« AnteriorContinuar »
single vice does not stain him, as a warrior, in the pages of the historians of his age. In one respect, Vendôme and the Prince approached each other. They were both descended from houses equally illustrious. The Princes of Maurun* and Bourbon exhibited constellations of glory, (a rather misapplied phrase, surely,) for eight hundred years." Vendôme, our author had previously observed, inherited the intrepidity of his grandfather, Henry IV.; but it should be added, that his descent was illegitimate; and though the eulogy describes him as divested of pride, and uninfluenced by hatred or revenge, as well as chargeable solely with the foibles of prodigality and indulgence to the vices of others, yet the stern voice of history too loudly proclaims his own addiction to the most infamous depravity. His military talents are estimated by Napoleon, far above those of
*The founder of the House of Savoy was Beroldo, or Bartholdo, Count of Maurienne, or Morienne, (not Maurun,) a district of the duchy, who lived at the end of the tenth century, but whose birth or country are unknown. (See Mémoires Historiques sur la Maison Royale de Savoie, par M. de Beauregard, tome i., 1816, 8vo.) He was, consequently, contemporaneous with the institutor of the House of Bourbon, Hugh Capet, whose possession of the French crown dates from 987. This latter is represented by historians in general, as of the noblest parentage, while Dante, as elsewhere noted, makes him acknowledge himself the son of a butcher :—
"Chiamato fui di là Ugo Ciapetta:
Di me son nati i Filippi Luisi;
Per cui novellamente è Francia retta.
Purgatorio, Canto xx. 49-52.
Louis Philippe, the late King of the French, was his thirty-third successor; and an exactly equal number of rulers have, in the same interval, governed Savoy. But, if equal in antiquity of descent, it denotes a signal oblivion, or disregard of history, to place in parallel of illustration, the great monarchy of France, and the duchy of Savoy, as Mr. O'Conor has here done. Well do we remember when to call Louis XVI., or his unfortunate child, otherwise than by the name of their patriarch, Capet, was of the greatest danger, probably fatal.
Catinat, a much better man in every other sense; but Mr. O'Conor is, we think, quite unjust in his appreciation of Marlborough, who, according to him, never encountered genius or science in opposed array. (See page 318.) Now we may ask, was Villars deficient in genius or science? and yet over him Marlborough triumphed at Malplaquet; while subsequently at Denain, Villars was the conqueror even of Eugene. The battle of Malplaquet, in our author's assertion, is called by the French, of Blaregnies-surely not, though in the same vicinage; and it was thence that Marlborough addressed, on the 11th of Sept. 1709, his report of the victory; but the name of Malplaquet has uniformly prevailed. The name of Villars, we must remark, is almost always miswritten Villiars by Mr. O'Conor or the printer; and the martial term, tête de pont, uniformly, in equal error, is transformed into tête du pont; nor can we believe, as affirmed at page 225, that in 1694, the Irish troops in France amounted to the number of thirty thousand. In fact they did not exceed, according to French statements, half that figure (See Hénault, Histoire de France; an: 1692.) We must likewise point out the bad taste of our author's concluding sentence, in describing the conflict of Schellemberg, (page 283.) "No other struggle during the war was so bloody. Hell itself could hardly exhibit a scene more horrible." The same censure applies to the sanguinary engagement of the French and Imperialists, on the banks of the Adda, in 1705.
Norwegians, Swedes, Irish, German, Sclavonians, &c., were mixed up in this frightful affray. Thousands of voices roaring in different languages and dialects; 30,000 tubes pouring forth fire and death,
and 10,000 bayonets crossing and clanking against each other in the work of butchery, exhibited a scene more horrible and destructive than the conflict of the elements, or the bursting of a volcano from the bowels of the earth."-(page 305.)
Immediately after, Mr. O'Conor introduces, on this occasion, a personal circumstance.
