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while. “No, sir, not at all, sir,' said I ; I'm sir John Bull's at your sarvice. He puzzles and puzzles, and asks me did I bring the draught, and was that your writing at the bottom of it? I still said it was my master's writing, sir John Bull's and no other. They whispered from one up to t’other, and then said it was a forgery, as I overheard, and must go before the mayor. With that, while the master, who was called down to be examined as to his opinion, was putting on his glasses to spell it out, I gives them, one and all, the slip, and whips out of the street door and home to give your honour notice, and have been breaking my heart at the door this half hour to make you hear-and now you have it all.”
“ I am in a worse dilemma now than when between the horns of the bull,” thought sir John: “I must now either tell
name, avow myself an Irishman, and so lose my bet, or else go to gaol.”
He preferred going to gaol. He resolved to pretend to be dumb, and he charged Terence not to betray him. The officers of justice came to take him up: sir John resigned himself to them, making signs that he could not speak. He was carried before a magistrate.
The merchant had never seen Mr. Phelim O'Mooney, but could swear to his handwriting and signature, having many of his letters and draughts. The draught in question was produced. Sir John Bull would neither acknowledge nor deny the signature, but in dumb show made signs of innocence. No art or persuasion could
make him speak; he kept his fingers on his lips. One of the bailiffs offered to open sir John's mouth. Sir John clenched his hand, in token that if they used violence he knew his remedy. To the magistrate he was all bows and respect : but the law, in spite of civility, must take its course.
Terence M‘Dermod beat his breast, and called upon
all the saints in the Irish calendar when he saw the committal actually made out, and his dear master given over to the constables. Nothing but his own oath and his master's commanding eye, which was fixed upon
him at this instant, could have made him forbear to utter, what he had never in his life been before so strongly tempted to tell the truth.
Determined to win his wager, our hero suffered himself to be carried to a lock-up house, and persisted in keeping silence till the clock struck twelve ! Then the charm was broken, and he spoke. He began talking to himself, and singing as loud as he possibly could. The next morning Terence, who was no longer bound by his oath to conceal Phelim's name, hastened to his master's correspondent in town, told the whole story, and OʻMooney was liberated. Having won his bet by his wit and steadiness, he had now the prudence to give up these adventuring schemes, to which he had so nearly become a dupe ; he returned immediately to Ireland to his brother, and determined to settle quietly to business. His good brother paid him the hundred guineas most joyfully, declaring that he had never spent a hundred guineas better in his life than in recovering a brother. Phelim had now conquered his foolish dislike to trade: his brother took him into partnership, and Phelim O'Mooney never relapsed into sir John Bull.
UNABLE any longer to support the tone of irony, we joyfully speak in our own characters, and explicitly declare our opinion, that the Irish are an ingenious, gerierous people ; that the bulls and blunders of which they are accused are often imputable to their neighbours, or that they are justifiable by ancient precedents, or that they are produced by their habits of using figurative and witty language. By what their good-humour is produced we know not; but that it exists we are certain. In Ireland, the countenance and heart expand at the approach of wit and humour : the poorest labourer forgets his poverty and toil in the pleasure of enjoying a joke. Amongst all classes of the people, provided no malice is obviously meant, none is apprehended. That such is the character of the majority of the nation there cannot to us be a more convincing and satisfactory proof than the manner in which a late publicahumoured raillery, not as insulting satire. If gratitude for this generosity has now betrayed us unawares into the language of panegyric, we may hope for pardon from the liberal of both nations. Those who are thoroughly acquainted with Ireland will most readily acknowledge the justice of our praises ; those who are ignorant of the country will not, perhaps, be displeased to have their knowledge of the people of Ireland extended. Many foreign pictures of Irishmen are
was received in Ireland. The Irish were the first to laugh at the caricatura of their ancient foibles, and it was generally taken merely as good
* Castle Rackrent.
as grotesque and absurd as the Chinese pictures of lions : having never seen that animal, the Chinese can paint him only from the descriptions of voyagers, which are sometimes igno. rantly, sometimes wantonly exaggerated.
In M. de Voltaire's Age of Lewis the Fourteenth we find the following passage :-“ Some nations seem made to be subject to others. The English have always had over the Irish the superiority of genius, wealth, and arms. The superiority which the whites have over the negroes.”
A note in a subsequent edition informs us, that the injurious expression—“ The superiority which the whites have over the negroes,” was erased by M. de Voltaire; and his editor subjoins his own opinion. “ The nearly savage state in which Ireland was when she was conquered, her superstition, the oppression exercised by the English, the religious
* " Il y a des nations don't l'une semble faite pour être soumise à l'autre. Les Anglois ont toujours eu sur les Irlandois la supériorité du génie, des richesses, et des armes.
La supériorité que les blancs ont sur les noirs."
fanaticism which divides the Irish into two hostile nations, such were the causes which have held down this people in depression and weakness. Religious hatreds are appeased, and this country has recovered her liberty. The Irish no longer yield to the English, either in industry or in information." +
The last sentence of this note might, if it had reached the eyes or
ears of the incensed Irish historian, Mr. O'Halloran, have assuaged his wrath against Voltaire for the unguarded expression in the text; unless the amor patriæ of the historian, like the amour propre of some individuals, instead of being gratified by congratulations on their improvement, should be intent upon demonstrating that there never was any thing to improve. As we were neither born nor bred in Ireland, we cannot be supposed to possess this amor patriæ in its full force : we profess to be attached to the country only for its merits; we acknowledge that it is a matter of indifference to us whether the Irish derive their origin from the Spaniards, or the Milesians, or the Welsh :
* “ On lisait dans les premières éditions, la supériorité que les blancs ont sur les négres. M. de Voltaire effaca cette expression injurieuse. L'état presque sauvage ou étoit l'Irlande lorsqu'elle fut conquise, la superstition, l'oppression exercée par les Anglois, le fanatisme religieux qui divise les Irlandois en deux nations ennemies, telles sont les causes qui ont retenues ce peuple dans l'abaissement et dans foiblesse. Les haines religieuses se sont assoupies, et elle a repris sa liberté. Les Irlan. dois ne le cédent plus aux Anglois ni en industrie ni en lumières."