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Ponsonby, and was unaccompanied by any symp- 1806 tom explanatory or sympathetic. The place itself was the last he could have wished for; it imposed upon him a change of all his habits of life. It excluded him from the gratification of any official share in the administration, which he then thought would have consisted principally, if not altogether, of the tried friends of Ireland. To him, it was a descent, not an elevation. He was over-persuaded by friends to forego his intended refusal. At his next (that too was a casual) meeting with the Chancellor, he was asked, if he had seen the Duke of Bedford, with an official expression of hope, that every thing was to his satisfaction. Mr. Curran's reply was, that His Grace's reception was certainly courteous. Even then, not word of explanation from the Chancellor; except that Sir Michael Smyth should be treated with on the subject of his resignation. Thus was Mr. Curran thrown from the honorable certainty of a virtuous compact, to the precarious humiliation of a ministerial job. After many delays (perhaps unavoidåble) the treaty took place, without the privity, and certainly not with the approbation of Mr. Curran. He was afterwards informed by the Chancellor, that the arrangement was complete :that Sir Michael Smyth would resign on the terms, of receiving the retiring salary, and also upon a promise by the government, that his Deputy, Mr. Ridgeway should get a place of £600 a year, if any such place should become, vacant before the 25th March then ensuing; until which time no
1808, addition could be made to the peñsioti list ; and if
no such vacantcy slould occur before that time, he should then be placed on the pensiott establish: nient for £500ʻa year for life; atid' that di protision by pensions, to the amidunt altogether of £300'a gear was also engaged to be made for three inferior officers of his Hotior's court. Not a syllable éscaped the Chancellor's lips, which could tead Mr: Currän to suppose he was treating for the pur' chase of a judicial office, at the price of £8000, (the value of those annuities) to be a charge on his private fortune. The mind cannot be tortured into ait hypothesis, that'the bare 'suggestion to Mr. Curran of sitch' an indignitý would not have bưén repelled with disgust and contempt *..
* MCútfan did not probably at that tinte corisider; that the effect of Mr. Fox's devoting himself, as far as: bis declining health would allow, exclusively to the foreign department, left Lord Grenville at the head of that committee, which had been set on foot for managing the affairs and patronage of Ireland. That Mr. Grattan (unaccountablýj had hỏ share in thấts administration is that Lord Ponsonbý, that excellent Irishman, was labouring under a serious disorder, and tlferefore either declined, or was not invited to take a part in it. That Mr. Curran himself had unexceptionably and powerfully both opposed and
exposed the measures of the Marquis of Buckingham's adminis. iration, and those of every successive governor (except Lord <Ffiz@illiamh)Who; under Mr. Pill's system had driven the countryi to its present situation. That in every part of that system, Lord Grenville had zealously co-operated, and in some (particularly in resisting Lord Mvira's patriotic efforts to detect abuses and enormities) had even outstepped his colleagues. Lord Sidmouth was doable pledged to keep on that system in Ireland.
Sir Michael Smyth at length resigned, -and five 1806.
Wihat/wonder then, that such a cabinet should intrigue to keep i 16 ::. out af Parliament; to seclude from all political influence, to close the source of yoriyalled and resistless eloquence, to secure from contact the man of political fidelity, who had ever been invariably true to the interests of his injured and oppressed country. It was’well known, that nothing (short of a radicnl change of system would satisfy Mr. Gurran, faud that the powerful, expo sition of that necessity from an officer of government was dreaded by the predominancy of the cabinet, which intended to keep the old system on foot. For effectuating that fatąl purpose, all the tried obsequious tools of office, who had served under former administrations, were retained in their employments. A secretary was put over them, long trained to their tactics, and thoroughly impregnated with their spirit. Even the Lord High Chancellor was instructed or persuaded, that Ireland „Waş not ripe for reform; that to introduce into office or to the magistracy men of unrelenting firmness in their opposition to the principles of the Irish government, would be to divide the state by, convulsion; and to remove experienced seryants without judicialconviction of guilt would be an act of high , national injustice. „When the impartial mind retraces the succession of circumstances, which combined to bring this business to a close, niz. The original compact; the opportunity of carrying it into effect; the assurance to Mr., Gyrran, that its specific accomplishmegt had been secured; the failure of that assurance ; Mr. Ponsonby's political influence in Ireland : the unadvised change of appointment; the unexplained delays of five months; the intermediate reserye and diffidence of the Chancellor towards his fellow labourer in the popular cause ; the change of men without a change of system; the Orangemen not put down; the Catholics,nol relieved; the Royal mind poisoned in an un, constitutional manner; Ireland robbed (no matter how pļausibly) of the transcendant powers of her trusty advocate at the bar and in the senate ; and mankind deprived of the invaluable treasure of Mr. Curran's, flights of eloquence, so peculiar
1806., months after Mr. G. Ponsonby had accepted the
seals, Mr. Curran came into office*. Spirit and · As it was 'not on this change of ministry the
wish or intent of government to meet the rising af. fections of the Irish people, they thus artfully placed their friend and trusty advocate in an honorable elevation, from which lie might view and contemplate, but could not interfere with the dis.
onduct of he brish uvern
ly suited to lay the maddening rage of the present political storm ; can it refuse assent to the overpowering inference, that Mr. Curran's forced elevation into silence and inaction, was craftily effected by those, who shrunk before his pre-excellence, dreaded competition, and trembled at his unconquerable deter: mination to put down the system.
• In consequence of Mr. Curran's appointment to the situat tion of Master of the Rolls, the most numerous requisition ever known was signed and presented to Mr. Sherlock the father of the bar, for the purpose of convening a bar meeting, to take into consideration an addiess to his Honor on his late promotion. His talents were too transcendent, his spirit too independent, his prin·ciples too Irish, not to have enemies, who would openly oppose
this just tribute to his splendid genius and unrivalled fame. The "notice of the intended meeting had no sooner been published,
than the prominent supporters of the system, set every' engine * 10 work to prevent, embarrass and defeat so critical an appeal to the virtue and independence of the Irish bar upon the brightest ornament of their profession, and the staunch and incorruptible friend of their country. On the 7th of July the meěting took place, consisting of 250 gentlemen of the bar, of whom 180 only chose to divide. Of these i 46 voted for the 'address; 3+ opposed it. The question was warmly debated for several hours.
In opposition and defiance of the professional powers and politi. “cal influence of Messrs. Saurin and Bushe, the spirited indepen
dence of the bar was honorably asserted, and the talent, integrity and virtue of the country triumphed over the jealousies, duplicity and intrigues of the system and its abețiors.
position of their rights or interests. He was kept, 1806. after an absolute assurance of the place of Attorney General in the mysterious darkness of: un: avowed intrigue, secluded from official confidence, and as much estranged from the Castle, as if he were in his former opposition to the government. The conduct of the Bedford administration is not to be judged by subsequent events, but by the prospects then before them. Never was an administration less likely to be clianged, especially in the first five months of its existence. When Mr. Curran was placed in his new situation, the public sympathized with his feelings in considering him greatly sunk by being excluded from all political confidence. The place of Master of the Rolls was as inferior to that of Attorney General in point of pecuniary emolument, as of political consequence; the professional and official income of the latter would have more than doubled the amount of the net returns of the former. Allowing then for the probable duration of that administration, Mr. Curran might have counted upon that encrease of income and accession of political influence and power, till he should pass to the chief seat on the King's Bench; the natural progress and result of the compact. That obvious and specific performance of the compact would ; have gratified Mr. Curran, enabled him to render more service to his country, and answered the ardent wishes of his countrymen, who took a comi mon interest in his promotion, as he had ever made
common cause with them. Had the original com