« PředchozíPokračovat »
• MONTESINOS.-It was in 1800, the year when it first appeared in Andalusia. That summer I fell in at Cintra with a young German, on the way from his own country to his brothers at Cadiz, where they were established as merchants. Many days had not elapsed after his arrival in that city, when a ship which was consigned to their firm brought with it the infection; and the first news which reached us of our poor acquaintance, was, that the yellow fever had broken out in his brother's house, and that he, they, and the greater part of the household were dead. There was every reason to fear that the pestilence would extend into Portugal, both governments being, as usual, slow in providing any measures of precaution, and those measures being nugatory when taken. I was at Faro in the ensuing spring, at the house of Mr. Lempriere, the British Consul. Inquiring of him upon the subject, the old man lifted up his hands, and replied in a passionate manner, which I shall never forget, O Sir, we escaped by the mercy of God, -only by the mercy of God! The Governor of Algarve, even when the danger was known and acknowledged, would not venture to prohibit the communication with Spain, till he received orders from Lisbon ; and then the prohibition was so enforced as to be useless. The crew of a boat from the infected province were seized and marched through the country to Tavira: they were then sent to perform quarantine upon a little insulated ground, and the guards who were set over them, lived with them, and were regularly relieved. When such were the precautionary measures, well indeed might it be said, that Portugal escaped only by the mercy of God! I have often reflected upon the little effect which this imminent danger appeared to produce upon those persons with whom I associated. The young, with that hilarity which belongs to thoughtless youth, used to converse about the places whither they should retire, and the course of life and expedients to which they should be driven, in case it were necessary for them to fly from Lisbon. A few elder and more considerate persons said little upon the subject, but that little denoted a deep sense of the danger, and more anxiety than they thought proper to express. The great majority seemed to be altogether unconcerned; neither their business, nor their amusements were interrupted ; they feasted, they danced, they met at the card-table as usual; and the plague (for so it was called at that time, before its nature was clearly understood) was as regular a topic of conversation, as the news brought by the last packet.
• Sir Thomas MORE.—And what was your own state of mind ?
• MONTESINOS.—Very much what it has long been with regard to the moral pestilence of this unhappy age, and the condition of this country more especially. I saw the danger in its whole extent, and relied on the mercy of God.
• Sir Thomas MORE.-In all cases that is the surest reliance : but when human means are available, it becomes a Mahommedan rather than a Christian to rely upon Providence or Fate alone, and make no effort for his own preservation.'--Southey's Colloquies, vol. i., p. 50.
Art. VII.—The Life and Death of Lord Edward Fitzgerald.
By Thomas Moore, Esq. 2 vols. London. 1831. fluenced in his choice of the subject of this work, by any
; view to its apt accordance with the political feeling of the day,' he has thought it right to state, that the design of writing a life of Lord Edward Fitzgerald had been taken up by him, some months before any of those events occurred, which have again given to the whole face of Europe so revolutionary an aspect.' A fear lest " the public should mistake his object, and consider as meant for the occasion what is intended as historical,' might perhaps, he says, have prevented him, were he now to choose, from undertaking such a work, at such a juncture ; but having undertaken and written it, he sees no sufficient reason why he should shrink from publishing it.' Mr. Moore is, indeed, the last person who could be suspected of shrinking from such a task. No consideration of the feverish state of Ireland would withhold him; this no one can doubt, who remembers that
• Through Leinster, Ulster, Connaught, Munster,
Rock is the boy who makes the fun stir!
To draw his frailties from their dread abode, with what pleasure must he, in the present case, have rendered justice to the bright parts of a character in which he sees no shade, and to the amiable qualities of one who is only the more amiable in his eyes, because he was one of the heroes and martyrs of rebellion !
Johnson said, that he delighted in that intellectual chemistry which can separate good qualities from evil in the same person, It is easy to make this separation in the case of Lord Edward Fitzgerald. In his private relations, the gentleness and the generosity of his better nature were manifest; his errors (to use the lightest term) are fatally exemplified in that portion of his life which belongs unhappily to the history of his country.
