« AnteriorContinuar »
terms, his opinion, but he has not been so fortunate in his expofitioni of the motives on which that opinion was founded. We cannot but feel for his ficuation ; for this dreadful UNION has given his fears so complete a predominance, that they appear to have wholly usurped the feat of his judgernent. He calls it " a phænomenon, unexpected and of hideous aspect, in its nature so deitructive that I would with fondly to believe even the present times so creative of novelty and reproach, could not form, or bring forth, a more frightful moniter;" it is a measure pregnant with every mischief to the realms of England and Ireland.” This monster, we are told, would prore fatal to the English Constitution, which “must feel the shock that would be occafioned by the introduction of new visages, whose palms being in ufage in the realm of Ireland, might prowl about as men in the dark, until discovered by the Minister's wand of surprize, whose metallic touch restores the blind to fight, as well as to other rapturous feelings !" (P. 10.)
In order to “ form a just opinion upon this momentous subject," Sir John adınits the absolute necessity of being “ first acquainted with the exact nature of the measure-in short, with the precise articles of ftipulation to be finally adjusted between the two countries as the basis of an Union.” (p. 14.) Yet, without any such information, he proceeds to give a moft decided opinion; he cannot, therefore, be surprized that we fould deem that opinion unjust. The wish of the British Ministry to promote an Union “could only be with the prof. pect of unjustly obtaining supplies, by draining Ireland, without having to call upon England.” (P. 22.) « Union can be desired for no other purpose, than to put the Minister above the liberality even of the English Commons." (P. 40.) But how is it to produce this effect? Why, by enabling the Minister “to form any majority he pleased, or by enabling him to exact subsidies from Ireland which would en. able the Crown to render itself independent on the English Commons, in regard to its supplies.” That is, the Crown would be independent, as to supplies, of that body without the sanction of a majority of which he could not obtain a single supply! He takes it for granted that a majority of the Imperial Parliament “ would ever be for leaning hard upon degraded Ireland,” though he admits that they must be short-fighted indeed who do “ not see it would be against the future interest of England to monopolize the poor earnings of Irish industry for the temporary object of saving the British purse.” He deerns it equally certain that all the Irish members in such a Parliament would betray their trust, by not demurring to “whatever laws urged by whim or interest, Britiih Legislation chose to frame,” though
a vigilant discharge of their duty could be the only return in their power to make to their country” for the confidence reposed in them. The Union with Scotland is not a case in point, because, “as each differ in time and place, there can be no fimilarity !” Scotland might be justified since she had “ a powerful neighbour, whose armies having only to step across the Tweed, that country could never deem hertelf secure from attack.” Yet, in the very next page, we are told
that “ there is no great danger of the Parliament of England dealing unfairly with Scotland, for the passage of the 'Tweed is as free to the now Northern, as to the Southern, Britons !” One fatal consequence of an Union, that can only be adopted after a fair, full, and open, discussion, will be, that the Irish “ will have their laws surreptitiously taken from them.” Another dreadful effect, in the apprehension of our author, will be, the right of the Imperial House of Peers to de. cide cases on appeal, en dernier resort. "The Scotch, he says, have nothing to fear on this head; for, from the great difference between the Scotch and English Laws, the decision of those cafes is generally left to the Scottish Peers : but there is such a strong similarity between the English and Irish Laws, that the British Judges and Peers will have the presumption to understand them, and “ be always deemed competent judges to decide on questions touching private property in Ireland, and, therefore, the Peers from Ireland become, at least, indirect countenancers of injustice!" So that every British Peer, in deciding on a question which he is competent to understand, and in which he can have no possible interest to bias his judgement, must necessarily be guilty of injustice! And all this perversion of moral feeling is to be produced, forsooth, by the Union; for he quotes a passage from De Lolme to prove that, as the British House of Peers now stands, their conduct has universally been such, in all their civil judicial decisions, “ as has kept them above the reach of even suspicion or Nander.” We begin to think, with Sir John, that this faid Union muft be a terrible monster to atchieve such horrid metamor. phoses. One of her principal features,” and that which seems to excite considerable alarm in the author, is, what he calls in one place • a draining power,” in a second, “ an extenfive power,” and in a third, " an unknown power,” which is to exeinpt the Minister from the necessity of asking supplies, “ as Ireland wɔuld (after the Union) be, at all calls, bound to supply his demands." Sir John gravely observes, that “ seldom such an unknown power has been wisely di. rected.” We might ask him, as this said power is unknown, how it can have been either wisely or unwisely directed ; and how he is able to define its properties, and specify its inconveniencies ? But were we to indulge ourselves in such questions, our review of this pamphlet would be extended the fize of a volume ; and we are disposed to think it fufficiently extensive already. We shall, therefore, haften to conclude our remarks.. The advocates for an Union have been severely censured for che unfavourable picture which they have drawn of Irish manners and the general state of society in Ireland; we mall here produce a character delineated by a different hand, by a decided enemy to the Union, and as staunch (however mistaken) a friend as Ireland can boast. In enumerating the inducements to refide in Scotland the author observes, “ Her laws are fi.nple, and strictly enforced, and her, people are honest and well-informed. There are none of those inducements in Ireland." (P. 60.) Hence it follows, that the Irish Laws are defective in themselves and badly executed ;---and that the people äre dishonest and ignoran:! No English pencil hus ever traced to NO. VIII. VOL. 11,
hideous a representation of the Sister Kingdom. Again he tells tres (P. 63) that there can be no occasion for seeking to lay the spirit of religious controversy, for “ it is entirely done away by the intro. duction of irreligion ;-a barefaced conteinpt and disuse of all reli. gion whatsoever, fave fome small outward appearance-even the shadow of godliness and virtue is fled.-Atheism and profaneness dili. gently cultivated, have not failed to produce a proftitution of all manners in contempt of all government!” Can a more desperate situation be conceived ? And is not every measure that can afford a rational prospect of supplying a remedy to these dreadful evils to be, not fullenly acquiefced in, but eagerly courted? After thus shewing that all religion whatever is, in a manner, banished from the country, the author (deprecating an Union) makes the following ftrange, and, to us, unintelligible, declaration :-" To support the Constitution is the only mode of preserving true religion, the want of which has been the cause of many mischiefs."
Art. XXVIII. An Argument for Independence, in Opposition to
an Union, addressed to all his Countrymen. By an Irish
Catholic. 8vo. Pp. 51. Stockdale, Dublin. 1799. THUS
"HIS writer labours to prove that an Union, whatever the terms,
ought to be rejected with indignation by the people of Ireland. If the proffered terms were not favourable to the Sister Kingdom, a proper attention to her interest should influence their rejection; if favourable, a certainty that Great Britain would never fulfil the contract should induce a similar conduct. He carries his hypothesis still farther, and maintains that no Union can ever take place between a less and a greater state, because the former can never have the means of enforcing from the latter a rigid obfervance of the ftipulated con. ditions. His observations respecting the good faith, probity, and honour, of this country are evidently the offspring of the most bi. gotted prejudice, and the most malevolent rancour; and they incel. fantly betray him into-the most scandalous breaches of decorum, and the most shameless violations of truth. In short, the whole pamphlet appears to have been dictated by the ferocious fpirit of an United Irishman.
Almost every page teems with libels either on the British Nation, or the British Parliament. The latter, it is boldly averred, (P. 179) only desires an Union for the usurpation of Irish Freedom. Again,
“ Who that has witnessed the encroachments made upon the sacred and fundamental principles of the Constitution, can be the dupe of their fallacious pretences? Was not Magna Charta sacred and fundamental; were not the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus, the Trial by Jury, facred and fundamental? Is there any thing fundamental against absolute power, or facred from its ruffian grafy, that it shall determine to destroy? (p. 13.) will not those English Members of Parliament who applaud the fyltem of torture and mallacre, of house-burning, rapine, and rape, fo indiscriminately and so extensively practised under the late Administration, will they not also approve of coercing Irith pockets for the bencfit of the Empire p'
We might here ask, what reputation is secure from the « ruffian grasp" of this profligare calumniator, who, in his comprehensive range of falsehood and of fraud, seeks to rouze the worst passions of the mind-hatred, malice, and revenge, by employing base fabrica. tions to infame those whom his delun ve arguments may fail to seduce ?
The Government of England escapes no better than her Parliament from the system of calumny “ so indiscriminately and fo extensively practised” by this Catholic champion of Irish Independence, who, after charging it with the most unprincipled efforts to subjugate the Sister Kingdom, dares to affirm, that “ in its relations with other Nates, the instances of Punic faith are numberless.” The people are equally the objects of his reprobation; and even those brave troops, that volunteered their services in defence of his native foil, are ftigmatized as “alien bands of unrelenting inercenaries.” In all her dealings England is represented as under the exclusive influence of pride, avarice, and ambition: this spirit, it is said, will prevent her from acceding to Ireland, in the event of an Union, the benefits of a fair competition :-“ For, if her avarice did not, her excessive prodigality would require an almost universal monopoly of the means of growing rich, and her desperate Minister, therefore, presumes to seize upon Ireland to make up the deficit of her taxes, and supply new re. sources to his profligate ambition.” P. 21.
The author mentions “ men who come in upon protections and are shot with them in their pockets,” but he carefully omits to notice the many thousand Catholics who were shot, or taken, in the Rebel Ranks with their protections in their pockets, after taking the Oath of Alle. giance, from which, in all probability, they had obtained absolution from some of the Priests who attended them to the field.
His attachment to French principles leads him to exaggerate the atchievements of French prowess, and to state, in direct violation of truth, that the Republic has “proftrated every foe that she could contend with on equal terms;" whereas the fact is, that she has never dared to encounter any foe upon equal terms; she has been solely in. debted for her successes to the malignant influence of her intrigues, or the decided superiority of her numbers. In the same spirit he depreciates the resources of Britain ; falsely asserts that the Aflessed Taxes of last year, “ with all the aid of Voluntary Contributions,” only produced two-thirds of the estinrate ; and tells his countrymen that Ireland is to be « despoiled for the farcical liberation of Europe." (P. 26.) He draws a comparison between England and France in their conduct to neighbouring states, decidedly in favour of the latter, “who only unites countries contiguous to her own territory," (the isles of the Adriatic for example,) « and does not refuse to all their inhabitants an entire participation in all her advantages, in every shape and degree, The French Republic proscribes no description of subjects." (P. 30.) No Nobles, Priests, nor Emigrants to be sure! He tells the people of Ireland that if, at a future period, they should wish to obtain any commercial advantages “ they must compute the chances of the field, when their sneaking petitions shall have failed ;
or, if not, slink back into silence and submission." (P. 4.) He is a ftrenuous ad:ocate for a separation of the two countries, though all the arguments applicable to the subject “cannot, in the preseni itate of the Irish press, be freely urged." He says, “it is worthy of remark that every argument in favour of an Union is one against the existing connection, and yet it is for maintaining the inconvenience of this state that so many of the people have been proscribed and batchered." (P. 44.) This language is tolerably plain; but left it should not be fufficiently fo for the slow comprehension of some of his countrymen, he takes care to lay before them the advantages of successful rebellion. “ Behold, then, in the participation communicated to the Americans, of the lucrative trade of the East, the recompenće of fuccessful rebelliou." P. 24.
An admonition to the people “ to obey the laws" could not fail to rouze the indignation of a man who preaches such doctrines as this “ Catholic;" hence his abuse of the Bishop of Rochester is natural. An enemy to the existing order of things, his declaration that “re. ligious establishments have been always hurtful to the cause of reli. gion,” is confident. With equal truth he asserts, that “ the cítablished Clergy of Ireland are turned into hunters of their wretched countrymen who enjoy the conflagration of their dwellings, and scent their lacerated footiteps with the keenness of Ancient Britons ;?" and “ that the maxims of the Gospel are those of natural and civil equelity." We are told of “the splenetic ravings of Mr. Ogle-the ribaldry of Dr. Duigenan-(not one of whose arguments, how. ever, respecting the Catholics, he has dared to attack,)—and the hypocrisy of Mr. Wilberforce.” From the
of such a writer an apology for the conduct of the United Irishmen, “ the very head and front of whose offending is a wish to withdraw their country, like the United States of America, from the blesfings of British con. nection, to stand a self-existing Republic," comes with peculiar propriety. The argument clofes with an appropriate exhortation to all descriptions of people, Royalists and Rebels, Orange-men and United Irishinen, Catholies and Diffenters, to unite in relisting an Union-“ The empirical expedient of a desperate and flagitious ministry, driven, by the progreslive increase of their libertieide and sanguinary acts, to a height of difficulties where they are unable to continue, and from which their guilty and recreant hearts tremble to recede;" — a ministry who “ disputed with the principles of liberty li. e. Rebellion) until they rooted them deep in the foil, and moistened them with the blood of the people.” With us, we confess, the evident alarm which the prospect of an Union excites in the mind of an advo. cate for separation is a very strong argument in favour of the meafure,