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This is, indeed, to speak plain, though to speak nothing very new. The same thing has been said in all times and in all languages. The language of tyranny has been invariable: “The general good is inconsistent with my personal safety.” Justice and liberty seem so alarming to these gentlemen, that they are not ashamed even to slander their own titles, to car lumniate and call in doubt their right to their own estates, and to consider themselves as novel disseizors, usurpers, and intruders, rather than lose a pretext for becoming oppressors of their fellow-citizens, whom they (not I choose to describe themselves as having robbed.

Instead of putting themselves in this odious point of light, one would think they would wish to let Time draw his oblivious veil over the unpleasant modes by which lordships and demesnes have been acquired in theirs, and almost in all other countries upon earth. It might be imagined, that, when the sufferer (if a sufferer exists) had forgot the wrong, they would be pleased to forget it too, - that they would permit the sacred name of possession to stand in the place of the melancholy and unpleasant title of grantees of confiscation, which, though firm and valid in law, surely merits the name that a great Roman jurist gave to a title at least as valid in his nation as confiscation would be either in his or in ours : Tristis et luctuosa successio.

Such is the situation of every man who comes in upon the ruin of another; his succeeding, under this circumstance, is tristis et luctuosa successio. If it had been the fate of any gentleman to profit by the confiscation of his neighbor, one would think he would be more disposed to give him a valuable interest under him in his land, or to allow him a pension, as I understand one worthy person has done, without fear or apprehension that his benevolence to a ruined family would be construed into a recognition of the forfeited title. The public of England, the other day, acted in this manner towards Lord Newburgh, a Catholic. Though the estate had been vested by law in the greatest of the public charities, they have given him a pension from his confiscation. They have gone further in other cases. On the last rebellion, in 1745, in Scotland, several forfeitures were incurred. They had been disposed of by Parliament to certain laudable uses. Parliament reversed the method which they had adopted in Lord Newburgh's case, and in my opinion did better: they gave the forfeited estates to the successors of the forfeiting proprietors, chargeable in part with the uses. Is this, or anything like this, asked in favor of any human creature in Ireland ? It is bounty, it is charity, - wise bounty, and politic charity ; but no man can claim it as a right. Here no such thing is claimed as right, or begged as charity. The demand has an object as distant from all considerations of this sort as any two extremes can be. The people desire the privileges inseparably annexed, since Magna Charta, to the freehold which they have by descent or obtain as the fruits of their industry. They call for no man's estate ; they desire not to be dispossessed of their own.

But this melancholy and invidious title is a favorite (and, like favorites, always of the least merit) with those who possess every other title upon earth along with it. For this purpose they revive the bitter memory of every dissension which has torn to pieces their miserable country for ages. After what has passed

in 1782, one would not think that decorum, to say
nothing of policy, would permit them to call up, by
magic charms, the grounds, reasons, and principles
of those terrible confiscatory and exterminatory pe-
riods. They would not set men upon calling from
the quiet sleep of death any Samuel, to ask him by
what act of arbitrary monarchs, by what inquisitions
of corrupted tribunals and tortured jurors, by what
fictitious tenures invented to dispossess whole unof-
fending tribes and their chieftains. They would not
conjure up the ghosts from the ruins of castles and
churches, to tell for what attempt to struggle for the
independence of an Irish legislature, and to raise ar-
mies of volunteers without regular commissions from
the crown in support of that independence, the es-
tates of the old Irish nobility and gentry had been
confiscated. They would not wantonly call on those
phantoms to tell by what English acts of Parliament,
forced upon two reluctant kings, the lands of their
country were put up to a mean and scandalous auc-
tion in every goldsmith's shop in London, or chopped
to pieces and cut into rations, to pay the mercenary
soldiery of a regicide usurper. They would not be
so fond of titles under Cromwell, who, if he avenged
an Irish rebellion against the sovereign authority
of the Parliament of England, had himself rebelled
against the very Parliament whose sovereignty he
asserted, full as much as the Irish nation, which he
was sent to subdue and confiscate, could rebel against
that Parliament, or could rebel against the king,
against whom both he and the Parliament which he
served, and which he betrayed, had both of them re-

The gentlemen who hold the language of the day

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know perfectly well that the Irish in 1641 pretended, at least, that they did not rise against the king: nor in fact did they, whatever constructions law might put upon their act. But full surely they rebelled against the authority of the Parliament of England, and they openly professed so to do. Admitting (I have now no time to discuss the matter) the enormous and unpardonable magnitude of this their crime, they rued it in their persons, and in those of their children and their grandchildren, even to the fifth and sixth generations. Admitting, then, the enormity of this unnatural rebellion in favor of the independence of Ireland, will it follow that it must be avenged forever? Will it follow that it must be avenged on thousands and perhaps hundreds of thousands of those whom they can never trace, by the labors of the most subtle metaphysician of the traduction of crimes, or the most inquisitive genealogist of proscription, to the descendant of any one concerned in that nefarious Irish rebellion against the Parliament of England ?

If, however, you could find out these pedigrees of guilt, I do not think the difference would be essential. History records many things which ought to make us hate evil actions; but neither history, nor morals, nor policy can teach us to punish innocent men on that account. What lesson does the iniquity of prevalent factions read to us? It ought to lesson us into an abhorrence of the abuse of our own power in our own day, when we hate its excesses so much in other persons and in other times. To that school true statesmen ought to be satisfied to leave mankind. They ought not to call from the dead all the discussions and litigations which formerly inflamed the furious factions which had torn their country to pieces; they ought not to rake into the hideous and abominable things which were done in the turbulent fury of an injured, robbed, and persecuted people, and which were afterwards cruelly revenged in the execution, and as outrageously and shamefully exaggerated in the representation, in order, an hundred and fifty years after, to find some color for justifying them in the eternal proscription and civil excommunication of a whole people.

Let us come to a later period of those confiscations with the memory of which the gentlemen who triumph in the acts of 1782 are so much delighted. The Irish again rebelled against the English Parliament in 1688, and the English Parliament again put up to sale the greatest part of their estates. I do not presume to defend the Irish for this rebellion, nor to blame the English Parliament for this confiscation. The Irish, it is true, did not revolt from King James's power. He threw himself upon their fidelity, and they supported him to the best of their feeble power. Be the crime of that obstinate adherence to an abdicated sovereign, against a prince whom the Parlia. ments of Ireland and Scotland had recognized, what it may, I do not mean to justify this rebellion more than the former. It might, however, admit some palliation in them. In generous minds some small degree of compassion might be excited for an error, where they were misled, as Cicero says to a conqueror, quadam specie et similitudine pacis, not without a mistaken appearance of duty, and for which the guilty have suffered, by exile abroad and slavery at home, to the extent of their folly or their offence. The best calculators compute that Ireland lost two hundred

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