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“ Few but laugh at me for reading my Testament. They talk a language I understand not: I conceal sentiments that would be a puzzle to them."
We see by this last quotation where it was that Lamb originally sought for consolation. We personally can vouch that at a maturer period, when he was approaching his fiftieth year, no change had affected his opinions upon that point; and, on the other hand, that no changes had occurred in his needs for consolation, we see, alas ! in the records of his life. Whither, indeed, could he fly for comfort, if not to his Bible? And to whom was the Bible an indispensable resource, if not to Lamb? We do not undertake to say, that in his knowledge of Christianity he was everywhere profound or consistent, but he was always earnest in his aspirations after its spiritualities, and had an apprehensive sense of its power.
Charles Lamb is gone : his life was a continued struggle in the service of love the purest, and within a sphere visited by little of contemporary applause. Even his intellectual displays won but a narrow sympathy at any time, and in his earlier period were saluted with positive derision and contumely on the few occasions when they were not oppressed by entire neglect. But slowly all things right themselves. All merit, which is founded in truth and is strong enough, reaches by sweet exhalations in the end a higher sensory—reaches higher organs of discernment, lodged in a selecter audience. But the original obtuseness or vulgarity of feeling that thwarted Lamb's just estimation in life, will continue to thwart its popular diffusion. There are even some that continue to regard him with the old hostility. And we, therefore, standing by the side of Lamb's grave, seemed to hear, on one side (but in abated tones,) strains of the ancient malice-“ This man, that thought himself to be somebody, is dead—is buried—is forgotten !” and, on the other side, seemed to hear ascending, as with the solennity of an anthem—“This man, that thought himself to be nobody, is dead -is buried; his life has been searched ; and his memory is hallowed for ever!”
The Castlereagh Papers.
ART. VII.-1. Memoirs and Correspondence of Viscount Castle
reagh, second Marquess of Londonderry. Edited by his brother, CHARLES VANE, Marquess of Londonderry, G.C.B., &c.
London : 1848. 2. The Game's Up. By MENENIUS. Dublin : 1848. 3. Ireland before and after the Union with Great Britain. By
MONTGOMERY MARTIN. 1848.
The present circumstances of Ireland have attracted our attention to the documents contained in the “ Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh.” The amount of positive information, in any true sense new to the public, is far less than we had anticipated. Much, however, that had been floating about unfixed is here authenticated or disproved. A good deal that had been misrepresented is corrected, or the means of correction supplied. The activity of those who war against the established institutions of society is sustained by an untiring impulse. Those who are satisfied with things as they are, or contemplate improvements in institutions chiefly as the result of the improvement of those by whom they are administered, are impatient of the dogmatic and disputative spirit when it is disposed to disturb our enjoyments by vindications which, however well-meant, we feel to be unnecessary and intrusive—and thus the voice of assailants will for a while win an undeserved triumph. The character of Lord Castlereagh has suffered more from these causes than that of any other public man of our times. The object of Lord Londonderry's publication is by such documents as he possesses illustrative of Lord Castlereagh's official life, to place his brother's character in a true light.
The history of the earliest period of Castlereagh’s life was more frequently brought before the public in accounts of the Irish Rebellion by the families of the defeated party than in any other way, and their language was naturally coloured by their feelings. When Lord Castlereagh was taunted in 1817 as the perpetrator of savage cruelties, in the Irish Rebellion of 1798, cruelties utterly alien to his nature, and which in point of actual fact, he was the chief person to terminate, Mr. Canning indignantly asked “if the Legislature has consented to bury in darkness the crimes of rebellion, is it too much that rebels, after twenty years, should forgive the crime of being forgiven ?” Without imputing to Tone, and M-Nevin, and such writers, any desire to falsify the real facts of the case, and while forming our notion of the scenes in which, very much from their own accounts, it is plain that they had not the means of knowledge which
would enable them to represent truly either the motives or the acts of the Government. Of the crimes of the leaders of the Irish insurrections of 1798 and 1803, we think it impossible to form an exaggerated estimate, as whatever be the real or supposed wrongs which armed resistance would redress, no wrong can be so great—no evil so hopelessly intolerable, as the disturbance of the settled order of society. A nation must be all but unanimous to justify Revolution.
The strong opposition with which the measure of a legislative union with Great Britain was regarded at the time by the weaker island, and the continued agitation for its repeal, kept alive a feeling of resentment against the chief instruments in carrying it out, and to this we owe the remarkable fact, that to this hour it is difficult to form any distinct notion of the character of Lord Castlereagh or Lord Clare. If the family of Lord Clare possess the means of bringing the history of that remarkable man before the public, or if even the few fugitive pamphlets in which his speeches, during the period in which he swayed the destinies of Ireland, were printed, could be collected and published with such notes, as after an interval of fifty years, are necessary to render them fully intelligible, something would be done for the history of the country that in a few years will be impossible. Mr. Wills in his Lives of Distinguished Irishmen-Mr. Grattan in the Memoirs of his father—Mr. Madden in his Life of Emmett--and the author of "The Gallery of Illustrious Irishmen, in the Dublin University Magazine, have each preserved many traits of the Irish Chancellor's character. But what we want and wish are his own speeches and letters-any thing actually and entirely his own. Differing with him in many thingsagreeing with him perhaps in nothing, we feel in all that we have seen of him the stamp of indomitable power—a man whose image should not be lost. With respect to Lord Castlereagh, it is to be regretted that the delay of bringing his biography before the public has occasioned irreparable loss. Lord Londonderry, who himself writes a memoir of his brother prefixed to these voluines, tells us, that after a communication with Sir Walter Scott, whom he wished to engage in the task, a series of private letters, extending over twenty-five years, was confided to the care of the late Dr. Turner, bishop of Calcutta. The vessel that sailed for India with the bishop's effects was lost, and in it the letters of Lord Castlereagh, and, we presume, other materials collected to illustrate his life. His official correspondence was scarcely more fortunate. The executors of Lord Castlereagh (we call him throughout by the name by which he will be remembered in history) thought the papers might be public property, and claimed as such by the Government. For the purpose of releasing them,
Materials for Lord Castlereagl’s Biography.
