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THE IRISH PENNY JOURNAL, AUGUST 29, 1840 ***




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THE IRISH PENNY JOURNAL.

NUMBER 9. SATURDAY, AUGUST 29, 1840. VOLUME I.

[Illustration: LEIGHLIN-BRIDGE AND THE BLACK CASTLE.]

The ancient Bridge and Black Castle of Leighlin-Bridge, seated on “the
goodly Barrow,” must be familiar to such of our readers as have ever
travelled on the mail-coach road between Carlow and Kilkenny, for it is
a scene of much picturesque beauty, and of a character very likely to
impress itself on the memory.

These are the most striking features of the town called Leighlin-Bridge,
a market and post town, situated partly in the parish of Augha and
barony of Idrone-East, and partly in the parish of Wells and barony of
Idrone-West, in the county of Carlow, six miles south from the town of
that name, and forty-five miles S.S.W. from Dublin. This town contains
about 2000 inhabitants, and is seated on both sides of the Barrow;
the bridge, which contains nine arches, dividing it into nearly equal
portions: that on the east side consists of 178 houses, and that on the
west of 191, being 369 houses in all. The parish church of Wells, the
Roman Catholic chapel, and a national school-house, are on the Wells
side of the river, as is also the ruined castle represented in our
illustration.

To the erection of this castle the town owes its origin. As a position
of great military importance to the interests of the first Anglo-Norman
settlers in Ireland, it was erected in 1181, either by the renowned Hugh
de Lacy himself, or by John de Clahull, or De Claville, “to whom De Lacy
gave the marshallshipp of all Leinster, and the land between Aghavoe and
Leighlin.”

From a minute description of the remains of this castle given by Mr Ryan
in his History and Antiquities of the County of Carlow, a work of much
ability and research, it appears that it was constructed on the Norman
plan, and consisted of a quadrangular enclosure, 315 feet in length
and 234 feet in width, surrounded by a wall seven feet thick, with a
fosse on the exterior of three sides of the enclosure, and the river
on the fourth. Of this wall the western side only is now in existence.
The keep or great tower of this fortress, represented in our sketch, is
situated at the north-western angle of the square, and is of an oblong
form, and about fifty feet in height. It is much dilapidated; but one
floor, resting on an arch, remains, to which there is an ascent by stone
steps, as there is to the top, which is completely covered over with
ivy, planted by the present possessors of the castle. At the other, or
south-west angle of the enclosure, are the remains of a lesser tower,
which is of a rotund form and of great strength, the walls being ten feet
thick. It is still more dilapidated than the great keep, and is only 24
feet high, having a flight of steps leading to its summit.

The present name of the town, however, is derived from the bridge,
which was erected in 1320 to facilitate the intercourse between the
religious houses of old and new Leighlin, by Maurice Jakis, a canon of
the cathedral of Kildare, whose memory as a bridge-builder is deservedly
preserved, having also erected the bridges of Kilcullen and St Woolstan’s
over the Liffey, both of which still exist. Previously to the erection
of this bridge, the town was called _New_ Leighlin, in contradistinction
to the original Leighlin, a town of more ancient and ecclesiastical
origin, which was situated about two miles to the west, and which was
afterwards known by the appellation of _Old_ Leighlin. The erection of
this bridge, by giving a new direction to the great southern road, led
rapidly to the increase of the new town and the decay of the old one,
whose site is only marked at present by the remains of its venerable
cathedral church.

In addition to the Black Castle and the bridge already noticed,
Leighlin-Bridge had formerly a second castle, as well as a monastery,
of which there are at present no remains. The former, which was called
the White Castle, was erected in 1408 by Gerald, the fifth Earl of
Kildare: its site, we believe, is now unknown. The monastery was erected
for Carmelite or White Friars, under the invocation of the Virgin Mary,
by one of the Carews, in the reign of Henry III., and was situated at
the south side of the Black Castle. After the suppression of religious
houses, this monastery, being in the hands of government, was in 1547
surrounded with a wall, and converted into a fort, by Sir Edward
Bellingham, Lord Deputy of Ireland, who also established within it a
stable of twenty or thirty horses, of a superior breed to that commonly
used in Ireland, for the use of his own household, and for the public
service. The dispersed friars did not, however, remove far from their
original mansion when dispossessed of their tenements; they withdrew to
a house on the same side of the river, about two hundred yards from the
castle; and an establishment of the order was preserved till about the
year 1827, when it became extinct, on the death of the last friar of the
community.

