« PreviousContinue »
It is not difficult to find, in the nervously the copies of his works which he could distimid and scrupulous character of his mind, cover still unsold. the causes which induced him to shrink from the responsibilities of the ministry. He himself barely alludes to the fact; adding, that "he should never have entertained the idea," and alleging among the attractions of the order which he entered, that "its subjects were expressly prohibited from aspiring to the priesthood."
It is plain that among the motives which induced him to abandon his literary pursuits, the principal was a consciousness of their unprofitable, not to say questionable, character. Of this he had long been painfully sensible. In the very first year of his London career, the thought used to come startlingly across his mind, that he "might possibly be misspending his time." It returned at intervals, even during his busiest days; and even what is considered the least objectionable of his works, and perhaps of all the novels of the present day, The Collegians, far from satisfying himself, served rather to convince him of the impossibility of combining a good moral with an interesting plot. His criticism of the moral of this (artistically considered) exquisite book, is a good lesson on the pernicious tendency of all, even the very best, novels.
"One would wish to draw a good moral from this tale, yet it seems impossible to keep people's feelings in the line they ought to go in.
at these two characters of Kyrle Daly and Hardress Cregan, for example: Kyrle Daly, full of high principle, prudent, amiable, and affectionate; not wanting in spirit, nor free from passion; but keeping his passions under control; thoughtful, kind-hearted, and charitable; a character in every way deserving our esteem. Hardress Cregan, his mother's spoiled pet, nursed in the very lap of passion, and ruined by indulgence,--not without good feelings, but for ever abusing them, having a full sense of justice and honor, but shrinking, like a craven, from their dictates; following pleasure headlong, and eventually led into crimes of the blackest die, by the total absence of all self-control. Take Kyrie Daly's character in what way you will, it is infinitely preferable; yet I will venture to say, nine out of ten of those who read the book would prefer Hardress Cregan, just because he is a fellow of high mettle, with a dash of talent about him." -Pp. 258-9.
Neither his own reflection, nor the arguments of his friends, could remove or weaken this conviction; and at length it obtained uch a hold upon his mind, that, before he left home for the purpose of entering the monastery, he not only destroyed the greater part of his unpublished manuscripts, but actually wrote to one of his publishers, to purchase all
He entered the order of Christian Brothers as a postulant, on the feast of the nativity of our Lady (September 8th), 1838, and on that of St. Teresa (October 15), he was admitted to the religious habit of a novice in the brotherhood. We have before us, while we write, a manuscript, found among his papers after his death, containing meditations and resolutions made by him during his first spiritual retreat. It is a precious little volume, an affecting monument of the profound piety of the writer. Not that it is marked by any of that lofty spiritualized eloquence, which some might expect from a mind like his. It is solid, simple, unpretending, practical; full of humility and self-distrust, yet instinct with Christian. hope; without a breath of that vague and unsubstantial generality, which is too often mistaken for fervor, even by the best instructed, but, on the contrary, descending to the every day duties of religious life, and embracing all the smallest and most practical details of the fundamental obligations of the Christian.
But it were presumptuous in us to analyze the sentiments of this admirable young man. By kindred spirits they can be better felt, than we could hope to describe them; and we shall content ourselves with a few short extracts taken either from his own letters, written from his convent, or from conversations affectionately recorded by his brother.
"Those miserable years I spent in London! Whatever it may prove for the next world, it has been to me, through God's infinite mercy, a complete specific for this; nor, poor, and sluggish, and dastardly as my own efforts have been to correspond with his High graces, would I exchange the peace of heart they have procured me, for the fame of all the Scotts and Shakspeares that ever strutted their hour upon the stage of this little brief play which they call life; let people twist and turn their brains about on which side they will, and as long as they will, there is, after all, nothing absolutely worth thinking upon but saving their souls. One thing is necessary;' all the rest, from beginning to end, is such absolute trash, that it seems downright madness to * * "Religion give it a moment's care." is, indeed, the paradise on earth; experience alone could teach it. The world will not believe us when we tell them so, and they won't come themselves to make the trial." ** * * "Indeed, no one has, or can have, an idea of the happiness of life, in a religious community, without having actually experienced it. It is a frequent subject of conversation with us here, at recreation hours, to guess at the causes which make time fly by so rapidly, that the day (though we make it a pretty long one by always rising at five) is ended almost before we feel that it is begun." His letters are full of such expressions. In another he says, "I would despair of giving
you any idea of the perfect liberty of mind and happiness one feels in the religious state (when it is not one's own fault), and which it is in his power to increase every day and every hour. I could write volumes about it without being tired, but it would be of no use attempting it; to be known, it must be tried. The worst of it is, the thought that one will have to give an account of all those graces, and to show that he made good use of them, which, alas !—but I'll stop preaching."-pp. 464-5.
