." He gives his productions as bagatelles, and means that they should be confidered Only in that light. The two short poems on the death of Dr. Johnson, the one serious, and the other comic, will be no untavourable specimen of the author's talents.

On the Death of Dr. Sam. Johnfor.
6 When borne to heav'n, the mufe's arms between,
Had I, great Johnson, thine Elisha been,
Eager thy mantle I had caught, and then,
Inícrib'da Johnson's fame with Johnson's pen.

But now, I dare not, impious, touch thy fhrine,
With diction rude, or with unhallow'd line;
Yet though to filence aw'd, with grief sincere,

The infant mufe shall think, and drop a tear!
On the numerous Epitaphs, &c. written on the Death of Dr. Samuel
Johnfon, a Man in his life Time critically nice in point of Liter

• When Gulliver lay prone on ground,
The Lilliputians throng'd around;
Unnumber'd was the host that ran,
All o'er the great gigantic man!

So Johnson, now to earth laid down,
A second Gulliver is known;
The Lilliputian poets pour,
Around his corpie in nuanbers more
Than e'er on paper scrawi'd before !

See one, Parnassus's flax entwines,
And binds himn strongly down with lines;
Others their bells poetic jingle,
And strive the Doctor's cars to tingle:
But 0! take head, ye sons of Thumb,
Nor come so near to meet your doom;
For should your noise be Comewhat louder,

He'll wake, and grind you all to powder!" Elevation, polish and correctness are, for the moít part, wanting in the serious pieces of this collection, and the point of Mr. Pilgrim's epigrams depends upon 1 pur. Upon the whole, however, our bard appears to be more favoured by Thalia than Melpomene.

NATIONAL

rare.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS,

For AUGUST, 1785.

IRELAND, AS

S avarice is not the only paffion which governs individuals, so

neither is it the only pation which governs nations. Revenge, ambition, the love of glory, a fatiety of tranquillity and cafe, a reitless eagerness for intrigue, bustle, and action : these, though not so steady principles as the love of gain, are often more powe erful. Were a regard to what is commonly called interest the fole motive of human conduct, the determinations of men, in any given circumstances might be reduced, pretty nearly to arithmetical calculation. But the principles and pallions which govern our actions are various, and, like the letters of the alphabet, may be mixed and combined in an infinity of forms. The human soul is too subtle and and elastic to be confined within the bounds of reasoning. It is a perfect Proteus. It afiumes a thoufand shapes, and mocks the politician's address, and eludes his grasp.

But, if there be a nation under heaven that is less governed by the views of interest than another, and concerning whole conduct it is more difficult to form any certain presage, it is Ireland. Commerce with luxury, effeminacy, and artifice in her train, has not yet reduced the Irish nation to the habits and ideas of mere manufacturers and shop-keepers. The impressions of national character among that people are yet itrong and prominent. They are remarkable for a gaiety of dispofition, a liveliness of fancy, which far outitripping the flow pace of understanding, is apt to mistake a sudden and transient glance, for the whole of an object : a plentiful source of merriment to others and to themselves. It is thought that the original settlers in Ireland came from Spain, and that they imported with them, and still retain the chearfulness * the vivacity, the love of idleness, and of arms, which characterize the inhabitants of that delicious country. Be this as it may, the Irish people do certainly, at the present moment retain a considerable portion of both the dignity and the barbarism which distinguish the earlier periods of fociety. Amongst them we find the jovial excess of the ancient hospitality. Amongst them the character of a gentleman, though oppressed with poverty, is still respectable : and, on the whole, it is deemed better to bear arins, even in foreign service, than to amass a fortune behind a counter. As the Irish gentlemen are ambitious of military reputation, and acquire it; fo the common people have their fights and encounters at fairs and funerals and other public meetings. This turbulency of difpofition in the lower ranks is, in fact, a kind of iinitation of that point of honour which is sudden and quick in quarrel, and which, among the higher orders, finds no expiation för injury or

* In Spain there are different nations, of whom the Castilians only affect stareliness and reserve. The other nations, as might be expected in a warm and genial climate are lively even to extravagance,

affront

attront but in bisod. Among the qualities that diftinguill the earlier periods of society we may rank that quick transition from one paflion to another, that sudden change of rcfolution, that refilesineis and impetuofity of temper, which equally avoids the restraints of industry, and the languor of inoccupation; and which acts not so much from plan as froin impulie. This brave but turbulent and volatile people had for

ages groaned, and often hideously horried under the oppretlions of the Englith. A fit opportunity was pretented: they quickly began gradually to assert their in lependence: hope of redress initiamed a spirit of resentment: one concession, by inviting demands; led to anóther: the elasticity of the Irish spirit was in proportion to its former compression.

It was when the Irish nation, was in this temper, when they found a more delicious gratification in humbling the pride, than they would have done by sharing the wealth of England, that the British Administration thought proper to appeal to their venality from 'their ambition, and to make an attempt to flip a shadow of lovereignty over a people proudly walking and glorying in newly acquired liberty. It was abundantly evident that no concellion that England could make, would fatisfy Ireland, if it should be short of abfolute independence. The commercial advantages offered; were undoubtedly sufficient to have allured them to concord, if commercial advantage had been all they contended for. Even the famous fourth propofition, which seemed to threaten a refuitiption of the legislative rights of Ireland, was softened and explained away by Mr. Orde, who, plainly told the Irish Parliament that they would not be bound by that; nor by any other of the propositions any longer than they pleafed. This was an infinuation that the whole proceedings respecting a commercial establishment were nothing else than a farce intended to amuse the people, for the present, with an appearance of business, and of a tendency towards harmony and good agreement. But the point which it is our object at present, to illustrate, is, that it was impolitic to keep alive and irritate the animolity of Ireland, by any commercial or other treaty at the present moment.

Counsels ought not, indeed, such is the intricacy of human affairs! to be judged of always by the event: nor do we judge of the Minister's conduct, in the present question, by this standard. A flight inspection of the preceding numbers of this monthly speculation will satisfy every person that we uniformly maintained the opinion, that there was foinething in the present spirit of the Irish nation that was not to be managed by courthip: and that there was no medium between force and leaving them to themselves.

The propositions are now withdrawn : but the manner in which they were brought forth and pressed on the acceptance of the Irish nation, amounts to a strong and formal recognition of their independence. However, the wifest step in the whole proceedings now under review was the withdrawing of a proposal that was encountered with such hoftile opposition. And, in general, the prudence and policy of Mr. Pitt have hitherto been more apparent when he 4

abandoned

.

[ocr errors]

abandoned than when he urged his projects; when he followed, than when he led; when he ccaled to act, than when he acted

It now remains for England to endeavour to profit, it the can, by the experience of her follies. Let her not pretend to move more than she can weild, or gralp at more than the can hold, on the one hand: nor be so much depreffed by her disappointment in undertakings that are impracticable, as to despair of accomplishing what plainly lies within the sphere of her power. The spirit of Ireland 1o powerfully routed will not fuddenly subside, and the 'rúřn it fjali take, the object to which it finall be directed is a matter of equal curiosity and uncertainty. It is not impoflible but that, the attections of the Irish, may soon return in a strong current towards Eng: land. If they thouid not, and that a spirit of animodity fhould continue, it is evident that the most fagacious politician can do no other than one or other of these three things i either to leave it w holly to the coolling operution of time ; 01, 2. to divert it,: if pofiibi, to other objects; or, 3. to refill it.

If the ardour of Ireland should continue, without being mis chievous, it would be wisdom to fuffer it to evaporare in foaiting the volunteers and the kingdom of Ireland. If it thoud iBreaten mil Chief, an enlightened and maiierly politician, armed with the legis flative authority and power of Great Britain, and a very powerful interest in Ireland might, perhaps, find means of diverting it to other objects either of peace or war. As it is easier to give a nejv direction to a body in motion than to move it; so it is also calier to give it a new direction than to refore and fix it in a state of rett. In aneient as well as in modern times we read of political princes managing and turning'the fpirit of allemblies and waolevations of

In England we find little in our politics of either philosophy or common sense : but a great deal of cunning and corruption. These, with fluency of speech seem the oniy ingredients nurcilon', in these times, in the con.position of an Englif Statesman. But, if animofity thould break forth into violence, and discontents

open hoftilities, then it is to be hoped that this-dation is not yet fo funk either in spirit or in power, as longer to fit itilf in a fate of stupid inaction. Dy violence and hotlity we do not understand war and bloodfied only: but treaties of commerce or of alliance with powers hoitile to Great-Britain ; non-importation agreements, and laws prohibitory of English manufactures; a repulse of our tithermen from the Alations fitrest for ţhe fithe ies, &c. &c.

The Arrit of the French King prohibicing the importation of English goods into France, coinciding in time with the propositions for a commercial fyltem between the Britif. Ils, cannoi fail to fix the attention of all Europe as well as of the British Cabinet. Let Ireland maintain her right to a free trade with all the world, and let France exclude British goods with the one hand, while fie receives the manufactures of Ireland with the other, and the severeft blow is ftruck that was ever aimed against the profperity and the potrei of England. For with such inviting markets before their eyes as the dominions and dependencies of all the branches of the Home of Bourbon, over and above usher markets, manufactures would doubt.

less

men.

into

y migrate from England to Ireland. And this no doubt <ryobject that the Court of Versailles has in view. could Ireland throw herself into the protection of France, one of che most singular scenes would be displayed that was ever exhibited aindít all the viciffitudes of contending nations. The Irish proteftants, who owe all their wealth, power, and consequence, as well as their laws and civil conftitution to England, defying their patrons on the one hand, and still maintaining their usurpations on a nation on the other, whom their patrons enabled them to bring under their fubje&tion : and supported, too, by a power which, at the end of the lait century appeared in arms on the side of the oppreffed nation united to themfelves by the band of religion. Will the French fupport the Irish protestants in oppofition to the great body of the nation, the Roman Catholics ? or, is it possible that the Catholics of Ireland, who for centuries have perfifted in their claims, will abandon them on an occasion which invites thein to enforce them? With regard to the matter of right, the pretensions of the Irish Protestants are absurd and a mockery of all morality. If they may justly maintain authority over the Irish Catholics whom they stripped of their poffeffions, another nation may exist that may claim authority over ihem. Can they say to the antient Irish with any act of justice,

we will keep fast hold of our ufurpations on you, we will retain all the authority of government; but we will thake off all dependency on that government which gave us power to oppress you?” If such a whimsical situation should ever be realized, the world might see the English colonists in Ireland ranged under the standard" of France, and the Roinan Catholics reclaiming their loft patrimony under the auspices and banners of England.

While the politicianis led to contemplate this confused and fermenting scene from curiosity, or from interest, there is many a stupid soul in England, that knows not how to pass time away, that promises himself no little amusement from bloody battles both at sea and land, and these too, at no great distance.

GERMANY. The restlesness of the Emperor, who is constantly armed but who never fights has, as yet, reaped no other fruit of all his nighty preparations than a few iminaterial concessions from the Dutch: while he has provoked a confederacy against him of German Princes connected in defensive and offensive alliance by the King of Pruffia. This confederacy the aged monarch will leave after death, as a bulwark of that liberty which he protected in his life.

* Communications for The English Review are requested to be sent to Mr. MURRAY, No. 32, Fleet-street, London, where Subscribers for this Monthly Performance are desired to give in their Names.

« PrécédentContinuer »