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On the contrary he appears to have been continually employed in virtuous but unavailing endeavours to moderate the violence of his less wise, or less well-intentioned friends. He was one of those who, to the credit of their good-nature, rather than of their penetration, fancied that the rebellious spirit which then unhappily prevailed, could be extinguished by wliat were called 'conciliatory measures,' such for instance as parliamentary reform. Luckily, however, the government of Ireland was guided by maxims more consonant to reason and experience. Whether or not the crisis to which the affairs of Ireland were brought could have been avoided by a different conduct at a former period, is another question. But parliamentary reform, or any other specious popular measure, would have been in vain conceded to a party whose sole object was to tear Ireland from its dependence on the English crown, and annex it. to the jacobin empire of France.
Lord Charlemont died in the year 1799, so that the measure of union was once discussed, but not carried in his time. He was averse to it, and opposed it with as much activity as his declining health would permit him to exert. When local and temporary feelings have subsided, and given way to the exercise of an unbiassed judgment, we are persuaded that posterity will not only approve of this measure, but that they will have some difficulty in understanding how it could have been opposed by any really wise and virtuous Englishman. The conduct of Lord Charlemont and his friends in Ireland admits of more excuse. Faction might, and certainly did in some measure, direct their views; but they had also other and better motives. Men naturally look with affection towards any system, however defective, under which they have enjoyed a considerable share both of honour and advantage. Besides, the settlement of 1782, which had been attended by such important advantage to Ireland, was brought about by persons still alive, (among others by Lord Charlemont,) and who might therefore be well pardoned for supposing that it ought to be or could be final. The idea too of country so dear to all good men, is inseparable from that of independence, and of this independence a distinct legislature was supposed to be the symbol and the guarantee. There were not wanting however persons, even among those deriving the greatest advantage from the existing constitution of Ireland, and who might therefore be expected to feel the strongest desire for its continuance, who had the good sense to discern the true interest of their country, and the virtue to sacrifice to it their own. They saw that the best chance of independence to Ireland was afforded to it by becoming an integral part of a great system, and they consoled themselves for the sacrifice of some feelings, and the loss of some personal consequence, by the increased security of
their property, and the increased vigour of the whole empire. All the enemies to the Union bave asserted, and some of those who on the ground of policy were friendly to it, have believed, that it was brought about by the mere dint of violence and corruption, imposed by an armed government upon a subjugated people, through the medium of a bribed legislature. Nothing can be more untrue. That some aid was purchased by favour, and that some opposition (particularly that which might have been apprehended from the lower orders) was crushed by intimidation, we are far from meaning to deny: but it is also true that government owed a large, a li. beral and powerful support--a support without which it would have been iinpossible to carry the point, to a sincere conviction of the indispensible necessity of the measure prevailing in the minds of some of the most considerable persons in Ireland. But this is not the proper occasion to dilate upon this topic; we are desirous however in passing, of suggesting it to the consideration of such of our readers as take an interest in Irish affairs.
Mr. Hardy concludes with a detailed, and somewhat diffuse character of Lord Charlemont. We shall make an extract from it.
As to his domestic character, without the predominating excellence of which, all the ornaments which literature or manners can bestow are of diminished lustre, he was an indulgent father, a tender husband, a generous and kind master, an ardent, sincere friend. To intrude on the privale concerns of any faniily would be indelicate ; but were it so permitted, bis disinterestedness, as a relation, might be shewn in the most favourable point of view. Sometimes, not frequently, he was irritable, but easily appeased. That irritability shewed itself more in the House of Commons than any other place whatever. Among the country gentlemen he had numerous friends, and very general influence. To the freedom of public opinion he had every respect, but if some of those gentlemen, as was now and then the case, took a part in the debate, or voted in a manner which he had reason to imagine was directed by oblique motives, they were certain, if they met him in the lobby, of encountering a tolerably sharp reprimand. The importance of the House of Commons was, he used to say, in a great measure sustained by the country members, and when such men relinquished their independence, they relinquished every thing. But his anger was not often displayed, and so transient, that it could not be said to derogate from that suavity of manners which so eminently characterized him. From some prejudices, or dislikes, he was not free. Whence it arose, I know not, but he had through life almost a repugnance to the French. Of his friend, the Duc de Nivernois, he would, after speaking highly of him, generally add, “ But he is not a Frenchman, he is an Italian.' This, however, was the overflowing of mere conversation, and far remote from any illiberality, which could warp his judgment in essential matters, either as to literature or morals, He highly esteemed several of the
French nobility, and never mentioned the old, generous Maréchal de Biron without a degree of enthusiasm. In the lighter species of poetry. and memoir-writing he considered the French as excelling all others. But their graver poets were not equally the objects of his admiration. Altogether, their literary character, and the romantic courtesy and high honour, which in the superior classes were so often blended with that character, peculiarly engaged, and even fascinated his attention, But the general mass of Frenchmen he was not attached to. His life, when in Dublin, and not engaged by the volunteers, was extremely uniform. He was on horseback every morning, and afterwards employed in various business till about one o'clock : at that time, or soon after, he went to his library, and remained there till almost dinner time. His friends had then constant access to him; and considering the frequent interruption of visitors, it is a matter of some surprize, that he was enabled to write so much as he did. But it is a proof that not onc moment of his time was unemployed. When Parliament was sitting, he regularly attended his duty there; 'and as the Lords, if not detained by particularly important business, rose rather early, he was to be met every day in the House of Commons, where, from long usage, he was almost regarded as a member. Those who have sat next to him, during a debate, cannot forget the vivacity and justness of his remarks, on the different speakers.
