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country like Ireland should be drawn, if needed, for Church education. The University of Durham was founded not very long ago out of the surplus endowments of that diocese. The example was worthy of imitation."*
He concluded by a picture of the visit of the Queen and Prince Albert, when in Dublin in 1849, to the National Schools, where Her Majesty had been attended by the Protestant and Catholic Archbishops of Dublin and the representatives of the Presbyterian body.
His nationality was not indeed sectarian. Early associations and life-long friendships with many of his Protestant fellow-countrymen, had combined with the keen appreciation of the fame achieved in literature and arms by the minority of Irishmen, to render him on all occasions ready to assert the claim of race to the national sympathy he so freely proffered. It was no rhetorical affectation when he exclaimed,
“I entertain for my Protestant fellow-citizens a more than compatriot sentiment. Do not listen to me with incredulity. When I reflect upon the great things which have been achieved by the Protestants of Ireland, when I consider how much genius, how much wisdom, how much eloquence, how much virtue, and how much valour-how many great statesmen, great writers, great thinkers, great speakers, and most surpassing soldiers, have issued from a minority so comparatively small, -I cannot withhold my admiration; and let me add that gratitude is associated
* Debate on National Education, 21st June, 1850.
with admiration, when I recollect that there was not a single illustrious Irish Protestant born within the last century who did not take part with his Catholic fellow-countrymen, and plead the cause of Catholic enfranchisement.”*
An attack had for some time been anticipated on the foreign policy of Lord Palmerston, and rumour ascribed to the instigation of Russian and Austrian diplomatists of both sexes the zeal manifested by certain of his prominent assailants. During the debate upon Lord Stanley's motion, Sheil was standing with other members of the Commons, at the bar of the Lords. He listened attentively, and commented to those beside him on each successive allegation of inciting revolutionary movements in Italy, and encouraging the Free Corps against the Sonderbund. Many of these half-audible commentaries afforded much amusement to those around him. When allusion was made to one particular despatch, supposed to have given umbrage to the Court of St. Petersburg, he muttered, as if to himself, “Umph! there's leaven* in that!” A majority of thirty-seven in the House of Peers affirmed the censure proposed. Had the Com
* Debate on Mr. Hamilton's motion in Committee of Supply, for a separate grant to the Church Education Society, 21st June, 1850.
mons tacitly acquiesced in the opinion thus pronounced, Lord Palmerston must have retired. On the motion of Mr. Roebuck, however, a vote of confidence and approval was carried, after four nights' debate, by a majority of forty-six. Mr. Sheil did not speak on this occasion.
A few days afterwards he wrote to Mr. Galway, “At length all our dangers are past, and clouds full of thunder are dispersed. There was a moment when cur antagonists considered our doom to be sealed. The majority of Friday has disposed of the session. The death of Sir Robert Peel! I little anticipated it when I dined with him about a month ago, with the most distinguished literary men in England. His party will not, in my opinion, form a confederacy with Disraeli. I think that Sir J. Graham, notwithstanding his assault on Palmerston, will still be ours.”* The allusion here is to one of the last dinners given by Sir Robert Peel, at which M. Scribe and other foreign celebrities were present.
The Upper House having, on the motion of Lord St. Germans, raised the county qualification of voters from 81. to 121., several of the Irish Liberal members were reluctant to acquiesce in so great a change; and
* Letter to James Galway, Esq., 6th July, 1850.
when the bill came back to the Commons, a good deal of discussion arose upon the motion that the Lords' amendments be agreed to. Mr. Sheil spoke briefly but forcibly, recommending the adoption of the measure even as it stood, rather than allow the Irish counties to remain any longer in the scandalous condition of being virtually without constituencies. The bill, if it passed, would be no waiver of the right to a larger measure of enfranchisement whenever it could be obtained. It was the mere acceptance of an instalment, but a very valuable one, upon account. This was the last occasion upon which he spoke in the House of Commons.
He was not a little gratified at the desire expressed by Mr. Labouchere that he would sit for his bust to Mr. C. Moore. The portrait in marble, from which the drawing prefixed to these Memoirs has been taken, derives additional value from the circumstance that it is the only likeness which exists of him in his maturer years.
Appointed Minister at Florence-Motives for leaving Parliament
-Anticipations of ease and health-First impressions of
With the session of 1850 Mr. Sheil's Parliamentary career reached its close. For twenty years he had occupied a prominent place in the varied controversies of the Senate. He had seen most of the great principles for which he had contended finally adopted, and engrafted into the policy of the State; and the suffrages of the many and the few had concurred in ascribing to his advocacy no humble share in the accomplishment of these results. As an orator his success had equalled, if not exceeded, his most sanguine