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L E T TER.

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DEAR SIR, - If I am not as early as I

ought to be in my acknowledgments for your very kind letter, pray do me the justice to attribute my failure to its natural and but too real cause, a want of the most ordinary power of exertion, owing to the impressions made upon an old and infirm constitution by private misfortune and by public calamity. It is true, I make occasional efforts to rouse myself to something better, — but I soon relapse into that state of languor which must be the habit of my body and understanding to the end of my short and cheerless existence in this world.

I am sincerely grateful for your kindness in connecting the interest you take in the sentiments of an old friend with the able part you take in the service of your country. It is an instance, among many, of that happy temper which has always given a character of amenity to your virtues and a goodnatured direction to your talents.

Your speech on the Catholic question I read with much satisfaction. It is solid; it is convincing; it is eloquent; and it ought, on the spot, to have produced that effect which its reason, and that contained in the other excellent speeches on the same side of the question, cannot possibly fail (though with less pleasant consequences) to produce hereafter.

What a sad thing it is, that the grand instructor, Time, has not yet been able to teach the grand lesson of his own value, and that, in every question of moral and political prudence, it is the choice of the moment which renders the measure serviceable or useless, noxious or salutary!

In the Catholic question I considered only one point: Was it, at the time, and in the circumstances, a measure which tended to promote the concord of the citizens? I have no difficulty in saying it was, - and as little in saying that the present concord of the citizens was worth buying, at a criti cal season, by granting a few capacities, which probably no one man now living is likely to be served or hurt by. When any man tells you and me, that, if these places were left in the discretion of a Protestant crown, and these memberships in the discretion of Protestant electors or patrons, we should have a Popish official system, and a Popish representation, capable of overturning the Establishment, he only insults our understandings. When any man tells this to Catholics, he insults their understandings, and he galls their feelings. It is not the question of the places and seats, it is the real hostile disposition and the pretended fears, that leave stings in the minds of the people. I really thought that in the total of the late circumstances, with regard to persons, to things, to principles, and to measures, was to be found a conjuncture favorable to the introduction and to the perpetuation of a general harmony, producing a general strength, which to that hour Ireland was never so happy as to enjoy. My sanguine hopes are blasted, and I must consign my feelings on that terrible disappointment to the same patience in which I have been obliged to bury the vexation I suffered on the defeat of the other great, just, and honorable causes in which I have had some share, and which have given more of dignity than of peace and advantage to a long, laborious life. Though, perhaps, a want of success might be urged as a reason for making me doubt of the justice of the part I have taken, yet, until I have other lights than one side of the debate has furnished me, I must see things, and feel them too, as I see and feel them.

I think I can hardly overrate the malignity of the principles of Protestant ascendency, as they affect Ireland, - or of Indianism, as they affect these countries, and as they affect Asia, - or of Jacobinism, as they affect all Europe and the state of human society itself. The last is the greatest evil. But it readily combines with the others, and flows from them. Whatever breeds discontent at this time will produce that great master-mischief most infallibly. Whatever tends to persuade the people that the few, called by whatever name you please, religious or political, are of opinion that their interest is not compatible with that of the many, is a great point gained to Jacobin sm. Whatever tends to irritate the talents of a country, which have at all times, and at these particularly, a mighty influence on the public mind, is of infinite service to that formidable cause. Unless where Heaven has mingled uncommon ingredients of virtue in the composition, - quos meliore luto finxit præcordia Titan, - talents naturally gravitate to Jacobinism. Whatever ill-humors are afloat in the state, they will be sure to discharge themselves in a mingled torrent in the Cloaca Maxima of Jacobinism. Therefore people ought well to look about them. First, the physicians are to take care that they do nothing to irritate this epidemical distemper. It is a foolish thing to have the better of the patient in a dispute. The complaint or its cause ought to be removed, and wise and lenient arts ought to precede the measures of vigor. They ought to be the ultima, not the prima, not the tota ratio of a wise government. God forbid, that, on a worthy occasion, authority should want the means of force, or the disposition to use it! But where a prudent and enlarged policy does not procede it, and attend it too, where the hearts of the better sort of people do not go with the hands of the soldiery, you may call your Constitution what you will, in effect it will consist of three parts, (orders, if you please,) cavalry, infantry, and artillery, - and of nothing else or better.

I agree with you in your dislike of the discourses in Francis Street: but I like as little some of those in College Green. I am even less pleased with the temper that predominated in the latter, as better things might have been expected in the regular family mansion of public discretion than in a new and hasty assembly of unexperienced men, congregated under circumstances of no small irritation. After people have taken your tests, prescribed by yourselves as proofs of their allegiance, to be marked as enemies, traitors, or at best as suspected and dangerous persons, and that they are not to be believed on their oaths, we are not to be surprised, if they fall into a passion, and talk as men in a passion do, intemperately and idly.

The worst of the matter is this: you are partly leading, partly driving into Jacobinism that description of your people whose religious principles, church polity, and habitual discipline might make them an

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