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In regard of the text adopted in this volume, the fifth edition of the Memorabilia, as given by Simpson and published at Oxford, is followed.
AFFAIRS OF IRELAND. Art. 17. Confiderations on the Situation to which Ireland is reduced
by the Government of Lord Camden. The Sixth Edition. To which is added a Copy of the State Paper !!! 8vo. pp. 34. Dublin. 1798.
Though this pamphlet appears to have been written in a spirit which we cannot applaud, because an exterminating severity is not in our opinion consistent either with sound policy or humanity, it would be unjust to deny it the praise of being distinguished by strong traits of literary talent, and some degree of humour. These strictures, the offspring of that party which has been dominant in Ireland for some years, and which has marked its growth by an accumulation of several laws, and measures still more severe than even those laws would justify,-charge the administration of Lord Camden with weakness, because he did not go far enough in blood; and the admi. nistration of Lord Cornwallis with folly, because he attempted rather to reconcile than to destroy. It is not, however, the administration of Lord Cornwallis, nor that of his immediate predecessor, only, that this advocate for fire and sword charges with timid caution and weak concession. He traces these evils up to the commencement of the present reign, and attributes all the discontent and outrage which have existed in Ireland within that period, to the mildness with which that country has been governed, and the relaxations of the penal code which at that time excluded its Catholic inhabitants-that is, three-fourths of its population, from almost all the benefits of society. - A short but pointed history of our progress,' says he, ' may be read in the preambles to the 3d of Gco. III. c. 19. [the White boy act] and to the act commonly called the Insurrection Act. By the preambles to those acts, it appears that our first step was irre. gular riot, and our last systematic rebellion. The space between Thesc extremities is filled up by acts of conciliation,-conceded, first to the pitch-fork and the chalking-knife, and latterly to the firelock and the pike.
Having pronounced this summary judgment on the administration of government in Ireland for the last forty years, he proceeds to consider it with respect to the present rebellion. Of the rebellion itself, he gives the following picture :
It is not a rebellion of ancient affection, glowing even in its ashes. It is not a rebellion of those, whose knowledge having extended their vievs, shewed them consequences fatal to future liberty, from gradual and present abuses. It is not a rebellion of those, whose extent of property might make them feel in their own persons the particular weight of an oppressive government. But it is a rebellion of the peasant, supported by some presbyterian shopkeepers, and led and corrupted by some popish priests. It is a rebellion of the weaver, having re-set in his loom a new web of the constitution, on a new pattern-of the blacksmith hammering out a new system of governQ 2
ment red-hot from his bellow's. But it is not a rebellion of the peasant, detached merely from his allegiance and his ordinary obedience to the laws. It is a rebellion of the peasant detached from every virtue of the heart. It is not an attack upon the particular government of this particular country. It is an attack upon every tie of social life that ever existed in any government in the world. It is a course of dow mestic treachery, of cruc murder, and cowardly assassination.'
To meet a rebellion thus detestable and wicked, the measures adopted by Lord Camden were, legal prosecution in the first instance, and military operations in the second. These latter the author details in a vein of irony which will probably rather divert the reader, than convince him that Lord Camden was guilty of hesitation and inertness. It is not, however, against the hesitation and the inertness of Lord Camden that the writer principally levels his ridicule and his censure. It is the proclamation of his successor, Lord Cornwallis, offering pardon to the repentant rebels, which has called forth this pamphlet. This proclamation [here reprinted, as a State-paper] was published on the 29th of June; and having stated in the preamble the power of his Majesty's Generals and the forces under their conimand, eniirely to destroy all ihose who had risen in rebellion, &c. declares it to be the wish of government to receive into peace and pardon all persons then assembled against the peace, who should surrender themselves and their arms, desert their leaders, and take an oath of allegiance, ab. juring all engagement contrary thereto, within fourteen days from the date ;—and to such persons as thus surrender themselves, it promises that certificates of protection shall be granted. It is with this proclamation
-a measure which, while it did honour to the feelings of Lord Cornwallis as a man, and evinced his wisdom as a politician, by producing an almost instantancous effect in restoring peace to the country-it is with this measure that this man of mercy quarrels. He cavils first at the declaration in the preamble, which, he says, putting a dilemma, is either true or false ; and true it cannot be, or how could such disturbances have existed (and he enumerates them) subsequently to the time of making that declaration. Of the protections and the abjuration of treasonable oaths, which the proclamation made one of the conditions of pardon, he writes thus :
The next remarkable feature in the production alluded to, is the promise of proiellion which it pledges to the assassins in rebellion assembled. It promises, (upon certain conditions,) that “ they will receive a certificate which will entitle them to PROTECTION.”
. Whether the certificate in the state paper mentioned, would or would not be a protection from the pains and forfeitures consequent on rebellion, appearing to me to be a question of law, I did not venture to determine it myself, but resorted for advice to a friend of mine, who is a corporal in the Attornies corps. The corporal assured me that, in his opinion, " the aforesai:] instrument, called a certifi. cate, was no manner of protection whatsoever; and, that if any'rebel should produce a certificate signed by all the general officers on the staff,” (of whom the corporal showed me a list, which, at first, I mis. took for the muster-roll of his company,) “ such rebel would, notwithstanding such certificate, be liable to be tried for, and convicted of high treason, and if convicted, would be further liable (notwithstanding such certificate) to be carried back to the place from whence he came, and from thence to be drawn to the place of execution, and be there hanged by the neck, cut down alive, his entrails burnt before his face, his head cut off, and his body divided into four quarters, to be disposed of at the King's plea ure.” The corporal, who (having now nothing to do as an Attorney) is an honest and humane anan, added, that he thought “ it was a very cruel deceit to put on ignorant men, however criminal, to endeavour to entrap them under pretence of protection into a surrender, which would cxpose them to so horrid a punishment."
• Whether the corporal, as a lawyer, was right in his judgment, and as an honest man was right in his feeling, I leave it to the wisdom of Parliament (where, no doubt, the measure of this state paper will be canvassed) to determine.
• The last part of this wonderful paper exhibits the form of the oath required to be taken by those unfortunate wretches, to whom it holds out a vain and inefficacious protection. This form first contains the oath of allegiance, and then calls upon the wretched and deceived culprit, to “ renounce and abjure all oaths and engagements of every kind whatsoever, which are in any degree contrary thereto.” Did the unblushing compiler of this violation of all principle and decency, know what the aljuration of an oath is ? Did he know, that it is to swear to commit perjury ? -to swear to be forsworn ?-Does he conceive that an instrument which renounces and derides the strength of all moral obligation, derived from the sanctity of an oath —which obliges the polluted soul to swear, that his attestation before his God shall not be as any bond whatsoever!--Does he conceive, I say, that such a corrupted lump of mutually repelling materials, cao ever be the cement of future peace, good-will, and mutual confidence among men? Circling the globe, from the reasoning disciples of Confucius, and thence westward to the feeling Peruvian children of the sun, on what altar did he find such an offering, except on that of the Goddess of Reason in the Champ de Mars.'
The inhumanity which suggests the idea of hanging as traitors, under the civil law, men who had surrendered on the faith of a mili. tary proclamation, befits those who recommend a government by force instead of a government by affection : but the sophistry which would represent as impious perjury the abjuration of an illicit oath, every man of common sense will despise, and every man of common honesty will pronounce execrable.
We cannot take leave of this pamphlet without expressing our regret that, with genius and initlleet considerably above the common level, the writer of it should exhibit so melancholy an instance of the abuse of both.-This production is confidently attributed to a natural son of Lord Carhampton. Art. 18. A Letter to his Excellency ihe Marquis Cornwallis, vindicat,
ing the Conduct of Lord Camden, from the Aspersions contained in a Pamphlet entitled, “ Considerations on the Situation to which
Ireland is reduced by the Government of Lord Camden.” 8vo. . Pp. 15. Dublin. 1798.
This writer is inferior to the author of the “ Considerations” in point of talents and literary skill, but there appears to be much truth as well as force in what he advances in justification of Lord Camden, Of the nature and causes of the disturbances in Ireland, he gives a different, and, as we imagine, a juster view :
Yes,' says he, • I agree with the author, turbulence and outrage are the order of the day ; human baseness has indeed attained the pinnacle of depravity ; but have the acts of George the Third, con, summated by the ponderation of Lord Camder, produced this “ dire event of the none-sparing. war?"-Has the mercy of our benevolent Sovereign, tempered by the wisdom of his councils, only elicited the spark of civil dissension, which the energy of his viceroy upheld by every supply, and sanctioned by every law, that the military information or the political wisdom of our rulers commanded or suggested, has blown into open rebellion ? The insinuation is vile --- the assertion false.No, the people of Ireland are poor, and therefore tumultuous; the people of Ireland are idle, and therefore turbulent; the causes of re. volt are to be assigned not to conciliation and mercy-not to the humanity of our King, and the compassion, “ for such proceeding he is charged withal,” of his representative, but to base-earned pensions and sinecure places--and the consequent extinction of patriotism, and the abandonment of public virtue amongst the wealthy; and amongst the poor-to lotteries and to whiskey-those sanctioned springs of vileness and of profligacy-to the orgies of pay-tables - to the crapulence of jails-to Irish gentlemen and Irish ladies, who, with unblushing audacity, parade the crowded streets, teeming with fe. verish throngs of famished manufacturers--to middle-men, those leeches that gorge upon the hearts-blood of the people, the oppress ors of the poor and the minions of the rich-to the beggarly, cow. ardly, contemptible gang of absentees-drones in the political hive, whom the residents should utterly expel
- Agmine facto
to the leaven of French principles fermenting this heterogeneous mass, the instantaneous communication of infectious discontent, pervading “ like the electric fluid with incalculable velocity, and finding a conductor in every þuman heart."--These, these, are the primary causes of disturbance.
The means which he recommends, in order to effect a radical cure of these evils, are perhaps not less likely to be successful, and certainly are more humane, than the indiscriminate and unrelenting extermination which Lord Camden is blamed for not adopting.--You are vested," says the writer, 'with unlimited powers --oh, my Lord, exert them in' the generous behalf of those whom oppression has embrutedwhom interest has vilified—“ who have none to help them.”- Burst the fetters of bigotry-dispel the fog of sloth, awaken the mind of the poor from the stupor of ebriety ; vouchsafe them the means of inrim.try, and they will be laborious; give them a stake in the coun. try, and they will love and cherish it !
· The " Considerations” charge Lord Camden, first, with having taken too long time to consider before he drew the sword; and, secondly, that, when he resolved to draw it, his military measures were weak and indecisive. To the first of these charges, the present writer gives the simple and satisfactory answer, that, previously to the time at which the sword was drawn, no rebellion existed; and mere suspie cion could not justify the making war. To the second charge, howa ever, the writer's answers are not equally satisfactory : he does not more clearly shew why Lord Camden did not sooner beat the rebels, than it has been shewn why Lord Cornwallis did not sooner capture the French.
With respect to the other charges against the Camden administra. tion, the liberation of the captive rebels at the Curragh, and the conciliating proclamation with which Lord Cornwallis's administration commenced, though the writer perhaps slicceeds in vindicating these measures, yet he cannot highly boast of his success:- for he coldly repels by reason what was ingeniously urged by wit.
EAST INDIE S. Art. 19. Sanscreet Fragments, or, interesting Extracts from the sacred
Books of the Brahmins, on Subjects important to the British Isles. By the Author of Indian Antiquities. 8vo. pp. 64. 25. 6d. Gardner. 1798.
This short pamphlet consists of two parts. In the first, Mr. Mau. rice endeavours to prove that the Sanscrit writings, instead of invali. dating, decidedly corroborate the Mosaic records. Of several tradi. tions adduced with this view, the only one which appears to us in the least apposite is the story of Satyavrata and his three sons; of which the history of Noah and his progeny is the manifest prototype :- but this had previously been translated and published both by Captain Wilford and Sir William Joves.- The second part professes to contain such information as the former gentleman (from whose ingenious researches into Oriental literature, we impatiently expect more solid discoveries,) has been able to procure from Indian records, re. lative to the British Isles. This portion of the work was communi. cated to Mr. Maurice by Colonel Vallancey : but we hope that it has not been given to ihe public without the approbation of the writer. It is intitled “ Extracts from the Puranas,” though it con. tains neither extract nor translation from these poems; nor any circumstance which can enable us to judge with what propriety the Rajata dwip (or silver isle) of the Bramins is applied to England; or the Savorna dwip (golden isle) to Ireland. We are told that Dirgha, in Sanscrit, signifies a cave, whence Laugh Dirgh: but we must assure these determined etymologists that dirgh has no other signification than the English adjective “ long," with which it is per. fectly synonimous. Dirgha Dondo, a long pole.
RELIGIOUS, &C. Art. 20. An Illustration of the Method of explaining the New Testament by the early Opinions of Jews and Christians concerning Christ. By W. Wilson, B. D. Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge. 3yo. 75. Boards. Rivingtons, &c. 1797. R.4