Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

duct of government since the union, the argument now affects the whole body), that their claims and interests will for ever be, as they hitherto have been, neglected, despised, or rejected by the imperial parliament. Such reasoning falling in with the seductive artifices of the restless, discontented, vindictive, and desperate (such there are in Ireland to this moment), tended in different ways to estrange the public mind from that affectionate confidence in government, which is the natural supporter of duty and loyalty. Observation convinced the author, that the bulk of the Orange-men were from principle, disposition, and interest, determined anti-unionists; that with this body of men it had been long a practice to measure and appraise their own loyalty by traducing such of their fellow-subjects as they excluded from their societies (the exclusion of the Catholics extended to a population of nearly four millions), holding out their Catholic countrymen as rebels and traitors from disposition, principle, and religion ; that the quintescence of Orangism was necessarily productive of disunion and enmity between the members of the Orange clubs, and those who could not be admitted into them. The prevailing belief that their viceroy, when colonel of the Cambridgeshire militia, had been sworn into an Orange lodge (the aŭthor has not attempted to verify the fact), tended to weaken the personal confidence of those who considered all Orange-men indiscriminately bounden by ties and engagements adverse to the Catholic interests, and who ex. perimentally remarked the exclusive preference and predilection of the members of that society in the dispensation of grace and favour from the castle.

Under these impressions the author solicited and was quickly honoured with an appointment to wait on Mr. Addington; when he submitted to him, that the calumny, traduction, and misrepresentation, under which the bulk of the Irish laboured, was a national grievance; that nothing could tenu more powerfully to excite and promote rebellion, than to hold out, consider, and deal with them as with incorrigible rebels by disposition, principle, and religion; that the evil was increased by the countenance and forced circulation given to sir R. Musgrave's Memoirs of the Irish Rebellions; a work so false, inflammatory, and malignant, that lord Cornwallis had been forced publicly to disclaim the de. dication of it: that the Irish nation was pre-eminently fond of historical justice, and felt more sensibly than any other people, the deprivation of it: that it therefore had become an object of national importance, that a fair, impartial, and authentic history of that country should be written to counteract the effects of sir R. Musgrave's, and suchother Orange publications, in order to reconcile the public mindin Ireland to the measure of union. That the premier might be put into the full possession of the author's sen

[ocr errors]

timents upon the state of Ireland, he delivered to him a copy of the before mentioned letter and paper written twelve years before, and took the liberty of desiring that they might be kept by him as a test of his sentiments, and a pledge of his fidelity in executing the commission which he then received of writing an impartial and authentic history of Ireland, to shew the utility, and reconcile the Irish mind to the prospective advantages of the union. When on this occasion the author's proposal was acceded to by the minis. ter, a gracious remark accompanied that accession, that he was happy in employing the author's talents in an undertaking of so much utility to the public ; and when reference was made to the observations of the member of parliament, before noticed upon - the unpopularity of the union, Mr. Addington observed, that he

feared that feeling was but too general in Ireland. The author having consented to take the work in hand, and to go over to Ireland during the vacation, to procure materials and information, the premier remarked, that the only remaining consideration was, to settle what compensation the author should be allowed for his time and trouble in going over to Ireland ; the immediate reply was, that, confiding in the ultimate remuneration of government upon the accomplishmentof his mission with fidelity, he should hope for the present, that some few hundred pounds would not be found unreasonable. The minister consented to allow him three hundred pounds; one hundred to be paid down, the second hundred at Michaelmas, and the third hundred to be paid when the author should be ready to go to press. The minister assured him he was to be put to no expense or disbursement in procuring the materials necessary for the undertaking ; he was to publish in his own name, and at his own risk, and to take no advantage of the support and countenance of government. T'he interview ended in the promise of such a recommendation to Mr. Abbott, the secretary, as should in every sense secure to the author a satisfactory reception at the castle.

Having collected some books upon the subject of Irish affairs, in London, he arrived in Dublin in the beginning of September 1801, where having opened his mission to Mr. secretary Abbott, he was coldly received, and laconically assured, that without in. structions he could give no countenance to an undertaking, to which he was till then an utter stranger. On that day the author reported himself to Mr. Addington as having arrived in Dublin, and gave an account of his reception at the castle. Before any an. swer could have arrived to his letter, the author received a summons to attend at the castle, from Mr. Alexander Marsden, who informed him, that orders had been received from Downing street to furnish him with materials for writing the History of the Union. Mr. under-secretary, to whom the author was a

VOL. V.

