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Again, he assures his partial friends who were crowding around him, that no act of his shall ever raise a blush at the recollection of their early encouragement.'-page 16.
But it is not the easy virtues of profession alone to which Mr. Phillips lays claim-he boasts, in a quotation, solemnly prepared for the occasion, that he is ready even to suffer for his country :
For thee, fair freedom, welcome all the past,
Notwithstanding the present thriving appearance of Mr. Phillips's patriotism, he seems to have now and then had some slight misgivings as to the constancy of his virtue, and to anticipate the possibility of backslidings from this high way of honour, and with the most ingenuous naïveté he communicates his doubts to the Catholic Board.
May I not be one of the myriads who, in the name of patriotism, and for the purposes of plunder, have swindled away your heart, that they might gamble with it afterwards at the political hazard table! May I not pretend a youth of virtue, that I may purchase with its fame an age of rich apostacy!-Cast your view round the political horizonCan you discover no one whose eye once gazed on glory, and whose voice once rung for liberty-no one, who, LIKE ME, once glowed with the energies of an assumed sincerity, and saw, or seemed to see, no God but COUNTRY, now toiling in the drudgeries of oppression, and shrouded in the pall of an official miscreancy! Trust no man's professionsardent as I am-honest through every fibre as I feel myself—I repel your confidence, though perhaps unnecessarily, for I am humble, and below corruption-I am valueless, and not worth temptation-I am poor, and cannot afford to part with all I have-MY CHARACTER.-Such are my sensations now--what they may be hereafter, I pretend not; but should I ever hazard descending into the sycophant or slave, I beseech thee, Heaven, that the first hour of crime may be the last of life, and that the worm may batten on the bloom of my youth, before my friends, if I have one, shall have cause to curse the mention of my memory.'III.—11, 12.
Mr. Phillips's first publication, in the still earlier bloom of his youth, was, as our readers have seen, a poem called the Emerald Isle. It was dedicated, by permission, to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, Ireland's Hope and England's Ornament.' The poem did not belie the promise of the dedication; it is a perfect stream of praise, a shower of roses on every person who is named in it, from alpha to omega. This alone was enough to excite some little suspicion of the author's sincerity; but it became conviction on finding that, whenever in any of his succeeding pamphlets written in altered times and different circumstances, he has occasion to
VOL. XVI. NO. XXXI.
mention any of the idols of his early flattery, he falls into the natural course of censuring and sometimes libelling them.
If his Royal Highness the Prince Regent was, on the 23d April, 1812, the date of Mr. Phillips's dedication-Ireland's hope and England's ornament-what has since happened to justify Mr. Phillips's imputations? What are the enormities which this highminded and independent patriot' cannot speak of, without danger, because, thank God, he cannot think of them without indignation'?
If, in 1812, the Duke of Wellington was ' a nation-saving hero' (I.-16.)--if, in 1814, the illustrious potentates were met together in the British capital to commemorate the great festival of universal peace and universal emancipation' (III.-22)—if 'all the hopes of England were gratified and Europe free' (p. 21.)-how does it happen that, in 1816, Mr. Phillips can thus describe the war in which those objects were achieved?
The heart of any reflecting man must burn within him when he thinks that the war, thus sanguinary in its operations, thus confessedly ruinous in its expenditure, was even still more odious in its principle. It was a war avowedly undertaken for the purpose of forcing France out of her undoubted right of choosing her own monarch; a war which uprooted the very foundations of the English constitution; which libelled the most glorious era in our national annals; and declared tyranny eternal.-V.-10.
If, in 1812, Buonaparte was a 'despot-bloody—impiouspolluted (I.-73)-if he was an infidel who trod the symbol of Christianity under foot'-who plundered temples and murdered priests-if his legions were locusts, and he himself a vulture, (p. 74,) a tyrant, (p. 77,) and a fiend, (p. 75.)—If, in August, 1813, he was again a tyrant,' a monster,' an embroidered butcher-if he was, in Mr. Phillips's opinion, all this, how comes it, that in 1816, he speaks of him in the following terms:-
In dethroning Napoleon you have dethroned' a monarch, who, with all his imputed crimes and vices, shed a splendour around royalty too powerful for the feeble vision of legitimacy even to bear. How grand was his march! How magnificent his destiny! Say what we will, Sir, he will be the land-mark of our times in the eye of posterity. The goal of other men's speed was his starting-post-crowns were his playthings-thrones his footstool-he strode from victory to victory— his path was 66 plane of continued elevations.”—-V.—11.
If, in 1812, Mr. Phillips could thus speak of Napoleon and Spain
His aid is murder in disguise;
His triumph, freedom's obsequies;
His faith, is fraud-his wisdom, guile;
See Spain, in his embraces, die,
His ancient friend, his firm ally !'-I.—73.
If, in 1814, the Catholic allies of England have refuted the foul aspersions on the Catholic faith,' (III.—21,) with what face could he, in 1816, ask the Liverpool meeting
'What have you done for Europe? what have you achieved for man? Have morals been ameliorated? has liberty been strengthened? You have restored to Spain a wretch of even worse than proverbial princely ingratitude; who filled his dungeons, and fed his rack with the heroic remnant that had braved war, and famine, and massacre beneath his banners; who rewarded patriotism with the prison-fidelity with the torture-heroism with the scaffold-and piety with the inquisition; whose royalty was published by the signature of his death-warrants, and whose religion evaporated in the embroidering of petticoats for the Blessed Virgin?-V.-11, 12.
If, in 1812, Buonaparte and Portugal could be thus described
'See hapless Portugal, who thought
A common creed her safety brought—
Has been one bloody, impious strife!
And blush on the polluted urn.'-1.—73.
what can Mr. Phillips say for the following description, in 1816, of the very prince who fled from the once bloody and impious,' but now magnificent' and 'splendid' Napoleon!
'You have restored to Portugal a prince of whom we know nothing, except that when his dominions were invaded, his people distracted, his crown in danger, and all that could interest the highest energies of man at issue, he left his cause to be combated by foreign bayonets, and fled with a dastard precipitation to the shameful security of a distant hemisphere.'-V.-12.
In 1814 the rocks of Norway are elate with liberty.' (III. -23.) In 1816 Norway is instanced as a feeble state partitioned to feed the rapacity of the powerful.' (V.—13.)
In 1812 Mr. Grattan had the misfortune of being the idol of Mr. Phillips's humble adoration-in 1814 Mr. Grattan is still an idol, but an idol, like those of the Tartars, which they chastise; and four pages of one of Mr. Phillips's speeches to the Catholic Board are employed in chastising Mr. Grattan for having given some reasons (if reasons,' as Mr. Phillips cautiously observes, they can be called,') against presenting a catholic petition at that particular time: he shews too that repeated discussions have had the effect of reducing the majority against the catholics. All this is very well: but what shall we say when we find Mr. Phillips in 1816, at Liverpool, expressing his hope that the Irish catholics will petition uo more a parliament so equivocating?'
In 1812-Mr. Ponsonby is highly celebrated and told that 'his country's heart must be cold ere the 'honour,' the 'worth,' the 'wisdom,' the zeal,' the hand to act and heart to feel of her Ponsonby' be forgotten. But in the Liverpool speech we find all the merits of the leader of the Whigs forgotten, and his character treated with high indignity
'Shall a borough-mongering faction convert what is misnamed the national representation, into a mere instrument for raising the supplies which are to gorge its own venality? Shall the mock dignitaries of Whiggism and Toryism, lead their hungry retainers to contest the profits of an alternate ascendancy over the prostrate interests of a too generous people? These are questions which I blush to ask.'-V.-15.
In 1812-England and Englishmen were the great objects of Mr. Phillips's horror; he found amongst us a prejudice against his native land predominant above every other feeling, inveterate as ignorance could generate, as monstrous as credulity could feed.' —I.-6.—And (for he assails us in prose and verse) he invokes Ireland
'To remember the glory and pride of her name,
Again-in their mutual communications Mr. Phillips assigns to the Irish the ardour of patriots and pride of freemen,' but to the unlucky English, atrocious provocation and perfidious arrogance.' In the Liverpool speech, however, he has quite changed his note; the cold-blooded Sassanach is now the high-minded people of England,' (V.-4,) and even a provincial English town is the em porium of liberality and public spirit-the birth-place of talentthe residence of integrity'-the asylum of freedom,'' patriotism," and genius.'-V.—1.—In 1812, King William was a Draco-a gloomy murderer,' and Mr. Phillips very magnanimously 'tramples on the impious ashes of that Fandal tyrant,'-I.-109-but in 1816, a new light breaks upon him, he applauds the Revolution, vindicates the reformers of 1688,' and calls that period' the most glorious of our national annals.'-V-10.
These changes, monstrous as they are, have taken place in the last two or three years; but we have Mr. Phillips's own assurance that he began his backsliding earlier than the date of any of his pamphlets, and that young as, he tells us, he is in years, he is old in apostacy. In his first speech, August, 1813, he makes the following candid avowal.
I am not ashamed to confess to you, that there was a day when I was as bigoted as the blackest ;-but I thank that Being, who gifted me with a mind not quite impervious to conviction, and I thank you, who afforded such dawning testimonies of my error. No wonder, then, that
I seized my prejudices, and with a blush burned them on the altar of my country!-III.-33.
Our readers will not fail to observe, that all this wavering is not the mere versatility of a young aud ardent mind. Mr. Phillips is indeed inconstant, but it is certâ ratione modoque'; his changes may be calculated, like those of the moon, and his bright face will always be found towards the rising sun.
He dedicated to the Prince Regent in expectation, and abused him in disappointment; he flattered Mr. Grattan and Mr. Ponsonby when they were popular, and sneers at them when he sees a more promising patron. He lent his labours and his lungs to the cause of Catholic emancipation, and preached up the doctrine of eternal petitions, while they afforded any prospect of celebrity or profit; finding that scent grow cold, he is now against petitioning and reform in Parliament being the cry of the disaffected in England, he imports his parcel of' talent and celebrity into Liverpool, consigned to Mr. Casey-exhibits his wares at the dinner before mentioned-sings a palinode to Napoleon Buonaparte and hardily enlists himself under the banners of radical reform. We have no doubt that, by the same arts which have forced him into what he and his colleagues modestly call celebrity, he will make a very acceptable addition to the society of Major Cartwright and Mr. Gale Jones, until some new turn in the wheel of state, or in the popular feeling, shail again convert him; when we may have him once more bespattering Messrs. Grattan and Ponsonby with his praises, and dedicating to H. R. H. the Prince Regent, but, as we anticipate, without the permission of which he was formerly so vain.
We have not noticed the particulars of the political tenets which Mr. Phillips has professed, or now professes; bad as they may be, they can do no harm till his style shall become more intelligible and his character less ambiguous.
ART. III. A Treatise on the Records of the Creation, and on the Moral Attributes of the Creator, with particular Reference to the Jewish History, and to the Consistency of the Principle of Population with the Wisdom and Goodness of the Deity. By John Bird Sumner, M. A. 2 vols. 8vo. London. 1816.
JOHN JOHN Burnett, Esq. of Dens, in Aberdeenshire, was one of those among our northern brethren to whom their southern neighbours are apt to impute the habit of sleeping with one eye