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ART. XXIX, Some Observations on the projected Union between
Great Britain and Ireland, and the Expediency of agitating the Measure at this Time. By J. H. C. Erg. Barrister at Law, 8yo. Pp: 35. M.Kenzie, Dublin. 1798.
'HESE observations are published with a view to shew that the
present time, when the minds of the people of Ireland are in a ftate of perturbation, arising from the internal disorders which have so long prevailed in that country, is peculiarly unfavourable for bringing forward the important question of an Union. They are temperate, pertinent, and judicious, and prove the author to be a fincere friend to the British empire, with no more than a landable parti. ality for his native soil ; such a partiality, in short, as results from a generous and a noble sentiment, and such, consequently, as every inan ought to possess. He is evidently anxious that a question of such magnitude should undergo a calm and deliberate discussion, and it is on that account that he wishes it not to be brought forward at present, and that, whenever it is brought forward, it may be stripped of all those extraneous topics with which vanity, presumption, malevolence, or folly seeks to incumber it. His remarks on national dignity, and national pride, are particularly apposite.
“ That which is termed national dignity, seems to me to be as little understood, as it has been greatly misapplied on the present occasion: Where two kingdoms have but one Crown, yet separate legiNatures; where a physical incorporation, but not a political one, has been formed by degrees;- where one fleet and one army, nationally indivisible even in thought, have been formed from the subjects of each without distinction;-where the enemies of one are the enemies of both ;--where peace and war affect both or neither ;--- where the subjects of the one are entitled to all the natural rights of the other where is the distinct and separate national dignity of cither? I know of none. The dignity of such an empire is not divifible into parts.
" National pride is but too generally national prejudice. The introduction of those plausible terms amongit the objects of real conlideration, is loading the enquiry with gilded baubles. They are like the foils and spangles on the slipper of the Opera-dancer, which catch the eye and give a falsc appearance of action." R 16. 17.
The author is friendly to an Union provided the terms be fair and equitable; but the arguments which he adduces to thew that the present time is unfavourable for the project, proves, at least, that he knows the temper of his countrymen full well.
“ Without being fairly examined, 'it will be considered as injurious to Ireland; candour, and cool judgement, and good temper will be itrangers to the determination, and the true interests of the nation will be overlooked ; violent relolutions and decilions will follow: I know the impetuous and irritable temper of my countrymen, and I know how easily it is mildirected.
“ An event the most extraordinary, the most dangerous, and, I will add, the most unnatural may succeed ; a temporary, and partial, and designing coalition may be formed between the dilatiected and the loyal : partial--because it has only one object in view, namely, the defeat of the measure of an Union ; designing-because it is making the loyal part of the nation ancillary to the views of traitors; jumporary--bccaule it will cease with its object. The ediccts of such a coalitou
are not easily calculated ; animosities would be created between Ireland and Britain, and the grand with of treason would be accomplished by the creation of a division between two kingdoms, which ought to be linked together by an in. diffoluble tie, and have no separate interests.
Art. XXX. Reasons against an Union, in which Arguments
for and against an Union, supposed to have come from a Person in high Station, are particularly considered. By an
Irishman. 8vo. Pp. 32. Folingsby, Dublin. 1798. THU
"HIS writer questions the competence of Parliament to vote an
Union, and seeks to support his position by quotations from Grotius, Puffendorff, and Locke. Locke's reasoning respecting the power of the people being entirely founded on falle premises, viz, that goverment is a delegation issuing from the people, and its power entirely derived from them; it is not surprising that his conclusions should be erroneous. As to the initances adduced from Grotius and Pufiendorff, they do not appear to us to bear upon the point in question, for they evidently confine the lawfulness of resistance to cases wherein the supreme power of the state is transferred, without the consent of the people, to other hands; even Locke limits it (on this question) to a transfer of the power of making laws. Now the King is the fupreme power of the state, the Caput, Principium, et Finis, (to nse the words of Lord Coke,) he it is who makes laws, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords and Commons; and we have not heard of any intention of transferring the Crown of Ireland to any other head.
The author admits that an Union would be productive of many advantages, but, in his opinion, these would be more than counterban lanced by the disadvantages which it would produce, and, therefore, he is inimical to it. Many of his observations are marked by good sense, all his arguments are urged with decorum, and he has certainly fulfilled what he Itates to have been his with ; " to discuss the question with temper and moderation, to avoid all extraneous matter, and to give offence to none."
