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this island ; nay, more, we would ad- qualify them for this office ? or rather, mit that the baneful results of one error, to speak more correctly, do they suphad a strong natural tendency to lead pose that such a change has been made them into the next, especially when in their moral and religious character acting upon mistaken principles, and in that interval, as to render them so comparative ignorance of facts. But much more improved in proportion to while we would disclaim the intention, the people of England, that they who and shun the appearance of every harsh were notoriously unfit to be trusted language or feeling, and while we feel with the power of legislating for Eng. assured that England is at length land in the state iu which England and becoming acquainted with its mistake Irelaud were four centuries since, and deriving valuable experience from should now be qualified to be trusted the conduct of those perjured and un. with such power in the state in which grateful traitors whom it has so long England and Ireland are at this day? encouraged, and at length admitted to for if the proportionate civilization, not a share in its legislation, we feel it of the two nations, but of the one not less our duty to take every op- nation, and the aboriginal portion of portunity of exposing the most ruinous the other, be not materially altered, it causes of these ruinous effects of is obvious that that aboriginal portion Anglo-Irish policy.
is as unfit to legislate for the former We have laid it down as our most now as at any previous period. Now, decided opinion, and one which we what grounds have the British nation think will be confirmed by the most for the supposition, nay, for such a cerintimate study of our national history tainty as would justify the alteration of and circumstances, that the leading their constitution in consequence, that English theory. as contrasted with the this gigantic improvement has actually Irish fact, to which all or most of the taken place? This question is very errors in policy of which we complain easily answered. These people bave may be traced, is the supposition that in several parts of the island learned Ireland being an integral part of the a smattering of the English language : empire, the native Irish were qualified a few of them have been taught to spell to be treated as citizens of that empire. and read'; they have imitated to a The source of this error was simply certain extent, the English habit of this : the numbers of the colonists pro- enclosing fields and living in houses, duced a similarity of feeling and action and have adopted a few of the most between the ostensible portion of the obvious conveniences of clothing and the people and the mother country, tillage. Imperfect, however, as are which induced the latter to forget that their ideas of comfort or cleanliness, every particle of British character for even these seem rather imposed on which they gave credit to the whole them by the necessity of intereourse nation, was in fact confined to the with the colonists, than by any natural British colonists. Thence also they taste. These are, we fearlessly assert, acquired a habit of confounding the the sole grounds which have induced natives with the colonists, who are the supposition, that these people are in reality at this day as distinct, or so changed from what they were at the nearly so, from them in feelings, cha- first colonization of the island, that racter, and principles, as at the period whereas at that time they were conof their first colonization. They would fessedly unfit" to legislate, even for have started at the idea of treating themselves they are now competent the natives as English citizens, when lawgivers for themselves, for the colothey saw their character displaying nists, and for the whole British empire. itself in its full vigour on their first And all this improvement is to be preacquaintance with the island. Any sumed on such trivial grounds as we man who had at that time proposed have described, and in open defiance to give them the power of legislating of the glaring facts, that they retain even for their own island, not to say their old idolatrous superstitions in for the whole empire, would have been their grossest form ; that they glory in deemed insane. Do these suppose the most audacious violation of the that such a change has been wrought laws ; that they boast of their hatred in these people in the interval, as to to Britain ; aud that this very hatred is
selected by their ring-leaders as the commencement, and have witnessed most powerful and deep-rooted motive the bigoted contempt with which our by which to urge them to action; and faithful warnings were disregarded for that they daily and hourly display a the hollow sophistries and audacious ferocity more brutal and sanguinary lies of those traitors, who, having for than what they showed four centuries centuries laboured in vain to destroy since. Yet these are the beings to Great Britain, at length adopted the whom an English parliament entrusted more successful plan of inducing her the office of appointing legislators to to destroy herself. It were little alter or destroy our institutions, pro- better than hypocrisy to say that we perties, and even our lives. We shall could pity England for the consequennot enter at length into the motives ces of the emancipation act--for the which induced a British parliament to effects of having taken the legislative try this fatal experiment. Some were power from the hands of accomplished actuated by that mock liberality which and honorable gentlemen, to confer it proceeds from secret dislike to religion, upon disaffected and superstitious or total and wilful