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energy of no ordinary nature. Instead of listening, in the sunshine of vice-regal magnificence, to the vague reports of the idle, the ignorant, or the mischievous, you penetrated into the wild recesses of that distracted country, reputed to contain the hot-bed of insurrection; you personally contemplated the character of the poor, suffering Irish peasant, in all its rough but affecting simplicity; you beheld a fellow-being possessed of affections easily to be won by tenderness, of a vivid imagination, and quick and ardent susceptibility, clothed in rags, and living in common with the beast of the field, in a state of penury and wretchedness, unknown to the miserable and oppressed of any other region. To see, to feel, and to meditate relief were all simultaneous in the mind of your Grace. When some partial excesses at length broke out, when the violent and the intolerant clamorously demanded the terrible inflictions of military law, you firmly, wisely, and most humanely resolved upon surrendering up the guilty to the laws of their country, without delivering over their unoffending vicinage to the savage dominion of the bullet and the bayonet. The noble experiment answered, and your Grace lost no portion of your popularity, in the very spot where dire necessity compelled you to offer up victims to justice. Your conduct on that occasion, even in the absence of
other laudable event of your life, is sufficient to sweeten it to its latest period.
A great and unexpected political change rendered the administration of your Grace too brief to execute
the enlightened and salutary plans which you had conceived for the amelioration of Ireland ; but it was of sufficient duration to afford opportunities of displaying those qualities of the head and of the heart, which will endear your memory to that unhappy country for ever, and you have left to it the benefits a brilliant example.
That your illustrious successor may adopt the same clemency and wisdom which your Grace so efficaciously exhibited; and that he may complete the measures which extraordinary political events prevented your Grace from perfecting, is the cordial prayer of him who is an enthusiastic well-wisher to Ireland, and who, with great respect, has the honour to subscribe himself,
My Lord, your Grace's
Most obliged obedient servant,
2, Garden-Court, Temple.
18th May, 1807.
I am indebted for some interesting anecdotes of the most eminent Painters of the Dutch and Flemish School to the authors of the Abrégé de la Vie des Peintres, to Pilkington's Dictionary of Painters, and to the elegant and witty D’Israeli.
I had no companion with me during the greater part of the Tour described in the following pages, which was taken amidst many untoward and embarrassing circumstances, the melancholy effects of war, and which, for that reason, will, I hope, be favoured with the indulgent candour of my friends and of the Public.