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but very singular talents, and most advanced to the station of Lord fantastic in the use of them. In Chief Baron of the Exchequer, his dress, his air, his manners, his came at this time into parliament diction, whether in common con- under the auspices of James Duke versation, or debate, he was to- of Leinster. He immediately jointally unlike
any other man of hised the opposition then formed time. His person was well-form- against the administration of Lord ed, of a most advantageous height, Townshend. His speeches, when and, when decorated with his star, he first entered the House of Comor other emblems of chivalry, he mons, were very brilliant, very moved along like a Lord Herbert of figurative, and far more remarkCherbury, or one of those knights able for that elegant, poetic taste, who “jousted in Aspramont or which had highly distinguished Montalban;" as lofty in mien as him when a member of the uniin phrases; courteous, or hostile, versity, than any logical illustraas the occasion required. His ora- tion or depth of argument. But as tory cannot be at all adequately he was blessed with great endowdescribed. He must have been ments, every session took away heard in the House of Lords, where somewhat from the unnecessary the stately march of his periods, splendour and redundancy of his his solemn pauses, his corresponde harangues. To make use of a entgestures, his selection of words, phrase of Cicero, in speaking of so remote from common use, yet his own improvementin eloquence, not always deficient in energy or
his orations were gradually deprivpoint, sometimes excited the ad- ed of all fever. Clearness of intelmiration, and always the amaze- lect, a subtle, refined, and polished ment of his auditors. The polite- wit, a gay, fertile, uncommonly ness of his manners was certainly fine imagination, very classical engaging, though ceremonious, taste, superior harmony, and eleand tinctured with that eccentri- gance of diction, peculiarly chacity, which pervaded his whole racterised this justly celebrated deportment. He had a just and man. Though without beauty, his becoming public spirit, which con- countenance was manly, engagciliated the regard of Lord Charle- ing, and expressive ; his figure mont, who acted as his second in agreeable and interesting ; his dehis celebrated duel with the Mar- portment eminently graceful. quis Townshend ; when, it is al- To those wlio never heard him, most superfluous to add, he be- as the fashion of this world in elohaved with his usual characteristic quence, as in all things, soon passes gallantry and punctilious antique away, it may be no easy matter to courtesy. He was most severely convey a just idea of his style of wounded, but lived many years speaking ; it differed totally from afterwards.
the models which have been
presented to us by some of the great
masters of rhetoric in latter days. WALTER HUSSEY BURGH. His eloquence was by no means
gaudy, tumid, nor approaching to Walter Hussey, who afterwards that species of oratory, which the took the name of Burgh, and was Roman critics denominated Asi
atic; but it was always decorated time, “ Haterii canorum illud, et as the occasion required: it was profluens, cum ipso extinctum often compressed, and pointed, est." though that could not be said to He accepted the office of Prime have been its general feature. It Serjeantduringthe earlypartoflord was sustained by great ingenuity, Buckinghamshire'sadministration; great rapidity of intellect, lumin- but the experience of one session ous and piercing satire; in refine- convinced him, that his sentiments ment abundant, in simplicity ste- and those of the English and Irish rile. The classical allusions of this cabinets, on the great questions orator, for he was most truly one, relative to the independence of were so apposite, they followed Ireland, would never assimilate. each other in such bright and va- He soon grew weary of his situaried succession, and, at times, tion; when his return to the spread such an unexpected and standard of opposition was marked triumphant blaze around his sub- by all ranks of people, and espeject, that all persons, who were in cially his own profession, as a day the least tinged with literature, of splendid triumph. Numerous could never be tired of listening to were the congratulations which him. The Irish are a people of he received on this sacrifice of quick sensibility, and perfectly official emolument to the duty alive to every display of ingenuity which he owed to his country. or illustrative wit. Never did the That country he loved even to enspirit of the nation soar higher thusiasm. He moved the question than during the splendid days of of a free trade for Ireland, as the the volunteer institution ; and, only measure that could then when Hussey Burgh, alluding to rescue this kingdom from total some coercive English laws, and decay. The resolution was conthat institution, then in its proud- cise, energetic,and successful. He est array, said in the House of supported Mr. Grattan in all the Commons, “ That such laws were motions which finally laid prosdownlikedragons'teeth,and sprung trate the dominion of the British up in armed men;" the applause parliament over Ireland. When which followed, and the glow of he did so, he was not unacquainted enthusiasm which he kindled in with the vindictive disposition of every mind, far exceed my powers the English cabinet of that day, of description.
towards all who dared to maintain Never did the graces more se such propositions. One night, dulously cherish, and uniformly when he sat down after a most attend, any orator more than this able, argumentative speech in faamiable and elegant man. They vour of the just rights of Ireland, embellished all that he said, all he turned to Mr. Grattan, “ I have that he did ; but the graces are now," said he, “nor do I repent
I fugitive, or perishable. Of his it, sealed the door against my own admired speeches, but few, if any, preferment; and I have made the records are now to be found; and fortune of the man opposite to of his harmonious flowing elo- me," naming a particular person quence, it may be said, as Tacitus who sat on the treasury bench. did of an eminent speaker in his
He loved fame, he enjoyed the where we fondly imagine our own blaze of his own reputation, and wisdom to be the most authentithe most unclouded moments of cated. His honest desire not to his life were not those when his feed contention, but bring it to as exertions at the bar, or in the speedy a termination as could reaHouse of Commons, failed to re- sonably be wished, deserves great ceive their accustomed and ample praise. tribute of admiration : that, in
" He did not,” says
Mr. Flood, deed, but rarely happened; he felt alluding to him in one of his it at particular moments, during speeches,“ live to be ennobled, his connection with the Bucking, but he was ennobled by nature. hamshire administration; nor did I value the just prerogatives of anthe general applause which he re- cient nobility, but to the tears and ceived counterbalance his tempo regrets of a nation, bending over rary chagrin. A similar tempe- the urn of public and private exrament is, I think, recorded of cellence, as Ireland did over his, Racine; but he had not Racine's what has heraldry to add, or, at jealousy. On the contrary, the such moments, what can it bebest intellectual displays of his con- stow? temporaries seemed always to be the most agreeable to him; and I can well attest, that he hailed the
HENRY FLOOD: dawn of any young man's rising reputation with the tribute of kin- Mr. Henry Flood was by far one dred genius.
of the ablest men that ever sat in He died at a time of life when the Irish parliament. As he will his faculties, always prompt and appear frequently in the course of discriminating, approximated, as these memoirs, I shall not enter it should seem, to their fullest per here into his character as entirely fection. On the bench, where he as I otherwise should. Hecame into sat more than one year, he had the House of Commons, and spoke sometimes lost sight of that wise during the administration of the precept, which Lord Bacon lays Earl of Halifax. Hamilton's sucdown for the conduct of a judge cess, as a speaker, drew him intowards an advocate at the bar stantly forward, and his first par“ You should not affect the opi- liamentary essay was brilliant and nion of poignancy and expedition imposing. Hutchinson, who was by an impatient and catching hear at that time with the court, reing of the counsellors at the bar.” plied to him with many compliHe seemed to be sensible of his ments; and, as has been already deviation from this; to be con- observed, he was almost generalvinced that security in our own ly applauded, except by Primate opinions, like too great security in Stone. He was a consummate any thing, “is mortals chiefest member of parliament. Active, enemy;
;" and that, in our daily ardent, and persevering, his inconverse with the world, we meet dustry was without limits. In ad. with others who are far wiser than vancing, and, according to the par- . ourselves, even on those points liamentary phrase, driving a ques
tion, he was unrivalled; as, for house was completely divided into instance, his dissertations, for such two distinct contending powers, led they were, on the law of Poynings, on by two mighty leaders; and his and similar topics. He was in declaration, at the onset, that he himself an opposition, and pos- belonged to no party, united all sessed the talent (in political war- parties ,againt him. His speech fare a most formidable one) of on the India bill was, he assured tormenting a minister, and every a gentleman from whom I had it, day adding to his disquietude. in some measure accidental. The When attacked, he was always debate had been prolonged to a most successful ; and to form an very late hour, when he got up accurate idea of his excllence, it with the intention merely of saywas necessary to be present when ing, that he would defer giving his he was engaged in such contests, detailed opinion on the bill (to for his introductory or formal which he was adverse) till a more speeches were often heavy and favourable opportunity. The molaboured yet still replete with justment that he arose, the politeness argument; and through the whole of the Speaker in requesting orwere diffused a certain pathos, an der, the eagerness of the oppoapparent public ear, with which a nents of the bill, who knew that popular assembly is almost always Flood was with them, seconding in unison. His taste was notthe most the efforts of the Speaker, the correct, and his studied manner civility always paid to any new was slow, harsh, and austere ; the member, and his particular celevery reverse of Hamilton, whose brity as an orator, brought back trophies first pointed the way to the crowd from thebar, from above Flood's genius, and whom he stairs at Bellamy's, and, in short, avowedly attempted to emulate. from the lobby, and every part adBut in skirmishing, in returning joining the house. There was with rapidity to the charge, though much civility in this, mingled at first shaken, and nearly discom- with no slight curiosity; and alto. fited, his quickness, his address, gether it was sufficient to discomhis powers of retort, and of insi- pose most men. All the members nuation, were never exceeded in resumed their places, and a geneparliament. However, it was from ral silence took place. Such a flatthe whole of the campaign that tering attention, he thought,should his abilities were to be duly ap- be repaid by more than one or two preciated. Heentered, as has been sentences. He went on, trusting observed by his illustrious oppo- to his usual powers as a speaker, nent (Mr.Grattan), rather lateinto when, after some diffuse and gethe British House of Commons, neral reasonings on the subject, and was never fairly tried there. which proved that he was not His first exhibition was unsuccess. much acquainted with it, he sat ful, and it seems to have indispo- down amid the exultation of his sed him, for a considerable time at adversaries, and the complete disleast, to any subsequent parlia- comfiture, not of his friends, for mentary effort. Besides, at the mo. he could be scarcely said to have ment that he became a member, that one in the house, but of those,
whose minds breathed nothing but tenance, however changed in our parliamentary, indeed almost per- days, was of correspondingbeauty. sonal warfare, and expected much on the whole, he made a conspi
and animation that were almost subject. Lord Charlemont was al. peculiar to him. His oratory was ways amiable, and Flood possess- rapid, unaffected, displaying great ed, or certainly could display, most energy of intellect, much fortitude engaging manners. He was ex- of mind, dignified, not austere, notremely pleasing in private inter- thing morose, but nothing ludicourse; well-bred, open, and hos- crous, or jesting ; still, however, pitable. His figure was tall, erect, solving grave debate with powers graceful ; and in youth, his coun- of ridicule, that almost put cor