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The Irish Capital by Reginald Wynford


The metropolis of Ireland about the middle of the last century was the fourth in Europe in point of size. Since then it has made little progress in comparison with many others. Yet it is a large place, covering a great area, and holding a population which numbers some three hundred thousand souls.

It may further be said that notwithstanding the withdrawal, consequent on the Union, of the aristocratic classes from Dublin, the city has improved more in the last fifty years than at any previous period. Dublin, at the Union, and for some time after, was a very dirty place indeed. To-day, although, from that antipathy to paint common to the whole Irish nation—which can apparently never realize the Dutch proverb, that "paint costs nothing," or the English one, that "a stitch in time saves nine"—much of the town looks dingy, it is, as a whole, cleaner than almost any capital in Europe, so far as drainage and the sanitary state of the dwellings are concerned. And here we speak from experience, having last year, in company with detective officers, visited all its lowest and poorest haunts.

The cause of this sanitary excellence is that matters of this kind are placed entirely in the hands of the police, who rigorously carry out the orders given to them on such points. It is devoutly to be hoped that a similar system will ere long be in vogue in the towns of our own country.

The noblesse have now quite deserted the Irish capital. Besides the lord-chancellor, there is probably not a single peer occupying a house there to-day. Houses are excellent and very cheap. An immense mansion in the best situation can be had for a thousand dollars a year. The markets are capitally supplied, and the prices are generally about one-third of those of New York. Not a single item of living is dear. But, notwithstanding these and many other advantages, the place has lost popularity, has a "deadly-lively" air about it, and, it must be admitted, is in many respects wondrously dull, especially to those who have been used to the brisk life of a great commercial or pleasure-loving capital.

"Cornelius O'Dowd" paid a visit to Dublin in 1871 after a long absence, and said some very pretty things about it. Never was the company or claret better. Well, the fact was, that while the great and lamented Cornelius was there he was fêted and made much of. Lord Spencer gave him a dinner, so did other magnates, and his séjour was one prolonged feasting; but nevertheless the every-day life of the Irish capital is awfully and wonderfully dull, as those who know it best, and have the cream of such society as it offers, would in strict confidence admit. From January to May there is an attempt at a "season," during the earlier part of which the viceroy gives a great many entertainments. These are remarkably well done, and the smaller parties are very agreeable. But politics intervene here, as in everything else in Ireland, to mar considerably the brilliancy of the vice-regal court. When the Whigs are "in" the Tory aristocracy hold off from "the Castle," and vice versâ. Dublin is generally much more brilliant under a Tory viceroy, inasmuch as nine-tenths of the Irish peerage and landed gentry support that side of politics. The vice-reign of the duke of Abercorn, the last lord-lieutenant, will long be remembered as a period of exceptional splendor in the annals of Dublin. He maintained the dignity of the office in a style which had not been known for half a century, and in this respect proved particularly acceptable to people of all classes. Besides, he is a man of magnificent presence, and has a fitting helpmate (sister of Earl Russell) and beautiful daughters; and it was universally admitted that the round people had got into the round holes, so far as the duke and duchess were concerned.

The lord-lieutenant's levees and drawing-rooms take place at night, and are therefore much more cheerful than similar ceremonials at Buckingham Palace. His Excellency kisses all the ladies presented to him. The vice-regal salary is one hundred thousand dollars, with allowances, but most viceroys spend a great deal more. There are in such a poor country, where people have no sort of qualms about asking, innumerable claims upon their purses.

The office of viceroy of Ireland is one which prime ministers find it no easy task to fill. Just that kind of person is wanted for the office who has no wish to hold it. A great peer with half a million of dollars' income doesn't care about accepting troublesome and occasionally anxious duties, from which he, at all events, has nothing to gain. For some time Lord Derby was in a quandary to get any one who would do to take it, and it may be doubted whether the marquis of Abercorn would have sacrificed himself if the glittering prospect of a coronet all strawberry leaves (for he was created a duke while in office) had not been held before his eyes. The vice-regal lodge is a plain, unpretending building. It is charmingly situated in the Phoenix Park (1760 acres), and commands delightful views over the Wicklow Mountains. Within, it is comfortable and commodious. The viceroy resides there eight months in the year. He goes to "the Castle" from December to April. The Castle is "no great thing." It is situated in the heart of Dublin. Around it are the various government offices. St. Patrick's Hall is a fine apartment, but certainly does not deserve the name of magnificent, and is a very poor affair compared with the reception-saloons of third-rate continental princes.

The Dublin season culminates, so far at least as the vice-regal entertainments go, in the ball given here on St. Patrick's Day (March 17). On such occasions it is de rigueur to wear a court-dress. Even those who venture to appear in the regulation trowsers admissible at a levee at St. James's are seriously cautioned "not to do it again."

