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series of changes which end in the manifestation of a power and a will inconsistent with any event but revolution. They had also attained a point in this advance, at which it became as unsafe to attempt to put them down, as to permit their continued existence.
Lord Charlemont made it still his chief care to watch over their diminished and diminishing ranks, until they ceased to have even a nominal existence. In Mr Hardy's ample memoir, we find numerous interesting notices of his lordship's visits to the north, to review his corps; and there is considerable interest in the occasional instances in which the military rank of his lordship, and military character and merits of the volunteers, are recognised by the officers and soldiers of the line. Their casual meetings were attended by the formal exchange of the usual forms observed on such occasions in the army; and upon one occasion, when his lordship passed through Nenagh, on his way to Limerick, there happened to be no volunteers in the town, and a party of the 18th light dragoons, quartered there, insisted on mounting guard at his door during the evening, and next morning escorted him on his way, as far as he would permit. This incident, however, occurred at an early period of the history of the volunteers, while it was judged by the government yet expedient to mask in courteous flattery the fear and suspicion which from first to last this anomalous force was adapted to inspire. At the time which we have now reached, their palmy day had passedtheir own indiscretions, and the dexterity of the government, bad slowly but surely stripped them of the stamp of constitutional recognition, which had a substantial effect in altering and subduing the revolutionary temper which it could not wholly suppress: there was thus infused, amid all their democratic ardour, a saving sense of a connexion with the government; and the same convention had as useful an influence on the public mind, as well as on the army, into the ranks of which their best materials were presently absorbed. A clinging sentiment of their past importance still held together a feeble and unimposing band, which had ceased to be formidable, and were permitted to exist, because the mandate of suppression might have easily awakened a spirit not yet altogether extinct. Lord Charlemont is represented as still devoting his time and care to this remnant, both for the reasons here stated, and also to prevent their falling into dangerous hands. The decline of the Irish volunteers, thus left to the influence of circumstances, was slow, and the body preserved a languishing existence long after it had ceased to be an instrument of change. In 1790, we find lord Charlemont still engaged in his military duty of reviewing his corps at Armagh. At that time, when other dangerous elements were fast spreading in the social atmosphere, which would have made such a force tenfold more dangerous, it had happily lost its political existence and form, and was receiving from its old commander these attentions which might be described as the last pious offices before its departure. Reflecting on the common feelings of mankind, it will be no impeachment of his lordship’s wisdom to surmise that other natural sentiments must have warmed his breast while witnessing the degeneracy of a body of which the power, the splendour, and services, had been the prominent means of his own national exaltation.
Notwithstanding his strong sense of the real dangers attending their transient ascendancy, and the honourable efforts and vigilance by which he had mainly helped to turn away those dangers, it was not in nature that he should not keenly feel the contempt into which they were beginning to fall, and resent the secret and dexterous hostility which had followed them throughout. We cannot help the conviction, that while his lordship still journeyed to perform the once animating office of inspecting and reviewing their dwindled ranks, that he was more or less affected by that deep-seated tenacity of the pride and glory of a better day, which we hold to be inseparable from the heart. With whatever private sentiments he was impressed in his visits to the north, and in the review of the last remains of the volunteer army of Ireland, there can be no doubt of the justness of his opinions on the subject, or of the perfect good sense and true patriotism with which he conducted, to its last moment, a movement which, in its period of strength, he had mainly conduced to govern to the safest and most beneficial results. Such movements have been seldom so directed; and we dwell on the fact, because we consider it his lordship’s claim to the grateful recollection of his country.
