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the close of the "Seven Years' War," in 1761, our ally Portugal was attacked by Spain, in whose service a young Irishman, Alexander O'Reilly, was left for dead on a field of battle. At the point of being stripped, as usual, by the camp-followers, he cried out that he was the Duke of Arcos, therefore offering to his despoilers a much better prospect of gain in his preservation. On his return in health to Madrid, the widowed duchess of Arcos having heard the circumstance, ordered the presumptuous foreigner into her presence, and, with haughtiest tone, asked how he dared to usurp the name and title of her husband? "Madame, if I had known a more glorious one, I would then have sought its protection," was O'Reilly's prompt, and flattering answer. It ensured him the proud lady's future countenance, and facilitated his elevation to the highest military rank; for in 1794, he commanded the Spanish army opposed to the French, but died the same year, aged 69, before he could distinguish himself. In 1774, he had failed in an expedition against Algiers; and his conduct as governor of New Orleans, then a Spanish possession, was not calculated to make him popular. Yet Count O'Reilly was always looked upon as an officer of considerable talents, and is well entitled to be classed with the eminent men of his country, lost to her service by the intolerance of her then existing laws.
Our author's direct history closes at the termination of the Spanish war,* when he passes, in rapid glance,
In an article of the Dublin Review, No. XXXVI., reference is passingly made to Mr. Borrow's "Bible in Spain;" but it might have been added, that this eccentric traveller had given a most undue title to his book; for it dwelt little comparatively on the sacred volume, nor did he succeed in making a single permanent convert to his version of its doctrine. So we are
over the subsequent Irish feats at Raucoux, Lawfeldt, and Fontenoy.
"In the details of these glorious days, (he subjoins,) we cannot now enter; but they sustain the character, which, against the malice of Voltaire, and the ignorance of some nearer home, I have shown to be due to the Irish soldiery. They look worthily beside the memories of Blackwater, Benburb, Limerick, Ramillies, and Almanza; and they justify the motto on the parting flag presented to The Irish Brigade, by the Bourbons
Semper et ubique fideles.""
The above indignant allusions to Voltaire will be assured by two recent writers of high authority, Don Jaime Balbes, in his publication "Del Catholocismo comparado con Protestantismo;" and by Don Jose Ramo, bishop of the Canaries, in his "Ensayo sobre la Independenza de la Iglesia de España," (1843, 8vo.) as also by Mr. Urquart, in his recent travels through Spain, where he learned that Borrow's work was a tissue of falsehoods. And indeed, an equal inference would be authorised from the Anglican missionary's habits, associations, and character, perfectly suited to an intercourse-that of his predilection-with the Gitanos of Spain, but utterly unfitted for the diffusion of religious truths. The production should, consequently, be rather classed with the compositions of Le Sage, of Aleman, of Scarron, or of the singular volume, "La Picarra Justina," the female counterpart of Aleman's "Guzman de Alfarache," as Fielding's Joseph Andrews was the parody of Richardson's Pamela; nor will it lose much in comparison with these works of consonant character. A short space dedicated to the comparative estimate of the rival claims of France and Spain to the birth or nationality of Le Sage's Gil Blas, that genuine picture of human life, might be made interesting. The pretensions of Spain are supported by the ex-Jesuit, Padre Isla, author of the humorous "Vida de Fray Gerundio," (Madrid, 1758,) in his "Aventuras de Gil Blas de Santillana, robadas à España, y restituidas a su Patria, y sua lengua nativa,” printed at Madrid in 1797, 8vo; and by Llorente, the compiler of the "History of the Inquisition," (in the fourth and last volume of which he acknowledges his exaggeration of the victims,) in his "Observaciones Criticas," &c. (Madrid, 1822, 8vo.) The best plea for the French paternity is the Preface by M. François de Neufchâteau, to his edition of Gil Blas, 1825, 3 vols. 8vo. The Essay had originally been read before the French Academy, on the 7th July, 1818. But this is not the proper place, nor would our prescribed bounds allow us to engage in the subject. Guzman de Alfarache, however inferior to, is yet considered the prototype of, Don Quixote. Here, indeed, we feel bound to solicit indulgence for this flagrant digression from our main purpose, but, in treating of Spain, we were almost unconsciously betrayed into the deviation.
elucidated by a reference to the opening paragraph of this work, viz.—
"A French writer, whose cursory remark has grown into a sort of historical apophthegm, observes, that the Irish, who show themselves the bravest soldiers in France and Spain, have always behaved shamefully at home."
On which Mr. O'Conor animadverts
"Had the lively M. Voltaire condescended to read the annals of an obscure people, shut out by distance and insularity from European history, he probably would not have indulged in this disparaging contrast; for he would have found Irish valour the same at Clontarf, at the Blackwater, and at Aughrim, (where three of the writer of this review's great-uncles, a Colonel, Major, and Captain, fell in the service of James,) as at Luzara, Cassano, and Fontenoy; the same at Dunbay and Limerick, as at Guillastre, Embrun, and Cremona."
But we may inquire, where were these national annals to be found? When Voltaire thus impeached the Irish mind and heart on their native soil, what readable historian could he have access to, who was not impressed with, or at least did not give utterance to a similar opinion? The fact is, that Voltaire, with all other continental authors, derived their knowledge of Irish affairs from English historians, and rested their judgment on general results, which have almost uniformly exhibited the English in our respective contests, as eventually triumphant. We had no historians of established fame or influence to counteract English misrepresentations, or in any way to attract attention. In Hume, we believe, will not be discovered a single reference to an Irish Catholic authority, no more than a Carthagenian writer is found cited by Polybius or Livy, on the Punic wars; an omission so deeply deplored by students of historic truth, which,
thus one-sided, can never be impartially considered. Few classes of books are now become more scarce than the publications of Irish Catholics, during the seventeenth century. Neglected abroad, where they could excite little interest, they were sternly interdicted at home. Neque in ipsos modo auctores, sed in libros quoque eorum sævitum," as Tacitus (Agricola, cap. 2,) relates of the hateful rule of Domitian. Those obscure volumes, therefore, became nearly extinct, when considerate justice, in the appreciation of events, demanded at length an equal insight into their representation, on both sides of controverted occurrences. To satisfy, however, this fair desire was no easy matter; for the long overlooked volumes could with great difficulty be found. The result, on comparison of authorities, altered the public judgment of many circumstances; in as much as English writers had previously seldom deigned to consult a genuine Irish relation of our national transactions. The enhanced value of the newly sought books may be judged from the fact, that several, often sold as waste paper, were emulously contended for, and produced large prices, such as Carve's, (or Carew's) Itenerarium, (1639, &c.,) Lynch's Cambrensis Eversus, and his Alithinalogia, with his Vita F. Kirovani-printed respectively in 1662, 1666, and 1669. Caron's Remonstrance, (1665,) French's Bleeding Iphigenia, O'Daly's "Initium, &c., familiæ Geraldinorum." These with many others, fetched each, £20 or more, at public sales. One of the scarcest, Thomas Morrison's "Threnodia HibernoCatholica, seu Epitome inauditæ et transcendentis crudelitatis qua Catholici regni Hiberniæ opprimuntur......... sub archityranno Cromwello, Eniponti,"
(Inspruck,) 1659, was picked up by the writer at a stall, for six-pence, and brought, under the hammer of Mr. Evans in London, twenty sovereigns, from Mr. Thorpe, the eminent bibliopolist, in 1824. Mr. Thorpe immediately obtained £27 for it, from the Rt. Hon. Thomas Grenville, with whose magnificent bequest of his library to the British Museum, it now reposes.* Could we recommend Keating, O'Flaherty, or our personal friend O'Halloran, (all confined to our remote annals,) who unsiftingly and indiscriminately adopted every traditional fable, or their own imaginative suggestions, as the ground of history? Leland's work had not then appeared, nor indeed O'Halloran's; but though, with due allowance for his profession and associations, we consider Leland entitled to no small commendation, we should not be much disposed to refer a foreigner to him for our national character or achievements. Yet the cloud that has obscured, or the malevolence that has defamed our name and acts, we may feel assured, are destined to be quickly dispelled; and the deep interest attached to our concerns in the passing day, will necessarily lead to farther inquiry into the past, proving our right to far higher repute, and assigning to our country its proper station in the great European family. Our comparative failure at home thus reproached to us, is traceable, as far as we may admit its existence, to our disunion; the fertile source of national unhappiness, wherever the fatal seed is implanted, and impregnates any devoted land with its blighting germ.
All these rare volumes, we are gratified to observe, are at present, in course of republication by Mr. O'Daly, in Dublin. It is a national service.