Mr. Moore's volumes will supply us with materials as authentic as they are interesting, for the first and more agreeable part; for the more melancholy and more instructive, the biographer's authority is not so implicitly to be acknowledged; it will be necessary there to sift his statements, and to examine by the plainest maxims of eternal morality as well as of positive law, whether the object of his unqualified panegyric is to be considered as a hero or a criminal,-a patriot or a traitor. Lord Edward Fitzgerald, fifth son of the first Duke of Leinster,
and of Emilia Mary, daughter of Charles, second Duke of Richmond, was born on the 15th October, 1763. His father died in 1773, and the widow, not long after, married William Ogilvie, Esq. who was of an ancient family in Scotland. They soon removed to France, and resided there for some time, in the Duke of Richmond's seat at Aubigny.* The youth had neither the advantage of a school nor of a college education. Without imputing any of his errors to this defect, it may surely be observed, that early discipline would have been wholesome for so ardent a mind, and that, not having been so educated, he was without some of those early and beneficial associations by which men are attached to the institutions of their country. He had been under a private tutor in Ireland ; and at Aubigny, Mr. Ogilvie took the care of bis studies into his own hand, directing them principally to the military profession, for which he was intended. Luckily, Mr. Moore says, the boy's taste coincided with this destination, and in all that related to the science of military construction, the laying out of camps, fortifications, &c.,' he was an early proficient. The future soldier appears in a letter written from this place, in which he speaks of erecting a fortification and drawing a survey. I have now,' he adds, tired you pretty well by my boasting, but you know I have always rather a good opinion of whatever I do.' The future politician, Mr. Moore observes, breaks out also in this letter: 'I was delighted,' says the boy, “ to see by the last Courier, that Lord North has been so attacked in the House of Commons, and that the opposition carried off every thing: I think he cannot hold out much longer. In 1779 the family returned to England, and young Edward made his first experiment of a
* The territory of Aubigny sur Nerre, in the province of Berry, hail been given, in 1423, by Charles VII., to John Stuart, Lord Darnley, and his heirs male, 'in consideration of the great and commendable services by him done in the wars.' It reverted to the crown of France in 1672, on the death of Charles Stuart, fifth Duke of Richmond and sixth of Lennox; and in the following year, Louis XIV. granted it to the Lady Louise Renée de Penencourt de Queroualle (better, or rather worse known in English history, as Duchess of Portsmouth), in consideration of the great and commendable services by her done to the crown of France—in her character of mistress to King Charles II.! It was granted with all rights to the same belonging, for her life, remainder to such of the natural male children as she should have by the King of Great Britain, &c.!' 'And whereas, the said King of Great Britain had appointed Prince Charles Lenox, Duke of Richmond, his natural son, master of the horse and knight of the garter (then an infant!), to succeed the said Duchess of Portsmouth in the said inheritance, the king of France' willing to annex to it a proper title, agreeable to the illustrious birth of the said duke, and at the same time to confer honour on the said duchess, whose ancestors always held a considerable rank in Brittany, erected the town, territory, castellany, and castle of Aubigny, fiefs and lands, &c., into a duchy and peerdom of France, with all pre-eminences and prerogatives thereunto appertaining. Those were shameless days; but they who solic grants upon such grounds, and they who accorded them, must have had little foresight if they supposed that they could last.
