Page images




[JULY 9TH, 1856.]



"The Health of the Earl of Carlisle, and Prosperity to Ireland."

N proposing the toast, the Mayor, J. SPAIGHT, Esq., observed that the Representative of our most gracious and wellbeloved Queen was justly entitled at their hands to every mark of respect which their duty and loyalty could suggest; but when, in addition to these high claims on their consideration, they had a liberal statesman-an accomplished scholar-a finished gentleman-a kind and courteous friend-he felt that their respect must rise to admiration, and their loyalty kindle to enthusiasm. The Mayor having alluded to the buildings, institutions, and schools, to illustrate the material and moral progress that had taken place in the town, concluded by saying that there was no man who heard him, whether he be Benedict or Bachelor, who would not appreciate His Excellency's danger when he found himself amongst the bright eyes and beaming smiles of the ladies of Limerick; and when His Excellency rose to address them, and fixed his gaze upon that coronet of beauty that so gracefully adorned their banquet, he would warn him that he would be exposed to a fire more fatal and searching than that which swept the breach to the great Redan; and so utterly untenable did he consider His Excellency's posi tion under such a fire, that it would not surprise him if he felt bound to haul down his standard of single blessedness on the spot.



You may well imagine that I shall find it far from easy to express in any corresponding language my deep and grateful sense of the kind and hearty reception with which I have been honoured this day-first, in the streets of your ancient city by its stalwart sons; and let me add, by its comely daughters-and now within these walls, with a distinguished and brilliant company assembled within this radiant circuit. And I cannot proceed further without thanking your Worship from my heart for the timely, and I confess very necessary caution, which you in your magisterial responsibility for my safe keeping during this too brief visit have thought yourself called upon to supply. Forewarned is indeed forearmed; but when I look around, I cannot wonder that your Worship has already yielded. I trust, Gentlemen, I know how to exercise due discrimination in distributing the warmth and effusion which have been so strikingly manifested on this occasion-among other exciting causes, between the feeling of respect naturally assigned to the higher position I have been appointed to fill as the Representative in this country of our beloved Queen-between your kindly recognition of my past connexion with this country, and your indulgent estimate of my present services. The comparison between that past and this present, presents within my own Irish experience, many gratifying suggestions of encouragement and hope; and I believe I have good reason more expressly to congratulate the present assembly that in the advancing career of national improvement and progress, the county and city of Limerick have borne a very distinguished and prominent part. It so happens that, as it has been arranged that I throw off instead of winding up my visit to this festal gathering, I am not necessarily qualified so well to speak from personal observation as I trust in a day or two hence to be, concerning what has been effected both by public and private enterprise; but this at all events is a very pleasant reflection, that if I have found your streets thronged, and your banquet halls overflowing, I have also found your prisons comparatively empty. If I am shown, as has been promised to me and I doubt not I shall find the promise realized-if I am to be shown schools well attended, docks and quays well furnished, homes for the accommodation of literature, and temples of Divine worship multiplied, so I also am informed that the


criminal papers of the city of Limerick at the present assizes, up to this week at least, did not contain a single name, and the criminal paper for this great and populous county only four. Then, with respect to what I should be inclined to put only second to the diminution of crime-I mean the diminution of pauperism—I find that in the union of Limerick-I am happy to say that other unions in the country present the same proportion-that whereas the expenditure for poor relief in 1849, of which we have such painful remembrances, amounted to £53,000, in the year before last it had fallen to £15,000; the expenditure of the very last year showing, in contrast with its immediate predecessor, a diminution of one-third. And with respect to the number of persons relieved, which in the year 1849 was 46,000, it had fallen in the year before last to 13,000, and it fell in the last year to 10,000. The comparison of persons relieved thus exhibited in the last two years a diminution of one-fourth; but it is further most satisfactory to know, that if we enlarge our horizon so as to take in the whole of Ireland, the landscape will not lose in scarcely any quarter its calm and radiant aspect. I should indeed be adopting a course utterly unworthy of the position which I fill, and of that clear-sighted and sagacious community over whose affairs I have been appointed to preside, if I could endeavour to pourtray any over-coloured or merely flattering representation of their condition or their character. I do seek to conceal that in the whole extent of Ireland there are still to be found sufficient instances of exceptional crime to deter us from dispensing at once with all methods of exceptional repression. I cannot wholly suppress the wish, both because I think that the reproach which it may be thought to imply attaches equally to all parties, and still more because the presence at your board to-night of the two Right Rev. Prelates, which I hail with such cordial pleasure, gives me the hope that any such reproach would attach with comparative lightness here; but the wish to which I return is, that all sides would feel rather more disposed to employ that religious zeal which is the glory of the human character more in adorning their own faith than in impugning that of their neighbours. But I pass gladly from such themes-of which, after all, the individual conscience must be the supreme judge-to those topics of common interest and concern, honourable to all and happy for all alike, which consist in the decrease of pauperism, the growth of agriculture, the extension of commerce, the improvement in the dwellings, the clothing, and the diet of the peo

ple, and the disappearance of crime. These are matters of which Ireland has a right to feel proud, and which give us a right to be hopeful for Ireland. It is now just one hundred and sixty-six years ago since hostile armies were encamped in the surrounding marsh, within hearing of those very spots now only resonant of loyalty and good-will, and the blood of brethren flowed profusely in civil strife around the battered rampart. How is all now changed-all save that first, as it has been rightly described-all save that noblest of Ireland's rivers, which still bathes your walls-all save that valour which has recently lined the trench and scaled the parapet! But now, not as then, it has been displayed in our united armies against a foreign foe. Well, Gentlemen, peace has been happily restored to the East of Europe; and I trust that your noble stream may never waft to that great Western World which first confronts its advancing billows any messages save those of extending commerce and unbroken concord. I wish from my heart that this whole district may very largely share in all the glory and in all the blessings of a peaceful and improving era; and it only remains for me to repeat to you, Gentlemen, that you have this day given me a reception which I shall never forget. I wish I deserved it-I know I am thankful for it.

The EARL OF CARLISLE again rose, and said :

I beg leave to be allowed to propose a toast; and although I believe almost every one whom I have the honour to address has had the advantage of knowing the object of that toast for a longer time, and more about him than I do myself, yet I feel, even if our acquaintance only dated from this evening, that I know quite enough of him to make me sure that you will receive the toast most readily and joyfully. It is stated, and I believe stated with authority, that the Mayoralty of Limerick preceded by eleven years the Mayoralty of London. I dare not say in the worshipful presence of the Mayors of Cork, Waterford, and Clonmel, how much it preceded the other Irish Corporations; but I will almost make bold to say that in the long list of Limerick Mayors that office was never filled by a more competent, more eloquent, or a more worthy Mayor than he whose health I may now call upon you to drink as you ought

"The Chairman of the evening, the Mayor of Limerick."


[JULY 10TH, 1856.]




"The Health of the Earl of Carlisle, and Prosperity to Ireland."

THE Chairman, the EARL OF DUNRAVEN, said-He could not sufficiently express the feelings of gratification at the honour done him by His Excellency's condescending to visit him in his ancestral home. It was indeed a source of great pride to him, and he was aware how little he deserved the honour-for which he was most deeply grateful. Next to that, it gave him most sincere pleasure to see them all there witnessing the presence of a Viceroy for the first time, he might say, perhaps for centuries, within the walls of that ancient and historic castle. They were aware that it had belonged to both branches of one of the greatest and the foremost families-the Fitzgeralds. If they reflected upon the revelling and the banquetting that had taken place there, either the precursors of, or following scenes of strife and blood, he was sure they would agree with him in the expression of the happiness they felt in meeting in that place the Lord Lieutenant that day to inaugurate a work of a very different character. There had issued forth from these walls predecessors of his noble friend the Lord Lieutenant; but there had also gone forth chieftains--in some cases to combat against the British Crown, and in others to combat against the liberties of the people of Ireland. He would venture to say that his noble friend was the first instance there of a nobleman who was the Representative of the British Crown, and at the same time the zealous supporter of the rights of the Irish people. He would not, as he would highly wish to do, then attempt to express in his presence the opinions he entertained personally of the noble Earl of Carlisle; but he would say that it gave him, as he was sure it did all others present, the highest gratification to think that His Excellency had come to Limerick with the express purpose of opening the Railway to Foynes. They were

« PreviousContinue »