Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Lord Eldon, a Judge of great experience and greater learning-(Mr. Phillips here cited several cases as decided by Lord Eldon )-Such, Gentlemen, is the language of Lord Eldon. I speak also on the authority of our own Lord Avonmore--a Judge who illuminated the Bench by his genius, endeared it by bis suavity, and dignified it by his bolil uncompromising probity!!!-one of those rare men, who bid ihe thrones of law beneath the brightest flowers of literature, and as it were with the band of an enchanter, changed a wilderness into a garden!'-V.-17.

No, declamation is not the weapon of Mr. Phillips !-one thing, indeed, we learn from all this, that Mr. Phillips's countrymen appreciate bis legal talents at their true worth-We may be sure that he has published every frantic speech he ever made; and they are but two, and both on subjects in which the want of legal education and professional acquirement would be least observed; and accordingly we may say—to borrow a happy expression of Louis the XVlth's, relative to one of his chaplains who had preached a flowery sermon on all things but religion-that if Mr. Phillips in his pleadings had only said a word or two about law, he would have spoken of every thing.

But we have done with the advocate, blessing our stars that lawyers in this country are not of the same breed, and hoping (as indeed we are inclined to believe) that even in Ireland none but the lawyers of the Catholic Board, and one or two adventurers who assume that title as a 'nom de guerre,' are capable of such a union of ignorance and confidence, of inanity and pretension. We have indeed to observe, for the honour of Ireland, that all these rodo. montades are printed in England, and we believe that few, if any of them, have been heard of in the place of their supposed nativity:

We now come to Mr. Phillips in the character upon which, of all others, it is evident he piques himself most, namely, that of a

Mr. Phillips's first political pretension is honesty ; be is, if you will take his own word for it, a model of integrity and decision, a pattern for all the young men of the empire who will be warmed into emulation by Mr. Casey's Liverpool dinner. Lest our readers should doubt the modesty of this blushing Hibernian, we shall give his own words—a course which is always the safest, and, with so profuse a talker as Mr. Phillips, the most decisive and convincing.

“I hope, however, the benefit of this day will not be confined to the humble individual (Phillips, scilicet) you have so honoured ; I hope it will cheer on the young aspirants after virtuous fame in both our countries, by proving to them, that however, for the moment, envy, or ignorance, or corruption, may depreciate them, there is a reward in store for THE MAN (Phillips) WHO THINKS WITH INTEGRITY AND AOTS WITH DECISION,'-V.-16.

PATRIOT.

Again, he assures his partial friends who were crowding around him, that no act of his shall ever raise a blush at the recollection of their early encouragement.?—page 16.

But it is not the easy virtues of profession alone to which Mr. Phillips lays claim-he boasts, in a quotation, solemnly prepared for the occasion, that he is ready even lo suffer for his country :

. For thee, fair freedom, welcome all the past,

For thee, my country, welcome E'en TNE LAST!' Notwithstanding the present thriving appearance of Mr. Phillips's patriotism, he seems to have now and then had some slight misgivings as to the constancy of his virtue, and to anticipate the possibility of backslidings from this high way of honour, and with the most ingenuous naïveté he communicates his doubts to the Catholic Board.

May I not be one of the myriads who, in the name of patriotism, and for the purposes of plunder, have swindled away your heart, that they might gamble with it afterwards at the political hazard table! May I not pretend a youth of virtue, that I may purchase with its fame an age of rich opostacy !-Cast your view around the political horizonCan you discover no one whose eye once gazed on glory, and whose voice once rung for liberty--no one, who, LIKE ME, once glowed with the energies of an assumed sincerity, and saw, or seemed to see, no God but Country, now toiling in the drudgeries of oppression, and shrouded in the pall of an official miscreancy! Trust no man's professionsardent as I am-honest through every fibre as I feel myself—I repel your confidence, though perhaps unnecessarily, for I am humble, and below corruption-I am valueless, and not worth temptation~I am poor, and cannot afford to part with all I have-MY CHARACTER.-Such are my sensations now-what they may be hereafter, I pretend not; but should I ever bazard descending into the sycophant or slave, I beseech thee, Heaven, that the first hour of crime may be the last of life, and that the worm may batten on the bloom of my youth, before my friends, if I have one, shall have cause to curse the mention of my memory.'III.-11, 12.