At this time, his lordship had attained his sixty-second year, and had suffered considerably from infirmities and complaints contracted by a delicate frame, during a life of great activity. He still continued to take a lively interest in the whole conduct of political concerns, and to be actively engaged in most of the main party conflicts, for many years subsequent to those of which the principal incidents have been here related. On the regency question, in 1788, he acted as the leader of the opposition, of which the chief members met at his house, 3d February, 1789, before the opening of the Irish session. He also moved the address to the prince of Wales, requesting him to take upon himself the regency of Ireland. About the same time, his lordship exerted himself with great zeal and activity in the formation of a whig club. This celebrated body may be considered as a revival of the monks of St Patrick, and was similarly composed of gentlemen who were zealous in opposition, and were, or professed to be, zealous for the rights and liberties of Ireland. At the frequent discussions in the house of commons, lord Charlemont was a constant listener, and from his per- . severing attendance, it was usual to remark that he was more a member of the commons than of the lords. His friends in the commons were at the time in their highest period of strength, effect, and eloquence; and the gratification which he enjoyed from the frequent display of successful wit, eloquence, and reason, not often to be equalled within the walls of a legislative assembly, must, in some degree, have compensated for the painful sensations of regret and mortification which he was doomed to witness, and the fast increasing folly and absurdity of the popular factions which were at the same time disgracing and hazarding the cause for which he was a champion, by rash, extreme, and false pretensions. In a letter to his friend Haliday, some strong expressions escape, which we may cite as indicating the mood of many a subsequent year:-“My nerves, the constant source of all my complaints, are much affected; and, consequently, neither my eyes nor my spirits are as they ought to be. The horrid weather, which
I take to be unparalleled, may possibly contribute to produce these effects on me; but what alleviation in the weather can produce any good effects on those wretches in the county of Armagh? Few things have ever given me so much concern and anxiety as these nasty broils.
The fools will undo themselves, and I cannot help it.” The most true and wisest patriot that Ireland has ever known, was doomed, in the decline of his days, to see more serious changes for the worse come over the spirit of independence which he had so materially contributed to awaken and to conduct to prosperous results. We shall not prolong this memoir by entering into the details of public proceedings and changes, in which his lordship was but one among many, but shall take up our narrative in other subsequent memoirs, in which we shall be enabled to offer detailed statements of transactions here adverted to in a summary way.
In 1761, it was thought proper by the Irish administration to show their resentment of his lordship's public conduct by an unworthy insult. With this view, for it is hard to imagine any other, they divided the lieutenancy of the county of Armagh into two separate governments. The government of this county had been for more than a century in his lordship’s family. The manner of this injury was more injurious than the act, as it was done without the decorum of a notice, and the first intimation to his lordship was from a gentleman who had seen the new appointment in the Gazette. On learning the circumstance, lord Charlemont at once took the spirited course which is described by himself to his friend Haliday:-“ Clear in my own mind of the propriety of what I was about to do, and conscious that though the exhibition of family pride be of all other things the most ridiculous, yet that there are occasions when it is criminal not to assert one's own dignity, I immediately wrote to the secretary, signifying to him, that having been informed by the Gazette, &c., I requested of him to give in to the lord-lieutenant my resignation." We add some sentences of an address which he received on the same occasion from Armagh:“ Your lordship was the sole governor of our county in times rather more perilous than the present-in times, shall we say, when the kingdom had no government, or none but that received from the strength, spirit, and wisdom of the people, so often, and with such zealous integrity, informed, advised, and led by your lordship.”*
In 1793, lord Charlemont had to lament the loss of his second son, a promising youth, in his seventeenth year. Many other losses of a similar nature, were, at the same time, beginning to thicken round his declining progress, and to mark the silent approach of the last scene of the eventful drama in which he had been a most distinguished actor.
His latest days were cheered by repeated and honourable marks of the esteem and honour of his country. Among these might be dwelt on the enthusiasm occasioned by his departure for Bath, when the illness of his countess, and his own delicacy, rendered this journey necessary.
But, as his most prevailing sentiment was the love of his country, so no honours could compensate for, and no private afflictions out
* This was the address of 1378 freeholders.
weigh, the pain of beholding the then advanced symptoms of national confusion, which, spreading from the French capital as a centre, were growing like an eclipse over all the surrounding shores. The latter days of his own volunteers had been infected by the earliest taint of the revolution; and when, disgraced by the open adoption of its principles and titles, they were finally put down with the consent of their best friends, they had already handed down the fatal taint which was before long to break out in less equivocal forms, and to do more mischief to Ireland than their noblest achievements had done good.
