« IndietroContinua »
we venture to assert that he will not accuse us of having selected the worst passages.
Magna est veritas et prevalebit—is a trite proverb, and no very complicated idea ; yet this simple sentence is in Mr. Phillips's version bloated out to the following size.
“Truth is omnipotent, and must prevail; it forces its way with the fire and the precision of the morning sun-beam. Vapours may surround, prejudices may impede the infancy of its progress; but the very resistance, that would check, only condenses and concentrates it, until at length it goes forth in the fulness of its meridian, all life, and light, and lustre-the whole amphitheatre of Nature glowing in its smile, and her minutest objects gilt and glittering in the grandeur of its eternity.' III.-20. Goldsmith had compared his Parish Priest
• To some tall cliff that lifts its awful form,
Eternal sunshine settles on its head.'
• The hand that holds the chalice should be pure, and the priests of the temple of Religion should be spotless as the vestments of her ministry. Rank only degrades, wealth only impoverishes, and ornaments only disfigure her; her sacred porch becomes the more sublime from its simplicity, and should be seated on an eminence, inaccessible to human passions—even like the summit of some Alpine WONDER, for ever crowned with the sunshine of the firmament, which the vain and feverish tempest of human infirmities breaks through harmless and unheeded.' III.-34.
In this same style of travestie, Mr. Phillips renders either unintelligible or ridiculous every thing he touches. He censures Mr. Grattan · because,' as he elegantly expresses it, an Irish native has lost its raciness iv an English atmosphere.'-11.-15. When he alludes to Monseignor Quarantotti's letter, he will not condescend to mention it but as the rescript of Italian audacity.' When the Duke of Wellington invades France, we are told that an Irish hero strikes the harp to victory upon the summit of the Pyrenees.' - p. 35. And when he would say that Mr. Grattan is an ornament to bis country, it is expressed that he poured over the ruins of his country the elixir of his inmortality'!III.35.
When some judicious persons at Liverpool toast the health of this wild ranter, he modestly and intelligibly describes the effect which this great event will have in Ireland
Oh! yes, I do foresee when she (Ireland) shall hear with what courtesy her most pretentionless advocate (Mr. Phillips) has been
treated, how the same wind that wafts her the intelligence, will revive that flame within her, which the blood of ages bas not been able to extinguish. It may be a delusive hope, but I am glad to grasp at any phantom that flits across the solitude of that country's desolation' ! !1.-2.
There is, it seems, a certain Irishman of the name of Casey resident in Liverpool, and, we presume, he was one of the promoters of the before-mentioned toast; for Mr. Phillips, after a magnificent description of this worthy gentleman, exclaims, in an agony of patriotism, “Alas, Ireland has little now to console her except the consciousness of having produced such men'-as Mr. Casey of Liverpool!
We reserve for the last example of Mr. Phillips's style, two passages which, we are informed by Mr. Phillips himself or his editor, (if indeed Mr. Phillips be not his own editor,) were received with enthusiastic applauses. The first is meant to be a satire on bigotry and the other a panegyric on Mr. Grattan
. But, oh! there will never be a time with Bigotry --she has no head, and cannot think--she has no heart, and cannot feel- when she moves, it is in wrath-when she pauses, it is aniid ruin-her prayers are cursesher God is a deemon-her communion is death her vengeance is eternity -her decalogue is written in the blood of her victims; and if she stoops for a moment from her infernal flight, it is upon some kindred rock to whet her vulture-fang for keeper rapine, and replume her wing for a inore sanguinary desolation !-III.-22.
• When the screech-owl of intolerance was yelling and the night of bigotry was brooding on the land, he came torth with the heart of a hero! and the tongue of an angel ! till, at his bidding, the spectre vanished; the colour of our fields revived, and Ireland, poor Ireland,' &c. &c.-11.-14.
