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ing absentees every individual who feels within himself the desire for personal consideration, and the talent to command it by other means than “taking the trouble," as Figaro says, “ to be born to an estate.” It is not alone that such is the disposition of the public in Ireland. Were it a theatre as well disposed to reward and appreciate great endowments, as it is precisely the contrary, it would still be too limited in extent, to afford that exciting and intoxicating approbation, which rewards the labours of genius in other and happier countries.
To those who have established claims on the public, or have been fortunate enough to captivate its good will, absenteeism from Ireland is almost a duty to self; and nearly all the eminent individuals, born and educated in that country, have thought themselves justified in leaving it.
Swift himself, the patriot par excellence among Irish literary characters, was resident in his own land from necessity ; and the sense of that necessity pressed for ever on his mind, embittering his latter days, and discolouring all his views, if it were not among the immediate
causes of his deplorable insanity. For my own part, small as are my claims on public attention, I have every reason, perhaps, to be satisfied with whatever portion of esteem I may in any country be honoured with ; but in all things there are degrees, and it is not vanity to feel and to appreciate the superior kindness of strangers, and to be sensible to distinctions, of which the worthiest and the wisest might be proud.
Upon the score of pleasure also, the absentee, it must be allowed, has a decided advantage. Divided and distracted by parties, a prey to constant turbulence, and to frequent insurrections, Ireland could never have offered much attraction, to stay the foot of the absentee. In the best times, the pleasures of the Irish capital were derived more from the hilarity and social temperament of the people, than from the physical resources of refined and enlightened amusement. Since the union, even these have made themselves air, into which they vanished;" and the transfer of the Irish legislature to London, and the importation of British methodism to Dublin, have left the latter city nothing but a short and fitful season of balls and
assemblies. All public places of amusement have closed, or have dwindled into insignificance and neglect; and however much it may be lamented, it cannot be wondered, that those who are masters of their own time, and have wealth at their disposal, should promener leur ennui ailleurs, and seek in foreign countries for those agreeable sensations and exciting pleasures which are not to be found at home.
To the student, the artist, and the philosopher, the resources of Ireland are still more limited. The libraries and collections which draw this class of persons to the greater capitals of Europe, are wholly wanting ; nor is there a sufficiency of congenial talent to make society, to excite emulation, and encourage zeal. The Irish gentleman, who has been blessed or cursed with a superior education and a refined taste, is compelled to emigrate, or to mortify and place in abeyance his natural impulses. It is not, therefore, so much a matter of reproach to the absentee, as of praise and admiration to him, who from patriotism, devotes his time and his faculties to his own country, that the one resides in foreign countries, and the other at home. It is idle and vain to talk of duties, and to insist that the holders of estates are bound by their tenure to stand by the country that feeds them. Duties are only respected as far as they carry with them their own reward ; and a nation has no right to claim the residence of its proprietors, if it will not, or cannot, cultivate the arts of peace, and make that residence desirable in itself. Whenever the misfortunes of Ireland have become matter of legislative discussion, British statesmen have coolly turned round upon the friends of that country and reproached them with its absenteeism, , as if that were the sole and exclusive cause of all that it has suffered, and all that it must still continue to suffer. Put, if even this were the truth, to whom does Ireland owe this plague spot in her social condition ? I speak it not in anger, or in a spirit of wanton reproach, but the cause of all this calamity is to be found in antecedents, of which the policy of England is the first link. Long and persevering acts of national benevolence and of legislative wisdom are requisite, to do away the fatal injury of her proconsular regime, and to wipe away the stain which her character has acquired, through her wanton neglect and wilful destruction of the resources of Ireland.
“St. Patrick was a jontlemon,
I was awakened this morning at daylight by the cry under my windows, of “Green shamrock, fine shamrock ;” and the cry has been repeated as incessantly and as annoyingly the whole day, as that of “ hot cross buns” is in London on a Good Friday. The Irish, by the bye, with all their catholicism, do not eat cross buns; which is as exclusively a protestant, as it is a cockney fashion of idolatry.
The national festival in Ireland, with the supremacy of the saint, to whom it is dedicated, is still maintained with unabated devotion and conviviality throughout the kingdom, from the castle to the