« ÖncekiDevam »
“ mind that can appreciate the conditions of civil society. The “ bounty of Providence has indeed been displayed in that coun“ try by a fertile soil, and by abundant means of internal ima “provement and prosperity ; its inhabitants have not been less “ distinguished than those of Great Britain, in corresponding “ stations in life, for eloquence, for literary and scientific ac~ quirements, and for those talents and exertions which have “ established the naval and military renown of the British empire. “ Their form of government is the same as ours, but it wants its «« true characteristicit does not, like ours, bestow and receive “ general confidence and protection; it is not, like ours, con“ nected with the indissoluble ties, with the obvious interests, “ the feelings and the sentiments, of the great body of the “people."*
“ I might add, without exaggeration, that in the six hundred
years since the reign of Henry the Second, there has been “ more unhappiness in Ireland, than in any other civilized na. “ tion, not actually under the visitation of pestilence or internal “ war; neither prosperity, nor tranquility, nor safety, were “ to be expected from a government founded in the pretensions o of a small part of the community, to monopolize the repre. “sentation, patronage, and resources of the whole.”+
Here we have the incontestible evidence of the adversaries of Irish independence, to substantiate the evils of the connexion which the United Irishmen wished to dissolve, and the vices of the constitution which they meant to reform. They and the king's ministers agree upon the iniquity of the system to which Ireland was subjected : both parties equally admit that the Irish constitution was full of disease, incapable of giving protection, undeserving of confidence: that this connexion and this consti
* Mr. Addington. Vide Debret's Parliamentary Register. + Lord Aukland. Ibid.
tution involved Ireland in disorder, poverty, turbulence and wretchedness, made her suffer for six hundred years more than any other nation upon earth, and produced the extremes of mi. sery and oppression.
The English government, the very source of all those evils, proposes, as a remedy, that the Irish shall place themselves more fully in its power. The United Irishmen, on the contrary, ap. peal to history against this madness. They observe, in 1779, when a free trade was extorted from the necessities of England, that this first step to prosperity was a step towards independence. They find in 1782, by withdrawing farther from the control of England, in establishing the exclusive right of legislating for herself, that Ireland added to her dignity, and increased her happiness.
Thus the proscribed and calumniated Irish, whose crime is to have endeavoured to substitute a different constitution in place of that which produced the extremes of misery and oppression, may, if they value such testimony, quote in support of their proceedings the confessions of those very ministers who persecuted tliem for such acts. But it is for the guilty to justify; for them who dealt banishment, murder, torture, and martial-law, among the opponents of that connexion and constitution, which have produced more unhappiness where they were established, than any other civilized nation ever suffered in six hundred years. What demons of evil! to uphold a system so barbarous, by deeds so foul. If they be more wicked, they are less base, however, than the persons who approve of that system of conduct, without the same motives of personal interest. It is owing to the attacks and calumnies of such men that this publication is offered to the world for the elucidation of transactions which, were they not maliciously niisrepresented, it would now be unne. cessary to explain.
The first piece after the introduction, is a part only of a larger work, formerly contemplated by its author, and so far executed while he was confined in Fort George; but which, from the urgency of other avocations, he has entirely laid aside. It is so luminous as far as it proceeds, that we must regret it could not all be finished by the same hand. It contains information not to be found elsewhere, consisting for the most part of things personally known to the writer, or communicated to him by friends and intimates, who were themselves conversant with what they related. Nevertheless, the essay of Mr. Emmet is more a relation of what was done by the United Irishmen, than by their opponents. A more' ample detail, therefore, of the acts of opatrage and despotism practised by the Anglo-Irish government during the same period, is still wanting to complete the picture.
After this, there intervenes a large chasm ; the third piece. being no more than the recital of one transaction, which took place at the distance of two years and a half from any of those related in the essay.
Indeed nothing here forestalls the intended publication of which I gave a short prospectus last year. One that shall exhibit a comprehensive view of the policy of the English cabinet in re. gard to Ireland, that shall detail its baleful nature in the miseries it inflicted, and the prosperity it marred; that shali connect with these the various acts of licentiousness, and cruelty of its agents, whether corrupted natives or others; shew the disastrous but instructive consequences of subjection to a foreign power, and develope to Irishmen the full extent of their obligations to Great Britain.
PART OF AN ESSAY
TOWARDS THE HISTORY OF IRELAND,
Br T. A. EMMET.
FTER the king's recovery from his indisposition in 1789, the parliament of Ireland became an object of ridicule and contempt from its profligate versatility, Several measures, founded more or less on popular principles, were proposed by the Oppo. sition; they were, however, uniformly lost, and the failure seemed to excite but little public interest.
The year 1790 was for the most part spent in the agitation and corruption of contested elections.
But an event was now taking place, which seemed calculated to make an epoch in the history of every nation, and which has peculiarly acted on the condition of Ireland. The French revo. lution was beginning to unfold its immense importance. In or. der the better to understand its effects on that country,
may be advisable to take a short view of its situation and political sentiments at that period.