Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

Dowling at length arrived, and after a short and anxious conference, advised him to mount his horse, and make for the country-house of their friend Mr. Sweetinan, which was situate about four miles off, on the northern side of the bay of Dublin. This place be reached in safety, and found there the refuge and aid which he sought.* After a delay of two or three days Mr. Sweetman engaged three boatmen of the neighborhood to man his own pleasure-boat, aud convey Hamilton Rowan to the coast of France. They put to sea at night; but a gale of wind coming on, they were compelled to put back, and take shelter under the lee of the Hill of Howth. While at anelor there on the following morning a small revenue cruiser sailing by threw into the boat copies of the proclamations that had been issued, offering two thousand pounds sterling for the ap. prehension of Hamilton Rowan. The weather having moderated, the boat pushed out to sea again. They had reached the mid-channel, when a situation occurred almost equalling in dramatic interest the celebrated Cæsarem rchis of antiqnity. It would certainly make a fine subject for a picture. As the boat careered along before a favorable wind, the exiled Irishman perceived the boatmen grouped apart, perusing one of the proclamations, and by their significant looks and gestures, discovering that they had recognised the identity of their passenger, with the printed description. “Your conjectures are right, my lads,” said Rowan, “my life is in your handsbut you are Irishmen.” They flung the proclamation overboard, and the boat continued her course. On the third morn

* The moment his escape from prison was known, parties of soldiers were sent in pursuit of him, in all directions, and in his place of concealment he could hear their measured tiead.- M.

It is now several years since the particulars of Mr. Rowan's escape were related to me by a friend, as they had been communicated to him by the principal actor himself; and my present recollection is that the above incident was not included. I have often heard it, as I have given it, from other sources [What little money Rowan had with him, he divided equally among these noble men, to whose generosity and quick sense of honor he owed his life for had he been recaptured, he would assuredly have been tried, and, if tried, convicted, as his co-conspirator Jackson was. There is an anecdote connected with Jackson's not escaping which interests me much more than Rowan's escape. Jackson was an Irish clergyman sent over from France, in 1794, to as

[blocks in formation]

ing, a little after break of day, they arrived within view of St. Paul de Leon, a fortified town, on the coast of Bretagne. As the sun rose, it dispersed a dense fog that had prevailed overnight, and discovered a couple of miles behind them, moving along under easy sail, the British Channel fleet, through the thick of which their little boat had just shot unperceived.

The party, having landed, were arrested as spies, and cast into prison, but in a few days an order from the French government procured their liberation. Hamilton Rowan proceeded to Paris, from which, in a political convulsion that shortly ensued, it was his fate once more to seek for safety in flight. He escaped this time unaccompanied, in a wherry, which he rowed himself down the Seine. The banks were lined with military; but he answered their challenges with so much address, that he was allowed to pass on unmolested. Having reached a French port, he embarked for the United States of America, where, at length, he found a secure asylum.

Hamilton Rowan, though of Irish blood, was born and educated in England. In his youth be acquired a large property under the will of his maternal grandfather, Mr. Rowan, a barrister and lay-fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, who, in a kind of prophetic spirit, made it a condition of the bequest, “ that his grandson should not come to Ireland until after he should be twenty-five years old.”

certain whether if the Directory invaded Ireland, the mass of the people would receive the French. He communicated his business to an attorney in London, who sold him to Pitt, and was employed to follow Jackson to Ireland and watch him. After a time, the informer “ gave tongue," and Jackson was arrested he was subsequently tried (the first case of high treason in Ireland for more than a century), convicted, and brought up for judgment, but he evaded it, by laking poison, and died in the dock, his last words, which were addressed to Curran, being those of Pierre, “ We have deceived the senate.” When in prison, Jackson was visited by a friend who remained until late at night. Jackson went with him to the door where the jailer generally waited. They found the man asleep and the prison-keys by his side, on the ground. Jackson took them up, opened the prison-door, and was urged, by his friend to escape. He hesitated for a inoment —"No," said he, “ I could do it, but what would the consequences be to this poor fellow, who has been so kind to me? Let me remain and meet my fate." He closed the door, turning from his friend and liberty, locked himself in, and resumed his place in the dungeon - M.]

JOHN LESLIE FOSTER.

The first opportunity I had of closely observing the eminent statesman and celebrated legislator whose name is prefixed to this article, was afforded by the Louth election (1826). Mr. Fos. ter is so intimately connected with that remarkable event, that some account of the details which accompanied it will not be inappropriate. The standard of the Association had been raised in Waterford, and Villiers Stuart proclaimed himself the antagonist of the House of Curraghmore. All eyes were directed to the field in which the great contest was to be waged. Both the combatants brought hereditary rank and vast opulence as their allies, besides the auxiliary passions of the powerful par. ties to which they were respectively attached. There was, however, nothing surprising in the enterprise of Mr. Stuart. During his minority, the savings of his estate had accumulated to a very large sum, and he was possessed of the means of engaging in a bold political adventure, without running any risk of permanently injuring his fortune. It would have been far stranger if, with his large property and his enlightened opinions, he had allowed the Beresfords to maintain an undis. puted masterdom in his county.