stranger, received him very graciously, and conversed upon the subject of the undertaking for nearly two hours; he was particularly inquisitive about the period, from which the history was to be deduced, the size of the work, the probable time of its appear. ance, and the nature of the documents and materials, to which he wished have access, or to be furnished with. To these inqui. ries it was answered, that the intention was to give to the public such a portion of Irish history as should shew the necessity of an incorporate union, by contrasting the evils, which that country had suffered from the want of union against the advantages which they had a well-founded expectation of deriving from the enjoy. ment of it; and meaning to write an authentic history, he should find it requisite to annex a copious appendix to the work, to which the readers might be referred for documents, that would be found tedious by some, if retailed in the body of it. Many state papers would therefore be wanting. This was instantly resisted ; and the author was given to understand, that documents of that nature were wholly inaccessible ; he was assured, with fully as much confidence as truth, that all such papers and documents were the property of the different secretaries, who carried them away upon quitting their office ; that in the progress of time, the papers of lords Hobart, Pelham, Castlereagh, &c. might come to be published as historical curiosities, like those of Strafford, Ormond, Essex, Boulter, &c. Circumstanced as the author was, and considering Mr. Marsden as uttering the instructions of Mr. secretary Abbott, who upon the first dawn of the undertaking had shewn his marked disapprobation of it, tamely remarked, that it was not for him to dictate; he was under orders, and should endeavour to the best of his abilities to make the proper use of whatever materials he should be furnished with ; remarking at the same time, that a difference of opinion in the two cabinets appeared rather singular, now that the union had taken place. But as no authentic history could be written without the aid of the journals and statutes, they were instantly promised ; and when it was urged, that many proclamations, addresses, and other such pieces, could not be dispensed with, Mr. under-secretary replied, that as they had all appeared in different newspapers, the author might extract from them. Upon assurance however, that after a diligent search through Dublin, no files of newspapers could be found even for three years back, an offer was made to lend the author the regular files of the Freeman's Journal, which were kept in the castle. From these, during his stay in Dublin, the author procured such extracts to be made by a scrivener as he conceived would be wanting for his history.

It was recommended to the author to wait again upon Mr. Abbott, who was only visible at the castle on Tuesdays and Fri. days, from the hours of eleven till four, upon business. On the ensuing Tuesday the author announced himself to Mr. Abbott at eleven, and was admitted at ten minutes before four o'clock. Mr. secretary was on his legs, booted and spurred, on the point of departing he made some excuse for having kept him so long in waiting, and gave him an order for the statutes and journals. On this day the author wrote fully to Mr. Addington upon his disappointment at his reception at the castle ; observing, that the refusal of access to the state papers in Ireland would be of less consequence, as he presumed that duplicates of all the material documents must be found in England, and that it would rest with him to admit the author to them upon his return. During two months residence in Ireland, the author collected whatever materials and information he could acquire for his undertaking.

With very intense application, the author had, by the end of January 1802, prepared sufficient manuscript to go to press; and as he had offered to submit it to the perusal of any person, whom Mr. Addington should appoint on his behalf, he carried the manuscript to Mr. Hiley Addington, who had hitherto been his paymaster, to know before whom the manuscript should be laid, and to solicit the third and last payment of one hundred pounds. Now, for the first time, the author remarked an unwillingness on the part of his employers that the work should go on. A peremptory refusal to make good the last payment alarmed him; and he was astonished to be told by Mr. Hiley Addington, that it had been promised only after publication of the work ; and morever, that it might never become due, as the work, if disapproved of, might never be published at all. To this the author, with some firmness, replied; he was confident, that, were he honoured with an interview with Mr. Addington, he could readily bring to his recollection the particulars of the proposal and agreement about the payment of the money: but as to the publication of the work, after the trouble which he had already taken, and that it was known to several, that he had engaged in the undertaking, it should be said by none, that he had failed in what he had taken in hand-; and that the work should positively appear, though under the correction of Mr. Addington, as he had agreed (and he never swerved from his word). He then had by him a folio manuscript of six hundred pages, ready to submit to perusal, and would engage regularly to furnish his censor and printer with a constant supply of manuscript till the whole should be completed.

Reflection upon what had passed with Mr. Hiley Addington, induced the author to solicit an interview with the minister, expressing in his letter for that purpose, his astonishment at the misrepresentation of the agreement made by his brother, who was not privy to it. After a lapse of some days he procured the honour of an appointment; and, after he had waited some time with his manuscript in Downing street, he was remitted to a fu. ture day by Mr. Hiley Addington. Five subsequent appointments were made and ended in the same manner : an unforeseen press of business, or the intervention of some one of more consequence, prevented his admission. A fresh appointment brought the author and his manuscript a sixth time to Downing street, where, after having waited for three quarters of an hour, he was in the old style again remitted to the following day. Upon retiring, the author was accosted by Mr. Hiley Addington, and imperiously told, that, had he chosen to have been punctual to his time, his brother would have seen him. The author replied, that he had arrived in Downing street five minutes before the hour of appointment. That cannot be, said Mr. H. Addington ; and instantly demapded to see his note, which the author had not about him; relying however on the correctness of his memory, he promised to be punctual also to the hour on the next day.

Suspicions now became convictions that Mr. Hiley Addington had adopted all the prepossessions and prejudices of certain gentlemen against the commission given to the author to write a history, which it was neither their wish nor their interest should appear in the garb of truth. He thenceforth considered him as the tool employed to provoke, irritate, or force the author into an abandonment of the undertaking. That was vain. Every such attempt put him upon his guard, and invigorated his determination to complete his labours, with punctilious attention to the terms of his original engagement. To this no third person was privy ; and to the non-interference of a third person the author attributes the minister's prompt candour and fairness in acceding to the terms of his original proposal. He gives credit to the premier for uprightness of intention, where his feelings are not affected, his judgment warped, or his conduct over-awed by art, influence, or power,

The next appointment was more fortunate to the author: he was admitted to the presence of the minister for the first time since his return from Ireland; and with him he found Mr. Hiley Addington; whether as a witness, adviser, or controller, he knows not. The first word uttered at this meeting was by the author, who apologized to the minister for the apparent inattention to his commands on the preceding day. He held the letter of appointment in his hand, offering to shew it to the premier, in justification of his punctuality. That this supposed or wishedfor want of punctuality had been the subject of conversation, and perhaps of difference, between the brothers, was evident, from the minister's then uttering these words, with a familiar nod, I told

« PoprzedniaDalej »