misconception of boors. We do not pity England, the term charity. Some were desirous because she has richly deserved these to gain the assistance upon which consequences. We do not pity Eng; they knew they could securely count land, because we are assured that this in furthering their own revolutionary lesson will do lier good ; and that, schemes. Some were guided by that however painful, degrading, and misfeeling which is common to timid poli-chievous it may be, that the majority ticians and cowardly soldiers, when each of her representatives should day after man runs away because his neighbour day be overborne, and a ministry in runs away, and this he calls yielding whom she places no confidence be with a philosophical enlargement of supported in office by a gang of permind to the spirit of the times. Some jured papists, who feeling themselves thought that because the measure had as much cut off from others by their been often proposed, it 'must at length manners and station, as united among be passed, and hoped by voting for it, themselves by restless disaffection, band to rid themselves of any further trouble together like a pack of wolves upon on the subject.. Many, ignorant alike every measure ; yet we feel a strong, of the Irish character and the popish and, we think, a well-grounded hope, religion, hoped by granting power to that she will be aroused to the necesthat church' to weaken its influence. sity of retracing her steps, and altering The result, the bitter, the degrading her Irish policy before it is wholly too result, has already forced itself on the late ; and that she will become aware attention of the empire; and Great that the progress of information, and Britain has seen the day when the facility of intercourse, acting as a majority of her representatives, ex- syphon between the countries, if she pressing her national feelings, have does not raise, not the power and pribeen trampled down and dictated to vileges, but the habit and principles, of by the insensate insolence of savages, Connaught and Munster to the standnurtured by their agitators in hatred to ard of Kent and Yorkshire, will sink British connection, and trained by the latter to the level of the former. their priests in the belief that heaven But the emancipation act, as it is is like the pit of a theatre, where ad- absurdly called, was not the sole, mission can be gained by paying money though the principal and most efficient, at the door. Such has been, and such evil consequence of the unfounded will be in a far greater degree, the theory that the native Irish were assireward which Britain will reap for that milated in feelings and character to the unconstitutional, irreligious, and irra- colonists, or to the English ; or that tional act, which consummated the the best means to produce such an errors of the Irish policy. It is little assimilation was to confer political better than hypocrisy to say that we pity power and privileges upon them, and her; that we, whose liberties, religion, thus to remove every earthly induceand lives have been sported with in the ment to improve. It is the habit of those whirlpool of unconstitutional experi- to whom the government of this ill-fated ment, who have seen her errors from the country has been committed, rather to
look to the beauty of the means than papist cottagers and labourers, and this their adaptation to the end to be attained; to such an extent and with such perserather to consider whether their mea- vering uniformity as not only to bold sures are suited to the ideas and tastes out a constant premium to the natives of the people of England than to the for continuing in their ancient supeculiar circumstances and character perstition and retaining all those of the native Irish, and as soon as half-savage . tenets, and principles experience and acquaintance with which it was the duty of England Irish facts had induced any of those to have exerted her whole power persons to alter his English theories or to extirpate, but actually to render it change his line of policy, he was im- difficult for the poorer colonist himself mediately recalled by the government to resist the powerful temptation to at the other side as being no longer fit adopt the idolatry and character of the to fufil his office. Improvement under native--for these men to stalk forth and such a system was hopeless. Even to charge the consequences of their own retain possession would have been selfish, unprincipled, and narrowimpossible but for the powerful minded criminality upon that system strength of the garrison of colonists; which in spite of their endeavours has yet we hear persons coolly expressing succeeded in maintaining Protestantism iheir surprise that Protestantism and its and civilization, and even in some deconcomitant civilization should have gree extending their influence this made so little progress in Ireland; and may be natural, but, if it be, it is natusaying that the church of Ireland had ral depravity. neglected its duty, and was in fact a We cannot, indeed, be surprised that useless establishment ; when the fact such men should gladly grasp at the is, that the only ground of surprise to opportunity of undoing the Irish Prothe rational investigator of Irish his- testant church, the scapegoat of tory is, how, under such a system, the their iniquities; but however they may church is able to support its existence, in this nefarious attempt succeed for å working, as it has done, against a most moment, the truth will soon be made powerful tide of opposition from with- manifest, and the guilt of the present out, and either neglect, or yet more state of Ireland be heaped, as it debaneful interference and discourage- serves, on the head of English goverumeut, from at home.
ment and Anglo-Irish religious coveIt may be true that the church of tousness. Ireland has not at all times exerted But to proceed: one of the most itself as much as it ought to have done, remarkable instances of an English and that, even under existing circum- theory, contrasted with the Irish result, stances, somewhat more might have and originating in the administration been than actually has been effected. of Irish affairs by men acquainted only To admit this is no more than to with English habits and character, is acknowledge that its members have to be found in the constant habit of been human beings ; and does not instituting, or permitting to be insti. even militate against the assertion, tuted, government investigations and the truth of which we firmly believe, prosecutions against the magistracy and that the church of Ireland is the police for the
execution of their duty. most pure and perfect institution of Now this is frequently done from the the kind in the world. But for those most sincere desire to vindicate the cause who have wholly neglected their own of justice; and, as in the case of court duty, nay, have actually been zeal- martials in the navy on officers whose ously engaged in preventing the success ships have been fairly captured, merely which they presume to blame the with a view to clear the character of church of Ireland for not having the accused: but on the other hand, effected; for them to call that church they are more commonly instituted an inefficient establishment—for the in subservience to the mean, vacillatlandlords who have preferred papisting, miserable, double-dealing policy, tenants—for the masters who bave which, instead of manfully standing chosen papist servants—for the gentry forth to avenge the insulted majesty who have patronised papist tradesmen, of the law, at one moment makes a and the farmers who have encouraged puny effort to enforce it, and the next
soothes and apologises to the rebels that if we consider what are the in - for having attempted to control them. ducements to commit crime resulting - But the ruinons effects of this system from the hope of impunity, viz. the - are not confined to the cases where the possibility that the crime may not be motive is such as we have last de- discovered ; that the perpetrator may scribed; and to understand the reasons not be known ; that if known, he may why this practice, even in cases in not be corrected ; if arrested, tried ; which in England it would be benefic if tried, convicted ; or if convicted, cial, is in this country productive of punished ; we shall readily see that all
the worst results, it will be necessary these chances are actually increased to compare briefly the character of the in proportion to the talent of the critwo nations, as natural, and as fostered minal, and that they are yet further by circumstances. Steadiness is the cha- magnified by his imagination and racteristic of the English, quickness of consciousness of ingenuity. When the Irish, character. The laws of we consider, then, the character of the -England having been of their own native Irish, it becomes obvious that creation, enforced by themselves, or the greatest activity should be used in rather by officers chosen from them- enforcing the law. That every posselves, and with that uniformity which sible means should be taken to impress is the result of the national character, on the people the idea that conviction and looked on rather as bonds of is the necessary result of crime, and social, than engines of political govern- punishment the necessary result of ment; the disposition of the English conviction. Now, we fearlessly assert is to obey the laws, unless powerfully that the system pursued for ages in tempted to the contrary; and, viewing Ireland, has been directly the opposite. the laws rather as friends than as ene That system has been arbitrary and mies, they do not consider a trial as a despotic-despotic, not in degrees, condemnation. In Ireland, on the con but in nature : for the government, and trary, these laws are viewed by the even the magistracy of Ireland, have unreclaimed part of the population as assumed to themselves the power of the arbitrary enactments of foreign dispensing with the laws at pleasure. power. They have, moreover, never The government of Ireland have been steadily enforced. These and presumed to take the liberty of enforcmany other motives, acting on the quick ing only such laws as they approved. talent which prefers a shilling obtained They have, in fact, constituted themhy ingenuity and danger to a guinea selves a legislative body. Now, we earned by honest industry, have, from tell the government of Great Britain, generation to generation, with the un- that they are a purely executive mafailing aid of the popish priesthood, chine ; that they have no more power whose power over their flocks was in to choose when they will enforce a law, creased by the number of crimes to or even to soften its most rigorous which they were made privy by the provisions, unless where such a power confessional, reared up the lower Irish is granted to them by express statute, papist in the idea that the law and all than they have to consecrate a bishop that enforced it were fair game; the or confer an academical degree. We most innocent effects of which prin- tell the British government that this ciple were poaching, smuggling, and assumption of power is not only unbailiff-beating, but which, engrafted on constitutional, but that it has produced political designs and religious conspi. more evil in Ireland, than perhaps any racy, burst forth in the perpetration other cause in existence. of crimes to which no other power but If there is any feature in the Irish popery could ever have depraved the character more prominent than the naturally warm and generous heart of rest, it is the disposition to trace disthe native Irish.