military military life in the Sussex militia, of which his uncle the Duke of Richinond was colonel; a lieutenancy was soon procured for him in the 96th regiment of foot, and in the autumn of 1780, he joined the regiment in Ireland. Very soon he exchanged into the 19th, and sailed from Cork for America. Landing there at Charleston, the three regiments which arrived with him were placed at Lord Rawdon's disposal ; and when the 19th was threatened with an attack by Colonel Lee, and had commenced a hasty and discreditable retreat, Lord Edward, with the rear-guard. kept the Americans in check, till he was able to break up a wooden bridge, and thus obtain time for putting an end to the panic. A report of this being made to Major, now General Sir John Doyle, then at the head of Lord Rawdon's staff, it was submitted by him to the commander, and Lord Edward was immediately appointed aide-de-camp on his staff. During the campaign he manifested some rashness, and gave proof of perfect intrepidity. At Eutaw Springs, he was severely wounded in the thigh, and left insensible on the field; a poor negro found him there, carried him off on his back to his hut, and there nursed him most tenderly, till he was sufficiently recovered to be removed to Charleston. This negro he took into his service, in gratitude, and Tony, as the honest and affectionate creature was called, remained devotedly attached to him to the end of his career. Sir John Doyle says,
Of my lamented and ill-fated friend's excellent qualities I should never tire in speaking. I never knew so loveable a person, and every man in the army, from the general to the drummer, would cheer the expression. His frank and open manner, his universal benevolence, his gaieté de cæur, his valour almost chivalrous, and, above all, his unassuming tone, made him the idol of all who served with him. He had great animal spirits, which bore him up against all fatigue; but his
courage was entirely independent of those spirits-it was a valour sui generis.
Had fortune happily placed him in a situation, however difficult, where he could legitimately have brought those varied qualities into play, I am confident he would have proved a proud ornament to his country.'-vol. i. pp. 26, 27.
In 1783, Lord Edward was on General O'Hara's staff at St. Lucia ; in that same year he returned to Ireland, and was brought into the Irish parliament by his brother the Duke of Leinster, for the borough of Athy. This mode of life he found at first so insipid, that had it not been for his mother, he believed, he said, he should have joined either the Turks or Russians. The two following years he spent, with his mother and Mr. Ogilvie, principally at Frescati, their country-seat in Ireland, partly in Dublin,
partly in London : and those, says Mr. Ogilvie, were the happiest years of any of our lives. But being now anxious to improve by a regular course of study the practical knowledge which he had acquired of his profession, he entered himself at Woolwich in the beginning of 1786.
Young, ardent, and—to a degree rare in man's nature-affectionate, it was not likely that his heart should remain long unattached among the beauties of the gay and brilliant circle he now moved in; and accordingly, during his late stay in Dublin, he had become, as he thought, deeply enamoured of the Lady Catharine Mead, second daughter of the Earl of Clanwilliam, who was, in five or six years after, married to Lord Powerscourt. To this lady, under the name of “ Kate,” he alludes in the following correspondence; and, however little that class of fastidious readers who abound in the present day may be inclined to relish the homely style and simple feelings of these letters, there are many, I doubt not, for whom such unstudied domestic effusions—even independently of the insight they afford into a mind destined to dare extraordinary things—will have a more genuine charm, and awaken in them a far readier sympathy than even the most ingenious letters, dictated, not by the heart, but head, and meant evidently for more eyes than those to which they are addressed. It is, besides, important, as involving even higher considerations than that of justice to the character of the individual himself, to show how gentle, generons, light-hearted, and affectionate was by nature the disposition of him whom a deep sense of his country's wrongs at length drove into the van of desperate rebellion, and brought, in the full prime of all his noble qualities, to the grave.
• In few of his delineations of character is Shakspeare more true to nature than in the picture of a warm, susceptible temperament, which he has drawn in the young and melancholy Romeo ;-melancholy, from the very vagueness of the wishes that haunt him, and anticipating the passion before he has yet found the true object of it.
The poet well knew that, in natures of this kind, a first love is almost always but a rehearsal for the second ; that imagination must act as taster to the heart, before the true " thirst from the soul” is called forth, and that, accordingly, out of this sort of inconstancy to one object is oftenest seen to spring the most passionate, and even constant, devotion to another. An ordinary painter of character would not only have shrunk from the risk of exhibiting his hero so fickle, but would have gladly availed himself of the romantic interest which a picture of first love and singleness of affection is always sure to inspire. But, besides that, in Juliet, he had an opportunity of presenting a portraiture of this kind, such as no hand ever before sketched, he was well aware that in man's less pliant heart, even where most susceptible, a greater degree of previous softening is required before it can thus suddenly and, at the same time, deeply