Such-to speak figuratively of this great figure-maker-such are the tumid avd enipty bladders upon which the reputation of Mr. Phillips is trying to become buoyant. We believe our readers will, by this time, think that we have fully justified our opinion of the style of this Dublin Demosthenes,
But we have something more than mere errors of style to object to Mr. Phillips; we shall say little of the want of professional ability which his two pleadings exhibit, because he so little intends them to be considered as legal arguments, that there is but one passage in the statement of two legal cases in which there is the slightest allusion to the law, and that allusion only serves to shew the advocate's ignorance of, and contempt for, the more serious parts of the profession he was exercising.
'Do not suppose I am endeavouring to influence you by the power of DECLAMATION. I am laying down to you the British law, as liberally expounded and solemnly adjudged. I speak the language of the English
Lord Eldon, a Judge of great experience and greater learning-(Mr. Phillips here cited several cuses as decided by Lord Eldon)-Such, Gentlemen, is the language of Lord Eldon. I speak also on the authority of our own Lord Avonmore--a Judge who illuminated the Bench by his genius, endeared it by his suarity, and dignified it by his bold uncompromising probity!!!-one of those rare men, who bid the thrones of law beneath the brightest flowers of literature, and as it were with the hand of an enchanter, changed a wilderness into a garden!'-V.-17.
No, declamation is not the weapon of Mr. Phillips !-One thing, indeed, we learn from all this, that Mr. Phillips's countrymen appreciate his legal talents at their true worth-We may be sure that he has published every frantic speech he ever made; and they are but two, and both on subjects in which the want of legal education and professional acquirement would be least observed ; and accordingly we may say—to borrow a happy expression of Louis the XVIth's, relative to one of his chaplains who had preached a flowery sermon on all things but religion, that if Mr. Phillips in his pleadings had only said a word or two about law, he would have spoken of every thing.
But we have done with the advocate, blessing our stars that lawyers in this country are not of the same breed, and hoping (as indeed we are inclined to believe) that even in Ireland none but the lawyers of the Catholic Board, and one or two adventurers who assume that title as a 'nom de guerre,' are capable of such a union of ignorance and confidence, of inanity and pretension. We have indeed to observe, for the honour of Ireland, that all these rhodomontades are printed in England, and we believe that few, if any of them, have been heard of in the place of their supposed nativity.
We now come to Mr. Phillips in the character upon which, of all others, it is evident he piques himself most, namely, that of a PATRIOT.
Mr. Phillips's first political pretension is honesty; he is, if you will take his own word for it, a model of integrity and decision, a pattern for all the young men of the empire who will be warmed into emulation by Mr. Casey's Liverpool dinner. Lest our readers should doubt the modesty of this blushing Hibernian, we shall give his own words-a course which is always the safest, and, with so profuse a talker as Mr. Phillips, the most decisive and convincing.
I hope, however, the benefit of this day will not be confined to the humble individual (Phillips, scilicet) you have so honoured; I hope it will cheer on the young aspirants after virtuous fame in both our countries, by proving to them, that however, for the moment, envy, or ignorance, or corruption, may depreciate them, there is a reward in store for THE MAN (Phillips) WHO TILINKS WITH INTEGRITY AND ACTS WITII DECISION.'--V.-16
Again, he assures his partial friends who were crowding around bim, that no act of his shall ever raise a blush at the recollection of their early encouragement.'--page 16.
But it is not the easy virtues of profession alone to which Mr. Phillips lays claim-he boasts, in a quotation, solemnly prepared for the occasion, that he is ready even to suffer for his country :
· For thee, fair freedom, welcome all the past,
For thee, my country, welcome E'EN THE LAST ! Notwithstanding the present thriving appearance of Mr. Phillips's patriotism, he seems to have now and then had some slight misgivings as to the constancy of his virtue, and to anticipate the possibility of backslidings from this high way of honour, and with the most ingenuous naïveté he communicates bis doubts to the Catholic Board.