It was an instructive picture-Gerald Griffin in the habit of a poor monk; the admired of the highest circles of the land, toiling unseen at the work of an humble charity school; the mind which long had dwelt in the loftiest regions of literature, and whose native language seemed to be eloquence and poetry itself, chained down to teach, in one unvarying round, that, as he playfully writes, “o, x, spells ox; that the top of a map is the north, and the bottom the south, with various other 'branches;' as also, that they ought to be good boys, and do as they are bid, and say their prayers every morning and evening!" And yet, in the duties of this humble sphere, he found the peace and happiness which he had sought in vain from the triumph of genius and the praise of learning; the guileless words and grateful looks of his little pupils were dearer to his soul than all the admiration his pen had ever won; and it "seemed curious even to himself," he writes to a quondam literary friend, "that he felt a great deal happier in the practice of this daily routine than he ever did while he was roving about the great city, absorbed in the modest project of rivalling Shakspeare, and throwing
Scott into the shade."
But, alas! even our holiest hopes are doomed to disappointment. Brother Gerald survived but by two short years his entrance into religion, having scarcely completed the sacrifice when he was called to receive its reward. In June 1839, he was transferred from Dublin to the South Monastery at Cork ; and, before twelve months had elapsed, his remains were laid in the quiet cemetery of this humble brotherhood.
HONESTY THE BEST POLICY.- A man named
Peace to his soul !---Nearly four years have since passed. In the selfishness of our sor- Malony, an auctioneer, formerly residing in Belrow, we have scarcely yet learned to cease lurteel, forged a draft for £130 some time ago, and from repining. But we have long felt its in-effected his escape to America. Whilst there, he justice. His brief career was full of useful-learned that he was heir to £50,000 in dispute in Ireland. He had the hardihood to return, made ness. "Being made perfect in a short space, good his claim, was immediately afterwards arresthe fulfilled a long time." He was sent amonged, was tried in the Commission Court, Dublin, last us to fulfil a high destiny, which, with God's blessing, he has accomplished,-to teach a great lesson, which he taught generously and well. It is ours to watch, that, in our own case, it may not have been taught in vain.
week, convicted of forgery, and sentenced to seven years' transportation. The treasure is, of course, confiscated to the Crown. Baron Lefroy, in passing sentence, intimated that, if an application were made to the Crown, the property might be granted to the children.-Liverpool Mercury.
A SLIGHT TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY OF
BY MAJOR BASIL JACKSON, HALF-PAY ROYAL
From the United Service Magazine.
Helena, while performing a very delicate, important, and, as he foresaw when he suffered himself to be prevailed on to accept the trust,— most invidious duty.
It is not my province to enter upon a lengthened vindication of the manner in which Sir Hudson Lowe performed his unpleasant office; but, as I served under him at St. Helena, and had peculiar opportunities of knowing somewhat of the Longwood tactics, I shall here contribute my mite of testimony to the evidence in his favor which has crept forth from various quarters, and in a great measure set him right in public opinion. I must, however, first be permitted to explain how I came to be placed in a situation to have those opportunities.
I was honored with the friendly notice of Sir Hudson Lowe, and enjoyed much of his confidence during a course of thirty years. I knew him when his military reputation marked him as an officer of the highest promise; I witnessed his able conduct as Governor of St. Helena; I saw him when the malice of his enemies had gained the ascendant, and covered him with unmerited opprobrium; 1 beheld him on his deathbed;-and throughout those various phases of In 1814 and 1815 I served on the Staff of our his career I admired and respected his char-Army in the Netherlands, and became known acter, while I truly loved the man. I knew him to Sir Hudson Lowe, who was Quartermasterto be a kind, indulgent, affectionate husband General to that force. On being nominated to and parent, a warm and steady friend, a placa- the Governorship of St. Helena he invited me ble, nay, generous enemy, and an upright pub- to accompany him thither, procuring at the same lic servant. He is gone, and left it for posterity time the permission of the Duke of Wellington, to do him justice. Happily, he devoted much under whose command I was then serving, for time and care to the task of preparing materials my services to be transferred to that island. for the use of his biographer, which remain in the possession of his family: the numerous friends and admirers of Sir Hudson Lowe have only, therefore, to wait till his intentions, in compiling the voluminous MSS. he has left, shall be carried into effect.
