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selves on my recollection; the blackened ruins of Castle-Carberry, rising far upon its skirts, were the earliest objects on which my memory seemed to have reposed; and its fragrant wild flowers and mossy banks had been many a time my pillows in the dreamless sleep of infancy."
The school-boy days of Grattan were soon terminated, and at a very early age. His father designed him for the profession which he had himself abandoned ; and accordingly he transmitted the youth to the metropolis, and placed him in the house of a friend in town, for the purpose of studying that branch of the law. It so happened that bis friend was a man of education, and had an excellent library, to which his young visitor had free access.
The consequences were such as might have been expected. The legal books, such as attorneys were in the habit of perusing, were rarely opened; but to make up for the neglect, he diligently perused a variety of other tomes. Instead of “ Booth's History of a Suit at Law,” then a book of great repute, he familiarised himself with that famous history of the suit of Antonio versus Shylock, in the reports of William Shakspeare, and knew by rote Judge Portia's celebrated commendation of “the quality of mercy.” In a word, literary fiction, whether prose or poetry, was devoured with avidity, while legal fictions were unheeded." Then, too, to make bad worse, his friend and host was a man of pleasure—kept a good stud of horses, which was always at the command of his guest and pupil, and gave excellent dinners to all the gay young fellows upon town, including the officers of the garrison. It is not to be wondered at that associations such as these, acting upon a disposition naturally truant, soon caused young Grattan to entertain a most decided aversion to the profession intended for him. Like other “young clerks” before him, many a time and oft did hem
“ Doomed his father's soul to cross, Indite a stanza when he should engross."
He scorned parchments, kicked down his office-stool, and declared his strong predilection for the army. Into the army, therefore, it was arranged he should enter. The military passion was a family one. His uncle William had been a captain ; two of his cousins were in the army-one of whom, Lieutenant-Colonel John Grattan, commanded the 18th Royal Írish, and was highly distinguished in service with his regiment in China and the East Indies ; while his brother William adopted the same profession, and is well known as a gallant soldier, who has been present at almost every battle in the Peninsula, and also as the author of the lively and clever volumes, “ The Adventures of the Connaught Rangers,' and one to whose spirited exertions and indefatigable advocacy the obtaining of the Peninsular medal is mainly due. Accordingly, his father soon procured for Thomas a commission in a militia regiment, as the readiest mode of obtaining one in the line.
The new life upon which he entered must have been more congenial to one of young Grattan's temperament than that which he had abandoned. He spent some pleasant years, at that season of life when pleasure is most keenly enjoyed, in various quarters through the United Kingdom, partaking freely of field sports and town amusements, and all those dissipating and joyous scenes which constituted la vie orageuse of a young Irishman of those days. And now came his turn for volunteering into the line, and taking his share in the perils of more active service. But his anxious wishes were not fated to be realised. His stepbrother had, a short time before, been killed at the head of his company of grenadiers, at the storming of a fort in Java; and his brother William was only recovering from a severe gunshot wound through the body, received at the assault of Badajos. His father, in consequence, was most unwilling that Thomas should engage in similar perils ; and his entreaties, joined to those of the rest of his family, prevailed upon him, though not without difficulty, to defer his proposed intention. When, at length, he had overcome the reluctance of his friends, and left England for the purpose of joining the British army, the opportunity had passed. The battle of Waterloo bad put an end to the European warfare ere he reached Valenciennes ; and he had for some months to solace himself as best he could in the company of some congenial spirits, amongst whom were several whose names have since become famous. Private theatricals formed one of their principal amusements ; and several of those who took share in these performances became subsequently distinguished as professional actors. Amongst them were Captain Prescott, of the artillery (known afterwards as Mr. Ward), Benson Hill, Yates, and Mr. Cole, of the fusiliers, so long known and esteemed in our own city as John William Calcraft-with the public the most popular of managers, amongst his friends the most valued and admired of companions; of whom we have but one regret to express — namely, that his vast stores of learning, his taste, and his genius, had been for many years hidden from the world, till his retirement from the dramatic profession permitted bim at length to take his rightful place in the domains of literature.
The passion for soldiering was not yet extinguished in the heart of young Grattan; and, as Europe no longer presented an opportunity for its gratification, he turned his thoughts to the New World. The war of independence against the Spanish yoke was then waging in South America, and thither the young man, his father being now dead, had decided upon going, to join the patriot forces in company with other adventurers. But here again his destiny interfered and overruled all his plans. Some severe calamities of a private nature occurred to him on the eve of his departure which caused him much mental suffering, and resulted in a fever of several weeks' duration, and nearly terminated his earthly career. At length he recovered ; and, in a state of great despondency, he enibarked at Gravesend in a small brig bound for Bordeaux, whence he had arranged his passage in a French vessel to Venezuela.