selves from responsibility, they placed them under the control of the Court of Chancery, from which, after long delays, and what Lord Londonderry describes as “the highly honourable and straightforward conduct of Lord Palmerston," a great mass of papers, public and private, were delivered to him. 66 On examination of the documents," he adds, “I regret to say that I discovered many chasms and losses.” In short, anything that any one for any purpose might wish concealed, is not to be found in the volumes now before us. We do not believe that a single new fact, with reference to any one concerned either in the suppression of the rebellion or the furtherance of the legislative union, is communicated. There is nothing that throws any light on the secret history of either. The correspondence is the correspondence of the Irish secretary's office, after every document of any peculiar interest has been withdrawn. Many of the letters cannot even be regarded as the letters of the persons whose names are officially attached to them. The passion of authorship must have been strong with Lord Londonderry when he undertook this voluminous compilation, which, if continued on anything like the scale on which it has been commenced, must, we should think, reach some twenty-five or thirty volumes. Four are devoted to the time of his brother's Irish Secretaryship; the two first of which (the Part now published) relate to the years 1798 and 1799.
The work opens with a biographical memoir. We omit the links which connect the Londonderry Stewarts with the kings of Scotland, and descend at once from the heights on which Lord Londonderry would place us to Robert Stewart who represented the county of Down in the Irish Parliament, and who was the first Marquess of Londonderry. Robert was twice married ; first to Frances, second daughter of Lord Hertford ; of this marriage Lord Castlereagh was the only surviving issue. His second wife, sister of Lord Camden, was the mother of our author.
Robert, our hero, was born in 1769. He received his early education at Armagh ; and, at seventeen, was entered of St. John's College, Cambridge. He appears to have remained there but a year, or a year and a half. His tutor, writing to Lord Londonderry in 1840, describes him as remarkably successful in his college examinations. At his third half-yearly examination, the last which he past, " he was first in the first class.” After leaving college, he made the Grand Tour; and on his return, commenced political life by a successful contest against the Downshire family for the representation of the county of Down. At the hustings he gave a pledge to support Reform. This was in 1790. When, in 1793, the Catholics were admitted to the
elective franchise, he said, that he thought this a sufficient Reform.
“For a few sessions he voted generally with the Opposition. However, the turbulent development of the state of Ireland rendered it necessary for him to come to more decided conclusions. Accordingly, when the system of strong measures was adopted by the Irish Administration, in order to silence rebellion by terror, or extinguish it by severity, we find Lord Castlereagh among the warmest of its supporters."-Vol. i. p. 9.
Lord Londonderry passes rapidly over his brother's public life in Ireland, leaving the documents given in his volumes to speak for themselves. When Lord Camden succeeded Earl Fitzwilliam as Viceroy, with Pelham as Chief Secretary, an incautious or intemperate speech of Pelham's in the House of Commons led to his return to England in disgust, and Lord Castlereagh acted as his locum tenens for a while, and afterwards was himself appointed Chief Secretary, which office he filled during the important period of the Union arrangements.
It will be more convenient to follow Lord Londonderry in running over the remaining incidents of Lord Castlereagh's life, than at the moment dwelling on topics to which we must return.
When the Union was accomplished, he transferred his residence to London. Pitt's retirement delayed his appointment to office till 1802. Under Addington's Administration, he was placed at the head of the Board of Control.
“ When Pitt resumed the direction of affairs, Lord Castlereagh continued to preside over the Board of Control, till, in 1805, he was appointed Secretary of State for the War and Colonial Department. Party prejudices operated so strongly against him, that, on this occasion, he failed, after an expensive contest, to obtain his re-election for the county of Down.”
On Pitt's death, Lord Castlereagh and his colleagues in office resigned.
“ On the resignation of the Grey and Grenville Administration, in 1807, and the formation of that of Mr. Percival, Lord Castlereagh was replaced in his former situation of Minister of the War Department, in which he continued till the Walcheren Expedition, and his duel with Mr. Canning."
On the death of Percival, Lord Castlereagh became Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and held the office till his death. To him, we believe, Lord Londonderry is right in ascribing the carrying out into perfect effect the policy of assisting the Spanish people when they rose for the purpose of asserting their national independence. To Lord Castlereagh is also due the selection of the Great General by whom the European war was brought to