Though Dublin is now deserted by the aristocracy, most of the grand-seigneur mansions are still standing. Leinster House, built about 1760, and said to have served as a model for the "White House," was in 1815 sold by the duke to the Royal Dublin Society. Up to 1868 the duke of Leinster[1] was Ireland's only duke, and the house is certainly a stately and appropriate ducal residence.

It must, however, be confessed that there is something decidedly triste and severe about this big mansion. A celebrated whilom tenant of it, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, appeared to think so, for in 1791 he writes to his mother, after his return from the bright and sunny atmosphere of America: "I confess Leinster House does not inspire the brightest ideas. By the by, what a melancholy house it is! You can't conceive how much it appeared so when first we came from Kildare. A country housemaid I brought with me cried for two days, and said she thought that she was in a prison." It was at Leinster House that "Lord Edward"—he is to this day always thus known by the people of Ireland, who never think it needful to add his surname—after having joined "the United Irishmen," had interviews with the informer Reynolds, who, it is believed, afterward betrayed him.

Lady Sarah Napier, mother of Sir William Napier, the well-known historian of the Peninsular War, and other eminent sons, was aunt to Lord Edward, being sister of his mother. These ladies were daughters of the duke of Richmond, and Lady Sarah was remarkable as being a lady to whom George III. was passionately attached, and whom, but for the vehement opposition of his mother and her entourage, he would have married. In a journal of this lady's I find the following interesting account of the search for her nephew: "The separate warrant went by a messenger, attended by the sheriff and a party of soldiers, into Leinster House. The servants ran to Lady Edward, who was ill, and told her. She said directly, 'There is no help: send them up.' They asked very civilly for her papers and for Edward's, and she gave them all. Her apparent distress moved Major O'Kelly to tears, and their whole conduct was proper."

Lady Edward Fitzgerald (whose husband had served under Lord Moira in America) was at Moira House on the evening of her husband's arrest. Writing from Castletown, county Kildare, two days after that event, Lady Louisa Connolly, Lord Edward's aunt, says: "As soon as Edward's wound was dressed he desired the private secretary at the Castle to write for him to Lady Edward and tell her what had happened. The secretary carried the note himself. Lady E. was at Moira House, and a servant of Lady Mountcashel's came soon after to forbid Lady Edward's servants saying anything to her that night." She continued, after Lord E.'s death, to reside at Moira House till obliged by an order of the privy council to retire to England, where she became the guest of her husband's uncle, the duke of Richmond. [2]

Lady Moira, who so kindly befriended Lady Edward, was unquestionably a very remarkable woman, and had considerable influence, politically and socially, in the Dublin of her day. Although an Englishwoman, she became in some respects ipsis Hibernis Hibernior, and for a very long period prior to her death never quitted the soil of Ireland. Had the Irish aristocracy generally been of the complexion of those who assembled in the more intimate reunions at Moira House, the history of that country during the past century would have been a widely different one. The members of that brilliant circle were thorough anti-Unionists, and Lord Moira and his sons-in-law, the earls of Granard and Mountcashel, proved that they were not to be conciliated by bribes, either in money or honors, by entering their formal protest against that measure on the books of the Irish House of Lords.

When the delegates on behalf of Catholic claims came to London in 1792, it was this enlightened Irish nobleman who received them, and who, in the event of the minister declining to admit them, intended as a peer to have claimed an audience of the king. Lord Moira both in the English and Irish Houses of Peers denounced the oppressive measures of the government, and his opposition gave so much offence that the English general Lake was reported to hayer declared that if a town in the North was to be burnt, they had best begin with Lord Moira's, causing him so much apprehension that he removed his collection, which was of extraordinary value, from his seat, Moira Hall, in the county Down, to England.

The celebrated John Wesley visited Lady Moira at Moira House in 1775, "and was surprised to observe, though not a more grand, a far more elegant room than he had ever seen in England. It was an octagon, about twenty feet square, and fifteen or sixteen high, having one window (the sides of it inlaid throughout with mother-of-pearl) reaching from the top of the room to the bottom: the ceiling, sides and furniture of the room were equally elegant." It was here that two of the greatest members of their respective legislatures—Charles Fox and Henry Grattan—first met in 1777, and Moira House continued to be the scene of splendid entertainments up to the death of the first Lord Moira, in 1793. Wesley concludes his letter about Moira House by asking, "Must this too pass away like a dream?" Whether like a dream or no, it certainly has been signally the fate of this whilom proud mansion to pass from the highest to the very humblest almost at a bound. For some years after Lady Moira's death (in 1808) the house was kept up by the family, but in 1826 it was let to an anti-mendicity society. The upper story was removed, the mansion was stripped throughout of its splendid decorations—some of the furniture is now at Castle Forbes, the seat of the earl of Granard, Lady Moira's great-grandson, a worthy descendant—and the saloons which were wont to be thronged with the most brilliant and splendid society of the Irish metropolis in its heyday are now the abode of perhaps the very poorest outcasts who are to be found in the whole wide world.

The district in which Moira House stands has long ceased to be fashionable. The mansion stands close to the Liffey, a few yards back from the road. An elderly man who has charge of the mendicity institution for whose purposes the house is at present used, told me that he remembered it when kept up by the family, although its members were not actually residing there. What is now a fearfully dreary courtyard, where the outcasts of Dublin disport themselves, was then, he said, a fine garden with splendid mulberry trees, which he, being a favorite with the gardener, was permitted to climb—a circumstance which had naturally impressed itself on his childish memory. I told him that I had heard that long after the difficulties of the first marquis—who lent one hundred thousand pounds to George the Magnificent when that glorious prince was at the last gasp for £ s. d.—had compelled him to part with his large estates; in the county Down, he had retained possession of this mansion, and that it had even descended to the last marquis, whose wild career concluded when he was only six-and-twenty; but the old man thought it had passed from them long before. He remembered, he said, the last peer (with whom the title became extinct) coming to Dublin, because he had an interview with him about some furniture for his yacht, my informant being at that time in business, and he thought he should have heard if the property had been still retained. I asked if the marquis had exhibited any interest as to the old historical mansion of his family. "Not the slightest," he replied.

Hardy, in his well-known life of Lord Charlemont, says: "His (Lord Moira's) house will be long, very long, remembered: it was for many years the seat of refined hospitality, of good nature and of good conversation. In doing the honors of it, Lord Moira had certainly one advantage above most men, for he had every assistance that true magnificence, the nobleness of manners peculiar to exalted birth, and talents for society the most cultivated, could give him in his illustrious countess."

Powerscourt House, a really noble mansion in St. Andrew street, is now used by a great wholesale firm, but is so little altered that it could be fitted for a private residence again in a very brief time. The staircase is grand in proportion, and the steps and balustrades are of polished mahogany, the last being richly carved.

Tyrone House is now the Education Office, and Mornington House, where Wellington's father resided, and where or at Dangan—for it is a doubtful point—the duke was born, is also used for government purposes.

The great squares of Dublin are St. Stephen's Green, Rutland, Mountjoy, Merrion and Fitzwilliam Squares. The first of these dates from the latter half of the seventeenth century, and is probably in a far more prosperous condition now than it ever was before. If we are to judge by Whitelaw's history, it presented in 1819 an aspect such as no public square out of Dublin—the enclosure of Leicester Square, London, excepted—could present. "Of that kind of architectural beauty," he says, "which arises from symmetry and regularity, here are no traces." Some houses were on a level with the streets, others were approached by a grand perron. The proprietors were of all degrees: here was the great house of a lord, there a miserable dramshop. The enclosure consisted of no less than thirteen acres, making Stephen's Green the largest public square in Europe. It was simply a great treeless field, with an equestrian statue of George II. stuck in the middle of it. The principal entrance to the ground is described as "decorated with four piers of black stone crowned with globes of mountain granite, once respectable, but exhibiting shameful symptoms of neglect and decay." There had been a gravel walk called the "Beaux' Walk," from its having been a fashionable resort, "but," says Whitelaw, "the ditch which bounds it is now usually filled with stagnant water, which seems to be the appropriate receptacle of animal bodies in a disgusting state of putrefaction." At night this charming recreation-ground was illumined by twenty-six lamps, at a distance of one hundred and seventy feet from each other, stuck on wooden poles. Such an account of the grand square of Dublin does not make one surprised to learn that the main approach to it from the heart of the city was of a very miserable description.

In reading Whitelaw's history of Dublin it is impossible not to be struck with the fact that it records a degree of neglect and indifference on the part of the people and the local authorities to beauty, decency and order such as could scarcely be found in another country. In the centre of Merrion Square was a fountain of very ambitious expense and design, erected to the honor of the duke and duchess of Rutland, a lord and lady lieutenant. The fountain was only finished in 1791, but "from a fault in the foundation, or some shameful negligence in the construction, is already cracked and bulged in several places; and though intended as a monument to perpetuate the memory of an illustrious nobleman and his heroic father (the famous Lord Granby), is, after an existence of only sixteen years, tottering to its fall." Mr. Whitelaw continues: "Unhappily, a savage barbarism that seems hostile to every idea of order or decency, of beauty and elegance, prevails among but too many of the lower orders; and hence the decorations of almost every public fountain have been destroyed or disfigured: the figure, shamefully mutilated, of the water-nymph in this fountain has been reduced to a disgusting trunk, and the alto relievo over it shows equal symptoms of decay, arising partly from violence, and partly, perhaps, from the perishable nature of the materials." Truly a forcible picture of art and the appreciation thereof in Ireland!

During the last century some Italians came to Dublin, who left their mark upon the interior decorations of rich men's houses. Many of the old houses retain the beautiful mantelpieces designed and executed by these accomplished artists. A leading house-fitter of Dublin has, however, bought up a good many, and they are finding their way to London, where it is to be hoped they may produce a revolution in taste, for London mantelpieces are, as a rule, hideous. Some of these specimens of art have been bought by wealthy Irishmen and transferred to their country-houses. One nobleman, Lord Langford, whose ancestral home was wrecked in the rebellion of 1798, has lately been restoring it, and bought up many of the Dublin mantelpieces.

The ornamentation of Belvedere House, in Gardener Row, is particularly elaborate and in wonderfully good repair.

Irish family history contains few sadder stories than that of the first countess of Belvedere. Lord Belvedere was a man of fashion who much frequented St. James's, and indeed owed his elevation, first to a barony and then to an earldom, to the favor of that highly uninteresting monarch, George II. Leaving his wife sometimes for long periods at Gaulston, a vast and dreary residence (since pulled down) in Westmeath, he betook himself to London, and Lady Belvedere at such times lived much with her husband's brother, Mr. Arthur Rochfort, and his family. It is said that some woman with whom Lord Belvedere had long been connected was determined to make mischief between him and his wife. Eight years after their marriage, Lady Belvedere was accused of adultery with Mr. Rochfort: in an action of crim. con. damages to the extent of twenty thousand pounds were given, and the defendant was obliged to fly the country. For many years he lived abroad, but at length ventured to return, when his brother caused him to be arrested, and he died in confinement, protesting to the last, as did Lady Belvedere, his innocence. For Lady Belvedere a terrible punishment for her alleged misdeeds was in store. Her husband quitted Gaulston for a cheerful retreat in another part of the county, and henceforth that gloomy mansion became the prison-house of the unhappy countess.

When her imprisonment commenced Lady Belvedere was twenty-five. For eighteen years she remained a prisoner. Her husband often visited Gaulston, but uniformly avoided all personal communication with her. Once she succeeded in speaking to him, but her entreaties were in vain, and thenceforward, whenever he was about the grounds at Gaulston, the attendant accompanying Lady Belvedere in her walks was instructed to ring a bell to give warning of her approach. At length, after twelve years of captivity, Lady Belvedere contrived to escape, but Lord Belvedere, who had been apprised of the fact, reached her father's house in Dublin before her, and she found that his representations had weighed so strongly with Lord Molesworth—who had married a second time—that orders had been given that she was not to be admitted. She then took a very unfortunate step by repairing to the house of her friends, the wife and family of the brother-in-law with whom she had been accused of being guilty of misconduct, Mr. Rochfort himself being in exile. She was presently seized and reconveyed to Gaulston, where a much more rigorous treatment was henceforth pursued toward her. At length her husband's death set her free.

Lady Belvedere passed the rest of her days in peace and comfort at the house of her daughter and son-in-law, Lord and Lady Lanesborough. She did not long survive her husband, and on her deathbed, after partaking of the holy communion, affirmed with a most solemn oath her perfect innocence of the crime for which she had suffered so much.

But perhaps in many respects Charlemont House has the most interesting recollections connected with it of all the grand-seigneur mansions of the Irish metropolis. It was here that the first earl of Charlemont, the best specimen of a nobleman that Ireland has to boast of, passed the greater portion of his later life. Lord Charlemont's name is to be found in all the memoirs of eminent political and literary men of his time. He was the friend of Burke and Johnson, a popular member of the club, and a munificent patron of literature and art. But more than all this, he stuck bravely to his country, and to no man in Ireland did the Stopford motto, Patriæ infelici fidelis, more correctly apply. Had more of his order been like him, what a different country might Ireland have been!

I found Charlemont House full of painters and glaziers. The mansion, which was retained in statu quo by the late earl, although, for fifty years no member of the family had slept there, has now been sold to the government, and is being prepared for the accommodation of the survey department. The mouldings of the beautiful ceilings are still extant in some of the rooms, although what once was gilt is now white-wash. The library is much as it was, minus the very valuable collection of books, which were sold some time since by the present earl, and fetched a large sum, albeit many of the most valuable were destroyed in a fire which broke out at the auctioneer's where they were deposited in London.[3]

With his friend Edmund Burke, Lord Charlemont maintained a close correspondence. One of Burke's published letters relates to an American gentleman, Mr. Shippen, whom he was introducing to the hospitalities of Charlemont House, and whom he describes as very agreeable, sensible and accomplished. "America and we," he concludes, "are not under the same crown, but if we are united by mutual good-will and reciprocal good offices, perhaps it may do almost as well. Mr. Shippen will give you no unfavorable specimen of the New World."

From the middle of the last century Henrietta street, [4] on the north bank of the Liffey, was the residence of many of the leading members of the aristocracy. The street is a cul-de-sac, with the King's Inn (the Temple and Lincoln's Inn of Dublin) at the farther end. The houses are extremely spacious and richly ornamented; in fact, far finer in point of proportion and design than ordinary London houses of the first class.

Through the politeness of a gentleman who possesses half the street, I went over some of the houses, which are extremely spacious, and contain beautifully-proportioned rooms richly ornamented with carving and moulding. In what was formerly Mountjoy House I found a dining-room whose cornices and ceilings were of the most elegant design and execution. This house had seen many curious scenes. It was formerly the town-house of the earl of Blessington—whose second title was Viscount Mountjoy—to whom the whole street belonged. The founder of this family, Luke Gardiner, rose from a humble origin by energy and intrigue, and his son married the heiress of the Mountjoys. It was occupied up to 1830 by the last earl of Blessington, husband of the celebrated literary star. Soon after their marriage Lady Blessington accompanied her husband to Ireland, and he invited some of his friends who were ignorant of the event to dine at his house in Henrietta street. These latter were somewhat startled when he entered the room with a beautiful woman leaning on his arm whom he introduced as his wife. Among the guests was a gentleman who had been in that room only four years before, when the walls were hung with black, and in the centre, on an elevated platform, was placed a coffin with a gorgeous velvet pall, with the remains in it of a woman once scarcely surpassed in loveliness by the lady then present in bridal costume. This was the first Lady Blessington.

The last of the Irish noblesse in this street was Lady Harriet, widow of the Right Hon. Denis Bowes-Daly, on whom Grattan passed such warm eulogies, and who was the original of Lever's happiest creation, The Knight of Gwynne.

It has been a frequent subject of conjecture why the Phoenix Park was so called. The best explanation seems to be that on a site within its boundaries there formerly stood, close to a remarkable spring of water, an ancient manor-house. The manor was called Fionn-uisge, pronounced finniské, which signifies clear or fair water, and this term easily became corrupted into Phoenix. The land became Crown property in 1559, and was made into a park in 1662. It was immensely improved and put into its present shape by the earl of Chesterfield, author of the Letters—one of the best viceroys Ireland ever had—about 1743. The area is seventeen hundred and sixty acres. With the exception of Windsor and our own Fairmount, no public park in the world can compare with it. The ground undulates charmingly, the views are extensive and beautiful.

Grouped around the Phoenix Park are many beautiful seats: the finest is Woodlands. This belonged formerly to the Luttrells, a notorious family, the head of which was raised to the Irish peerage as earl of Carhampton. It was with a Lord Carhampton that his son declined to fight a duel, not at all because he was his father, but because he "did not consider him a gentleman." Early in the century, Woodlands, then known as Luttrellstown, became the property of Luke White, one of the most remarkable men that Ireland has produced. In 1778, Luke White was in the habit of buying cheap odds and ends of literature from a bookseller, named Warren, in Belfast to peddle about the country. In 1798 he loaned the Irish government, then in great difficulty, a million of pounds! Mr. Warren, who found him very punctual and exact, used to permit him to leave his pack behind his counter and call for it in the morning. No one would then have dreamed that the greasy bag was to lead to such results. By degrees, White scraped together some means. He used to take odd volumes to a binder in Belfast and employ him to get the "vol." at the beginning and end of an odd volume erased, so as to pass it off among the unwary as a perfect book, and generally furbish it up. Then he used to sell his literary wares by auction in the streets of Belfast. The knowledge he thus acquired of public sales procured him a clerkship with a Dublin auctioneer. He opened first a book-stall, and then a regular book-shop, in Dawson street, a leading thoroughfare of Dublin. There he became eminent. He sold lottery-tickets, speculated in the funds and contracted for government loans. In 1798, when the rebellion broke out, the Irish government was desperately in need of funds. They came into the Dublin market for a loan of a million, and the best terms they could get were from Luke White, who offered to take it at sixty-five pounds per one hundred pound share at five per cent.—not unremunerative terms.

At the time of his death, in 1824, he had long been M.P. for Leitrim, and his son was member for the county of Dublin. He left property worth a hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars a year. Eventually almost the whole of it devolved on his fourth son, who some years ago was created a peer of the United Kingdom as Lord Annaly.

The family has probably spent more than a million and a half of dollars on elections. It has always been on the Liberal side. The present peer has property in about a dozen counties, and is lord-lieutenant of Langford, whilst his younger son holds the same high office in Clare.

The University of Dublin consists of a single college—Trinity. This edifice forms a prominent feature in the Irish metropolis. It stands in College Green, almost opposite to the Bank of Ireland, the former legislative chambers. Since the Union, Trinity College has been but little resorted to by men of the upper ranks of Irish society, although it has certainly contributed some very eminent men to the public service—notably, the late unfortunate governor-general, Lord Mayo, and Lord Cairns, ex-lord-chancellor of England. Trinity is one of the largest owners of real estate in the country. The fellowships are far better than those of the English universities. The provost, who occupies a large and stately mansion, has a separate estate worth some fifteen thousand dollars a year, which he manages himself.

Trinity has a very fine library. It is one of the five which by an act of Parliament has a right to demand from the publisher a copy of every work published. The origin of the library is quite unique. It dates from a benefaction by the victorious English army after its defeat of the Spaniards at Kinsale in 1603, when they devoted one thousand eight hundred pounds—a sum equivalent to five times that money at present rates—to establish a library in the university, being, it may be presumed, instigated by some eminent personage, who suggested that such a course would be acceptable to the queen, who had founded the university.

Dr. Chaloner and Mr. (afterward Archbishop) Ussher were appointed trustees of this donation; "and," says Dr. Parr, "it is somewhat remarkable that at this time, when the said persons were in London about laying out this money in books, they there met Sir Thomas Bodley, then buying books for his newly-erected library in Oxford; so that there began a correspondence between them upon this occasion, helping each other to procure the choicest and best books on moral subjects that could be gotten; so that the famous Bodleian Library at Oxford and that of Dublin began together."

The private collection of Ussher himself, consisting of ten thousand volumes, was the first considerable donation which the library received, and for this also, curiously enough, it was again indebted to the English army. In 1640, Ussher left Ireland. The insurgents soon after destroyed all his effects with the exception of his books, which were secured and sent to London. In 1642—when the troubles between King and Parliament had broken out—Ussher was nominated one of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, but having offended the parliamentary authorities by refusing to attend, his library was confiscated as that of a delinquent by order of the House of Commons. However, his friend, the celebrated John Selden, got leave to buy the books, as though for himself, but really to restore them to Ussher. Narrow circumstances subsequently caused him to leave the library to his daughter, instead of to Trinity. Cardinal Mazarin and the king of Denmark made offers for it, but Cromwell interfered to prevent their acceptance. Soon after, the officers and, soldiers of Cromwell's army then in Ireland, wishing to emulate those of Elizabeth, purchased the whole library, together with all the archbishop's very valuable manuscripts and a choice collection of coins, for the purpose of presenting them to the college. But when these articles were brought over to Ireland, Cromwell refused to permit the intentions of the donors to be carried into effect, alleging that he intended to found a new college, in which the collection might more conveniently be preserved separate from all other books. The library was therefore deposited in Dublin Castle, and so neglected that a great number of valuable books and manuscripts were stolen or destroyed. At the Restoration, Charles II. ordered that what remained of the primate's library should be given to the university, as originally intended.

One of the most extraordinary persons who ever occupied the position of provost, or indeed any position, was John Hely Hutchinson. He was a man of great ability, and perfectly determined to succeed, without being troubled with any very tiresome qualms as to the means he employed in the process. Such an officeholder as this man the world probably never saw. He was at the same time reversionary principal secretary of state for Ireland, a privy councilor, M.P. for Cork, provost of Trinity College, Dublin, major of the fourth regiment of horse, and searcher of the port of Strangford. When he was appointed provost—a situation always filled since the foundation by a bachelor—there was great indignation amongst the fellows, and to appease them he ultimately procured a decree permitting them to marry—a privilege which they, unlike their brethren at Oxford and Cambridge, enjoy to this day. His position as provost did not prevent his righting a duel with a Mr. Doyle, but neither was hurt. Mr. Hutchinson had a great dislike to a Mr. Shrewbridge, one of the junior fellows, who had shown opposition to him. Mr. Shrewbridge died, and the under—graduates attributed his death to the provost's having refused him permission to go away for change of air. A thoroughly Hiber-man émeute was the consequence. The provost ordered that the great bell, which usually tolls for a fellow, should not toll, and that the body should be privately buried at six A.M. in the fellows' burial-ground. The students immediately posted up placards that the great bell should toll, and that the funeral should be by torchlight. They carried the point. Almost all the students attended the corpse to the grave in scarfs and hatbands at their own expense, and when the funeral oration was pronounced they flew in wild excitement to the provost's house, burst open his doors and smashed the furniture to pieces. The provost had a hint given him, and with his family had retreated to his house near Dublin. It was subsequently stated on good authority that Mr. Shrewbridge could not in any case have recovered.

Any one who takes an interest in the most original writer—not to say, man—of the eighteenth century will not fail to find his way to "the Liberties," as that queer district is called which surrounds St. Patrick's Cathedral. Some years ago the present writer made his way into the great deserted deanery—the then dean resided in another part of the city—got the old woman in charge of the house to open the shutters of the dining-room, and gazed at the original portrait of Jonathan Swift, which hangs there an heirloom to his successors. Of the precincts of his cathedral he writes to Pope: "I am lord-mayor of one hundred and twenty houses,[5] I am absolute lord of the greatest cathedral in the kingdom, and am at peace with the neighboring princes—i.e., the lord-mayor of the city and the archbishop of Dublin—but the latter sometimes attempts encroachments on my dominions, as old Lewis did in Lorraine."

Again, he writes to Dr. Sheridan: "No soul has broken his neck or is hanged or married; only Cancerina is dead.[6] I let her go to her grave without a coffin and without fees."

St. Patrick's, which was, in a deplorable state during Swift's deanship, and indeed for a century after, is now restored to its original magnificence. Indeed, it may be doubted whether it is not in a condition superior to what it ever was. This superb work has been effected entirely by the princely munificence of the Guinness family, the great stout brewers of Dublin; and Mr. Roe, a wealthy distiller, is now engaged in the work of restoring Christ Church, the other Protestant cathedral.

I paid a visit to the Bank of Ireland, the edifice on which the hopes of so many patriotic Irishmen have been centred, insomuch as it is the old Parliament-house. The elderly official who conducted us over the building took us first through the bank-note manufacturing rooms, where we espied in a corner a queer wooden figure draped in a queerer uniform. Demanding its history, he said that the clothes had belonged to an old servant of the establishment, and were discovered after his decease a few years ago. Formerly the Bank of Ireland was guarded by a special corps of its own, and the ancient retainer, who had been a member of this very commercial regiment, was proud of it, and had kept his dress as a cherished memorial. When George IV. came to Ireland, on his celebrated popularity-hunt, in 1821—previous to which no English monarch had visited Ireland since William III.—he graciously condescended to give the bank a military guard, which has since been continued. On the day I went I found a number of soldiers of the Scots Fusileer Guards occupying the guard-room. The officer on duty receives an allowance of two dollars and a half for his dinner. At the Bank of England he gets instead a dinner for himself and a friend, and a couple of bottles of wine.

The interior of the Parliament-house is almost the same as when Ireland had her own separate legislature. The House of Lords is in precisely the condition in which it was left in 1801. It is a large oak-paneled, oblong chamber of no particular beauty, and might very well pass for the dining-hall of a London guild. There is a handsome fireplace, and the walls are in great part covered with two fine pieces of tapestry representing the battle of the Boyne and the siege of Derry, King William, "of glorious, pious and immortal," etc., being of course the most conspicuous object in the foreground. The attendant stated that a special clause in the lease of the buildings, to the Bank of Ireland Company stipulated that the House of Lords was to remain in statu quo. Perhaps it may return some of these days to its former use. The House of Commons, a large stone hall of stately dimensions, is now the cash-office of the bank. There seemed nothing about it architecturally to call for special notice. I mooted the probability of the Parliament being restored, but found, rather to my surprise, that the attendant was by no means disposed to regard such a step with unqualified approval. It would be a blessing if the country was fit to govern itself, he said, or words to that effect, but looking at the religious dissension and political bitterness existing in the country, he feared that it wouldn't do yet a while; and I suspect he's right. Ireland is a house divided against itself: fifty years hence it may resemble Scotland. Meanwhile, there is no doubt whatever that a measure giving both Ireland and Scotland something in the nature of State legislatures would find favor with many English M.P.s, who greatly grudge having the valuable time of the imperial legislature wasted over a gas-bill in Tipperary or a water-works scheme for Dundee. The bank seemed to me to be guarded with extraordinary care. I went all over the roof, on which a guard is mounted at night. At "coigns of vantage" there is a bullet-proof palisading, with peepholes through which a volley of musketry might be poured. I should fancy that extra precautions have probably been taken since the Fenian émeutes of the last ten years.

Dublin swarms with soldiers, constabulary and police. The metropolitan police is divided into six divisions, each two hundred strong. Its men are, I believe, beyond a doubt the very finest in the world in point of physique. Numbers of them are six feet two or three inches high, and they are broad and athletic in proportion. Indeed, the magnificence of some of them who are detached for duty at certain "great confluences of human existence" is such that you see strangers standing and gaping at the giants in sheer amazement. The metropolitan police is quite distinct from the constabulary, and under a different chief.

Outside the bank, in College Green, is the celebrated statue of William III. Its location has been more than once changed, and it is now placed where the officer on guard at the bank can keep an eye upon it. This fearful object, which would make a Pradier or Chantrey shudder, is painted and gilt annually. It has long served as a bone of contention between Protestant and Papist, and has come off very badly several times at the hands of the latter—a circumstance which probably accounts for one of the horse's legs being about a foot longer than the rest—half of that limb having been renewed after it had been lost in one of the many free fights in which this remarkable quadruped has seen service. The greatest proprietor of real estate in Dublin is the young earl of Pembroke, son of the late Right Hon. Sidney Herbert, so well known in connection with the Crimean war, who was created, shortly before his death, Lord Herbert of Lea. His estate, which is the most valuable in Ireland, comprises Merrion Square and all the most fashionable part of the Irish metropolis, and extends for several miles along the railway line running from Kingstown, the landing-place from England, to the capital. The property also includes Mount Merrion, a neglected seat about four miles from the city. This mansion, which might easily be made delightful, commands a charming view over the lovely bay, and is surrounded by a small but picturesque park containing deer. It was, with the rest of Lord Pembroke's estate, formerly the property of Viscount Fitzwilliam, who founded the Fitzwilliam Museum in the University of Cambridge.

Lord Fitzwilliam was a somewhat eccentric person. His nearest relation had displeased him by some very trivial offence, such as coming down late for dinner, so he determined to leave his estate to his distant cousin, Lord Pembroke. Falling ill, Lord Fitzwilliam, desired that Lord Pembroke might be summoned from London. Word came back that it was unfortunately impossible for him to leave England immediately. Presently news arrived from Dublin that Lord Fitzwilliam was dead, and had bequeathed all—the property is now three hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year—to Lord Pembroke, with remainder to his second son. By the death of the late Lord Pembroke the English and Irish properties have become united, and are to-day worth not less than six hundred thousand dollars a year! It is this young nobleman who has lately written The Earl and The Doctor.


[1] The Fitzgeralds, of which family the duke of Leinster is chief, became Protestant in 1611, when George, sixteenth earl of Kildare, coming to the title and estates when eight years old, was given in ward, according to the custom of the time, to the duke of Lenox (then lord privy seal), who bred him a Protestant.
[2] In June, 1798, the corpse of Lord Edward Fitzgerald was conveyed from the jail of Newgate and entombed in St. Werburgh's church, Dublin, until the times would admit of their being removed to the family vault at Kildare. "A guard," says his brother, "was to have attended at Newgate the night of my poor brother's burial, in order to provide against all interruption from the different guards and patrols in the streets: it never arrived, which caused the funeral to be several times stopped on its way, so that the funeral did not take place until nearly two in the morning, and the people attending were obliged to stay in church until a pass could be procured to permit them to go out."
[3] Lord Charlemont had a seat called Marino, beautifully situated within a few miles of Dublin. There is within the grounds an exquisite building erected from designs of Sir William Chambers. It is a small villa, in its arrangements suggesting a maison de joie. The furniture is just as it was, and although sadly out of repair, the visitor can easily judge how exquisite the place must once have been. There is a superb mantelpiece, richly mounted in bronze and inlaid with lapis lazuli.
[4] The occupants of Henrietta street in 1784 included—the primate (Lord Rokeby); the earl of Shannon; Hon. Dr. Maxwell, bishop of Meath; the bishop of Kilmore; the bishop of Clogher; Right Hon. Luke Gardiner, M.P.; Viscount Kingsborough; Right Hon. D. Bowes-Daly, M.P.; Sir E. Crofton, Bart.

Twenty years later, Dublin was nearly deserted by the aristocracy on account of the Union. Up to that time nearly all the peers, except those really English, seem to have had residences in Dublin. In 1844, Lords Longford, De Vesci and Monck were the only peers who had houses there.

[5] The precincts, including a portion of the Liberties, were then entirely under the jurisdiction of the dean of St. Patrick's.
[6] It was a part of the grim and ghastly humor of this extraordinary man,
"Who left what little wealth he had

To found a home for fools or mad,

And prove by one satiric touch

No nation wanted it so much,"

to give nicknames, of which Cancerina was one, to the poor old wretches he met in his walks, to whom he gave charity.

Amongst Cancerina's sisters in misery were Stompanympha, Pullagowna, Friterilla, Stumphantha.