"Persecution drove the unfortunate Irish from the banks of the Shannon to those of the Adda. Some of the ancestors of the writer of these pages, fell there, victims of their adherence to their religion, King and country. The inheritor of their wrongs, (the Italics are the author's,) he visited this spot after a lapse of one hundred and thirty years, in (1835,) his heart sickened, and his sympathies were excited to tears, on viewing the last scene of their sufferings."
Such feelings as these were natural, and, in general principle, creditable; as also is Mr. O'Conor's reprobation of the revocation of the edict of Nantes, at page 295. But assuredly he is little justified in representing it, as a "proceeding even more oppressive than the penal code of Ireland." Its generating evils are then enumerated, not one of which, however, grievous as they are acknowledged, were the persecuted Catholics of Ireland exempt from, with aggravated infliction too, and longer endurance. Had Mr. Scully's Statement of the Penal Laws, Mr. Burke's impressive picture of their horrors, or Mr. MacCulloch's unbiassed recapitulation of the disgraceful, the inhuman Code, never met our author's eye? We are not unacquainted with the just complaints of the Huguenots; for in our recollection, and personal observation, though greatly mitigated, many grounds of suffering still remained unabrogated; but while Europe rung with these toowell founded complaints, the far more galling severi
ties imposed by the laws of Ireland on the majority of her inhabitants were imperfectly known, and comparatively little censured. Burke (Tracts on the Popery Laws,) emphatically observes that, "a law against the majority of the people is against the people itself: it is not particular injustice, but general oppression...... a national calamity." And again, in reference to the revoked edict of Nantes, he says, "But after all, is it not most evident that this act of injustice, which let loose on that monarch (Louis XIV.) such a torrent of invectives and reproach, and which threw such a cloud over all the splendour of a most illustrious reign, falls far short of the case of Ireland? The privileges which the Protestants of France enjoyed antecedent to the revocation, were far superior to those which the Roman Catholics of Ireland ever aspired to under a contrary establishment." This fact, too, is affirmed by the records of history; yet, even viewing the persecution as commensurate in degree, it should not be overlooked that the victims in France formed a very small portion of the nation; whereas those of Ireland constituted the bulk of the people— the nation itself, in Burke's words. The principle of tolerance, until lately, was recognised in Europe, quite as little in Protestant as in Catholic States; although, in weighing the distinctive motives and origin of a system, which each ascribed to divine command, "Compelle intrare," or, "Compel them to come in," as in St. Luke xiv. 23, we may not forget that the Catholics were possessors, their adversaries aggressors and invaders, with no legitimate claim whatsoever to pre-occupied ground. The laws peremptorily forbade the intrusive creed; but no sooner
were their violators, after long suffering under, and exclaiming against them, in power, than they were fondly adopted, and rigorously executed. "Persecution," says Mr. Hallam, (Constitutional History, vol. i., p. 128,) and the fact, sanctioned by so high an authority, cannot be too often repeated, "is the deadly original sin of the reformed churches, that which cools every honest man's zeal for their cause, in proportion as his reading becomes more extensive."
But before we enter directly on the history of the Irish Brigade in France, two anterior events connected with the wars of Ireland, appear to demand and warrant a retrogressive notice. The visits, we mean, of Richard II., to the island in 1394, and 1399, with the mission to the kingdom in 1549, from the French King Henry II., but confined to Ulster. Froissard, (livre iv., chap. 42,) relates the first with all the attraction, which has raised him to the supremacy of mediæval annalists. He states how Richard, in order to pacify the great chieftains of the country, after two centuries of internecine warfare, entertained and knighted in 1394, the four native kings of the island, whose names are strangely disfigured in his narrative. 1st-"Le Grand Anel, (O'Neil,) roy de Methe," which, of course, should be Ultonie, or Ulster. 2nd"Brin, (O'Brien,) roy de Thomond, et d'Arse," or King of Thomond and Clare; for in the manuscript, the French denomination of the second title more resembles the word Clare, than what the printed editions represent it. 3rd-" Artus Maquemaire, roy de Linstre," or Arthur MacMurragh, King of Leinster. And 4th Connor, roy de Chênour, (Connaught,) et d'Erpe," (probably Eyre, Connaught,) from