ART. XXXI. Ireland Sabinized, or a Case in Point.
8vo. Pp. 15. Price 6;d. Hill, Dublin, 1799. .
and hypocrisy" the writer of this pamphlet undertakes to ex. pofe, by shewing, that the English and Irish are not so situated in respect of each other as the Romans and Sabines were. He certainly thews sufficient knowledge to convince his readers that he has perused “ The Roman History, in question and answer.”
agt ART. XXXII. Strictures on an Union betwixt Great Bria
tuin and Ireland. By an Officer. 8vo. Pp. 44. Dorning Dublin. 1798.
"HESE are the suggestions of a well-disposed mind, who sees
his country a prey to numerous evils, to which, in his opinion, an Union would supply an adequate remedy. One of these evils, indeed, might be removed without an Union ; we mean, the system of letting estates to middle-men; this is a grievous calamity, tending at once to oppress the most industrious part of the community, and to injure the proprietor of land, in a very great degree. We have known some inítances in which this system has been abolished and the effects have been most beneficial, and we can see no earthly reason why a general abolition Mould not take place.
This Officer successfully confutes the reasoning of Mr. Spencer and some other opponents of the proposed Union, respecting the effects of the Union upon Scotland, and the alledged violation of its conditions, in particular instances, by Great Britain. These Gentlemen having ab surdly observed that “ Edinburgh has remained stationary," inferring from thence that the state of the country had not been improved during the present century, this writer alks,“ how old is the new town of Edinburgh ? or, if that is no sign of its advancement in commerce, why should there have been lately an act of Parliament for enlarging the harbour of Leith?” He ably defends the Scotch againit the aspersions caft upon them by Mr. Spencer and others'; and he properly styles the affertion that “ Ireland drew the venom that hath tinctured her principles from Great Britain" an “impudent aflertion," juftly remarking, that " in the bosomn of Ireland have long been nurtured these secds of rebellion, which, to the rain of thousands, burst forth at last ; a rebellion originating partly from an oppression exercised by themselves-partly from the most execrable treasons that ever were planned.”
Speaking of the most violent declaimers against the Union, le
" These boisterous demagogues take hold of a popular subject to wrest it for their own purposes ; let the pill be ever so bitter, there will be found tools to swallow it'; pallion too often blinds the human mind; nor is it, until after cire cumstances have occurred which lead to more teniperate consideration, that they wake tine to curfe the fiend that has blinded their judgement.”
Art. XXXIII, Letter to Joshua Spencer, Esq. occafioned
by his Thoughts on an Union. By a Barrifter. 8vo. Pp. 42.
the Union would be oppored by many Gentlemen at the Irish But, ftill it would find able advocates in that fame body. Mr. Spencer having publicly advanced the broad propofition
“ That circumstanced as Ireland and England now are, both with respect to their own particular internal concerns, their mutual relations to each other as connected kingdoms, and the particular itate of Europe at this moment, no possible Union of the Legillature of the two countries can be for the advantage of the former."
This writer undertakes to demonstrate the fallacy of his opinion, and to thew that an Union will not only be advantageous to, but abso. lutely neceffary for, Ireland. He ascribes the flow progress of national improvement in that country to the circumstance of the people “ feeling so much and thinking so little ;” and, having traced the causes which contributed to the formation of the Irish characters he draws this conclusion,
“ One less formed for domestic tranquillity, or the pursuits of sober industry can scarcely be imagined; some alteration in the causes which have produced this condition is devoutly to be wilhed. To continue in a track in which we have hitherto mct with nothing but misery and diftreis, would be something more than national folly."
He then proceeds to sew that no alteration in the present laws, while the mode of adminiftering the constitution remains as it is, can ever remove them:
“ To remain as we are, with our experience of the evils which press upon us, would be inadness; fome change must be made-fome radical change which will remove the evil is the only permanent way by which such evils can be removed, by removing the cause of them. This course, at once wife and safe, confits, in niy mind, in the adoption of that Union with England, which you so itrongly reprobate."