On the deck of the little brig, at the moment of ascending its side, Grattan was met by the rough but kindly-natured old skipper, an Irishman by the way, and by him was formally introduced to his fellow-passengers. Ah! destiny once more! Amongst them was a family in deep mourning, and apparently in deep grief, who were on their way to the south of France. The name which the old skipper pronounced as he introduced them sounded pleasantly in the ears of the young man; it was Milesian, from the sonorous affix with wbich it commenced to the melting liquid which brought it to a close—“O'Donnel,” and it sounded not the less sweetly in combination with the name of Eliza, which one of the young ladies bore. The voyage to Bordeaux was in these times an affair of a great many days; and the juxtaposition, which the narrow space between the bulwarks of the brig brought the young people into, was most dangerous. Both sentimental, sorrowful, and Hibernian, what else could happen but what did happen? Ere two months had passed over their heads, the fair Eliza bad commuted the Celtic O'Donnel for the Saxon Grattan ; and Thomas Colley, as a happy husband, resigned for ever his dreams of martial glory, left the patriots of Spanish America to work out their own independence, and betook himself vigorously to the duties of his new position.
The active mind of Grattan was soon at work. Scarcely had he settled down in the south of France, when his old literary tastes impelled him to commence the perilous profession of authorship. His first essay was in poetry - a poetical romance. Poetical romances were then the rage, for Scott had written his
Lady of the Lake,” and “Marmion.” The first production of his pen, “ Philibert, ” was an octo-syllabic poem, in six cantos. "We agree with Byron, that nobody but Scott has triumphed over that measure ; and we suspect Thomas Colley Grattan is of the same opinion ; for though the poem ran through two editions, yet, when larger experience corrected the judgment of the author, he purchased up the issue, and committed it to the flames.
Determined to push his fortune in the metropolis of France, Grattan removed to Paris, and gave himself, heart and soul, to literature. Here, amongst other advantages, he had the good fortune to become acquainted with many of the celebri. ties of the day — with Moore and Washington Irving, amongst English writers with De Beranger, Casimir de Lavigne, De Lamartine, Marchangy, Pierre Le Brun, amongst French authors. Ile now was a constant contributor to the English periodicals, writing in, amongst others, the Westminster and the Edirvurgh Reviews, and the New Monthly Magazine, while edited by Campbell. The genius and capabilities of Grattan appear to have been thoroughly appreciated by one of a kindred mind. Washington Irving saw that his friend possessed great descriptive powers - a quick instinct, that enabled him to understand all the mysteries of human emotions, and a lively and life-like ability in portray.
ing them ; added to these a great mastery of language ever ready to be the vehicle of his versatile mind in every phase, whether of pathos, or humour, or sentimentality, or moralising. By Irving's advice, Grattan reduced to order the memoranda of some of his touring, and submitted the manuscript to a London publisher. But the London publisher did not appreciate what was offered to him, and three others of his brethren were not a whit more sagacious. 'Tis a trite story in literature, and we could illustrate it by many an instance in our own day, where the rejected essay of the obscure author became the first step of the ladder upon which he has climbed to eminence. But Grattan thought not of this. When four publishers had pronounced his condemnation, he flung the manuscript aside as worthless, and turned again to his previous avocations. An accident, however, again brought it to light; and a literary friend was so convinced of its merit, that he introduced the author to Mr. Whittaker, the eminent publisher, who undertook to bring out the book; and, in due time, the first series of “Highways and By-ways," dedicated to Washington Irving, issued from the press. The success of these delightful tales was great and rapid. They were thoroughly suited to the public taste, and to the time at which they appeared. The “Sketch-Book” of Irving bad shown with what effect the incidents of travel could be invested with all the charms of romance, and all the graces of sentiment. Grattan followed and shared the public favour. We mean to insti. tute no comparison between the two writers ; but assuredly Grattan may say of Irving, as did Ulysses of Ajax—"Non superatus ab illo." There is a wonderful charm in these volumes, which takes captive the imagination, the intellect, the feelings one scarce knows how, or stops to analyse; lively, graphic, and wonderfully true to nature, they are to us realities, while we are engaged with themthe highest merit of all artistic works. We may say of the pictures of Grattan what a painter once said to us, as we praised a foreign landscape -" C'est ne pas un tableau, c'est la nature.” Grattan's name was now up. He had no need to court publishers. Several came forward with offers for similar tales ; and the result was, that two more series were quickly produced.
Mr. Grattan's next appearance before the public was in a new line — the tragedy of “Ben Nazir, the Saracen.” This drama was originally composed for Kean, with whom Grattan was originally very intimate; and when they met again, after the return of the former from his wild life in America, Grattan gave him the play. That it was a production of considerable merit is undeniable, and its failure is mainly attributable to the man who could best have secured its success. Indeed, Kean bimself thought highly of it, and selected it from amongst many pieces of the season as that which was to re-establish and even augment his reputation. In a very lively memoir of the great actor, contributed, shortly after his death to one of the English periodicals, Grattan describes the renewal of his acquaintance with the tragedian.
