Imágenes de página

that these advantages are not imputable to the Union; and here he is equally successful as in the other branches of his arguinent. The con. cluding part of the letter is appropriated to the detection of another atrocious falsehood, advanced, with shameless effrontery, by the opponents of the Union, who have dared to affirm that the conduct of Great Britain, towards Scotland, has betrayed “more the neglect of a step-mother than the care of a natural parent." The very reverse of this is proved, by historical records, to be the fact; and Great Britain is shewn to have been not only just, but highly generous and liberal, in her conduct to Scotland. She has never evinced the for. didness of rival jealousy, but always the warmth of parental affection. We are happy to find that this pamphlet has been re-printed in Lon. don; and we earnestly recommend it to our readers, as containing much curious and interesting matter, and affording fixed data, resulting from historical facts, by which the judgement may be regulated in forming an opinion on a matter of the first importance to the prof. perity and happiness of the British Empire.

Art. XLII. Reasons for adopting an Union between Ireland

and Great Britain. By the Author of a Letter to Joseph Spencer, Esq. 8vo. Pp. 61. Price Is. 6d. Milliken, Dublin. Re-printed for Chapple, Pall-Mall, London. 1799.

“ TF this infatuated country gives up the present offer, she may I

look for it again in vain-things cannot remain as they are... ---Commercial jeaulousy is rouzed--- it will increase with two inde. pendent Legislations---and without an united interest in commerce, in a commercial empire, political Union will receive many shocks, and Jeparation of interefi muft threaten separation of connection, which every honeft Irishman must shudder to look at, as a posible event." Such is the recorded opinion of Mr. Forster, the present Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, in 1785, when he held the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer ; and an opinion more favourable to the projected measure of an Union cannot easily be conceived. Mr. Forster, however, it appears, is now adverse to an Union: as no opportunity has yet occurred for an exposition of those motives which have influenced the adoption of his present sentiments, we have not the means of deciding on their justice. Many circumstances, no doubt, occur, in the term of fourteen years, to sanction a change of opinion on great political questions ; but to us, it appears, from no inattentive consideration of the subject, that the events which have, taken place in Ireland, within that time, are peculiarly calculated, not only to confirin the sentiments of those who were then anxious for an Union, but to remove the objections of others who were then hostile to the measure,


The writer of the tract before us has evidently considered his subject with the deepest attention, and under every possible point of view; he has studied the nature and disposition of his countrymen, and the hiftory of his country; he has closely attended to the state of parties and of factions, and investigated the causes which engendered, the circumstances which support them, and the consequences to which they lead. Thus prepared, he enters into a masterly analysis of the arguments, both theoretical and practical, which have been advanced by the different writers on the Union, thews in what respect they are at variance with each other, and how far they are applicable to the question. He takes, as the basis of his reasoning, the necessity of a connection between the two countries, and, of course, addresses himself exclusively to those by whom that necessity is acknowledged. Setting out upon this principle, he obviates, with infinite fuccefs, the most plausive objections of his adversary; and, after demon. ftrating, by arguments that to us appear incontrovertible, the inade. quacy of fubfifting ties to preserve the subsisting connection; and the immenfe advantages that must result to Ireland, from a legislative Union, he earneftly, and emphatically, recommends it to her “ as a scheme of the wifeit policy she could pursue.''

This able and judicious writer proves, that the nature of the pre. sent connection is such, as to render the decided inferiority of the Irish nation indispensibly necessary to its preservation; and, at the fame time, to hold out temptations to the enemies of the country, foreign and domestic, to effect a separation. This has been the motive with all the internal enemies of Ireland, to combine their efforts to prevent an Union. This, indeed, some of the honeft, but mistaken, opponents of the measure have virtually admitted, by bringing for. ward certain propofitions, the adoption of which they deem necessary for preserving the connection between the two countries ; and, it is here shewn, that these propositions amount to nothing less than.“ an absolute surrender to ibe Parliament of England of the purse and sword of this (the Irish) nation,” and are even much more extensive in their operation. “ But even that will not do, the feed of diffolution is incorporated in its fraine ; it is perishable as the breath of man, and precarious as human conduct.”