These dark and gloomy details demand a fresh canvass, and must be pursued in future memoirs.
Our last extract from his correspondence will sufficiently serve to trace here the declining period of lord Charlemont. “Short indeed must this note be; for I am ill able to write, and though from having swallowed the bark of a Peruvian forest, the malady is now a good deal mitigated, still I am so depressed, that neither my head nor my eyes will obey, and second my wish of a long conversation with you. Bodily disease, and bodily pain, must always affect the mind, and more especially a mind already sore, from various causes, but particularly from an incessant and painful contemplation of the melancholy and alarming state to which is now reduced that country, which has been ever so dear to my heart; and that too, not only from the wretched mismanagement of others, but in a great measure from her own fault. To you I need not say how ardently I have ever loved my country. In consequence of that love, I have courted her; I have even married her, and taken her for life; and she is now turned out a shrew-tormenting herself, and all her nearest connexions. But no more of this, for indeed I can write no more.”
The sufferings of lord Charlemont were alleviated still by the cultivation of polite literature, and by the varied gratifications belonging to the cultivation of the fine arts. On these topics, his letters display to the last a keen interest and a discriminating judgment. Nor should we omit to observe that the peculiar refinement of a cultivated and informed taste is perceptibly accompanied and set off to great advantage by the uniform tone of the most refined and warm affections. Indeed, the truth of his patriotism (a virtue mostly questionable,) is in him attested by the uniform and thorough consistency of his entire conduct and sentiments in all things. Had he never taken part in public affairs-such a man must have been by nature a patriot: for he was a good and true man in all his human and social affections.
It is not our intention to enter here on the gloomy interval of affairs which overclouded his latter years. Even in the latest stages of an infirm old age, he shook off the impeding languor which would have tied most men to their beds, to hurry to his post in the serious alarms of '96.
The discussions upon the question of the Union found him at his post, fervent in mind, though already suffering in the latest stages of bodily decline. With many of the best and ablest Irishmen of his day, he took part against that great measure. The protracted agitation of spirit and nerve thus kept up during a struggle of the most
exciting nature, completed the disruption of his constitution. His appetite departed his limbs swelled, and it was sorrowfully admitted by his friends and family that his death could not be far off. He expired in his 70th year, on the 4th August, 1799. The following epitaph written by himself was found among his papers:
My own EPITAPA.
Here lies the body of
To his country.
His lordship was advanced to the earldom in 1763, without solicitation, and, as a well deserved tribute of the public services rendered by his activity, spirit and prudence, in the troubles of that time. In 1768 he married Miss Hickman.
Among the numerous distinguished men of his day, attempts have been made to assign his lordship’s relative position. The rare and eminent combination of high and useful qualities which we have already described, was, with the advantages of station and property, such as to place him in a central position among the great men who are to be numbered of his party. The position is generally allowed, but we incline to think that the merits to which it was felt to belong, are underrated by his lordship's admirers. That his talents were not of the comprehensive and powerful order of some of his gifted contemporaries cannot be disputed; but there is a want of judgment shown in the insufficient estimate of the just discernment and pervading sagacity, which all his letters and recorded acts plainly indicate from first to last. His opinions did not receive the development of pamphlet or speech-nor was he by circumstances led to any of those elaborate displays of political talent whiel have their origin more in ambition than patriotism. Single in his motives, at the same time shrinking from such displays, his lordship was too happy to find and put in motion the talents of others. But if it be recollected with what wholeness he devoted his mind to the politics of his day, it is too much to assume that he did not maintain in these the same qualities which are in other things plainly seen to be the features of his mind. As for the admission of Mr Hardy, that his lordship was no statesman—we should be much inclined to make a similar admission for nearly the whole of the distinguished circle of public men who were engaged in the same
THE family of Flood has been traced into Kent, whence the ancestors of Mr Flood, the immediate subject of notice in this memoir, came into Ireland, early in the sixteenth century. The ancestor from whom the