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.ess of consequences, than that of the sober, it might give in the outset. By the help of a and calculating tribes of the north. The French army and an American fleet, we think greatest and most urgent hazard, therefore, is it by no means improbable that the separathat which arises from their impatience;—and tion might be accomplished. The English this unhappily is such, that unless some early armies might be defeated or driven from its measure of conciliation is adopted, it would shores-English capitalists might be butcherno longer be matter of surprise to any one, if, ed—the English religion extirpated—and an upon the first occasion of a war with any of Irish Catholic republic installed with due cerethe great powers of Europe, or America, the mony in Dublin, and adopted with acclama. great body of the nation should rise in final tion in most of the provinces of the land. and implacable hostility, and endeavour to Under the protection of their foreign deliverthrow off all connection with, or dependence ers this state of triumph might even be for on Great Britain, and to erect itself into an some time maintained. But how long would independent state !
this last ? or how can it be imagined that it To us it certainly appears that this would would end? Would the foreign allies remain be a most desperate, wild, and impracticable for ever, on their own charges, and without inenterprise. But it is not upon this account terfering with the independence or the policy the less likely to be attempted by such a of the new state which they had thus been nation as the Irish;—and it cannot be dis- the means of creating? If they did, it would, sembled that the mere attempt would almost after all, be but a vassal republic—á dependunavoidably plunge both countries in the most ency on a more distant and still more impefrightful and interminable ruin. Though the rious master—an outlying province of France separation even of distant and mature de. -a military station from which to watch and pendencies is almost always attended with to harass England, and on which the first terrible convulsions, separation, in such cir- burst of her hostilities must always be broken cumstances, is unquestionably an ultimate -and exposed, of course, in the mean time, good ;—and if Ireland were a mere depend to all the license, the insolence, the rigour, ency, and were distant enough and strong of a military occupancy by a foreign and enough to subsist and flourish as an independ. alien soldiery. ent community, we might console ourselves, But this, it is plain, could never be more even for the infinite misery of the struggle than a temporary measure. The defenders attending on the separation, by the prospect and keepers of the Hibernian republic would, of the great increase of happiness that might in no long time, make peace with England, be the final result. But it is impossible, we and quarrel, both with their new subjects, and think, for any one but an exasperated and with each other—and then would come the Canthinking Irishman, not to see and feel that renovated, the embittered, the unequal strug; this neither is, nor ever can be, the condition gle with that exasperated power. Weakened of Ireland. Peopled by the same race, speak- as England might be by the separation, it ing the same language, associated in the same would be absurd to suppose that she would pursuits, bound together and amalgamated by not still be a tremendous overmatch for Irecontinual intermarriages, joint adventures in land, single-handed ;-or that this new state, trade, and every sort of social relation, and, wasted and exhausted by the war of her indeabove all, lying within sight and reach of pendence, could supply the means of making each other's shores, they are in truth as inti- and equipping a fleet, or appointing an army, mately and inseparably connected as most such as would be required to make head of the internal provinces of each are with one against this formidable antagonist. Though another; and we might as well expect to the numerical majority of her people, too, see two independent kingdoms established in might be zealous for maintaining her indefriendly neighbourhood, in Yorkshire and Lan- pendence, it is obvious that England would cashire, as to witness a similar spectacle on still have in her bosom a body of most forthe two sides of the Irish Channel. Two such midable allies. The most intelligent, the most countries, if of equal strength, and exasperated wealthy, the most politic and sagacious of her by previous contentions, never could maintain inhabitants, are at this moment in the English the relations of peace and amity with each interest;-and, however sweeping and bloody other, as separate and independent states;- the proscription by which they might have
