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strong Irish party under O'Connell) sought to get better terms for the Irish Catholics, and proposed that the surplus revenues of the Protestant Church should be used for the purposes of general education in Ireland. Sir Robert Peel would not, however, give way on this point, whereupon he was driven from office, and the Liberals, who had now formed an alliance with O'Connell, came into power. Then was seen, for the first time, an English government in Ireland under the direction of a man who understood the country, and loved the people. This man was Thomas Drummond.
ORN in Edinburgh in 1797, and
entering the Royal Engineers in 1815, Drummond gradually glided into politics, and, in June 1835, became undersecretary at Dublin Castle. There were
and a chief secretary nominally over him; but he was really over the whole administration. He
the Irish government. Parliament had not yet settled the tithe question. The Liberal ministry of Lord Melbourne had to fight hard to carry the reform they proposed, and, meanwhile, the Protestant clergy endeavoured to get their tithes by the old methods. But Drummond sternly declined to collect tithes at the point of the
bayonet. What the clergy could get without the aid of the military and police, they were welcome to; but Drummond, himself a Protestant, indignantly refused to shoot down Catholic peasants because they would not pay tithes to a Protestant Church. He remained in Ireland for five years. During that time, he governed with wisdom and justice, won the confidence of the people, and drew them to the side of the law. He crushed the Orange Society, which had been formed over half a century before by bigoted Protestants to oppress Catholics. He restrained the excesses of the peasantry in their struggle against landlordism, partly by the vigour of his administration, partly by the popular confidence which his sympathy with the suffering and oppressed inspired; on the one side, putting down agrarian outrages with a strong hand; on the other, telling the landlords, in words which have never been forgotten, to remember that 'Property has its duties as well as its rights. He stopped the tithe war by refusing to place the forces of the Crown at the beck of the clergy, and by warning the people that they should not outstep the limits of the law if they desired to have the protection of the government. He subdued popular agitation by ruling on popular principles; he made Ireland tranquil by making the Irish believe in his love of justice and in his love of them. But from the moment he set foot in Ireland to the day of his death, he was assailed by the Ascendency faction, and denounced by the English Tory press. But he never departed from the policy of well-doing which he had marked out for himself
Unshaken, unreduced, unterrified ;
But his labours in Ireland and for Ireland seriously impaired his health.
In the winter of 1839, it became evident that Drummond's health was breaking down. His friends urged him to relinquish his duties for a time, and seek rest and change of scene. Yielding to their repeated entreaties, he went to England for a short time. He returned to Dublin in February in 1840. On April 10th of that year he entertained a party of friends to dinner. He rode to the Castle as usual on Saturday morning. On Sunday he became seriously unwell. On Monday he grew worse. On Tuesday it became clear that Thomas Drummond had not now long to live. As
and noble a soul as had ever been breathed into man was quickly passing away. On Tuesday night he asked to see his children. The doctors felt obliged to deny him this request. He then begged Dr Johnson to open a drawer, which he pointed out, where there were three small Bibles, each with a history attached to it. •Give these,' he said, 'to my children, with their papa's blessing. It is the best legacy I can give them.' On Wednesday afternoon Drummond began to sink rapidly. All was nearly over now.
Dr Johnson told his noble-hearted patient that
he had not many minutes to live. Doctor,' replied Drummond, all is peace; tell my mother that on my death-bed I remembered the instructions I had received from her in childhood.' Mrs Drummond entered the room, and he bade her a last farewell. Dearest beloved Maria,' he said, you have been an angel of a wife to me. Your admonitions have blessed me long. The last moment had now arrived, and Dr Johnson asked Drummond where he wished to be buried'in Ireland or in Scotland ?' 'In Ireland, the land of my adoption,' was the immediate answer ; 'I have loved her well and served her faithfully, and lost my life in her service.' All then ended. One of the best, one of the most unselfish and pure-minded friends Ireland has ever known, was no more.
Drummond's remains rest in Harold's Cross Cemetery, Dublin, and his statue—the only one, it may be truly said, ever erected by the Irish people to an English official-stands in the City Hall, side by side with the sculptured figures of Charles Lucas, Henry Grattan and Daniel O'Connell. His memory is to-day green in the hearts of the nation he loved and served so well, his name honoured and revered wherever his life and work are known.
Drummond had done much for Ireland. But the English parliament did little. The tithe question was indeed settled in 1838 ; but exactly on the lines laid down by Sir Robert Peel in 1834. The Liberals had failed to carry their proposal for applying the surplus