Having noticed the preposterous observation of one writer (whose work is reviewed in a former article) that “ were an Union fraught with blessings-were it the elixir of life,” it ought to be rejected; he asks, “ What must be the opinion of that man, of our understand. ings, if he supposes we can be affected by idle rant of this kind ? Is this the sobriety of discussion, which a question, like the present, demand? Yet, in this manner it has been, for the most part, treated; the changes are perpetually rung upon our independence. You are aked with a gravity that would be contemptible, if it were not wicked—“Will you annihilate independent Ireland ?" Let us exa. mine this independence. He then enters upon this examination with the same cool judgement, and superior ability, which are observable in every page of his book. He ascertains the nature and extent of


this independence, so much talked of, and so little understood ; and observes, that “ the only consistent advocates for the strict indepen. dence of Ireland, are the friends of separation. He adduces, in fup. port of his arguments, the well-knowil causes of the Commercial Propofitions in 1785, and the Regency in 1789, of which he says* It seems now to be universally acknowledged that, on both these occasions, the true interests of the nation, and of the empire, were facrificed to the sounding of a name.”

In the late debate on the Union, in the Irish House of Commons, allusions were made to the opinion of Molyneux, the celebrated Irish philosopher, the friend of Locke, and the strenuous advocate for the independence of his native country. By both parties, great de. ference was paid to that opinion, though the members of opposition qualised their praise of it by a declaration of its inapplicability to the present times. Denying, as we do, the justice of such quali. fication, we shall extract the sentiments of Molyneux, as quoted by the author of this tract, and earnestly recommend them to the attention of all true Irishmen :

" In supporting the adoption of an Union between the two countries, it is unnecessary to say, that I do not mean to argue with those who look forward to the existence of Ireland; as a distinct independent nation, as a delirable event, at any period, however diftant. One of the gentlemen who have written upon this lubject, fays, the Almighty has thrown the channel as a perpetual barrier to an Union bet ween Great Britain and Ireland.' If this be so, the impiety of man has doac much to encroach upon this decree of Providence. Cromwell,'devout as he was, laughed at it when he fummoned representatives from this country to fit in the English Parliament. Molineux, that great defender of the independence of his country, whose happiness, in his opinion, as I shall thew hereafter, would have been beft effected by an Union, does not reft his vindication of the rights of his country upon to ridiculous a position.--He says, it is ablurd to fancy kingdoms are feparate and distinct, mérely from their geographical distinction of territories ; kingdoms become distinc by diftinct jurisdictions, and authorities legislative and execulive.' He refers his propolition expressly to the situation of Great Britain and Ireland; he saw a much greater likelihood of opposition to an Union, from the miftaken pride of England, than any imaginary will of the Deity, to be collected from his works. Having shewn several instances from records of representatives from this country serving in Parliament in England, in the reigns of Edward the First and Edward the Third ; and it appearing thrat Ireland had been bound by laws made in fuch Parliament, he says, 'it, from theie lait mentioned records it be concluded, that the Parliament of England · inay bind Ireland, it must be allowed chat the people of Ireland ought to have their oppretentative in the Parliament of England;' and this, • I believe,' says Molineux, we should be willing enough to embrace, but this is an happiness we can hardly hope for.' I have transcribed his words exaétly. If Molineux, che warm and enlightened advou die of the liberties of Ireland, had feen, in this dreaded name of Union, the annihilation of our Paliament, the fubversion of our Constitution, the depopulation of our metropolis, and the conversion of the kingdom into one valt barrack ;' if he had discovered in this inealure his fellow citizens reduced to an • humiliated, degraded, and ditcontented people,' would he have defcribed it as an ofler we should very willingly embrace, but as a happinets we could not hop: to obtain ? Would he have thus stated it, if it had appeared to him as only calculated to continue

religious discontents, jealouses and disturbances, inturrections, and, perhaps, rebellions,' for such had existed in his time. He thonight very differently froin the politicians of this day.--a due representation of this country in the British Pa. liament, one king, one Legislature, was to hin a conlunmation devoutly to be withed, though he thought it not within the scope of realurabic expeza cation." Pp. 19---21. x0, VIII. VOL. II.



The author adverts to the objections raised against the Union of Scotland with England, and more particularly to those of the well. known and truly-respectable Mr. Fletcher, of Salton, which, strong as they were, and, in theory, even just, have, by experience, been proved to be futile and groundless : he also quotes fome observations of De Foe, on the opposition to the Scottish Union, between which, and the opposition to the Irish Union, there is so striking a resemblance,

that we cannot forbear to quote it, as, at once, curious and intereit. .. ing; and, with this quotation, we must conclude our account of a

tract, which contains much valuable matter, much acute reasoning, and much political wisdom. It is, indeed, one of the very few tracts which have yet appeared on this question that deserves to out. live the occasion that gave birth to them, and to be preserved as replete with information and reflections of general utility

“ The opposition which this measure met with in Scotland, was as vírubent and ill-founded as auy which is likely to occur in this kingdom ; there have cxifted, and there will at times exist, in every community, men whose interoft, and whosc paffions, are at variance with the sober and rational interest of their country-great and, in many instances, malignant opposition was given to the Scottish Union. 'The Jacobite of that day was nearly as hoitile to the interest of the united kingdoms as the Jacobin of this. There is this in common between them; that, as the dctruction of our present conftitution, through the means of a Freuch invalion, was the favourite measure to .hich the ctforts of the Jacobise were directed ; fo the same end, through the same means, constitutes the fond hope of the Jacobin now; with this view, the Jacobite of Scotland rehisted an Union with England in his day; with the faluc view she Jacobin of Ireland relitto it now.