ut must either mingle into one-or desolate been overthrown, multitudes would still reeach other in fierce and exterminating hos- main, with means and influence sufficient to tility, till one sinks in total exhaustion at the render their co-operatian most perilous, in a feet of the bleeding and exhausted victor. In contest for its restoration. Even if left to her the actual circumstances of the two countries, own resources, we have little doubt that the however, the attempt would be attended with country would soon be a prey to civil wars, still more deplorable consequences. Ireland, plots, and insurrections, which the want of with whom alone it can originate, is decidedly skill and experience in the new rulers, as well the weakest, in wealth, population, and all as the state of their finances, would aggravate effective resources-and probably never will into universal disorder. It is no easy thing venture on the experiment without foreign as- to settle a new government amicably, even sistance. But it must be at once apparent how where there is no foreign interference:-and, the introduction of this unhallowed element in Ireland, from the temper of the people, darkens all the horrors of the prospect. We and the circumstances which would leave less are far from making light of the advantages than an ordinary proportion of men of rank, education, and personal authority in the bands in the first instance, to diminish t.se treme: of the successful party, the difficulty would dous hazard, by simply "doing Justice and probably be insurmountable. It is impossible, showing Mercy to those whom it is, in all however, not to suppose that England would other respects, her interest, as well as her eagerly avail herself of those dissensions, both duty, to cherish and protect. by intrigue, corruption, and force; and equally One thing we take to be evident, and it is impossible to doubt that she would succeed, the substance of all that can be said on the if not in regaining her supremacy, at least in subject, that things are fast verging to a crisis, embroiling the unhappy country which was and cannot, in all probability, remain long as the subject of it, in the most miserable and they are. The Union, in short, must either interminable disorders.
be made equal and complete on the part of The sum of the matter then is, that there England-or it will be broken in pieces and could be no peace, and, consequently, no pros- thrown in her face by Ireland. That country perity or happiness for Ireland, as a separate must either be delivered from the domination and independent neighbour to England. Two of an Orange faction, or we must expect, in such countries, after all that has passed be- spite of all our warnings and remonstrances, tween them, could no more live in quiet and to see her seek her own deliverance by the comfort beside each other, than a wife who fatal and bloody career to which we have had deserted her husband's house could live already alluded-and from which we hold it again in his society and that of his family, as to be the height of guilt and of folly to hesia friend or visitor—having her expenses sup- tate about withholding her, by the sacrifice plied, and her solitude enlivened, by the fre- of that miserable faction. quent visits of professing admirers: Nor can Little, however, as we rely, without such any lesson of prudence be addressed to the co-operation, on the effect of our warnings, fiery and impatient spirits who may now we cannot end without again lifting our feeble meditate in Ireland the casting off of their voice to repeat them—without conjuring the ties with the sister island, more precisely ap. lovers of Ireland to consider how hopeless plicable to their prospects and condition, than and how wretched any scheme of a permathe warnings which a friendly adviser would nent separation from England must necessaaddress to an exasperated matron, whose do- rily be, and how certainly their condition must mestic grievances had led her to contemplate be ameliorated by the course of events, the such a fatal step. And can any one doubt gradual extinction of the generation in whom that the counsel which any faithful and even the last life-use of antiquated oppressions is partial friend would give her, must be, to bear now centered, and the spread of those mild much from her husband, rather than venture and liberal sentiments, to which nothing can on so desperate a remedy'; to turn her thoughts so much contribute as a spirit of moderation rather to conciliation than recrimination or re- and patience in those who have so long sulvenge; to avoid as much as possible all causes fered from the want of them. By the Union, of reasonable or unreasonable offence—and, such as it is, we think the axe has been laid above all, firmly and temperately to assert to the root of the old system of oppression the interests secured by the provisions of her and misgovernment in Ireland—and though marriage articles, and to stimulate and insist its branches may still look green, and still on the resolute interference of the trustees afford shelter to the unclean birds who were appointed to enforce them.