While the national attention was fixed upon the events which were taking place in Waterford, news arrived in Dublin which excited a far greater sensation than the contest between the two rival patricians of Dromona and Curraghmore; and it was announced that Mr. Alexander Dawson, a retired barrister with a small fortune, bad started for Louth. In that county the Protestant gentry were regarded as omnipotent. For upward of half a century, the Jocelyns and the Fosters had

[blocks in formation]

returned two members to Parliament, and divided the county, like a family borough, between them. A strong and apparently indissoluble coalition had been effected between Lord Roden* and Lord Oriel; and it was supposed to be impossible to make any effectual opposition to the union of Orangeism and of Evangelism, which the wily veteran of Ascendency, and the frantic champion of the New Reformation, had effected.

To this combination of power Mr. Dawson had neither wealth nor connections to oppose. He had even intimated that he would not bear any portion of the expenses, and must be returned by popular contribution. The ordinary preparations had not been made, and it was only three days before the election commenced that his intention was declared. Leslie Foster affected to treat bis pretensions with derision. He was to be seen among groups of sympathizing king's counsel, and assentating assistant-barristers, with his forefinger and thumb brought into syllogistic conjunction, demonstrating the utter absurdity of Alexander Dawson in attempting a contest. A profound seriousness habitually pervades the countenance of Mr. Foster, who, accustomed to the most abstruse meditations upon political economy, and conversant with the deepest mysteries of legislation, has seldom

* The Earl of Roden (who sits in the House of Lords as Baron Clanbrassill, in the peerage of the United Kingdom), is now, in 1854, in his sixty-sixth year. He was long notorious for his connection with the Orange faction, and has taken great interest in all attempts at changing Irish Catholics (when food is scarce) into nominal converts. When the potato crop turns out favorably, the “reformed” lapse into their ancient faith. It was believed that Lord Roden's great test of a "renewed spirit" was the partaking of meat, on a Friday -- hence they were called “leg-of-mutton converts." However misplaced his political and polemical zeal, Lord Roden is a good landlord. He has a pension of twenty-seven hundred pounds sterling, for the abolished office of Auditor-General in Ireland. - His eldest son, Viscount Jocelyn, born in 1816, was military sec, retary to the Chinese Expedition, and is author of “Six Months in China." He afterward held office under Sir Robert Peel (from February, 1845, to July, 1846), as one of the Secretaries of the India Board. He is a moderate conser vative, and a well-informed, unpresuming man. His wife, one of the handsomest women in the Court of Victoria (she is daughter of Lady Palmerston, by her first marriage) is a Lady of the Bedchamber to the Queen.--Viscount Jocelyn has a seat in the House of Commons, as member for Lynn Regis, in the county of Norfolk, for which borough he was first elected in 1842.--M.

been known to use the risible organs for the purposes for which they were originally intended. The notion of a contest in Louth, however, seemed to strike him as so exceedingly ludicrous and extravagant, that upon this occasion he broke through all the rules of solemnity by which his physiognomy is usually controlled. Still, he bad left off laughing for such a length of time, that his smile sat uneasily and unnaturally upon him, and the muscles of merriment had become so rusty and so destitute of pliability, that they accommodated them. selves slowly and ponderously to their functions; and many of his friends, observing these novel phenomena of mirth, erclaimed, “What can be the matter with: Leslie Foster !” He, however, made ample compensation for this sudden and unmeet deviation from his habitual gravity, by the seriousness of his aspect, upon his appearance at the hustings of Dundalk. I proceeded there before the arrival of Mr. Foster.

From the brow of a hill which surmounts the town, when I was at a short distance from it, I saw a vast multitude descending with banners of green unfurled to the wind, and shouting as they moved along. I could not at first discern with distinctness the gentleman who was the immediate object of this wild ovation ; but, on approaching and mixing with the dense mass of enthusiastic patriots myself, I saw, seated in an old gig, Mr. Alexander Dawson, the aspiring candidate who had presumed to enter the lists with the hereditary representatives of the County of Louth. He wore an old frock-coat corered with dust, and a broad-brimmed, weather-beaten hat, which surmounted a head that streamed with profuse perspiration ; his face was ruddy with heat, but, notwithstanding the excitement of the scene, preserved its habitual character of sagacious quietism and tranquil intelligence. He did not seem to be (though placed in a most extraordinary and trying situation) at all conscious of the boldness of the enterprise in which he was embarked, and was perhaps the least moved of the multitude that were rushing rapidly on; while the people were hurraing about him, throwing their hats into the air, and catching them with a wild shriek and prance (a common denotement of joy among the lower Irish), he sat composedly in

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »