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a fire made of cinnamon. There are other persons, as well as the Irish, who do not always understand their own interests where their passions are concerned. That great warrior, Hyder Ali, once lost a battle by a practical bull. Being encamped within sight of the British, he resolved to give them a high idea of his forces and of his artillery; for this purpose, before the engagement,* he ordered his army to march early, and conveying some large pieces of cannon to the top of a hill, he caused them to be pointed at the English camp, which they reached admirably well, and occasioned a kind of disorder and haste in striking and removing tents, &c. Hyder, delighted at having thus insulted the English, caused all his artillery, even the very smallest pieces, to be drawn up the hill for the purpose of making
of making a vain parade, though the greater part of the balls could never reach the English : he imagined he should give the enemy a high idea of his forces, and intimidate them by showing all his artillery, and the vivacity with which it was worked ; and in order that his intention might be answered, he encouraged the soldiers himself, by giving money to the cannoneers of those pieces that appeared to be best served.
The English, presently after this farce was over, obliged Hyder to come down from labour-in-vain hill, and to give them battle in earnest. As the historian observes, “ The ridiculous cannonade at the
Life of Hyder Ali Khan, vol. ii. p. 231.
top of the hill had exhausted his ammunition, his great guns were useless to him, and he lost the day by his premature rejoicings before the battle.” A still more ancient precedent for this preposterous practical bull, of rejoicing for an anticipated victory, was given by Xerxes, we believe, who brought with him an immense block of marble, on which he intended to inscribe the date and manner of his victory over the Greeks. When Xerxes was defeated, the Greeks dedicated this stone to Nemesis, the goddess of vengeance. But Xerxes was in the habit of making practical bulls, such as whipping the sea, and begging pardon for it afterwards ; throwing fetters into the Hellespont as a token of subjugation, and afterwards expiating his offence by an offering of a golden cup and Persian scimetar.
To such blunders can the passions betray the most renowned heroes, although they had not the misfortune to have been born in Ireland.
The impatience which induced Hyder Ali to anticipate victory is not confined to military men and warlike operations; if we descend to common life and vulgar business, we shall find the same disposition even in the precincts of Change-alley: those who bargained for South Sea stock, that was not actually forthcoming, were called bears, in allusion .to the practice of the hunters of bears in Canada, who were accustomed to bargain for the skin of the bear before it was caught; but whence the correlative term bull is derived we are at a loss to determine, and we must also it to the mercantile speculators of England to explain why gentlemen call themselves bulls of wheat and bulls of coals : all we can say is, that these are not Irish bulls. There is one distinguishing peculiarity of the Irish bull—its horns are tipped with brass.* It is generally supposed that persons who have been dipped in the Shannon t are ever afterwards endowed with a supernatural portion of what is called by enemies impudence or assurance, by friends, self-possession or civil courage. These invulnerable mortals are never oppressed with mauvaise honte, that malady which keeps the faculties of the soul under imaginary imprisonment. A well-dipped Irishman, on the contrary, can move, speak, think, like Demosthenes, with as much ease, when the numbers are upon him, as if the spectators were so many cabbage-stocks. This virtue of civil courage is of inestimable value in the opinion of the best judges. The great lord Verulam-no one, by the by, could be a better judge of its value than he, who wanted it so much-the great lord Verulam declares, that if he were asked what is the first, second, and third thing necessary to success in public business, he should answer boldness, boldness, boldness. Success to the nation which possesses it in perfection! Bacon was too acute and candid a philosopher not to acknowledge, that like all the. other goods of life this same boldness has its countervailing disadvantages.
* See the advice of Cleomenes to Crius.
HERODOTUS ERATO. + It is said that the waters of the Garonne are famed for a similar virtue.
“ Certainly,” says he,“ to men of great judgment, bold persons are a sport to behold ; nay, and to the vulgar, boldness hath somewhat of the ridiculous ; for if absurdity be the subject of laughter, doubt you not but great boldness is seldom without some absurdity; especially it is a sport to see when a bold fellow is out of countenance, for that puts his face into a most shrunken and wooden posture, as needs it must.”
The man, however, who possesses boldness in perfection, can never be put out of countenance, and consequently can never exhibit, for the sport of his enemies, a face in this wooden posture. It is the deficiency, and not the excess of this quality, that is to be feared. Civil boldness without military courage would, indeed, be somewhat ridiculous : but we cannot accuse the Irish of any want of military courage ; on the contrary, it is supposed in England, that an Irishman is always ready to give any gentleman satisfaction, even when none is desired.
At the close of the American war, as a noble lord of high naval character was returning home to his family after various escapes from danger, he was detained a day at Holyhead by contrary winds. Reading in a summer-house, he heard the wellknown sound of bullets whistling near him: he looked about, and found that two balls had just passed through the door close beside him ; he looked out of the window, and saw two gentlemen who were just
charging their pistols again, and, as he guessed that they had been shooting at a mark upon the door, he rushed out, and very civilly remonstrated with them on the imprudence of firing at the door of a house without having previously examined whether any was withinside.
One of them immediately answered, in a tone which proclaimed at once his disposition and his country, “Sir, I did not know you were within there, and I don't know who you are now; but if I've given offence, I am willing.” said he, holding out the ready-charged pistols, “ to give you the satisfaction of a gentleman-take your choice.”
With his usual presence of mind, the noble lord seized hold of both the pistols, and said to his astonished countryman, “Do me the justice, sir, to go into that summ
mer-house, shut the door, and let me have two shots at you ; then we shall be
upon equal terms, and I shall be quite at your service to give or receive the satisfaction of a gentleman."
There was an air of drollery and of superiority in hi manner which at once struck and pleased the Hibernian. Upon my conscience, sir, I believe you are a very honest fellow," said he, looking him earnestly in the face, “ and I have a great mind to shake hands with you. Will you only just tell me who you are ?"
The nobleman told his name—a name dear to every Briton and
Irishman. “ I beg your pardon, and that's what no man ever accused me of doing before,” cried the gallant