Mr. Phillips's first publication, in the still earlier bloom of his youth, was, as our readers have seen, a poem called the Emerald Isle. It was dedicated, by permission, to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, 'Ireland's Hope and England's Ornament.' The poem did not belie the promise of the dedication ; it is a perfect stream of praise, a shower of roses on every person who is named in it, from alpha to omega. This alone was enough to excite some little suspicion of the author's sincerity'; but it became conviction on finding that, whenever in any of his succeeding pamphlets written in altered times and different circumstances, he has occasion to VOL. XVI. NO, XXXI.

C

mention any of the idols of his early flattery, he falls into the natural course of censuring and sometimes libelling them.

If his Royal Highness the Prince Regent was, on the 23d April, 1812, the date of Mr. Phillips's dedication-reland's hope and England's ornament—what has since happened to justify Mr. Phillips's imputations? What are the enormities which this highminded and independent patriot cannot speak of, without danger, because, thank God, he cannot think of them without indignation??

If, in 1812, the Duke of Wellington was 'a nation-saving hero' (1.-16.)-if, in 1814, the illustrious potentates were met together in the British capital to commemorate the great festival of universal peace and universal emancipation' (III.—22)—if all the hopes of England were gratified and Europe free' (p. 21.)—how does it happen that, in 1916, Mr. Phillips can thus describe the war in which those objects were achieved ?

• The beart of any reflecting man must burn within bim when he thinks that the war, thus sanguinary in its operations, thus confessedly ruinous in its -xpenditure, was even still more odious in its principle. It was a war avowedly undertaken for the purpose of forcing France out of her undoubted right of choosing her own monareh ; a war which uprooted the very foundations of the English constitution ; which libelled the most glorious era in our national andals ; and declared tyranny eternal.'-V.-10.

If, in 1812, Bonaparte was a despot-bloody-impious polluted (1.-73)—if he was an infidel who trod the sym; bol of Christianity under foot—who plundered temples and murdered priests—if his legions were locusts, and he himself a vulture, (p. 74,) a tyrant, (p. 77,) and a fiend, (p. 75.) If, in August, 1813, he was again a 'tyrant,' a 'monster,' an embroidered butcher--if he was, in Mr. Phillips's opinion, all this, how comes it, that in 1816, he speaks of him in the following terms:

* In dethroning Napoleon you bave dethroned a monarch, who, with all bis imputed crimes and vices, shed a splendour around royalty too powerful for the feeble vision of legitimacy even to bear. How grand was bis march! How magnificent his destiny! Say what we will, Sir, he will be the land-mark of our times in the eye of posterity. The goal of other men's speed was his starting post-crowns were his playthings-thrones his footstool-he strode from victory to victory his path was“ a plane of continued elevations.””_V.31.

If, in 1812, Mr. Phillips could thus speak of Napoleon and Spain

· His aid is murder in disguise ;
His triumph, freedom's obsequies ;
His faith, is fraud-bis wisdom, guile;
Creation withers in his sibile

See Spain, in his embraces, die,

His ancient friend, bis firm ally!'-1.-73. If, in 1814, the Catholic allies of England have refuted the foul aspersions on the Catholic faith,' (I11.-21,) with what face could he, in 1816, ask the Liverpool meeting,

What bave you done for Europe ? what have you achieved for man?
Have morals been ameliorated has liberty been strengthened? You
hare restored to Spain a wretch of even worse than proverbial princely
ingratitude; who filled his dungeons, and led his rack with the heroic
remnant that bad braved war, and famine, and massacre beneath his
banners; who rewarded patriotism with the prison-fidelity with the
torture—beroism with the scaffold—and piety with the inquisition;
whose royalty was published by the signature of his death-warrants, and
whose religion evaporated in the embroidering of petticoats for the Blessed
Virgin ?-V.-11, 12.
If, in 1812, Bonaparte and Portugal could be thus described

See hapless Portugal, who thought
A common creed her safety brought-
A common creed ! alas, his life
Has been one bloody, impious strise !
Beneath his torch the altars burn

And blush on the polluted urn.'-1.-73. what can Mr. Phillips say for the following description, in 1816, of the very prince who fled from the once bloody and impious, but now "magnificent' and 'splendid' Napoleon!

• You have restored to Portugal a prince of whom we know nothing, except that when bis doininions were invaded, his people distracted, his crown in danger, and all that could interest the bighesi energies of man at issue, be left bis cause to be combated by foreign bayonets, and filed with a dastard precipitation to the shameful security of a distant hemisphere.'-V.-12.

In 1814 the rocks of Norway are elate with liberty.' (III. -23.) In 1816 Norway is instanced as a feeble state partitioned to feed the rapacity of the powerful.' (V.-13.)

In 1812 Mr. Grattan had the misfortune of being the idol of Mr. Phillips's humble adoration-in 1814 Mr. Grattan is still an idol, but an idol, like those of the Tartars, which they chastise; and four pages of one of Mr. Phillips's speeches to the Catholic Board are employed in chastising Mr. Grattan for having given some reasons (if reasons, as Mr. Phillips cautiously observes, they can be called,') against presenting a catholic petition at that particular time: he shows too that repeated discussions have had the effect of reducing the majority against the catholics. All this is very well : but what shall we say when we find Mr. Phillips in 1816, at Liverpool, expressing his hope that the Irish catholics will petition no more a parliament so equivocating?

In 1812_Mr. Ponsonby is highly celebrated and told that his country's heart must be cold ere the honour,' the worth,' the

wisdom, the zeal," the hand to act and heart to feel of her Ponsonby' be forgotten. But in the Liverpool speech we find all the merits of the leader of the Whigs forgotten, and his character treated with high indignity :

* Shall a borough-mongering faction convert what is misnamed the national representation, into a mere instrument for raising the supplies which are to gorge its own venality? Sball the mock dignataries of Whiggism and Toryism, lead their hungry retainers to contest the profits of an alternate ascendancy over the prostrate interests of a too generous people? These are questions which I blusb to ask.'-V.-15.

In 1812-England and Englishmen were the great objects of Mr. Phillips's horror ; he found amongst us a prejudice against his native land predominant above every other feeling, inveterate as ignorance could generate, as monstrous as credulity could feed.' -1.-6.-And (for he assails us in prose and verse) he invokes Ireland

"To remember the glory and pride of her name,

Ere the cold blooded Sassanach tainted her fame.'. Again-in their mutual communications Mr. Phillips assigns to the Irish • the ardour of patriots and pride of freemen, but to the unlucky English, ' atrocious provocation and perfidious arrogance.

In the Liverpool speech, however, he has quite changed his note; the cold blooded Sassanach is now the high-minded people of England,' (V.-4,) and even a provincial English town is the emporium of liberality and public spirit—the birth-place of talentThe residence of integrity--the asylum of freedom," patriotism,' and 'genius.'-V.-1.-In 1812, King William was a Dracoma gloomy murderer,' and Mr. Phillips very magnanimouslytramples on the impious ashes of that Vandal' tyrant,'-1.-109--but in 1811, a new light breaks upon him; he applauds the Revolution, vindicates the reformers of 1688,' and calls that period • the most glorious of our national annals. V.-10.

These changes, monstrous as they are, have taken place in the last two or three years, but we have Mr. Phillips's own assurance that he began his backsliding earlier than the date of any of his pamphlets, and that young as, he tells us, he is in years,

he is old in apostacy. In his first speech, August, 1813, he makes the following candid avowal.

• I am not ashamed to confess to you, that there was a day when I was as bigoted as the blackest ;--but I thank that Being, who gifted me with a mind not quite impervious to conviction, and I thank you, who afforded such dawoing testimonies of my error. No wonder, then, that

« AnteriorContinuar »