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Such were the means by which the union of Ireland with Great Britain was accomplished, and it would be idle to argue that a majority in the Irish Parliament was not purchased by places, pensions, peerages, and compensation for suppressed seats. But it was a bargain, made above-board, and in the open market. It was, moreover, in agreement with the sentiment of the age, a borough-owner was thought to have a right "to do what he willed with his own," and Pitt, in one of his own Reform bills, had acted on the theory that boroughs were a species of property. Lord Cornwallis, though he acknowledged that he was engaged in dirty work, declared that the union was imperatively necessary, and could be accomplished only by those means. The Irish Parliament was profoundly corrupt, and from no point of view could its extinction be regretted, but that extinction could be accomplished only by further corruption. Nor is there any proof that the Irish nation as a whole were opposed to the union. It was, of course, hard on a pure patriot like Grattan to be involved in the fate of a corrupt gang of placemen, but, as a Protestant, he only[476] represented the minority. The Catholics were either indifferent, with the indifference resulting from long oppression, or in favour of the measure. They knew that from the Irish Parliament it had become, since the Rebellion, hopeless to expect Catholic emancipation; they believed the assurances of Pitt that a measure for their relief would speedily be introduced in the British Parliament. Had he been able to fulfil his promise, the union would have beento use Macaulay's familiar phrasea union indeed. [342]

Thomas Moore, the poet, in the latter period of his life, published several biographical worksnamely, a "Life of Richard Brinsley Sheridan," in 1825; "Notices of the Life of Lord Byron," in 1830; and "Memoirs of Lord Edward Fitzgerald," in 1831. Byron had written memoirs of his own life, which he presented to Moore, and by the publication of which a very large sum of money could have been made; but Moore generously placed the MS. at the disposal of Mrs. Leigh, the poet's sister and executrix; and from a regard to his memory, they were consigned to the flames. It is supposed, however, that all that was valuable in them was found in the noble lord's journals and memorandum-books. Among literary biographiesa class of publications highly interesting to cultivated mindsthe first place is due to Lockhart's "Life of Sir Walter Scott," a work that ranks next to Boswell's "Life of Johnson."

There were other transactions besides those of the American campaign, during the year, which demand notice. Rodney co-operated with a body of troops under General Vaughan in an attempt to recover the island of St. Vincent, which the French had taken in the previous year, but they were not successful. They then turned their attack on the island of St. Eustatia, belonging to the Dutch, and the governor not having heard the news of the war, they met with no resistance. The capture was a most valuable one; the whole island seemed one great store of Dutch and American products and goods. There were one hundred and fifty merchant vessels in the harbour all secured, besides six ships of war and a fleet of thirty Dutch West Indiamen, which had just left, but which were sent after and brought back. The value of the whole prize was estimated at three millions eight hundred thousand pounds. A large quantity of the merchandise belonged to Englishmen, who were engaged thus in supplying the Americans through this channel. Rodney confiscated the whole of it. In vain did the owners demand, through the Assembly of St. Kitt's, the restoration of those goods; Rodney would not listen to them. Besides St. Eustatia, the small neighbouring islands of St. Martin and Saba, and the Dutch settlements on the rivers of Demerara and Essequibo, in Guiana, were taken with their ships and property. The Dutch trade in these parts received a mortal blow. On the other hand, the French, under the Marquis de Bouill, captured the island of Tobago. The Austrian campaign, and Buonaparte's sojourn at Sch?nbrunn, gave him a sight of the Archduchess Maria Louisa, and determined his conduct. The house of Hapsburg, however ancient and however proud, was under the foot of the conqueror, and the sacrifice of an archduchess might be considered a cheap one for more favourable terms than Austria was otherwise likely to receive. It had the fate of Prussia before its eyes, and the bargain was concluded. It might have seemed to require no little courage in an Austrian princess to venture on becoming Empress of France after the awful experience of her aunt Marie Antoinette. But Maria Louisa was scarcely eighteen. She had seen Buonaparte, who had endeavoured to make himself agreeable to her; and so young a girl, of a military nation, might be as much dazzled with the conqueror's glory as older, if not wiser, heads. She made no objection to the match. In appearance she was of light, fair complexion, with light-brown hair, of a somewhat tall figure, blue eyes, and with a remarkably beautiful hand and foot. Altogether, she was an animated and agreeable young lady.