Longwood House consisted of a medley of buildings, covering a great extent of ground, which required constant attention to keep them in a habitable state, and this duty was assigned to me, with strict orders to neglect nothing that could tend to promote the comfort of Bonaparte Owing to the remarkable industry of Sir Hud- and the distinguished persons of his suite. My son Lowe, his papers comprise almost his entire visits to Longwood being almost daily, and as I correspondence during an active life; and hence was known to be a protégé of the Governor, they we may not only expect to obtain from them a full were very naturally regarded with an eye of account of every thing relating to the captivity suspicion by the French, who concluded that it of Napoleon Bonaparte, but also, much original was more than probable my attention to the information respecting the late war, as Sir Hud-condition of their dwellings was only an ostensison's military talents were kept in constant em- ble employment, and that a little quiet espionage ployment throughout the most eventful and stir- constituted my principal functions. But in proring periods of our history, namely, from 1796 to cess of time their distrust gradually declined, the close of the war; particularly in 1813 and 1814, and as I could converse in their language with when, being employed on a mission to the armies tolerable fluency, my constant visits to their which were assembled in the north of Germany, establishment began to be received on a more he rendered himself a highly useful agent in friendly footing. Still my position was one of promoting the objects of the British Govern- considerable delicacy, and, although I strove by ment, which had resolved upon straining every circumspection, and, I hope, in every way proeffort to put those armies into a state of effi-priety of conduct, to maintain it; yet am I well ciency, preparatory to a combination of their aware that I owed something to the kindness strength against Bonaparte. In the course of and good-nature of the French party. the grand military operations that followed, Sir Hudson Lowe was attached to the army of Silesia, and engaged, I believe, in every battle and action fought by Marshal Blücher up to the day of the triumphal entry of the Allies into Paris; and the determined courage he evinced on many a well-contested field acquired for him amongst the Prussians the appellation of "the brave Englishman;" while his talents and con- I must beg to be pardoned for this mention duct gained him, at the same time, the respect of myself; but as I eventually came to be reand firm friendship of Blücher, Kleist, Gneise-ceived ona very friendly footing by more than one nau, and other distinguished men, as his cor- of the Generals in Napoleon's suite, and thererespondence will be found to prove.
In the mean time, I have a melancholy satisfaction in bearing my testimony to the merits of an excellent man, and of hoping that my feeble efforts may prove availing to remove from his memory some portion of the misconception under which it still suffers in reference to his treatment of Bonaparte and his followers at St.
It is incumbent on me, in this place, distinctly to declare, that Sir Hudson Lowe never breathed a word to me having reference to surveillance; and I may also state, that the great delicacy observed by him on that point, first inspired in me the high respect for his character which I have never since ceased to feel up to the present moment.
by gained a better knowledge of the interior of the French establishment than-I may venture to say-any English officer, it was requisite for me to show the precise position which I occupied while employed at St. Helena.
A paper appeared a few months since in the United Service Magazine, entitled, "Notes on St. Helena." The writer has therein correctly
stated, that a certain line of policy was early | peace which was declared over the tomb of the adopted, and to the last persisted in, by Napo-ex-Emperor.
leon, with a view of exciting sympathy in Eu- On returning to France, the Count de Monrope; but the Journal of Count Las Cases long tholon, in conjunction with General Gourgaud, ago, let us into that secret, by the following par-published the manuscripts which had been preagraph, which, although quoted by the writer pared at St. Helena under the eye of Bonain question, I shall here insert. I believe it was parte; but they did not seize the opportunity this passage which first let Sir Hudson Lowe thereby afforded them, to put forth a syllable into the secret of the Longwood policy, when the against Sir Hudson Lowe. Count's Journal in MS. was in his possession at St. Helena, prior to the departure of its author; of which mention is made by the writer of "Notes on St. Helena."
