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TIL DEN LIBRARD

1895

MEMOIR

OF

THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

RICHARD LALOR SHEIL, M. P.

by The corso

The Right HONOURABLE RICHARD LALOR SHEIL was born on the 16th of August, 1791, at the residence of his father, Edward Sheil, Esq., in the county of Kilkenny. That gentleman had acquired a considerable fortune in Cadiz, and invested it in the purchase of Bellevue, near Waterford. Soon after his return from Spain he married Miss Catherine Mac Carthy, of Spring House, in the county of Tipperary, a near relative of Count Mac Carthy of Toulouse, who sold his large property in Ireland, and settled in France during the operation of the penal code.

Mr. Sheil received his first instructions in literature from a French clergyman who had fled from his country during the Revolution, and resided at Bellevue, the house of Mr. Sheil's father, as tutor to his family. Soon after the peace of Amiens the Abbé returned to Toulouse, his native city, and Mr. Sheil was sent to a school established at Kensington, by the Prince de Broglio, the son of the celebrated French general, and a near relation of the present Duke. The following account of his school days, written by Mr. Sheil, is extracted from a periodical work :

“As if it were yesterday, though 'tis now many years ago, (eheu fugaces !) I recollect the beautiful evening when I left my home, upon the banks of the river Suir, and sailed from the harbour of Waterford for Bristol, on my way to school. It is scarcely

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germane to the matter, yet I cannot help reverting to a scene, which has impressed itself deeply in my recollection, and to which I oftentimes, in those visions of the memory to which I suppose every body is more or less subject, find it a pleasure, though a melancholy one, to return. There are few rivers more picturesque than the Suir, (a favourite with Spenser,) in its passage from Waterford to the sea. It is ample and deep, capable of floating vessels of any tonnage, and is encompassed with lofty ridges of rich verdure, on which magnificent mansions, encompassed with deep groves of trees, give evidence of the rapid increase of opulence and of civilization in that part of Ireland. How often have I stood upon its banks, when the bells in the city, the smoke of which was turned into a cloud of gold by a Claude Lorrain sunset, tolled the death of the departing day! How often have I fixed my gaze upon the glittering expanse of the full and overflowing water, crowded with ships, whose white sails were filled with just wind enough to carry them on to the sea; by the slowness of their equable and majestic movement, giving leave to the eye to contemplate at its leisure their tall and stately beauty, and to watch them long in their progress amidst the calm through which they made their gentle and forbearing way. The murmurs of the city were heard upon the right, and the lofty spire of its church rose up straight and arrowy into the sky. The sullen and dull roar of the ocean used to come over the opposite hills from the Bay of Tramore. Immediately before me were the fine woods of Faithleg, and the noble seat of the Bolton family, (Protestants, who have since that time made way for the Catholic wealthy Powers ;) on the left was the magnificent seat of another branch of the same opulent tribe-Snowhill; and in the distance, were the three rivers, the Suir, the Nore, and the Barrow, met in a deep and splendid conflux; the ruins of the old abbey of Dunbrody threw the solemnity of religion and of antiquity over the whole prospect, and by the exquisite beauty of the site afforded a proof that the old Franciscans, who had made a selection of this lovely spot for their monastery, and who have lain for centuries in the mould of its green and luxuriant churchyards, were the lovers of nature, and that when they left the noise and turmoil of the world, they had not relinquished those enjoyments which are not only innocent, but may be accounted holy. I had

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