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though I have been doing nothing but the common John-trot things, yet I have been thinking of a great many others, both serious and trivial.” Again, in the same letter, he adds, “When one has any great object to carry, one must expect disappointments, and not be diverted from one's object by them, or even appear to mind them. I therefore say to every body, that I think we are going on well. The truth is, the people one has to do with are a bad set. I mean the whole ; for really I believe those we act with are the best.” While attending parliament, he occasionally sojourned at Mr. Ogilvie’s seat, and it is truly delightful to read the affectionate language in which he writes to his mother, of that place, where every object reminded him only of her.
“You cannot think,” he says, in one of those letters of the heart, “how I feel to want you here. I dined and slept at Frescati the other day, Ogilvie and I tete-à-téte. We talked a great deal of you. Though the place makes me melancholy, yet it gives one pleasant feelings. To be sure, the going to bed without wishing you a good night; the coming down in a morning, and not seeing you ; the sauntering about in the fine sunshine, looking at your flowers and shrubs without you to lean upon me, was all very bad indeed.”’—vol. i. p. 62.
“It is time for me,” he says in another letter, “to go to Frescati. Why are not you there, dearest mother ? But it feels a little like seeing you too, to go there. We shall talk a great deal of you. I assure you I miss you in Ireland very very much. I am not half so merry as I should be if you were here. I get tired of every thing, and want to have you to go and talk to, You are, after all, what I love best in the world. I always return to you, and find it is the only love I do not deceive myself in. I love you more than I think I do, but I will not give way to such thoughts, for it always makes me grave. I really made myself miserable for two days since I left you, by this sort of reflections; and in thinking over with myself what misfortunes I could bear, I found there was one I could not ;— but God bless you.”’—p. 63.
All his letters to his mother breathe this beautiful tone of filial affection, never more becoming than when it is found in the same breast with the true gallantry of a soldier, and the ardour of a patriot. The Duchess being at Nice, for the benefit of the climate, he paid her a visit, previously to joining his regiment, then the 54th, which was stationed at New Brunswick, and took that opportunity of making a little tour through Portugal and Spain. We observe not a word in any of his letters at this period, of his love for G + + , a silence that shews how deep the current of that passion was. It turned out eventually an unhappy affair, as the father not only refused his sanction to their union, but peremptorily forbade Lord Edward his house. It was a relief to his thoughts, to try to dissipate them once more in the New World. We must afford room for a single extract from one of his letters to his “dearest mother,” written from St. John's, (New Brunswick,) in July, 1788. The reader will doubtless agree with Mr. Moore, that the quiet and affecting picture which it details of an evening in the woods, “affords one of those instances where a writer may be said to be a poet without knowing it.’
“I came by a settlement along one of the rivers, which was all the work of one pair; the old man was seventy-two, the old lady seventy; they had been there thirty years; they came there with one cow, three children, and one servant; there was not a living being within sixty miles of them. The first year they lived mostly on milk and marsh leaves; the second year they contrived to purchase a bull, by the produce of their moose skins and fish; from this time they got on very well; and there are now five sons and a daughter, all settled in different farms, along the river for the space of twenty miles, and all living comfortably and at ease. The old pair live alone in the little log cabin they first settled in, two miles from any of their children; their little spot of ground is cultivated by these children, and they are supplied with so much butter, grain, meat, &c. from each child, according to the share he got of the land; so that the old folks have nothing to do but to mind their house, which is a kind of inn they keep, more for the sake of the company of the few travellers there are, than for gain.
* “I was obliged to stay a day with the old people, on account of the tides, which did not answer for going up the river till next morning; it was, I think, as odd and as pleasant a day (in its way) as ever I passed. I wish I could describe it to you, but I cannot, you must only help it out with your own imagination. Conceive, dearest mother, arriving about twelve o'clock in a hot day, at a little cabin upon the side of a rapid river, the banks all covered with woods, not a house in sight, and there finding a little old, clean, tidy woman, spinning, with an old man of the same appearance weeding sallad. We had come for ten miles up the river without seeing any thing but woods. The old pair, on our arrival, got as active as if only five-and-twenty, the gentleman getting wood and water, the lady frying bacon and eggs, both talking a great deal, telling their story, as I mentioned before, how they had been there thirty years, and how their children were settled, and when either's back was turned, remarking how old the other had grown; at the same time all kindness, cheerfulness, and love to each other.