As the English settlement here became very insecure towards the close of
the fourteenth century, and was peculiarly exposed to the hostile attacks
of the native Irish, who continued powerful in its immediate vicinity,
a grant of ten marks annually was made by King Edward III. in 1371, to
the Prior of this monastery, for the repairing and rebuilding of the
house, which grant was renewed six years afterwards; and in 1378, Richard
II., in consideration of the great labour, burden, and expense which
the Priors had in supporting their house, and the bridge contiguous to
it, against the king’s enemies, granted to the Priors an annual pension
of twenty marks out of the rents of the town of Newcastle of Lyons,
which grant he confirmed to them in 1394, and which was ratified by his
successors Henry IV. and V. in the first years of their reigns (1399,
1412), the latter monarch ordering at the same time that all arrears of
rent then due should be paid.

In the civil wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the
possession of Leighlin-Bridge and its castle became an object of much
importance to the combatants on both sides. In 1577, when the celebrated
chieftain of Leix, Rory Oge O’More, rose in rebellion, among other
depredations he burned a part of the town of Leighlin-Bridge, and
endeavoured to get possession of its castle, which was then feebly
garrisoned under the command of Sir George Carew, constable of the
fort and town. With the slender force of seven horse, as it is stated
by Hooker, but under the cover of night, Carew made a sally on his
assailants, numbering two hundred and forty, who, being taken by
surprise, lost many men, and the remainder for a time fled. Having soon
however discovered the extremely small force by which they had been
attacked, they rallied, and in turn became the assailants, pursuing
Carew’s party to the gate of Leighlin-Bridge Castle, and some of them
even entering within its walls; but by the bravery of the garrison they
were soon expelled. Carew had two men and one horse killed, and every man
of his party was wounded. The rebels lost sixteen men, among whom was one
of their leaders, which so discomfited them that they retired, leaving
one-half of the town uninjured.

In the great rebellion of O’Neil, at the close of the reign of Elizabeth,
the castle of Leighlin-Bridge was repaired and garrisoned for the Queen,
though the surrounding country was laid waste by the Kavanaghs. In
the beginning of the succeeding reign (1604), the site of the castle,
together with that of the monastery, &c. &c., were granted by the king to
George Tutchett, Lord Awdeley, to be held of the crown for ever in common
soccage.

In the great rebellion of 1641, the castle of Leighlin-Bridge was
garrisoned for the confederate Catholics, in 1646, with one hundred
men, under the command of Colonel Walter Bagnall; it was here also
that in 1647 the Marquis of Ormond assembled his forces, to attack
the republicans, who had got possession of Dublin; and he rested his
forces here in 1649. It was, however, surrendered to the parliamentary
forces under Colonel Hewson in the following year, soon after which the
main army under Ireton sojourned here for a time, and plundered the
surrounding country. Since this period, Leighlin-Bridge has enjoyed the
blessings of peace, and has made those advances in prosperity which
follow in its train. Its market is on Monday and Saturday amply supplied
with corn and butter, &c., and it has four well-attended fairs, on Easter
Monday, May 14th, September 25th, and December 27th. Much beautiful
scenery and many interesting remains of antiquity exist in its immediate
vicinity.

P.




IRISH MUSIC.


The following song on the harp of our country has been sent to us
by our friend Samuel Lover, the painter, poet, musician, dramatist,
story-writer, and novelist of Ireland, for it is his pride to be in every
thing Irish; and for this, no less than for his manly independence of
character and sterling qualities of heart, we honour him. It cannot be
said of him as of some of our countrymen at the other side of the water,
that he is ashamed of us; and we are not, and we feel assured never shall
be, ashamed of him.

We may remark that these verses owe their origin to an examination of
Bunting’s delightful “Ancient Music of Ireland” - a work of which we
have already expressed our opinion in our first number - and are adapted
to be sung to the first melody in that collection, “Sit down under my
protection.” We may also add, that it is the intention of the poet, when
he prints the music and words together, to dedicate them to Mr Bunting,
as a memorial of his gratitude for the services rendered to Ireland in
the preservation of her national music - services which, as the author
says, “will make his name be remembered amongst our bards.”


SONG.

BY SAMUEL LOVER.

Oh, give me one strain
Of that wild harp again,
In melody proudly its own,
Sweet harp of the days that are gone!
Time’s wide-wasting wing
Its cold shadow may fling
Where the light of the soul hath no part;
The sceptre and sword
Both decay with their lord,
But the throne of the Bard is the heart!

And hearts, while they beat
To thy music so sweet,
Thy glory shall ever prolong,
Land of honour, and beauty, and song!
The beauty whose sway
Waked the bard’s votive lay,
Hath gone to eternity’s shade;
While, fresh in its fame,
Lives the song to her name,
Which the Minstrel immortal hath made!

Proud harp, of wild string,
Where thy sweetness did ring
O’er the silence of other lands,
By the magic of minstrel hands,
Too oft did its wail
Load with sorrow the gale
O’er the land that was made to be free;
But, Isle of the West,
Raise thy emerald crest,
Songs of triumph shall yet ring for thee.

* * * * *

POVERTY. - Poverty has in large cities very different appearances. It is
often concealed in splendour, and often in extravagance. It is the care
of a very great part of mankind to conceal their indigence from the rest.
They support themselves by temporary expedients, and every day is lost in
contriving for to-morrow.

* * * * *

When you intend to marry, look first at the heart, next at the mind, then
at the person.

* * * * *

Pride is a vice, which pride itself inclines every man to find in others
and to overlook in himself. - _Johnson._




HUMBUG.


If the reader’s attention is now called to it for the first time, he will
be rather surprised, we dare say, to find how much humbug is incorporated
with our social system. It will rather surprise him to find, as a little
reflection will certainly enable him to do, that humbug forms, in fact,
the cement by which society is held together; that it pervades every
department of it, fills up all its crevices and crannies, and, in truth,
permeates its very substance. We, in short, all humbug one another;
that’s beyond all manner of doubt.

Don’t we every day write cards and letters beginning with “My dear, or
My _very_ dear sir,” and ending with, “Yours sincerely, truly, &c. &c.,”
knowing, in our conscience, that in ninety-nine instances out of the
hundred - always excepting cases where a man’s _interest_ is concerned - we
do not care one straw for these very dear sirs - not one farthing although
they were six feet below the ground to-morrow.

Suppose an intimation card of the death of one of these very dear sirs,
or of some “good friend” or intimate acquaintance, waits us on our
arrival home to dinner.

“Guess who’s dead?” says some member of our family, running towards us
with joyful anticipation of our perplexity.

“Can’t say, indeed,” reply we. “Who is it?”

“Mr O’Madigan.”

“Ah, dear me, poor follow, is he dead? Very sudden, very unexpected. - _Is
dinner ready?_”

What is the civility of the landlord and his waiters but humbug? What
the smirking, smiling, ducking and bowing of the shopkeeper, but humbug?
What his sweet and gentle “yes, sirs,” and “no, sirs,” and “proud to
serve you, sirs,” but humbug? You are not goose enough to believe for a
moment that he is serious, that he has either the least regard or respect
for you. Not he; he would not care a twopence although you were hanged,
drawn, and quartered before his shop-door to-morrow, except, perhaps, for
the inconvenience of the thing.

What is the civility of the servant to his employer but humbug? Do you
imagine for a moment that that man who, hat in hand, is looking up to you
with such a respectful air - looking up to you as if you were a god - as if
his very existence depended on your slightest breath - do you imagine for
a moment, we ask, that he has in his heart that deference for you that
he would make you believe? that he conceives you to be so very superior
a being as his manner would imply? Not he, indeed. Depend upon it, it is
all humbug; humbug all. And if you saw or heard him when he feels secure
that you can do neither the one nor the other, you would speedily be
convinced that it is.