* As president of the academy, he equally attended their meetings, and when his health was interrupted, the academy, from their respect to him, adjourned their sittings to Charlemont House. At home, and in the bosom of his family, he enjoyed domestic society, with tranquil unruffled satisfaction and pleasure. From continued study during part of his life, his eyes had suffered irreparable injury, and on that account, some of his family constantly.read to him every evening which was not given to mixed company.'-p. 425.
We have thus given an imperfect sketch of a work from which we have derived a considerable share of amusemert and information, and we again recommend the perusal of it to all those who are desirous to acquire in an agreeable way, sone notion of the history of Ireland in recent times. We are sorry, however, that we cannot take our leave without making one complaint, that is, against Mr. Hardy's style. Our readers need not be told, that there is no more grievous offence of which our critical courts take cognizance, than the affectation of fine writing. Classing our authors according to their nations, we should say that the Scotch are remarkably free from this defect, that the English have a moderate share, but that the Irish fall into it continually. The strong feelings and glowing imagination of this lively ingenious people, naturally expose them to a fault which claims a certain affinity to that genuine eloquence of which they have so large a share. Besides, we suspect that example has combined with nature in leading them astray. Their most illustrious countrymen in these days are Mr. Burke and VOL. VI. NO, XI.
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matele je. As a first step towards improvement, we wild membi perimmend them to chuse some safer and less brilliant gingent o milain. If they seek it among their con comermen, te name of Swift will at one occur; and in more merent times, idey waitind in the prose of Goldsmuth, as perfect a mode! as many that exists in our language, of purits, facilis, and grace, of clear, Intely warration, of the most exhilaratung-gues, the most touching pathos
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them chiefly for the sake of protesting against what appears to us, a growing evil among the writers of a country from which we expect great contributions towards the literary glory of the empire. The work contains strong internal evidence, of having proceeded from the pen of a gentleman and a scholar, and does honour to his feelings and principles, as well as to his talents and industry. If we were to fix on any quality which gives a tameness and insipidity to the composition, it would be the laudatory strain employed in deseribing the principal characters of the story. Every nobleman is either generous, or accomplished, or upright, or munificent. We are always presented with some favourable feature, even of those personages who are incideutally mentioned, while every thing faulty and disagreeable is studiously kept out of sight. Perhaps, howa ever, the author is not to blame for this. It is an imperfection inseparable almost from the nature of his undertaking. To speak of living characters exactly as they deserve, is often literally impossible; and even where it might be done with safety, there is something offensive to the best feelings of our nature in being the herald of disgrace, and something near akin to arrogance in assuming the office of censor on the lives and conduct of our contemporaries. The writer of memoirs, therefore, is placed in a very perplexing dilemma. If he writes altogether for posterity, he must incur the displeasure of many of his own time; if he wishes to avoid offence, he must, in proportion as he gives way to this feeling, surrender something of the severer virtues which can alone entitle his work to immortality. We cannot in our hearts condemn Mr. Hardy for making choice of the latter part of the alternative, but he must be content to purchase this exemption from private animosity, by some loss of fame and credit as an historian.
Art. IX. Notices respecting Jamaica, in 1809, 1809, 1810.
By Gilbert Mathison, Esq. 8vo. pp. 117. London, Stock
dale. 1811. WHILST the press is constantly teeming with accounts of
voyages and travels in almost every direction, it is reinarkable that the distant provinces of our own empire appear to have been excluded, by a very general, though silent consent amongst the sons of curiosity, from their regular list of visits. It is true that about twenty thousand persons, who are annually passing to and from the West Indian islands for commercial purposes, would, if questioned on the subject, be ready to testify that the said islands continue to exist within the same boundaries of latitude and longiK 2