“ I trust, however, the future hiftorian of these times will record the completion of this mealure in nearly the same terms used by the historian of the Scortish Union : they are so apposite to many circumstances which have taken place, and are likely fill to take place in the progrets of this business here, that I cannot forbcar to tranicribe them; Ipeaking of the pafling of the first article, he says, *

* • It was on this happy day, the first article of the Union was passed in Parliament, after infinite struggles, clamour, railing, and tumults of a party, who, however they endeavoured to engage the honeit scrupulous part of the people wish them, yet gave this discovery of the principles of iheir own actings, in that there was an entire conjunction of the moit opposite factions in this particular ;t and the very discovery of this opened the eyes of a great many people, who, in the fimplicity of their hearts, had joined in opposition to an l'nion ; but when they saw the ienduniy of kings, and whither it led; when they law the society they were going to embark with, when they saw the enemies of a Proteltant set ilement, all engaged, and those very people who had filled the land with the groans of oppreffion, and the cries of blood, coming to join hands with them, againit an l'nion with England; when they iaw, to Thun an Union, with Christians, they were of necessity to come to an Coion with devils, men that had transformed ihemselves into the very infernal nature, and visibly acted from principles, in this particular diabolical, in that they intended to erect ihe absolute lubjection of the nation to the lust and unbounded appxtites of lau lefseyrants; when they taw thele things to plainly, we then found an alteration, and the best, most thinking, and mot judicious people, begon firit to stop and contider, ‘and afterwards wholly to withdraw from the party; and the clamour of the pouple, as if come to a crilis, began not to be as univerlal, but to aba:e; and the more.. did so, the more the secret party, which lay at the bottom of all the rest, begao iu appcar and distinguish themiclves.' It is scarcely pollible to imagine ianguage inure

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

applicable to the present crisis, the same clamour and railing, the same conjun&tion of the most oprofile fallions, the same misleading of the honoff and scrupulous part of the people, a funiliar tendency in all their endeavours to a separation from England, the perfect picture of the Jacobin who had filled the land with the groans of oppref. tion, and the cries of blood; the same consequence of an Union with devils, if the present Union with Christians be rejected, the same infernal attempt to submit the nation to the luft and unbounded appetite of lawless cyrants. It is impossible not to recognize, in these traits, thc Jacobin and his French idol. May the illue De similar! may such designs be defeated, and this country and England become one and indisoluble!" Pp. 29-32

The queftion of the competence of the Irish Parliament to affent to an Union, and the powers of Parliament in general, are very ably discussed in P. 37, et seq. and the observations respecting the advan.

tages to be derived from an Union, by the commercial interest in the filter kingdom, are placed in a very strong, and, at the same time, a novel, point of view, in P. 47, and from thence to the end of the tract, and are particularly deserving of attention. Indeed we scruple not to say, that this, upon the whole, is the most able production that we have yet feen in the course of the present controversy.

In reviewing these tracts upon the Union, we have acted more as political, than as literary, critics, and have, consequently, been less attentive to beauty of composition than to importance of matter ; have preferred substance to form, and strength of argument to harmony of style : and such is the course which we mean to pursue in our future review of articles of this description, to which, during the agitation of the momentous question of incorporation, we propose to appropriate a particular department of our work. There is one gross error remarkable in the compositions of Irish writers, with very few exceptions; we mean, the frequent fubftitution of will and would, for ball and should, which not only tends to pervert the sense of the paragraph, but, in many cases, to convey a signification directly the reverse of that which the author wished to express. Very little attention will suffice to correct this error; and, as the pro. ductions of Irishmen are likely to be much read by Englishmen, to whose ears it is peculiarly offenfive, we may be allowed to express a hope that such attention will henceforth be paid.


Art. I. An Oblique View of the Grand Conspiracy agains

Social Order, &c.

(Concluded from P. 79.)
OME apt specimens of the sound principles and critica-

fidelity of the Critical Reviewers, who, since the estan blishment of this work, and the favourable reception whic

Dd 2


« AnteriorContinuar »