“The contrast of all this, which had passed during the day, with the quietness of the evening, when the spirits of the old people had a little subsided, and began to wear off with the day, and with the fatigue of their little work, sitting quietly at their door, on the same spot they had lived in thirty years together, the contented thoughtfulness of their countenances, which was increased by their age and the solitary life they had led, the wild quietness of the place, not a living creature or habitation to be seen, and me, Tony, and our guide, sitting with them, all on one log. The difference of the scene I had left, the immense way I had to get from this little corner of the world, to see any thing I loved,—the difference of the life I should lead from that of this old pair, perhaps at their age discontented, disappointed and miserable, wishing for power, &c. &c.—my dearest mother, if it was not for you, I believe I never should go home, at least I thought so at that moment. ““However, here I am now with my regiment, up at six in the morning doing all sorts of right things, and liking it very much, determined to go home next spring, and live with you a great deal. Employment keeps
up my spirits, and I shall have more every day. I own I often think how happy I could be with G + k in some of the spots I see; and envied every young farmer I met, whom I saw sitting down with a young wife, whom he was going to work to maintain. I believe these thoughts made my journey pleasanter than it otherwise would have been ; but I don't give way to them here. Dearest mother, I sometimes hope it will end well,—but shall not think any more of it till I hear from England.”’—vol. i. pp. 80–83. The expression, “wishing for power, &c.” carries on the story of that latent ambition, which now and then breaks out in his letters, even upon indifferent subjects. It was some feeling of this kind that represented the savage life of the woods so charming in his eyes, and which, after he had abundantly explored the northern provinces, induced him to pay a visit to the south. After mentioning other reasons, which, he says, influenced him to set out upon this expedition, he adds,-‘‘I have, besides, some schemes of my own, which this journey will be of great use in clearing up my ideas upon.” There is no doubt that the romantic turn which his mind now decidedly took, and to which it had been, as we may have observed from the first, naturally predisposed, was in part to be attributed to the rejection which he had experienced from the father of G + " . By the way we wish, if there had been no breach of delicacy in the matter, that Mr. Moore had favoured us. with the lady’s name, as we have a most particular abhorrence of blanks. Lord Edward having descended the Mississippi, arrived at New Orleans, hoping that he might obtain permission to explore the silver mines of South America. This, however, was denied him, the Spanish colonial laws having been at that time rigidly enforced, against the admission of foreigners within the precincts of their mineral territory. He was, in consequence, preparing to return home, towards the close of 1789, when he heard that G " + was married, a circumstance which affected him so much, that Mr. Moore doubts whether, if it had not been for his mother, whom he so devotedly loved, he would ever have returned to Europe. He does not himself go quite so far. After getting over his disappointment as well as he could, he says, “I bore all the account of G + + tolerably well. I must say with Cardenio, “Lo que halleantado sus hermosura, han derribada sus obras. Por elli entendi que era angel, y por ellas conozco que era muger. Quede ella en paz, el causado de mi guerra, y haga el Cielo que ella no quede arrepentida de lo que ha hechio’.” But this is enough on this disagreeable subject. I am now quite stout, and think of nothing but being a
good soldier. To be sure, if it was not for dearest mother, I
* That which her beauty lifted up, her actions have thrown down. By that I thought she was an angel; by these I know she was a woman. Peace be to her, the cause of my anguish, and heaven grant that she has not already repented of what she has done.
believe I should not return to England for some time. God, how
happy I shall be to see you all! Dearest Robert, I cannot express
how I love you all. I know what I say appears odd, but it is im
possible to describe the sort of feeling I have.” . Upon his arrival in England, Lord Edward was, through the
influence of his uncle, the Duke of Richmond, promised by Mr.