Kean studied his part with ardour, but he would not attend rehearsals. In truth, he was thoroughly broken down in health at the time. The night of trial arrived. The actor broke down, and the play failed with him.
The success of Grattan as a literateur was now sufficient to stimulate a man of his adventurous disposition to seek one of those short-cuts to Fortune, which so rarely lead to the temple of the goddess. He embarked bis all — the entire profits of his literary labours, in a speculation which he calculated was to have produced great results : and so it did—but it was in the greatness of its failure ; and Grattan was totally ruined. But he did not despair ; bis mind was still resilient, though the shock and the trouble in which he was involved impaired his health. He broke up his establishment, left his chateau, in the neighbourhood of Boulogne, betook himself and his family (for he was now a parent) to Brussels, and applied himself to authorship, with as much diligence as interrupted health would permit. The fruits of these hours of toil were the “ Traits of Travel," which was received with well-deserved favour; “ The Heir. ess of Bruges," one of the best historico-romantic novels of the day; the “ History of the Netherlands," a standard volume to this hour; and some other tales ; and the labourer began again to look forward hopefully to the future, projecting new works with returning health and renewed energies. But the course of his life seemed to be ever fraught with eventful and unlooked for mutations. In the midst of bis plans for the future, his performances at the present came les trois jours glorieux of Paris ; the revolutionary flame spread to Belgium, and the emeutes of Brussels and Antwerp, with the enfranchisement of Belgium from the dominion of Holland, followed with terrible rapidity. During the attack on Brussels, Grattan's house was almost demolished by cannon and grapeshot. This, perhaps, might have been endured with tolerable complacency by one who was only a tenant ; but worse followed_his property was pillaged, first by the Dutch troops, and then by the townspeople, les brāves Belges; and the residue—for miraculous to relate there was a residue-after two such operations, was seized upon by a house-agent, who contrived to take care of it in a way that was eminently satisfactory to himself.
Like many others of those who fled from Brussels, Grattan took refuge in Antwerp. From that town he accompanied the Prince of Orange to the Hague, where he wrote “ Jacqueline of Holland." In the May of the following year he was again in motion, rolling with, it may be, no large amount of moss clinging to him, southward, till he settled in the sunny valley of the Neckar, about a league from the famous town of Heidelberg. Not to speak of the great educational and economical advantages of Heidelberg, the attractions of that most beautiful region fixed for a time the erratic feet of Grattan, and the genius loci stimulated and inspired him to new literary achievements. Every one is familiar with his “ Legends of the Rhine;" they are, indeed, fine pietures — faithful, vivid, masterly in sketching and colouring, of those romantic and magnificent scenes; and the legendary interest with which every forest and castle is rife, has been appropriated, and wrought with a skill and taste that will make them favourites as long as there are lovers of romance to be found in the world. After publishing these he set about one of his best novels, “ Agnes de Mansfeldt,” daring a short visit which he made to some friends in Brussels. Leopold had then been recently elected to fill the throne of the new kingdom. Mr. Grattan was, of course, presented at court; and the manner in which he was received by the monarch was such as to induce him once more to gather up bis household gods, abandon the sweet Neckar, and take up bis abode in Brussels, and subsequently in others of the Belgian cities, for four or five years. The atmosphere of a court seems to have had the usual effect upon Grattan that it exercises on other mortals, for we find him now turning to political subjects—not however to the exclusion of works of an imaginative character. He was a frequent contributor to the British and Foreign Reviews, writing upon the state of European af. fairs chiefly in connexion with Belgium ; and he devoted himself with much zeal and attachment to the interests of the king, of what he almost considered his adopted country, whose character and conduct he unfailingly sought to sustain and vindicate. That he did the state some service" was acknowledged by Leopold ; and we believe it was in some degree owing to these services that, in 1839, he received the appointment of British Consul to the State of Massachusets, whither he repaired in the summer of that year, and took up his residence in Boston. Before his departure, however, he completed his several literary works. Some of them were published, others remain to this hour in that “ limbo dei bambini,” to which so many unborn children of authors have in all ages been doomed. Among the former are to be mentioned his “ History of the Netherlands,” an excellent volume, forming one of the historical series of “ Lardner's Cyclopædia :” amongst the latter, a work on the general state of Belgium, being in fact, a continuation of the “ History," which, though ready for the press, from various causes not necessary to advert to, never saw the light.
With the departure of Grattan from England, his literary career may almost be said to have terminated ; and we shall now have to view him as more or less connected with the political questions in which bis diplomatic position necessarily involved him. He devoted himself assiduously to the duties of his office, and at intervals travelled through the different states of the Union and the British North American provinces. At this period the controversy between the American states and the British provinces, relative to the North-Eastern boundary, was the absorbing topic. Indeed, for near twenty years previously it had occupied a large share of the attention of the ministers, commissioners, and other political agents of the two countries, and the contending parties had contrived io complicate the question by their talent, ingenuity, and obstinacy. Grattan set himself to work, endeavoured to attain a thorough knowledge of the various