I lament the fate of General de Montholon, who, of all the persons who accompanied Bonaparte to St. Helena, stood highest in his favor, and, shall I term it so? affection. He now "We are possessed of moral arms only; and languishes in confinement for having shared in in order to make the most advantageous use of the mad attempt of Louis Bonaparte against the these, it was necessary to reduce into a system King of the French. I always considered him our words, our sentiments, and even our priva- to be a man of talent, possessing many excellent tions, in order that we might thereby excite aqualities, and for whom I ever felt a sincere relively interest over a large portion of the Eu-gard. While the sun of prosperity shone upon ropean population; and that the opposition in him, his house was always open to me; and in England would not fail to resist the violence ex-former years I visited him both in Paris and at ercised against us by the Ministry." his beautiful château of Frémigny, near ArpaAll Bonaparte's followers knew that he was jon. He always spoke well of Sir Hudson nursing a phantom in imagining that a system Lowe, and had the good feeling to shake his of agitation could by any possibility procure his head when that part of Bonaparte's unwarrantremoval from the island, which they were well able policy was alluded to, which sought to convinced would prove his tomb; but as the lit-brand with infamy the character of an honest tle intrigues, plottings, and covert correspond-man. ence with certain persons in England, furnished him with occupation; and as feeding on hope, however delusive it might prove, was his chief solace; they felt that it would be cruel in them to destroy the support which, during a long and dreary period, served, though feebly, to sustain his sinking spirits.
"Mon cher ami," he used to say, "an angel from heaven could not have pleased us, as Governor of St. Helena."
I well remember his using precisely the same expression when at St. Helena, in reference to the Governor; and it will serve to show how completely the Longwood measures were reduced to a system, if I mention a trifling ocGenerals Bertrand, De Montholon, and Gour-currence which concerned myself. I happened gaud, and the Count de Las Cases, were all to tell the Count de Montholon that the Govhonorable men-at least according to the code ernor had entertained thoughts of posting me at Napoléon-and we must not bestow too much Longwood as orderly officer, (a situation of severity of censure on any of their acts in the trust which was always held by a Captain of service of a master whose will to them was law. the garrison,) but that he had refrained from But they, or most of them, were open avowed giving me the appointment, out of delicacy to opponents of the Governor, by order of their Napoleon, as I was but a Lieutenant, and he Emperor; whereas it was an inferior and dirty knew that the measure of employing an officer class of individuals who were employed to ma- of inferior rank, would at once be made a ground lign Sir Hudson Lowe. of complaint. The Count's remark was to the following effect:-" My good friend, you have had a fortunate escape, for had you come hither as orderly officer, we would most assuredly have ruined your reputation. It is a part of our system, et que voulez vous dire ?”
Of the private sentiments of Count Las Cases in reference to him, I am unable to speak, as he quitted St. Helena before I had the pleasure of being intimate with any of the Longwood persons; but his Journal must in no wise be considered as embodying the Count's real opinion, being strongly imbued with the Napoleonic policy. Notwithstanding which, I know that it afforded Bonaparte little satisfaction.
It is perhaps
General Gourgaud was a gentlemanly man, and possessed of much propriety of feeling, of whom I saw a good deal during his sojourn on the island. He, I am sure, could never find In regard to Generals Bertrand, De Mon- fault with the conduct of Sir Hudson Lowe totholon, and Gourgaud, I have reason to believe wards himself. The following passage was that, notwithstanding the warfare carried on be- written by me to correct some misinformation tween Longwood and Plantation House,* in which the author of " Events of a Military Life" which they were compelled to take an active had received respecting him. part, they entertained a respect for the character somewhat long, yet as it furnishes an instance and behavior of Sir Hudson Lowe. On the of the style of Sir Hudson Lowe's proceedings close of the St. Helena drama, all the assumed towards the French under his charge, and disenmity between the belligerents ceased, and plays his conduct in a very favorable light, I the Counts De Montholon and Bertrand-all beg to submit it to the reader's notice. I must that remained of Napoleon's original suite-likewise take this opportunity to say, that Mr. dined with him, I think, more than once, and nothing occurred thenceforth to disturb the
*The Governor's residence.
Henry's lively, interesting, and well-written book contains several chapters on St. Helena, where he served as Assistant-Surgeon of the 66th Regt.; and as he had means of collecting
much correct information relative to the condition and treatment of Bonaparte, without being then in any way connected with Sir Hudson Lowe, or thrown in contact with him since, the evidence he bears as an impartial witness to the praiseworthy conduct of that functionary in his difficult office, is of the utmost value to the seeker of truth.
a pleasing recollection of the treatment he then met with.
