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Roden, had recently forwarded to him, a weekly paper, published at Belfast, entitled, The Irish Protestant,' and containing the proceedings of that conservative society, whose grand meeting in Dublin, last August, had completely Hibernicised my uncle. He has taken a great interest in the circulation of this paper; saying, it will be strange indeed, if any Christian Englishman can grudge one penny per week to be informed of the progress made by Erin's devoted protestants in building a breakwater across the path of those raging and incursive floods, which the enemy pours against her.
I stood awhile, contemplating the countenance of my revered friend, as the frequent sigh and sorrowful movement of the head, now and then relieved by a spirited nod of approbation, as he followed the argument of some animated speaker, evinced his deep interest in the subject. At length, he looked up at me, ejaculating in a half-soliloquizing mood, Well-" In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen "-the victim may be bound, ay, and the knife raised, but smite it cannot, if the Lord will to stay the blow. Now, girl, I'll tell you what I think of the present prospects, as concerns poor Ireland.'
'Perhaps, uncle, you may change your opinion
Humph! I am much given to change, it seems??
Why no, not you. I have rarely met with so consistent a politician: but prospects may change, uncle; and opinions along with them.'
'Of course; but how does that affect my view of the present?'
'Because-but not to delay my agreeable informa
tion, what if the king had dispensed with the farther assistance of his Whig counsellors, and summoned around him a ministry after your own heart?'
'Avast there!' shouted my uncle, pulling off his spectacles, and kicking away the footstool. My reader must know, that the slipping out of this seaphrase always bespeaks great and sudden excitement, of an agreeable kind. It was long since I had heard him utter it- Avast there! Be quick, girl— out with your budget-no mistake?'
'None in the world, dear uncle. His majesty has, in the most unexpected manner, apprised the ministry of his determination to effect a complete change. In fact, they are displaced, one and all; and the Duke of Wellington has received the royal command to form a cabinet totally dissimilar from that, of which you will have no objection to sing the requiem.'
Up got my uncle, and placing his hands behind him, he commenced striding at such a rate up and down the room, that I could hardly keep my eyes on him; while his delight broke forth in detached sentiments- My Lord High Admiral !—splendid manoeuvre that!-ay, ay, I thought as much. Just arrived on the verge of old ocean-couldn't help thinking of the glory of former days-kicked off the trammels-heart of oak, still! Son of good old George-wonderfully fine indeed! "England expects every man to do his duty," and, surely, the king first-took the lead-bore down in grand stylebroke the line-has taken up a capital position. Colours nailed fast, I do hope-hurrah!'
Dear reader! did you ever fall in with a brisk north-easter, at a corner where three narrow streets
meet? If so, you may form some idea of my uncle, just then; and about as successful would have been any attempt to interrupt his course, as to impede that of the wind. So I let him proceed, comforting myself that the exercise would be very beneficial under his cold. At length he seized me by the
You inanimate lump! why it doesn't move you!' 'There is not room for two of us to tack about, dear uncle, particularly under such a press of sail; but I feel as happy, standing still, I assure you. I am thinking of the king's declaration to the prelates, some months ago.'
This recalled my uncle at once: he softened into a look of reverential gratitude; and, in a low tone, uttered an ejaculation of fervent thanksgiving to Him by whom kings reign, and princes decree justice. Again, at my request, he seated himself by the fire, while I ran to meet the Morning Herald, which just then arrived, and put it into his hands. Why,' said he, all this took place on Saturday; how much faster ill news travels than good!'
'Suppose you had been of the late cabinet, uncle?' 'Hold your tongue, Mrs. Pert, and let me read.' Having satisfied himself that all was done to his wish, my uncle took off his spectacles, accepted the use of the restored footstool, set the Irish Protestant upright on the mantle-piece, and looking at it with great complacency, proceeded to his comments.
Well, changed, I grant you, is the prospect; but not my opinion. I never questioned, that in some way the Lord would interpose, to answer the prayers of his poor church. So far as human foresight can penetrate, this is a rescuing hand stretched forth at
an awful crisis; and many a drooping soul will thank God, and take courage.'
But, uncle, I don't quite comprehend the ground of your extreme satisfaction. You certainly were more angry with the Tories, and particularly with their gallant leader, five or six years ago, than I have seen you to be with the Whigs, since they came into power.'
'Certainly I was: and to this day I attribute to the men, now again invested with that power, the beginning of all the evils that have come upon us. They took from our firmly-compacted arch its keystone; and what but its ruin could ensue ? Neither
did I hold it wise, particularly after such fatal concessions, to make a sudden and obstinate stand against reforms, that would have been comparatively harmless, but for their own previous act; and, in some respects, positively good, useful, necessary. But I am led to hope, from observation, that the dear-bought experience of a few past years, will be faithfully acted upon by the men who clearly see their error. Consider, they did not make the sacrifice as a step to the destruction of what we hold most dear, but as a means of its preservation. They acted on a short-sighted, a most fallacious and dishonest principle of worldly expediency-they have seen its fruits; and if the Lord, who will not utterly forsake us, now gives them grace to be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, the beautiful ruin of our constitution, like that which lately passed the ordeal of material fire, may stand out, in the solidity of its original framework; and, under the hand of judicious repair, may yet continue a grace and a bulwark through many generations.'
Do you expect such great things from a mere change of ministry, uncle; seeing how short its duration may be?'
It is not as a political change, from one set of men to another, my dear, that I regard it. Our establishments were menaced with a general downfallthe church-the aristocracy-and, beyond doubt, the monarchy also. The late ministry saw this, and the majority of them, I sincerely believe, were willing to throw themselves in the gap; but they had fatally committed themselves, in yielding to mob-government, or rather in availing themselves of it, to pass the measure of sweeping reform, which, in many of its tendencies, was fraught with destructiveness. Conscious of this disadvantage, the ablest men among them voluntarily relinquished office, rather than lend a hand to those infamous measures, which must have led to the re-establishment of popery in Ireland; and this dismemberment was followed by the memorable stratagem against Lord Grey. The last was, in fact, such a decapitation, that the doom of that administration was sealed; and the question before us was, how would the blank be filled up? A set of men were gasping for office, whose avowed object it was to operate, with sledge hammers and battering-rams, on what remains of our ancient fabric, while poor Ireland was to be pitched into the gaping jaws of the pope. We had but one thing under heaven to cling to; the declaration of our king to the representatives of the church. This was hailed with grateful joy: it put new life into our prayers, and gave new energy to our hope. I welcome the present event, because it betokens that hope comes from the right quarter.'