« AnteriorContinuar »
fame, some consolation for her subsequent and longendured sufferings.
Tacitus, in the same chapter of the biography of his father-in-law, adds, that Agricola contemplated the conquest of Ireland, in order to remove from the vanquished Britons the dangerous sight of a free people, -"ut libertas e conspectu tolleretur," and, with this view, he retained in his camp a banished prince of the country. A single legion with some auxiliaries, or less than 10,000 men, were considered quite sufficient for the achievement, which a rebellion of the Britons compelled him to abandon; but it appears from the Irish annalists, that the prince alluded to, was Teuthal Teachtmar, in Latin-Tuathalius Bonaventura,* who subsequently recovered his throne, and whose reign, A. D. 106-137, fills many a page of Irish history.— See O'Hallaran's Introduction-Prelim. Discourse, page xv.; the same author's History, vol. i., p. 219, (4to.); Keating, volume i., page 321, edition 1809; O'Flaherty's Ogygia, p. 302, pars. iii., cap. 55; and McGeoghegan, tom. i., pages 129 and 485. "Tout porte à croire,” says this last mentioned writer, " que ce roi de Tacite est Tuathal."
Among the critics who attempted to elucidate the avowedly corrupt text of Tacitus on this occasion, we have named Danesius, (Pierre Danès) and Muretus (Marc Antoine Muret.) The first is celebrated for his rebuke of the insolent pun of the Bishop of Orvieta, who, when a French prelate, Nic. Pseaume, rose to address the Council of Trent, had exclaimed, Gallus cantat" Utinam," retorted Danès, “ad istud gallici
Charles O'Conor calls him, Tuathal the Acceptable. (Dissertation on Irish History, p. xix., ed. 1753.)
nium Petrus rescipisceret." The Juvenilia of Muret, though little entitled to the praise of delicacy of thought or expression, are far more so than those of the reformer Theodore de Bèze, and others of that age. (Paris, 1552, in 8vo. and Opera Omnia, Lipsiæ, 1672, 2 vols. 8vo.) His tragedy, so called, of Julius Cæsar, is a miserable attempt compared to our Shakspere's production with the same title, or to Voltaire's Mort de César.
As the formation of the Irish Brigade in France— the main purpose of Mr. O'Conor's lucubrations— originated in the issue of the contest for the British throne, between James II., and his son-in-law, William III.-a few remarks on the distinctive characters of these sovereigns may not seem an inappropriate conclusion to this article. We are the more induced to offer these incidental observations, as a late brilliant publication has been generally considered too much one-sided on the subject. The gifted writer, we must say, has so far disappointed ourselves, who have often had to applaud his liberality of views, and absence of prejudice, on an important question, apparently religious, but more of historical than controversial solution. It was consequently to fact and history that we confidently appealed, in rebuke of adverse unfounded pretensions, and were happy to find in this accomplished gentleman's powerfully expressed sentiments, a coincidence of opinion, which we failed not to call to our aid. Nor could we have invoked abler support, superadded to the equally concurrent, and not less influential or enlightened suffrages on the matter, of Mr. Hallam, Sir James Macintosh, and Lord Campbell-names, than which English litera
ture boasts none more eminent. as Mr. Macauley has shown himself in the equal imputation of a persecuting spirit to Protestants, arrogantly, but most fallaciously, shielding themselves from the impeachment, as to Catholics, his judgment is by no means, characterised by the same equitable appreciation of the principles and conduct of James II. and William of Orange, in his "History of England from the accession of James II." The former is described as the fell genius of evil, incapable of good in act or intention-the latter as comparatively blameless in deed or design. As for instance, the conjugal infidelity of both, aggravated by the age of one, and cold nature of the other, as well as by the far superior personal attractions of their wives to those of their mistresses, is severely and justly reprobated in James, while slightly reproved in William. Even the scandalous exhibition of joy, which William's wife had not the decency to suppress, on taking possession of her dethroned father's palace, so impressively represented in Miss Strickland's tenth volume of English Queens, hardly retains its color of guilt-dark and revolting though its hue was-in Mr. Macauley's narrative. He seems to forget, in her example, what was due from a daughter to a fond parent. Not only all through, had her demeanor outraged the feelings of nature, but the forms and restrictions of decorum, which, by no unfair parallel, suggested her assimilation to Tullia, who, we are told by Livy, (lib. i., 48,) drove her chariot wheels over her father's corpse. The comparison will be found in Madame de Sévigné's letter of the 8th of March 1688; and a contemporary poet, J. F. Pavillon, also thus expressed his sentiments
of her conduct, in language which cannot fail to meet a responsive echo in every parental bosom:—
"Cette princesse est fort aimable;
Elle est, si vous voulez, en tout incomparable;
Et toutes les vertus ensemble,
Mais je ne voudrais pas avoir
Une fille qui lui ressemble."
Far, very far, truly, are we from being the apologists or partisans of James; for we perfectly agree with Mr. Macauley, that to no portion of British subjects should that sovereign's memory be more hateful than to the Catholics, who owe to his misrule the aggravated infliction of the demoniac penal code. And when, at the Boyne, his partiality for his English subjects, though then arrayed in arms against him, (as he equally gloried in the victory of his English rebellious subjects at the Hogue, over the French armed in his defence,) paralysed both his intellect and spirit, his consequent dastardy at that vital crisis of his and the Catholics' fate, has I repeat, inseparably connected his name, in their native idiom, with an ineffable expression of contempt, which, as Gibbon, (vol. vii., p. 69,) clothes the impurities of Theodora, we must also veil in the obscurity of the same learned language" xegoμevos." Several members of the writer's family, he regrets to reflect, too freely and unwisely shed their blood in his cause.
But whilst we deeply reprove his unconstitutional course, we cannot surely on all points applaud that of his opponent, who, though unquestionably one of the ablest of our English monarchs, cared little for the nation; nor was there much love lost. To him
doubtless, his native land was eminently indebted for her independence, and all Europe scarcely less so. Yet he had bound himself by oath never to accept the Statholderate, though he afterwards exercised that high office for his continued life. He was, indeed called to it by the States, in their hour of danger, when invaded by Louis XIV., in 1672, which, we presume, was considered equivalent to a release from his sacred engagement. To Scotland, however, he owes a solution of the fearful problem of Glencoe; and England has to arraign him of unconstitutional acts, which none of his successors durst commit; while Ireland, anima vilis, was abandoned to his followers, as an experimental field for every debasing outrage, a trial of how far patience could endure her accumulated afflictions. (See Hallam's Constitutional History, iii., page 470.) Without arraigning him in any sense as accessary to the massacre of the brothers, Cornelius and John de Witt, those genuine patriots, in 1672, he has to answer for harbouring in his camp three of the assassins, who attempted the life of Cornelius. The professed champion of liberty, again, he was in regard to the Catholics of England and Ireland, intolerant of the first of liberties, that of conscience, as shown in Miss Strickland's tenth volume, page 332, and his wife not less so. He suffered, besides, as previously stated, the articles of Limerick, pledged and contracted under his own, and his countryman Ginkle's auspices, to be flagrantly violated, as if no faith were to be kept with Irish Catholics. Still we repeat, he was the instrument of good, selfish and personal though his motives were; for it will hardly be maintained that he was actuated by the pure abstract love of liberty, or affection for