But it is in the wheel-within-wheel of social life, the domestic circle,
in what are called the friendly relations of life, that the system of
humbug assumes, perhaps, its most deceptive character. See what a loving
and friendly set of people are gathered together around that dinner
table! See how blandly, how affectionately they look on each other!
How delighted they are with one another - with mine host and hostess in
particular! Why, they would die for them - die on the spot. They would go
any length to serve one another. See that shake of the hand, how cordial
it is! that smile, how affectionate! how winning! how full of kindly
promise! Now, do these people in reality feel the smallest interest in
each other’s welfare? Would they make the slightest sacrifice to serve
one another? Not they, indeed. If you doubt it, try any one of them next
day; try any of your “dear friends” if they will lend you a pound or
five, as the case may be. Until you do this, or something like it, depend
upon it you don’t know your men; no, nor your women either.

“Oh! but,” says the moralist, “mere civility, my good sir, mere civility;
absurd idea to suppose that every man to whom you are civil should have a
claim also on your purse.”

“But in the case of a ‘dear friend,’ Mr Moralist, or intimate
acquaintance - eh? - for it is of them only that I speak. Surely _they_
might do something for you.”

“Oh! that as it may be. But as a general rule” - -

“Then all this cordiality of greeting, this affectionate shaking of
hands, these sweet smiles and sweeter words, are all to go for nothing?
They are to be understood as meaning nothing.”

“Certainly.”

“Then we are perfectly agreed - it is all deception.”

“Oh! you may call it what you please.”

“Thank you. Then with your leave I shall call it humbug. It is not a very
elegant word, but it is pretty expressive.”

But, lo! here comes a funeral. See how grave and melancholy these
sable-clad gentlemen look. Why, you would imagine that under that
dismal pall lay all the earthly hopes of every individual present, that
every heart in the solemn train was well-nigh broken. All this is very
becoming no doubt, and it would scarcely be decorous to go either singing
or laughing along the streets on such an occasion, when carrying the
poor remains of mortality to its last resting-place. But it’s humbug,
nevertheless - humbug all! Not one of these sorrowing mourners, excepting
perhaps one or two of the nearest relations, cares one twopenny piece for
the defunct. Not one of them would have given him sixpence to keep him
from starving.

Notwithstanding, however, the very general diffusion of humbug, it may be
classed under regular heads, and we rather think this would not be a bad
way of illustrating it. We shall try; beginning with


THE MILITARY OR HEROIC HUMBUG.

My brave fellow soldiers, we are now on the eve of encountering the
enemy. See, there he stands in hostile array against you. He thinks to
terrify you by his formidable appearance. But you regard him with a
steady and a fearless eye.

Soldiers! the world rings with the fame of your deeds. Your glory is
imperishable: it will live for ever.

Regardless of wounds and death, you have ever been foremost where
honour was to be won. Recollect, then, your ancient fame, and let your
deeds this day show that you are still the same brave men who have so
often chased your enemies from the field; the same brave men who have
ever looked on death as a thing unworthy a moment’s consideration - on
dishonour as the greatest of all evils.

Band of heroes, advance! On, on to victory, death, wounds, glory, honour,
and immortality! (Hurra, hurra, General Fudge for ever! - lead us on,
general, lead us on!) Lead ye on, my brave fellows! Would to heaven my
duties would permit me that enviable honour! But it would be too much
for one so unworthy. Alas! I dare not. My duties call me to another part
of the field. I obey the call with reluctance. But my confidence in your
courage, my brave fellows, enables me to trust you to advance yourselves.
On, then, on, my band of heroes, and fear nothing! (General raises his
hat gracefully, bows politely to his “band of heroes,” and rides off to
a height at a safe distance, from which he views the battle comfortably
through his telescope.)


THE LITERARY HUMBUG - THE AUTHOR’S.

In putting this work into the hands of the public, the author has not
been influenced by any of those motives that usually urge writers to
publication. Neither vanity, nor the desire of gaining what is called
a name, has had the slightest share in inducing him to take this step;
still less has he been influenced by any sordid love of gain; he looks
for neither praise nor profit. His sole motive for writing and publishing
this book has been to promote the general good, by contributing his mite
to the stock of general information.

The author is but too well aware that the merits of his work, if indeed
it have any at all, are of a very humble order; that it has, in short,
many defects: but a liberal, discerning, and indulgent public, will make
every allowance for one who makes no pretension to literary excellence.