"In justice to that excellent and grossly-maligned individual, Sir Hudson Lowe, I shall now relate a circumstance which I am sure General Gourgaud will be ready to confirm. When the latter removed from Longwood, I accompanied him to the Governor's residence, where I took an opportunity to leave him and Sir Hudson Extract of a communication to Staff-Surgeon tête-à-tête. Immediately on our riding from Henry :Plantation House together, the General broke out into strong exclamations of surprise that Sir Hudson should simply have received his visit as the call of one gentleman upon another, without even alluding to Longwood during their conversation. I expected,' added he, that the Governor would have seized with avidity so favorable an occasion as my excited state offered, to gather from me some information about the goings on at Longwood. Je ne reviens pas de mon étonnement; non, je n'en reviens pas.' These expressions of surprise he repeated over and over again during our short ride.
"I may add, that I had many opportunities of remarking the really chivalrous delicacy of Sir Hudson in reference to General Gourgaud.
"So much nonsense has been written about General Gourgaud, that I feel induced to tell you shortly what were the circumstances attending his quitting Napoleon. At Longwood, as well as on the throne, the Machiavelian policy, 'Divide et impera,' was the ex-Emperor's rule, the result of which was injurious to him in the extreme; for, imbued with jealousy, distrust, and enmity amongst themselves, his little band of followers soon found their position any thing but agreeable. I fancy the Count de Las Cases was very glad to get out of the mess, and General Gourgaud at length found his isolated situation so irksome as to be no longer bearable. An active and intelligent Officier d'Ordonnance, he had been rapidly promoted about the time of Napoleon's struggles in Germany, prior "Although the Emperor and the General did to the battle of Leipsig (he is mentioned very not part the best friends, yet, as it was known at favorably in Caulaincourt's Memoirs); and I Longwood that the latter was unprovided with believe followed his master into exile from at- funds, a considerable sum was offered to him by tachment to his person. I do not know precisely Napoleon, and even pressed on his acceptance the origin of his disagreement with Bonaparte when leaving Longwood, which he declined to at Longwood, but have some reason to think receive. But afterwards, when about to embark they were not cordial for any length of time for England, the poor General experienced the after reaching St. Helena, At the period when usual inconveniences of a penniless position, and Gourgaud applied for permission to leave the sent me to Longwood to ask General Bertrand island, Counts Bertrand and Montholon with for a loan of two or three hundred pounds. himself formed the whole suite. The two first The General, however, declined his request, obwere but just upon speaking terms, while Montho- serving that the Emperor had offered him a lon and Gourgaud were at open enmity, as was much larger sum, the refusal of which was most often avowed by the latter. Bertrand and Mon-disrespectful: but added, that even then, if Gentholon had their separate establishments, and were living comfortably with their families, while Gourgaud remained in solitude. I used frequently to call and chat with him, when he would often lament his hard fate and sigh for La belle France, for Paris and les Boulevards."
eral Gourgaud would accept the Emperor's gift, he would also lend him the sum he asked. Bertrand's words were, Qu'il ne me mette pas dans la position de manquer a l'Empereur.'
"Gourgaud was a good deal distressed by the refusal of Bertrand, which was quite unexpected, but still declined placing himself under a pecuniary obligation to Napoleon, and would have sailed to England without a shilling but for Sir Hudson Lowe, who, as soon as he learned the above circumstances, sent him by me an order for one hundred pounds on his banker in London, which sum, I need scarcely say, was repaid as soon as General Gourgaud obtained the command of his own resources."
"At length, maladie de pays got the better of him, and he determined to leave Longwood. Sir Hudson Lowe sent for me, and having mentioned General Gourgaud's wish, asked whether it would be agreeable for me to reside with him until an opportunity should offer for his quitting St. Helena. I propose this to you,' added the Governor, from thinking such an arrangement would be acceptable to General Gourgaud, and in consequence of his conduct I must not forego the opportunity now afforded having been quite unexceptionable so far as our me of stating.-and I believe that I am correctregulations have affected him; I, therefore, shall ly informed in the matter,-that Sir Hudson be glad to please him in this matter.' Accord- Lowe uniformly treated Bonaparte with all the ingly, General Gourgaud and myself were in-deference and attention in his power; and that stalled in a comfortable house, in which servants he endeavored to carry out the instructions of and a table were provided for us at the expense his Government with every possible delicacy. of Government. We lived near the residences For instance, he was directed to style the capof the Austrian and Russian Commissioners, whom we occasionally visited, and nothing could exceed the attention and hospitality of Sir Hudson Lowe to General Gourgaud. If the latter be still alive, I feel certain he must retain
tive, General Bonaparte; but he yielded to the wishes and feelings of the ex-Emperor so far as to term him Napoleon Bonaparte in his official communications; steadily refusing, however, to call him Napoleon alone, as was urgently