bred and have so long nestled in their covert, Such are the warnings which we would ad- the sap ascends in them no longer, and the dress to the offended and exasperated party, whole will soon cease to cumber the ground, in whose vindictive and rash proceedings the or obstruct the sight of the sky. In these catastrophe we have been contemplating must circumstances, the only wise and safe course originate. But though we certainly think they is to watch, and gently to assist the progress must appear convincing to any calm specta- of their natural decay. If, in some fit of imtor, it is not the less probable that they would patience, the brands are thrown into the moulbe of little avail with the inflamed and ex- dering mass, and an attempt made to subject cited party, unless they were seconded by the land at once to the fatal Purgation of Fire, conciliatory and gentle measures on the part the risk is, not only that the authors will perof the supposed offender. Nor are there ish in the conflagration, but that another and wanting motives sufficiently urgent and im- a ranker crop of abominations will spring from perious to make such measures, in all sound its ashes, to poison the dwellings of many fu reason, indispensable. In the event of a war ture generations. for independence, Ireland would probably be We may seem to have forgotten Mr. O'Dris. the scene of the greatest carnage, havoc, and col in these general observations: and yet devastation--and, in the end, we think her they are not so foreign to his merits, as they lot would be by far the most deplorable. But may at first sight appear. His book certainly to England also, it is obvious that such a con- does not supply the desideratum of which we test would be the source of unspeakable ca- spoke at the outset, and will not pass to pos. lamity; and the signal, indeed, of her perma- terity as a complete or satisfactory History of nent weakness, insecurity, and degradation. Ireland. But it is written at least in a good That she is bound, therefore, for her own sake spirit; and we do not know that we could to avert it, by every possible precaution and better describe its general scope and tendency, every possible sacrifice, no one will be hardy than by saying, that they coincide almost en. enough to deny-far less that she is bound, I tirely with the sentiments we have just been ox['ressing. The author, we have recently, the food of more than a million of new inhabunderstood, is a Catholic: But we had really itants, which they remember in their primitive read through his work without discovering it, state of sterile and lonely morasses. Without -and can testify that he not only gives that potatoes, without corn, turnips, or cultivated party their full share of blame in all the trans- grasses—with few sheep, and with nothing, actions which deserve it, but speaks of the in short, but roving herds of black cattle, if besetting sins of their system, with a freedom Ireland had a full million of inhabitants in the and severity which no Protestant, not abso- tenth or twelfth century, she had a great deal; lutely Orange, could easily improve on. We and in spite of her theological colleges, and needed no extrinsical lights, indeed, to discover her traditionary churches, we doubt whether that he was an Irishman,-for, independent she had as many.* But whatever may have of the pretty distinct intimation conveyed in been the number or condition of her people in his name, we speedily discovered a spirit of those remote ages, of which we have no stanationality about him, that could leave no tistical memorial and no authentic account, it doubt on the subject. It is the only kind of is a little bold in Mr. O'Driscol to persuade partiality, however, which we can detect in us, that in the time of Elizabeth they were his performance; and it really detracts less by no means an uncultivated or barbarous from his credit than might be imagined, -people. To the testimony afforded by all the partly because it is so little disguised as to official documents, and the full and graphic lead to no misconceptions, and chiefly because accounts of Spenser, Davis, and the writers it is mostly confined to those parts of the story referred to by Camden, long resident in the in which it can do little harm. It breaks out country, and eye-witnesses of all they demost conspicuously in the earlier and most scribe, we really do not know what Mr. problematical portion of the narrative; as to O'Driscol has to oppose, but his own patriotic which truth is now most difficult to be come prejudices, and his deep-rooted conviction, at, and of least value when ascertained. He that no English testimony is to be trusted on is clear, for example, that the Irish were, for such a subject. We must be forgiven for not many centuries before the conquest of Henry sharing in his generous incredulity. II., a very polished, learned, and magnificent As to the more modern parts of the history, people-ihat they had colleges at Lismore though he never fails to manifest an amiable and Armagh, where thousands upon thousands anxiety to apologise for Irish excesses, and to of studious youth imbibed all the learning of do justice to Irish bravery and kindness, we the times—that they worked beautifully in really are not aware that this propensity has gold and silver, and manufactured exquisite led him into any misrepresentation of facts; fabrics both in' flax and wool—and, finally, and are happy to find that it never points, in that the country was not only more prosperous the remotest degree, to any thing so absurd and civilised, but greatly more populous, in as either a separation from England, or a vinthose early ages, than in any succeeding time. dictive wish for her distress or humiliation.
We have no wish to enter into an idle anti- He is too wise, indeed, not to be aware of that quarian controversy—but we must say that no important truth, which so few of his zealous sober Saxon can adopt these legends without countrymen seem, however, able to comprevery large allowances. It is indubitable that hend—that there are no longer any of those the Irish, or some of them, did very anciently injured Irish in existence, upon whom the fabricate linen, and probably also some orna- English executed such flagrant oppressions ments of gold; and it would appear, from cer- two hundred years ago! and that nine tenths tain ecclesiactical writers of no great credit, of the intelligent Irish, who now burn with that they had among them large seminaries desire to avenge the wrongs of their predefor priests,-a body possessing, in those ages, cessors, are truly as much akin to those who no very extraordinary learning, even in more did, as to those who suffered, the injury. We favoured localities. But it is at least equally doubt whether even the O'Driscols have not, certain, that they were entirely a Pastoral by this time, nearly as much English as Irish people, unacquainted with agriculture, hold- blood in their veins; and are quite sure, that ing their herds as the common property of the if the lands pillaged from their original Celtic clan, dwelling in rude huts or wigwams, for owners, in the days of Elizabeth and Cromthe most part deplorably ignorant, and, in spite well, were to be given back to the true heirs, of their priests, generally practising polygamy scarcely one of those who now reprobate the and other savage vices. But what chiefly spoliation in good English, would profit by the demonstrates the bias under which our author restitution. The living Irishmen of the presconsiders those early times, is his firm belief ent day may have wrongs to complain of, and in the great populousness of ancient Ireland, injuries to redress
, on the part of the English and the undoubting confidence with which he Government: But it is absurd to imagine that rejects all the English accounts of their bar- they are entitled to resent the wrongs and inbarism, even in the times of Henry VIII. and Elizabeth. But a pastoral country never can be * If we remember rightly, the forces actually en. populous—and one overrun with unreclaim- gaged in the conquest or defence of Ireland in the ed bogs and unbroken forests, still less than time of Henry the Second were most insignificant any other. More than two thirds of the present in point of numbers. Less than a hundred men-atpopulation of Ireland undoubtedly owe their arms easily took possession of a whole district ; and
even afier the invaded had time to prepare for reexistence to the potato; and men alive can sistance, an army of three or four hundred was still point put large districts, now producing I found quite sufficient to bear down all opposition.
juries of those who suffered ir. the same place spoilers than any of the hated English, whose centuries ago. They are most of them half ancestors never adventured to the neighbourEyglish, by blood and lineage-and much ing island. Mr. O'Driscol's partiality for the more than half English, in speech, training, ancient Irish, therefore, is truly a mere pecu. character, and habits. If they are to punish liarity of taste or feeling--or at best but an the descendants of the individual English who historical predilection; and in reality has no usurped Irish possessions, and displaced true influence, as it ought to have none, on his Irish possessors, in former days, they must views as to what constitutes the actual grievpunish themselves;—for undoubtedly they ances, or is likely to work the deliverance, of are far more nearly connected with those the existing generation.
(Wecember, 1826.) Memoirs of the Life of the Right Honourable Richard Brinsley Sheridan. By Thomas Moore.
Fourth Edition. 2 vols. 8vo. London: Longman and Co. 1826.* We have frequently had occasion to speak , between them, seem to be chiefly two:of the dangers to which the conflict of two First, that their doctrines are timid, vacillatextreme parties must always expose the peace ing, compromising, and inconsistent; and, and the liberties of such a country as England, secondly, that the party which holds them is and of the hostility with which both are apt small, weak, despised, and unpopular. These to regard those who still continue to stand are the favourite texts, we think, of those neutral between them. The charges against whose vocation it has laiely become to preach this middle party–which we take to be now against us, from the pulpits at once of servility represented by the old constitutional Whigs and of democratical reform. But it is neces. of 1688—used formerly to be much the same, sary to open them up a little farther, before though somewhat mitigated in tone, with we enter on our defence. those which each was in the habit of address- The first charge then is, That the Whigs ing to their adversaries in the opposite ex- are essentially an inefficient, trimming, halftreme.
When the high Tories wanted to way sort of party-too captious, penurious, abuse the Whigs, they said they were nearly and disrespectful to authority, to be useful as bad as the Radicals; and when these wished servants in a Monarchy, and too aristocratical, in their turn to lessen the credit of the same cautious, and tenacious of old institutions, to unfortunate party, the established form of re- deserve the confidence, or excite the sympa. proach was, that they were little better than thies, of a generous and enlightened People. ihe Tories! Of late years, however, a change Their advocates, accordingly—and we our seems to have come over the spirit, or the selves in an an especial manner--are accused practical tactics at least, of these gallant bel- of dealing in contradictory and equivocating ligerents. They have now discovered that doctrines; of practising a continual see-saw there are vices and incapacities peculiar to of admissions and retractations; of saying now the Whigs, and inseparable indeed from their a word for the people—now one for the arismiddle position: and that before settling their tocracy-now one for the Crown; of paralysing fundamental differences with each other, it is all our liberal propositions by some timid and most wise and fitting that they should unite paltry reservation, and never being betrayed to bear down this common enemy, by making into a truly popular sentiment without ingood against them these heavy imputations. stantly chilling and neutralising it by some It has now become necessary, therefore, for cold warning against excess, some cautious those against whom they are directed, to in- saving of the privileges of rank and establishquire a little into the nature and proofs of ment. And so far has this system of inculpa. these alleged enormities; the horror of which tion been lately carried, that a liberal Journal
, has thus suspended the conflict of old heredi- of great and increasing celebrity, has actually tary enemies, and led them to proclaim a done us the honour, quarter after quarter, of truce, till the field, by their joint efforts, can quoting long passages from our humble pages, be cleared for fair hostilities, by the destruc- in evidence of this sad infirmity in our party tion of these hated intruders.
and principles. Now, the topics of reproach which these Now, while we reject of course the epithets two opposite parties have recently joined in which are here applied to us, we admit, at directing against those who would mediate once, the facts on which our adversaries pro
fess to justify them. We acknowledge that * What is here given forms but a sınall part of we are fairly chargeable with a fear of oppo. the article originally published under this litle, in site excesses-a desire to compromise and 1826. But it exhibits nearly the whole of the Gen. reconcile the claims of all the great parties in eral Politics contained in that article ; and having the State-an anxiety to temper and qualify sions, I contributed to the Review, I have been whatever may be said in favour tempted to close, with it, this most anxious and a steady reservation of whatever may be justly perilous division of the present publication. due to the rest. To this sort of trimming, to
this inconsistency, to this timidity, we dis-, followed with regard to us,—that our adver. tinctly plead guilty. We plead guilty to a saries have effected, or rather pretended, an love to the British Constitution-and to all unnatural union against us--and, deserting and every one of its branches. We are for not only the old rules of political hostility, King, Lords, and Commons; and though not but, as it humbly appears to us, their own perhaps exactly in that order, we are proud fundamental principles, have combined to atto have it said ihat we have a word for each tack us, on the new and distinct ground of in its turn; and that, in asserting the rights our moderation,-not because we are opposed of one, we would not willingly forget those to their extreme doctrines respectively, but of the others. Our jealousy, we confess, is because we are not extremely opposed to them! greatest of those whu have the readiest means -and, affecting a generous indulgence and of persuasion; and therefore, we are generally respect for those who are diametrically against far more afraid of the encroachments of them, seem actually to have agreed to join arbitrary power, under cover of its patron- forces with them, to run down those who stand age, and the general love of peace, security, peacefully between, and would gladly effect and distinction, which attract so strongly to their reconcilement. We understand very the region of the Court, than of the usurpa- well the feelings which lead to such a course tions of popular violence. But we are for au- of proceeding; but we are not the less conthority, as well as for freedom. We are for vinced of their injustice,-and, in spite of all the natural and wholesome influence of wealth that may be said of neutrals in civil war, or and rank, and the veneration which belongs interlopers in matrimonial quarrels, we still to old institutions, without which no govern- believe that the Peacemakers are Blessed, ment has ever had either stability or respect; and that they who seek conscientiously to as well as for that vigilance of popular control, moderate the pretensions of contending facand that supremacy of public opinion, without tions, are more likely to be right than either which none could be long protected from of their opponents. abuse. We know that, when pushed, to their The natural, and, in our humble judgment, ultimate extremes, those principles may be the very important function of a middle party said to be in contradiction. But the escape is, not only to be a check, but a bulwark to from inconsistency is secured by the very ob- both those that are more decidedly opposed; vious precaution of stopping short of such ex- and though liable not to be very well looked tremes. It was to prevent this, in fact, that on by either, it should only be very obnoxious, the English constitution, and indeed all good we should think, to the stronger, or those who government everywhere, was established. are disposed to act on the offensive. To them Every thing that we know that is valuable in it naturally enough presents the appearance the ordinances of men, or admirable in the of an advanced post, that must be carried bearrangements of Providence, seems to depend fore the main battle can be joined,—and for on a compromise, a balance; or, if the expres- the assault of which they have neither the sion is thought better, on a conflict and strug- same weapons, the same advantages of posigle, of opposite and irreconcileable principles. tion, nor the same motives of action. To the Virtue-society-life itself, and, in so far as weaker party, however, or those who stand we can see, the grand movements and whole on their defence, it must, or at least should, order of the universe, are maintained only by always be felt to be a protection,—though resuch a balance or contention.
ceived probably with grudging and ill grace, These, we are afraid, will appear but idle as a sort of half-faced fellowship, yielded truisms, and shallow pretexts for foolish self- with no cordiality, and ready enough to be commendation. No one, it will be said, is withdrawn if separate terms can be made for any thing but the British constitution; and with the adversary. With this scheme of nobody denies that it depends on a balance tactics we have long been familiar; and for of opposite principles. The only question is, those feelings we were prepared. But it is whether that balance is now rightly adjusted; rather too much, we think, when those who and whether the Whigs are in the proper are irreconcileably hostile, and whose only central position for correcting its obliquities. quarrel with us is, that we go half the length Now, if the attacks to which we are alluding of their hated opponents,-have the face to had been reducible to such a principle as this, pretend that we are more justly hateful to -if we had been merely accused, by our ihem, than those who go the whole length,brethren of the Westminster, for not going far that they have really no particular quarrel enough on the popular side, and by our breth- with those who are beyond us, and that we, ren of the Quarterly, for going too far,- - we in fact, and our unhappy mid-way position, should have had nothing to complain of, be- are the only obstacles to a cordial union of yond what is inseparable from all party con- those whom it is, in truth, our main object to tentions; and must have done our best to an- reconcile and unite! swer those opposite charges, on their separate Nothing, we take it, can be so plain as that and specific merits,-taking advantage, of this is a hollow, and, in truth, very flimsy course, as against each of the authority of the pretext: and that the real reason of the ani. other, as a proof, à fortiori, of the safety of mosity with which we are honoured by the our own intermediate position. But the pe- more eager individuals in both the extreme culiarity of our present case, and the hardship parties is, that we afford a covering and a which alone induces us to complain of it is, shelter to each-impede the assault they are that this is not the course that has been lately impatient mutually to make on each other, 78