agreeable events to any possible cause, The worst cause, however, is the however improbable and absurd, rather unsteadiness of the administration of than to thei
If a master the law. In proportion to the talent discharges a drunken or dishonest of the individual will be the disposition footman, not only the culprit, but all to overrate the chance of escape, and his fellows, attribute this, not to the to underrate that of punishments ; so fault of the man, but to the influence
of some other servant, or even of some induce these people to confound a trial friend of the family. The lower Irish with a conviction, at least so far as the always prefer to discover a circuitous feelings of the government are conrather than a direct cause. If a man cerned. To illustrate this by an inis hanged for an offence, they attribute stance. A ringleader of ribbonmen is it to his having belonged to a particular instigating a peasant to attack and bum party. If he is pardoned, to the in- a house and its inmates; or a priest, in fluence of a judge, a juror, or a admonishing his flock, to rescue a magistrate. This forms another source distress for tithes. The savage replies, of influence to the popish priesthood, that certain of his friends had been ..who always take to themselves the killed by the police in a similar attempt. merit of preventing the enforcement of The ready, and to them satisfactory the law, It is obvious that with a reply is this, “Well, but were not the people like this prosecutions should police tried for it.". The police were be active and uniform, punishments tried and acquitted, but the prosecution should be definite, and pardons exceed- was viewed as a proof of the indigingly rare.
nation of the government against those Now the fact is, that there is a greater who enforced the law, and the acquittal power exercised by the Irish govern- as evidence of the want of true Irish ment of not enforcing laws, a greater spirit in the jury. The unhappy uncertainty in the statutary punish- wretch goes off on his mission of ment, and more frequent pardons, than treachery and blood, encouraged by in any other part of the empire. The the thought that the government government also act on the extraor- secretly approve his acts, and that the dinary principle, that the degree in magistracy and police, having been which indulgence should be shewn to visited with a public prosecution for any particular violation of the law having interfered with him before, will should be in proportion to its preva- not be willing to expose themselves to lence, that is, it should bear, not an another. inverse, as it ought to be, but a direct. And he judges rightly, for it were proportion to that prevalence. The to expect more than human sense of proposition that a law should be abro- duty to suppose that those men would gated the instant that it becomes willingly hazard a second chance of a disagreeable to those whom it was jury who would view their execution designed to control, is no doubt as a grateful offering to their favourite sufficiently absurd ; but what shall be superstition. When we state our most said to the notion that a government decided conviction that such conduct invested with powers purely executive is in the highest degree injurious to should assuine a right to neglect the Ireland, we would be understood to enforcement of the laws in proportion speak of such cases when the facts are to the refractory and uncivilized hosti- publicly known, and where the governlity to them displayed by the natives? ment, fully aware that the taking away yet such has been, not in one or two of life, or other act done by the officers instances merely, but so constantly as of the law, took place in the execution almost to amount to a system, the of their duty, intend the prosecution principle on which Ireland has been as a means of justifying them. There governed.
are two other cases of which we would It is easily seen how such a system use different language. The one, must tend to increase the disposition where there is reasonable ground to we have noticed ; and to induce the suspect that the police transgressed lower Irish to regard a government their duty, in which case an investiprosecution as a proof of the hostility gation is necessary; the other, which of government to the accused, and of too frequently has occurred of late, their disapprobation of his acts, rather where a government, supported in than as a regular and necessary means office by a seditious faction, and owing of ascertaining, either whether he their places and the success of their committed the acts, or whether those measures to the cooperation of the acts were blameable or praiseworthy, public enemy, are afraid to sanction and laying the guilt upon the right the enforcement of those laws which persons. The effect of this is to would tend to prevent or retard the