There is a considerable display of strong sense and accute reasoning in this letter ; and the flimsy fabric erected by Mr. Spencer is unable to withstand the well-directed attacks of his more powerful adversary. We might felect many pallages in support of our judgement, but we Thall content ourselves with the following extract:
“ Before we can hope that England will promote our interests to the extent our Situation is capable of, The must be well allured that we make part of berfelf. We must be placed beyond the reach of foreign cabal, or the temptation to internal conspiracy; these two are promoted by each other, and both arise from the fuppoled practicable diffolution of that connection which now sublitts between the countries. But we are asked, " Thall we lend our aflittance to remove from this couut ry the visible signs of the English conftitution ?' at present indeed we may have tome of the vijible fyns but we certainly want much of the inward and Spiritual grace; I mean no un hallowed allu!ion, for I contider as almost divine the genuine fpirit of that constitution. But I confeís, I care not how far theic vifible ligns are removed from me, provided I enjoy the substantial bleflings which arile from their existence. It is indifferent to me it I never fec a king, or an aflembly of lords, or of commons, (for these are the vilible signs you allude to,) provided I know that my interest, in common with that of every individual in the land, is fubinitted to the wisdom of their councils. I would be glad ta know what viible signs of the English conftitution have Liverpool, Bristol, Birmingham, and Manchester ? the two latter have not even reprefentatives in the allembly of the nation. No king of the house of Brunswick, that I know of, ever let' his foot in one of them, and if a lord has palled through them, he has probably been like any other pallenger, unnoticed and unknown. Have they sufe fered by this absence of those vipble jigns of the English constitution ? I apprehend not. Are werhen to be treated thus like children, and is it to be seriously lamented that an Union will in fuiule preclude us from the enjoyment of this fhew? My
ideas of the visible hors of the English conftitution are very different from those which seem to engage your imagination. I see them in the cultivated farm, the independent tandholder, the comfortable artist, the wealthy merchant, in respect for the laws and their administrators, in reverence for religion and its teachers, in the secure protection of life, liberty, and, property, and in that diffused morality, which, reaching from the highest ranks of luciery to the lowest, coqueats them in one beautiful and harmonious whole. Here I behold the effects of a good conftitution, well adminiftered. To attain such things I would sacrifice much of form, much of pride, and much of dignity."
Art. XXXIV. A Loyal Subject's Thoughts on an Union
" between Great Britain and Ireland. 8vo. Pp. 37. Mil
liken, Dublin. 1799. THE THE Thoughts of an honest, upright, and independent mind,
delivered in plain and fimple language, on topics of general concern, are ever ntitled to more attention than the laboured differtations, or high-wrought speeches, of avowed partisans. This Loyal Subject can not be suspected of harbouring prejudices unfavourable to his native country, nor of being ignorant of its real situation and true interests, when he assures us, that he has not passed, and, in all proba. bility, never shall pass, one moment of his life out of Ireland." Yet he draws a melancholy picture of his countrymen, and insists on the neceility of an Union to meliorate their minds, to change their habits, and to allure them to honest exertion and profitable industry. He reprobates the folly of facrificing, to the preservation of fanciful independence, indebted for its very existence to what its advocates must consider as a foreign force, those solid and extensive advantages, which must accrue from a consolidation of the two kingdoms into one empire.
He observes that the majority of Irish Emigrants are not much esteemed in the countries which they select for their residence, and he says,
“ We have not incontrovertible pretensions to honesty, industry, sobriety, and devotion, and must not, of course, look upon ourselves to be an island of saints, whose exemplary lives leave no room for amendment. It must not, however, be denied that we have many Itriking instances of sincere, disinterested friendship to boast of; and that compassion for objects in diftress has a distinguished influence upon us. Hospitality and courage are allodged to be our national characteristics : but do not our convivial associations very frequently terminate in bestiality ? and, even without dwelling too much upon the execrable atrocities which have affixed an indelible odium to the late Rebellion in this kingdom, is not our bravery repeatedly marked by ralhoess, revenge, and wanton ferocity pus
He is decidedly of opinion, that, in all these respects, a beneficial change might be produced in the national manners by an Union, which would lead many Englishmen to settle in Ireland. We shall quote one other passage to thew, that many of the hardships which the labouring classes of the community in the fifter kingdom have been said to sustain, are imputable to themselves, NO, VIII. VOL. II.
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