Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors]

TO

SIR FRANCIS BURDETT,

OF FOREMARK, BARONET.

MY FRIEND, When in accordance with my desire that you should have the evidence of your own senses, wherefrom to form your own judgment of the length, depth, and complexion of the last conspiracy against my life and honour, by agents of an oligarchy, whose every act is working a mighty revolution in all the countries subject, and subjected to their fell dominion, you came to Ireland; at which time you consulted me as to the best account of my ill-fated country; I requested of you to content yourself for the present with reading the book that lay open before you, the dimensions thereof wide as the land, whereon you would see marks of the iron-hand of despotism ; the time of pressure to be calculated from the woeful havoc it had made ; and I promised that I would, as soon as could be, present you with a true and faithful history of my country, from the earliest times, which would clearly explain those causes that had produced the effects you sympathetically deplored.

I now come, late as to time, but, as you know, quickly, when the manifold afflictions and consequent ill-health under which I laboured, are taken into account, to fulfil the promise I then made ; not to lay at your feet, but to place in your hands, the most ancient Chronicles of the people whose descendants you saw, and whose melancholy condition brought many a tear from your manly, pitying eye.

In selecting you as executor of this legacy which I bequeath to those that now be, and to those who are yet to come, for an everlasting possession, it is necessary that I tell posterity the reason that hath actuated me to commit to you this trust, which is not to be found in the exemplary manner in which you have carried yourself in all the relations of private life; nor because of your acquirements in the walks of literature ; nor in the many proofs I have had of your friendship through a series of nearly thirty years ; nor yet for the extension of your full and fostering hand towards my children, whom you have made partakers of a portion of your wealth, since persecution, in varied shapes, and the success of diabolical machinations of a perfidious traitor, taking advantage of the situation in which I had been placed by that persecution, had deprived their father of the means.

Had it not been for you, my gallant boy, into whose hands you gave his first sword, with instructions how to use the destroying weapon in support of the rights of man, against tyranny and oppression, tempering justice with mercy ; into whose ear you poured lessons of wisdom, precepts of humanity ;-had it not been for you, the career of glory, wherein his actions have shed alditional lustre even on our names, had been cut short, and he had been deprived of his fair proportion of the renown of these brave warriors who have established the independence of the republic of Columbia, all of whom are loud in his praise. Even these powerful causes united, would not be of sufficient weight to induce me to constitute you the trustee of such a charge: these things appertain to private life, and I feel pride in proclaiming to the world my thanks therefor.

These reasons and many more do combine to cause me to admire you, to have an affection for you, and to retain a friendship for you of a nature which few but faithful Irishinen can feel; which when sincere, nothing can destroy, though a tremendous blast may shake; its position regained, when founded on a rock, as my friendship is for you.

My motive is, that having had opportunities, for seven and twenty years, of knowing you to the core, having studied you, having watched you with an eye of circumspection and of a true friend, who would have found fault if he saw cause, I cannot call to my recollection one act in your relation with the public that I do not approve, I cannot think on any one occasion, that you have betrayed the trust reposed in you by them; whilst your never-failing advocacy and vindication of the Irish people, has endeared you to all our hearts.

At sometimes you have said, that it was most discouraging to attempt to improve the condition of the state ; you have compared the inutility of your continued efforts to the constant drawing up of empty buckets from a well : pardon me, Sir, be assured the buckets you have drawn up, have not been empty ;-nay, they have been brim-full, and the people are refreshing themselves with the contents. "Tis true, your eloquence and the proclamation of your just principles, have made no impression on the self-nominated and predeterniined assembly of St. Stephens, amongst whom the rule is, that what they call private honour, should supersede public duty: but not so with the people ; the senti

ments you have uttered within the walls of that house, have been disseminated far and wide, and produced enquiries tending to the most beneficial results for your country, to promote the true interests of which, your labours have been unceasing

Your name is identified with the history of your times ;a majestic column is erecting to perpetuate the memory of Burdett of Foremark. May long time pass ere it be completed ; and when completed, it will be of the most chaste and simple order, all its members in perfect correspondence, the characters in the universal language of nature, speaking to all the nations of the earth.

Behold the reward of a grateful people, to the incorruptible Patriot, the just Steward, the true and faithful Representative, the eloquent Orator, the intrepid Assertor of the liberties of mankind, the MAN who dared to be honest in the worst of times, and who scorned to court that popular applause, which it was his chiefest ambition to deserte !

I am,

Sir,

With sincere respect for your many virtues,
Your faithful friend,

O'CONNOR.

« ZurückWeiter »