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The Marquess Wellesley
by [?]

In 1805, having staid about seven years in India, Lord Mornington was recalled, was created Marquess of Wellesley, was sent, in 1821, as Viceroy to Ireland, where there was little to do; having previously, in 1809, been sent Ambassador to the Spanish Cortes, where there was an affinity to do, but no means of doing it. The last great political act of Lord Wellesley, was the smashing of the Peel ministry in 1834 viz. by the famous resolution (which he personally drew up) for appropriating to general education in Ireland any surplus arising from the revenues of the Irish Church. Full of honors, he retired from public life at the age of seventy- five, and, for seven years more of life, dedicated his time to such literary pursuits as he had found most interesting in early youth.

Mr. Pearce, who is so capable of writing vigorously and sagaciously, has too much allowed himself to rely upon public journals. For example, he reprints the whole of the attorney-general’s official information against eleven obscure persons, who, from the gallery of the Dublin theatre, did ‘wickedly, riotously, and routously’ hiss, groan, insult, and assault (to say nothing of their having caused and procured to be hissed, groaned, etc.) the Marquess Wellesley, Lord-Lieutenant General, and General Governor of Ireland. This document covers more than nine pages; and, after all, omits the only fact of the least consequence, viz., that several missiles were thrown by the rioters into the vice-regal box, and amongst them a quart-bottle, which barely missed his excellency’s temples. Considering the impetus acquired by the descent from the gallery, there is little doubt that such a weapon would have killed Lord Wellesley on the spot. In default however, of this weighty fact, the attorney-general favors us with memorializing the very best piece of doggerel that I remember to have read; viz., that upon divers, to wit, three thousand papers, the rioters had wickedly and maliciously written and printed, besides, observe, causing to be written and printed, ‘No Popery,’ as also the following traitorous couplet–

‘The Protestants want Talbot,
As the Papists have got all but;’

Meaning ‘all but’ that which they got some years later by means of the Clare election. Yet if, in some instances like this, Mr. Pearce has too largely drawn upon official papers, which he should rather have abstracted and condensed, on the other hand, his work has a specific value in bringing forward private documents, to which his opportunities have gained him a confidential access. Two portraits of Lord Wellesley, one in middle life, and one in old age, from a sketch by the Comte d’Orsay, are felicitously executed.

Something remains to be said of Lord Wellesley as a literary man; and towards such a judgment Mr. Pearce has contributed some very pleasing materials. As a public speaker, Lord Wellesley had that degree of brilliancy and effectual vigor, which might have been expected in a man of great talents, possessing much native sensibility to the charms of style, but not led by any personal accidents of life into a separate cultivation of oratory, or into any profound investigation of its duties and its powers on the arena of a British senate. There is less call for speaking of Lord Wellesley in this character, where he did not seek for any eminent distinction, than in the more general character of an elegant litterateur, which furnished to him much of his recreation in all stages of his life, and much of his consolation in the last. It is interesting to see this accomplished nobleman, in advanced age, when other resources were one by one decaying, and the lights of life were successively fading into darkness, still cheering his languid hours by the culture of classical literature, and in his eighty-second year drawing solace from those same pursuits which had given grace and distinction to his twentieth.

One or two remarks I will make upon Lord Wellesley’s verses–Greek as well as Latin. The Latin lines upon Chantrey’s success at Holkham in killing two woodcocks at the first shot, which subsequently he sculptured in marble and presented to Lord Leicester, are perhaps the most felicitous amongst the whole. Masquerading, in Lord Wellesley’s verses, as Praxiteles, who could not well be represented with a Manon having a percussion lock, Chantrey is armed with a bow and arrows: