There stood forth one, who came to plead for his poor country; and he told a simple tale of what his own eyes had seen, his own experience verified, within a short space of time. He spoke of a mansion where peace had dwelt: where the pastor of a parish had long abode, and from whence he was driven by the blood-thirsty rage of a multitude, whose menaces compelled him to flee for his life. He told of the Wretched contrast that ensued—of the glebe-house transformed to a barrack—of peaceful chambers garrisoned by armed men—of the bugle note echoing where, from a family altar, had ascended the quiet tones of prayer and praise. Tears from many eyes bore witness to the sympathy of his hearers; but none flowed from a source so deep as mine. That pastor was my friend; that glebe-house was the pleasant home where I learnt the meaning of those otherwise inexplicable words, Irish hospitality! In those light and airy, chambers, I had, many a night, sunk into pleasant repose ; awakened by the morning beam, to rove through a wilderness of the choicest sweets, and then to kneel amid the household band, uniting my devotions at that family altar. There was no fiction in it : nothing for imagination to fill up ; all was reality, deep-felt, agonizing truth : and though, I bless my God, I do love Ireland, and mourn for her, and have tried to serve her, even from that very time, yet I never so loved, I never so grieved, I never so burned to spend and be spent for her, as when that appalling description was given, of scenes where my bosom^s warmest affections had been drawn out, and where the victims of popish persecution were my friends, my endeared, my hospitable Christian friends ; and the wretched instruments of destruction were the smiling peasants, whose cabins I had visited, whose children I had fondled, and from whose scanty meal of potatoes I had often accepted the choicest morsel, rather than hurt their generous feelings, by declining that which they could ill afford to give. My poor, warm-hearted, impetuous, deluded Irish ! What can I do for them ? What, but pray and plead for their immortal souls, dragged into perdition by means of chains, that you, reader, might well assist to break.
The dear young pastor who related this touching story, gave a singular instance of the efficacy of those means. He told of the funeral of a policeman, whose mangled remains he buried amid menacing thousands of those whose hands had shed his blood, or whose hearts applauded the deed. They pressed on the heretic minister, with thoughts of similar violence ; but the Lord put it into his heart to use his knowledge of the vernacular tongue for their benefit: he continued the beautiful service in Irish ; and the effect was wonderful. Thev listened, they joined in it; and at the close they opened a passage for him with uncovered heads, pronouncing a blessing on him in the tongue that they loved : and such was the influence that its use had given him over them, that, when frankly declaring their purpose of not leaving a Protestant alive in the parish, they told him his blood would be the last that they should shed !
I cannot forget the thrilling reality of all this : neither could I, nor would I, forget that he who so feelingly, so tenderly, interceded for his deluded countrymen, had, within a few short weeks, beheld the grey hairs of his own beloved father brought down in blood to the grave, by the murderous hands of such as he was pleading for. He alluded not to this : but surely the blessing of him who prayed for His murderers, could not but sanctify the effort made: and surely a portion of that blessing will accompany even my poor record of it, to reach the heart of some on behalf of Ireland's guilty Papists and her wronged, her persecuting, her forgiving Christian Protestants.
I am not going to select a flower, and an individual for this chapter. I take the whole garden for my type, and Ireland for my departed friend. Alas ! she lies among the dead : but the spirit of life will re-enter, and she shall cast forth her grave clothes, despite of Satan and of Rome. I remember, many years ago, passing some hours in a garden, that might serve as the very personification of Ireland. It belonged to a noble mansion, the titled owner of which had not for years inhabited it. The dwelling was closed, but in no manner decayed; and the garden was deserted, not destroyed. There were winding walks, bordered with exquisite shrubs: but the latter had attained a growth that stretched their branches across the path ; and weeds of enormous magnitude seemed to compete, on equal terms, the possession of the soil. In one place, my foot was caught by the tangled meshes of a moss-rose-tree, straggling quite over the gravel walk, and actually throwing me down in my attempt to pass; nor did I escape without scratched hands and a torn dress. In another, I had to rend my way, though reluctantly, by destroying whole masses of honey-suckle; and such was the difficulty of proceeding, that only one of the party would accompany me in my determined efforts to explore the whole scene. It must not be supposed that overgrown rose-trees, and rampant honeysuckles were the only obstacles we encountered. Many a nettle thrust its aspiring shoots into our very faces ; and not a few sturdy thistles poig-narded our ancles. A more annoying, vexatious, perplexing task could hardly be imagined ; only that at every step, we were compelled to cry out, " If it were but weeded, and pruned, and dressed, what a paradise it would be !"
I well recollect, too, the unexpected termination of this strange ramble. We arrived at a spot where the luxuriant growth of all descriptions of garden trees, laburnum, lilac, arbutus, laurel, and an endless etcetera, no longer shut out the sky from our view, but opened to us a little grassy knoll, surmounted by an ancient yew, of beautiful form, round the trunk of which was the wreck of a rural seat. We ascended the gentle slope, and attempted to pass round the tree; but ah, what a start did I give on accomplishing the half of my purpose ! Beyond that tree, not a leaf of vegetation was to be perceived, excepting the grass and hawrthorn shoots that clad a precipitous descent, of a few yards, beyond which lay a strip of bright yellow sand, and then the ocean, the grand, the glorious German ocean, stretching away to the horizon, in the deep blue of unbroken repose ; save where the thousands of little silvery billows, gemmed into unspeakable beauty, by the slanting rays of the western sun, came rippling along the edge of the coast, and sported over the sands. The contrast was inconceivably fine : never did ocean appear so mighty, nor 'all the grand magnificence of heaven' so imposingly sublime, as when I had just emerged from that labyrinth of neglected flowers and permitted weeds. Yet it was all in keeping : sea and sky most beautifully harmonized with the wide range of tall green shrubs, on which I could look back, or rather down, from the eminence : and the many-tinted clouds of sunset appeared as the very pallet from whence the flowers had stolen their corresponding hues. I was then a wild young girl, and my feelings were kindled to the highest pitch of enthusiasm by the scene : but I little thought that a deserted garden on England's eastern coast, was, in after years, to furnish a tvpe for the lovely western isle, concerning which I, of course, knew less then I did of Peru or Kamt-chatka. I say of course, because it seems to be a general rule among us, that young people should know no more of Ireland than they can learn by committing to memory the names of its four provinces and thirty-two counties ; and old people only what they can glean from the newspapers: in proof whereof I will just mention that, four years ago, wanting to refer to an authentic history of Ireland, I went to borrow it from the library of a first rate military public institution, which salaries a professor of history—there was none ! I then sent to all the private collections within ten miles, and some much farther, but no such book as a history of Ireland was to be found in any of them. I applied to a quarter in London, where I was sure of success :—any other history was at my service ; but not a line of Irish history had they. Poor as I was, I could not endure the stigma to rest on all the English ; so I bought Leland, in three good volumes; and I positively declare that, of all the English friends who have noticed it in my precious cabinet of Irish bog-yew, not one had read the book. Now, if this be not the devil's doing, to blind our eyes, and harden our hearts against the claims of our dear brethren—whose is it ? Yet there is a work I would rather see than Leland's, in the possession of my friends. Christopher Anderson's Historical Sketches of the native Irish, is a gem such as six shillings will not'often buy.
I have rambled from my garden, but not from my point. Ireland is such a spot as I have faithfully described; for what I have written is unadorned fact. Ireland is a garden, where what was originally good, has run to rampant mischief, only bearing abundant token that it needs but to be pruned and trained, to become again most innocently lovely. Ireland is a garden, where what is radically bad, has, through our wicked neglect, taken root, and well nigh usurped the soil, to the extirpation of many a delicate plant, that was thrust out to make way for its noxious growth. Ireland is a garden, where he who only lounges for his amusement, or dwells for his convenience, will be—ought to be—scratched, and stung, and tripped up, and bemauled : but where he who, with axe and pruning-hook, assails the bad root, and dresses the good tree, who gathers up, and binds together, and weeds, and plants, and waters, looking to God for the increase, may, and will, behold his share of the desert transformed into a blooming Eden—the wilderness into the garden of the Lord. Furthermore, he shall find, when his work is ended, a resting-place, where the ocean of eternity shall lie before him in all the unruffled majesty of bright repose, while the winds are held fast in the hollow of God's hand, and the sun shines forth, even the Sun of Righteousness, to beautify with celestial splendour the interminable prospect of delight. " Not of works," God forbid ! No, but of that grace which alone, in the face of Satan and all his hosts, can gird us to the mighty deed of hurling great Babylon from her usurped seat: and which does not choose and sanctify an instrument here, to be cast into the fire when the work is accomplished.