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than once over the original of one of the following sketches, and smiled full as often at something very like the other.
“ This town consisted of one row of miserable huts, sunk beneath the side of the road, the mud walls crooked in every direction ; some of them opening in wide cracks, or zigzag fissures, from top to bottom, as if there had just been an earthquake-all the roofs, sunk in various places—thatch off, or overgrown with grassno chimnies, the smoke making its way through a hole in the roof, or rising in clouds from the top of the open door-dunghills before the doors, and green standing puddles-squalid children, with scarcely rags to cover them, gazing at the carriage.
Nugent's town,' said the postillion, once a snug place, when my Lady Clonbrony was at home to white-wash it, and the like.'
“ As they drove by, some men and women put their heads through the smoke out of the cabins; pale women, with long, black, or yellow locks-men with countenances and figures bereft of hope and energy.”. (P. 157.)
“ Larry was driving off, but the carman called to him, and pointed to a house, at the corner of which, on a high pole, was swinging an iron sign of three horseshoes, set in a crooked frame, and at the window hung an empty bottle, proclaiming whiskey within.
«« Well, I don't care if I do,' said Larry; for I've no other comfort left me in life now. I beg your honour's pardon, sir, for a minute,' added he, throwing the reins into the carriage to Lord Colambre, as he leaped down. All remonstrance and power of lungs to reclaim him vain! He darted into the whiskey-house with the carmanre-appeared before Lord Colambre could accomplish getting out, remounted his seat, and, taking the reins, “I thank your honour,', said he, “and I'll bring you into Clonbrony before it's pitch-dark yet, though it's night-fall, and that's four good miles, but a spur in the head is worth two in the heel.'
“ Larry, to demonstrate the truth of his favourite axiom, drove off at such a furious rate over great stones left in the middle of the road by carmen, who had been driving in the gudgeons of their axletrees to hinder them from lacing *, that lord Colambre thought life and limb in imminent danger; and feeling, that, at all events, the jofting and bumping was past endurance, he had recourse to Larry's shoulder, and shook and pulled, and called him to go slower, but in vain; at last the wheel struck full against a heap of stones at a turn of the road, the wooden linch pin came off, and the chaise was overset: Lord Colambre was a little bruised, but glad to escape without fractured bones.
“I beg your honour's pardon,' said Larry, completely sobered; · I'm as glad as the best pair of boots ever I see, to see your honour nothing the worse for it. It was the linchpin, and them
* Opening, perhaps from lacher, to loosen.
barrows of loose stones, that ought to be fined any way, if there was any justice in the country.'
". The pole is broke, how arewe to get on ?' said Lord Colambre.
66 Murder! murder !—and no smith nearer than Clonbrony ; nor rope even. It's a folly to talk, we can't get to Clonbrony, nor stir a step backward or forward the night.'
“What, then do you mean to leave me all night in the middle of the road cried Lord Colambre, quite exasperated,
“ • Is it me! plase your honour. I would not use any jantleman so ill, barring I could do no other,' replied the postillion, coolly; then, leaping across the ditch, or, as he called it, the gripe of the ditch, he scrambled up, and, while he was scrambling, said, • If your honour will lend me your hand, till I pull you up the back of the ditch, the horses will stand while we go. I'll find you as pretty a lodging for the night, with a widow of a brother of my shister's husband that was, as ever you slept in in your life; for old Nick or St. Dennis has not found 'em out yet: and your honour will be, no compare, snugger than the inn at Clonbrony, which has no roof, the devil a stick. But where will I get your honour's hand; for it's coming on so dark, I can't see rightly. There, you're up now safe. Yonder candle's the house.'
« • Go and ask, whether they can give us a night's lodging.'
" " Is it ask? When I see the light -Sure they'd be proud to give the traveller all the beds in the house, let alone one. Take care of the potatoe furrows, that's all, and follow me straight. I'll go on to meet the dog, who knows me, and might be strange to your honour.” (P. 164.)
The description that follow's, of the system pursued by the bad agent, and its miserable consequences, is too much in detail for quotation; but we would recommend it to the serious attention of every Irish absentee: and callous to every better feeling must be the heart of that man who can read it, and rest contented with the doubt, whether his own estate be managed by a Burke, or a Garraghty.
It would be presumption in us to think, that we could add any thing more to the statement of so able and well-qualified a pleader, than the strongest testimony to their truth, that our limited observations can warrant. It would be folly to think that any pathetic exhortations of ours would touch the feelings that could resist the ruined mansion, the rack’d and ragged te-n'antry, and all the combined miseries of a deserted domain.
But this we will say, that we should prefer being out at elbows : all our lives, to the splendour and luxuries of wealth supplied - from such a source, and burdened with such responsibility. We firmly believe, that while every other proposed remedy for the distresses of our sister country would have but a partial or temporary effect, immediate, substantial, permanent, and still increasing benefits would result to her, could Larry Brady's patriotic hope be realized by its growing the fashion not to be an absentee.”
Our limits, on which we have already trespassed, will not allow us to quote Larry's characteristic letter; and the same reason prevents us from treating our readers with the learned dissertation of Mr. Soho,“ the first architectural upholsterer of the age; the noble exploits of the truly Irish Sir Terence O'Fay; or Count O'Halloran's excellent observations on the military character. The developement of this tale is brought about partly by the very singular occurrence of Lord Colambre's discovering the retreat of a personage of some importance in it, by the direction on the outside of a cheese, which rolls from the top of a waggon, that he passes on the road. Now, as the dealers in fiction have the great advantage of choosing their own difficulties, we are inclined to close our remarks with a friendly hint to Miss Edgeworth, that in future it will be as well, before she leads her hero into a distress, to secure for him a decent and natural mode of escape.
Art. V.-Essay on the Practice of the British Government,
distinguished from the abstract Theory on which it is supposed to be founded. By Gould Francis Leckie. London: E. Lloyd. 1812.
IN a late number of the British Review, we took occasion to commend the justness of Mr. Leckie's political views with respect to Sicily; and the accuracy of his knowledge concerning the strange and intricate constitution of that island, in which we believe that he had sojourned and suffered for some years. It was therefore with some curiosity and not without hope of being rewarded for our trouble with increased information, that we undertook to peruse the pamphlet before us. But whether it is that the acumen of Mr. Leckie's mind requires to be sharpened by real and substantial injuries, before it can penetrate the recesses of the government, whose laws may cramp his genius, or restrain its excesses ; or his continued contemplation of the ancient polities as recorded in classical history, and of modern systems of government as exemplified on the shores of the Mediterranean, has infused into his mind a portion of the natural incapacity of foreigners, to embrace the scope, and understand the bear.
ings of the British constitution; certain it is, that this Essay on its practice will be very far from adding to the fair fame of its author; who, could he justly have appreciated his own talents for political discussions, would, in our opinion, have acted wisely to have closed them with his book on Sicily, and have sought for reputation in some department of literature more suited to his talents. Above all, we would recommend him to study with attention the syntax of the English language, which his long residence abroad seems to have, in some degree, erased from his memory, and to avoid that supercilious and dictatorial tone which we have scarcely ever observed to be the medium of conveyance to sound political reflections.
There is something exceedingly whimsical in the very outset of this Essay. We are informed in the preface, (p. vii.) that it is to contain a long statement of the system of “cabal and selfish views,” by which all the strongly marked features of the British constitution, as delineated by Blackstone and Delolme, are obliterated. That the design of the work, nevertheless, is not (p. ix.) to contravene the favourable impressions made on all parts of Europe, concerning the excellence of the British constitution,
to endeavour to prove the reverse of what has been so triumphantly advanced; but merely to point out the inconveniences to which the system is liable, for
the purpose of putting men on their guard against the dreams of theorists, who, under pretence of making us quite perfect, would plunge us into confusion, from which we can never emerge,” &c. &c. Mr. Leckie also admits (p. viii) " that there is so much to praise in the British constitution, that it is no wonder that men should be so transported with the subject, as to shut their eyes to its imper, fections. Here then we find a gentleman profess, that he is living under a government confessedly so excellent, that he stands in great fear of theorists, who, in attempting improvement, might eventually plunge it into confusion. Yet we find him at the same time profess, that he has written a book to prove, that from the scope given to the passions and prejudices of its several members, and the inherent vices of this same government, it has altogether deviated from the principles on which it was constituted, and lost sight of the objects it was meant to promote; and then again we are informed, that the purpose for which he has taken all this trouble is not to produce a reform of these vices, but to set men on their guard against those who would attempt it! Upon the same principle, we suppose the violent parliamentary reformists make their speeches and convene their meetings, not for the purpose of producing a reform in parliament, but for that of guarding inen against the theorists who would attempt such a scheme; and, truly, they do generally attain their object most completely; as completely as we think Mr. Leckie has succeeded in guarding those who peruse the pamphlet before us against the dreams of theorists. But they are not alwayslike Mr. Leckie so ingenuous, as openly to confess their object, or even to admit that such is the effect of their lucubrations; and we heartily recoinmend them to take a lesson of candour and magnanimity from so original a writer.
For ourselves we confess, that from the moment we read these preliminary passages (and every succeeding page in the body of the work strengthened our conviction), we perceived that the Essay had no determinate or precise object in view, except that of being the vehicle to bring before the public certain detached political opinions, which had probably been the subject of loose conversation between the author and his friends; and of which we fear it cannot be predicated (as it was of some of the observations of our great moralist in his tour to the Hebrides), that they have long been rounded and matured in the deep and capacious mind of their parent. They will, however, afford the occasion of entering into discussions useful at the present time, on topics always interesting to a British reader; and we shall take them as they occur, without more regard to order and connection than their author has thought it necessary to preserve.
Mr. Leckie seems to think, that in order to avoid the imputation of being a theoretical reformer, it is sufficient to advocate the
power of the crown at the expence of that of the House of Commons. He accordingly informs us in his preface (p. xi.) that “ we should never lose sight of this ariom, that the House of Commons are to be considered as the defenders of our privileges, not as our masters. It is to the crown we owe allegiance, &c.” And again, p. xü. “ The alarming increase of the power and influence of the crown is a subject so popular, and on which so many
have exerted their eloquence by prating in parliament, that it may seem strange to many readers, when they come to see that according to this view, the evils we suffer result rather from the very opposite cause.” And again, p. xvii. “The intention of this treatise is to prevent evils, by anticipating their danger;"(no very hopeful remedy we think) “to contest with the insidious outcry against the encroachment of the crown; to shew its real motive; to diminish the prejudices against monarchy, and to shew its total difference from despotism. In this essay speculatively, monarchy is held to be the best of all governments; in the same manner it is in many respects preferable to the theoretical (we suppose from the following limb of the sentence that he means the practical) British constitution;-a system excellent in speculation,