May I not be one of the myriads who, in the name of patriotism, and for the purposes of plunder, have swindled away your beart, that they might gamble with it afterwards at the political bazard table ! May I not pretend a youth of virtue, that I may purchase with its fame an age of rich apostacy!--Cast your view round the political horizonCan you discover no one whose eye once gazed on glory, and whose voice once rung for liberty-no one, who, like me, once glowed with the energies of an assumed sincerity, and saw, or seemed to see, no God but COUNTRY, now toiling in the drudgeries of oppression, and shrouded in the pall of an official miscreancy! Trust no man's professionsardent as I am-honest through every fibre as I feel myself-I repel your confidence, though perhaps unnecessarily, for I am humble, and below corruption-I am valueless, and not worth temptation-I am poor, and cannot afford to part with all I have—MY CHARACTER.--Such are my sensations now-—what they may be hereafter, I pretend not; but should Tever hazard descending into the sycophant or slave, I beseech thee, Heaven, that the first hour of crime may be the last of life, and that the worm may batten on the bloom of my youth, before my friends, if I have one, shall have cause to curse the mention of my memory.' III.—11, 12.
Mr. Phillips's first publication, in the still earlier bloom of his youth, was, as our readers have seen, a poem called the Emerald Isle. It was dedicated, by permission, to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, 'Ireland's llope and England's Ornament.' The poem did not belie the promise of the dedication; it is a perfect stream of praise, a shower of roses on every person who is named in it, from alpha to omega. This alone was enough to excite some little suspicion of the author's sincerity; but it became conviction on finding that, whenever in any of his succeeding pamphlets written in altered tiines and different circumstances, he has occasion to VOL. XVI. NO. XXXI.
mention any of the idols of his early Aattery, he falls into the natural course of censuring and sometimes libelling them.
If his Royal Highness the Prince Regent was, on the 230 April, 1812, the date of Mr. Phillips's dedication—Ireland's hope and England's ornament—what has since happened to justify Mr. Phil. lips's imputations? What are the enormities which this highminded and independent patriot cannot speak of, without danger, because, thank God, he cannot think of them without indignation'?
If, in 1812, the Duke of Wellington was ' a nation-saving hero' (1.-16.)--if, in 1814, the illustrious potentates were met together in the British capital to commemorate the great festival of universal peace and universal emancipation' (III.-22)-if all the hopes of England were gratified and Europe free' (p. 21.)-how does it happen that, in 1816, Mr. Phillips can thus describe the war in which those objects were achieved ?
* The heart of any reflecting man must burn within him when he thinks that the war, thus sanguinary in its operations, thus confessedly ruinous in its expenditure, was even still more odious in its principle. It was a war avowedly undertaken for the purpose of forcing France out of her undoubted right of choosing her own monarch; a war which uprooted the very foundations of the English constitution; which libelled the most glorious era in our national annals; and declared tyranny eternal:--V.-10. · If, in 1812, Buonaparte was a despot-bloody-impious— polluted (1.-73)—if he was an infidel who trod the symbol of Christianity under foot—who plundered temples and murdered priests—if his legions were locusts, and he himself a vulture, (p. 74,) a tyrant, (p. 77,) and a fiend, p. 75.) If, in August, 1813, he was again a' tyrant,' a 'monster,' an embroidered butcher—if he was, in Mr. Phillips's opinion, all this, how comes it, that in 1816, he speaks of him in the following terms :
In dethroning Napoleon you have dethroned' a monarch, who, with all his imputed crimes and vices, shed a splendour around royalty too powerful for the feeble vision of legitimacy even to bear. How grand was his march! How magnificent bis destiny! Say what we will, Sir, he will be the land-mark of our times in the eye of posterity. The goal of other men's speed was his starting-post-crowns were liis playthings-thrones bis footstool-he strode from victory to victoryhis path was “ a plane of continued elevations."'--V.-11.
If, in 1812, Mr. Phillips could thus speak of Napoleon and Spain
• His aid is murder in disguise;
His triumph, freedom's obsequies;