Pitt immediate promotion by brevet, and the command of the ex
pedition then intended against Cadiz, a duty for which he was particularly well fitted, as he had, upon his journey in Spain, made plans of the fortifications of that city. His uncle expressed a wish, that Lord Edward should, as a matter of course, no longer appear in opposition to government, a wish with which he readily complied, as, not knowing that he was then in parliament, he said that he was desirous of devoting himself for the future exclusively to his profession. The duke mentioned this arrangement to the king; but on the following day he learned from his mother that he had been again returned by his brother, the Duke of Leinster, for the county of Kildare, and it appears that, though he might easily have resigned his seat, he chose rather to preserve it, and, moreover, to continue in opposition. The Duke of Richmond felt and expressed the strongest displeasure against his nephew upon this occasion, and accused him of breaking his word with the king. He further intimated that Lord Edward could expect no favour then, or at any other time, if he did not quit the ranks of opposition, and give his votes to the government—an alternative which he decidedly refused to adopt. Not long after this occurrence he was dismissed altogether from the army, without even the form of an inquiry. We ought not to be surprised to find, that a measure so doubly harsh as this, not only depriving him of the brilliant prospects that had been held out to him, but even of the rank which he had already possessed and well earned, filled his blood with gall against the government. It is acts of tyranny, of personal persecution like this, that have in all ages and countries produced disaffection, and roused to open revolt. We are not, indeed, informed of the reasons which influenced Lord Edward to retract the pledge that he gave, of devoting himself solely to his profession; but whatever they were, the loss of his intended appointment ought to have been con
sidered as a sufficient penalty for the part which he had taken.
We now find the subject of this Memoir mingling more actively than ever in the field of political warfare, associating chiefly with the Foxes and Sheridans, and all that party, and imbibing, with marked avidity, the new doctrines which then began to be propogated in France. We do not know whether Mr. Moore intends it as a compliment or a sneer, when he says that Lord Edward did not attend much ‘ to those constitutional guards and conditions with which the whig patriots, at that time, fenced round even their boldest opinions,—partly from a long-transmitted reverence for the forms of the constitution, and partly, also, from a prospective view
to their own attainment of power, and to the great inconvenience.
of being encumbered, on entering into office, by opinions which it
might not only be their interest, but their duty, to retract.” In- . . .
deed he immediately after insinuates that there was something of selfishness in this prudence, for he adds that ‘ from both these restraints on political ardour, Lord Edward was free; having derived, it may be supposed, from his Irish education in politics, but a small portion of respect for the English constitution, and being by nature too little selfish, even had he any ulterior interests, to let a thought of them stand in the way of the present generous impulse.” These the whigs will consider, we apprehend, as rather harsh expressions, and as emanating, perhaps, from some sense of disappointment on the part of Mr. Moore himself, towards whom, it
must be confessed, they have shown great apathy, looking to the
essential assistance which he has frequently rendered to their cause. We doubt if they will be more offended with the calculating spirit which he has imputed to them as a party, than with the tendency to violent, not to say revolutionary measures, which he has unequivocally ascribed to their idolized chieftain.
“At a later period, indeed, says Mr. Moore, ‘it is well known that even Mr. Fox himself, impatient at the hopelessness of all his efforts to rid England, by any ordinary means, of a despotism which aristocratic alarm had brought upon her, found himself driven, in his despair of reform, so near that edge where revolution begins, that had there existed, at that time, in England, any thing like the same prevalent sympathy with the new doctrines of democracy as responded throughout Ireland, there is no saying how far short of the daring aims of Lord Edward even this great constitutional whig leader might, in the warmth of his generous zeal, have ventured.’— vol. i. pp. 165, 166.
These points we shall leave Mr. Moore to settle with the whigs; it is sufficient for our purpose to know, that, in 1792, Lord Edward visited Paris, where, under the tutelage of the too celebrated Tom Paine, he became so full of the French doctrines, that he desired his letters to be directed to “Citizen Edward Fitzgerald.” This is not all; after publicly renouncing his title, he joined in proposing a toast in these terms, “ May the patriotic airs of the German legion (Ca Ira, the Carmagnole, Marseillaise March, &c.) soon become the favourite music of every army, and may the soldier and the citizen join in the chorus.” We mark these facts rather as indicating the decided courses which our hero had entered upon, than as matters entitled to our approbation. It was for his conduct on this occasion that he was stripped of his rank in the British army. His letters at this period overflow with enthusiasm; it would appear as if, in his opinion, no revolution had ever been more immaculate or more elevated in all its scenes, than that which was then but entering upon its commencement in Paris. Amongst the other numerous acquaintances made by him at this period, in the French capital, was Madame de Sillery, otherwise the Countess