The author may add, that part of the blame of his now obtruding himself
on the public rests on the urgent entreaties of some perhaps too partial
friends.


THE PUBLISHERS’ HUMBUG.

The publishers of this new undertaking have long been of opinion that a
new and more efficient course of moral instruction was wanted, to raise
the bulk of mankind to that standard of perfection which every Christian,
every good member of society, must be desirous of seeing attained.

It is with the most _poignant regret_ they have marked the almost total
failure of all preceding attempts of this kind. How much it has pained
them - how much they have grieved to see the inadequacy of the supplies of
knowledge to the increasing wants of the community, especially alluding
to the working and lower classes generally, _whose interests they
have deeply at heart_, they need not say: but they may say, that they
anticipate the most triumphant success in their present efforts to supply
the desideratum alluded to.

The publishers may add, that as regards the undertaking they are now
about to commence, profit is with them but a secondary consideration.
Their great object is to promote the general good by a wide _dif_fusion
of knowledge, and a liberal _inf_usion of sound and healthy principle.
If they effect this, their end is gained. The work, on which no expense
will be spared, will be sold at a price so low as to leave but a bare
remuneration for workmanship and material - so low, indeed, that a very
large demand only can protect the publishers from positive loss. But it
is not the dread of even the result that can deter them from commencing
and carrying on a work undertaken from the purest and most disinterested
motives.


THE CRITICAL HUMBUG.

A more delightful work than this, a work more rich and racy, more
brilliant in style or more graphic in delineation, it has rarely been our
good fortune to meet with. Every page bears the stamp of a master-mind,
every sentence the impress of genius.

What a flow of ideas! What an outpouring of eloquence! What a knowledge
of the human heart with all its nicer intricacies! What an intimacy with
the springs of human action! What a mastery over the human passions! Ay,
this is indeed the triumph of genius.

The author of this exquisite production writes with the pen of a Junius,
and thinks with the intellect of a Bacon or a Locke. His language
is forcible and epigrammatic, his reasoning clear and profound; yet
can nothing be more racy than his pleasantry when he condescends to
be playful - nothing more delicately cutting than his irony when he
chooses to be satirical - nothing more striking or impressive than his
ratiocination when he prefers being philosophical.

We confidently predict a wide and lasting popularity for this
extraordinary production. Indeed, if we are not greatly mistaken, it will
create quite a sensation in the literary circles of Europe.


PATRIOTIC HUMBUG.

My country, oh! my country! it is for thee, for thee alone, I live; and
for thee, my country, will I at any time cheerfully die - (Who’s that
calling out fudge?) Nearest my heart is the wish for thy welfare. To see
thee happy is the one only desire of my soul, and that thou mayest be so,
is my constant prayer.

Night and day dost thou engross my thoughts, and all, all would I
sacrifice to thy welfare! My private interests are as dust in the
balance - (Who’s that again calling fudge? - turn him out, turn him
out) - My private interests are as dust in the balance; and shame, shame,
oh! eternal shame to the sordid wretch, unworthy to live, who should for
a moment prefer his individual aggrandisement to his country’s good.
Perish his name - perish the name of the miserable miscreant!

Wealth! what is wealth to me, my country, compared to thy happiness?
Station! what is station, unless thou, too, art advanced? Power! what is
power, unless the power of doing thee good? Oh, my country! My country,
oh! - (Oh! oh! oh! from various parts of the house.) The patriot sits
down, wiping his patriotic forehead with a white handkerchief, amidst
thunders of applause.

* * * * *

Before going farther with our Illustrations - indeed we don’t know whether
we shall go any farther with them at all or not, as we rather think we
have given quite enough of them - before going farther, then, with any
thing in the more direct course of our subject, we may pause a moment to
remark how carefully every one who comes before the public to claim its
patronage, conceals the real object of his doing so. How remote he keeps
from this very delicate point! He never whispers its name - never breathes
it. How cautiously he avoids all allusion to his own particular interest


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Online LibraryVariousThe Irish Penny Journal, Vol. 1 No. 9, August 29, 1840 → online text (page 1 of 3)