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place. He is accused of conspiring with men who certainly never conspired with each other. For those who know anything of newspapers are aware that they are mercantile speculations -the property in them is held by shares—and that the very circumstance of their being engaged in the same politics alienates the proprietors from each other: they pay their addresses to the same mistress, and cordially detest each other."
Addressing himself then to the great question of local self-rule, he asked the jury, as citizens of Dublin, to say whether they thought the Union had ever yet been fairly or fully carried into operation; or whether the promises of which they had all traditionally heard had, either in spirit or letter, been fulfilled ? Native institutions had been sacrificed in 1800 for the sake of a participation in the benefits of Empire; but had those benefits been realized ? Had even the principles and the practice of constitutional law, long recognised in England, been extended to Ireland ? Could such a trial as the present take place there? Had the Chartists been prosecuted for constructive sedition, or for a vague and undefinable conspiracy? That there was deep discontent in the heart of the community could not be denied, and that exciting appeals to that discontent were not unaccompanied with peril, none could question. But was there not a cause for national complaint with which every man of spirit, whatever
might be his class or creed, must sympathize. The same injustice that had stirred the spirit of Swift within him more than a century before, and that at a later period had stimulated the genius of Grattan, still rankled in the country's heart. “The Union was a bargain and a sale: as a sale it was fraudulent, and the bargain was a bad one. Far better terms might have been obtained, and might be still. The first legislative fruits of the Union were Insurrection Acts, which neither extinguished disaffection nor prevented crime. A Government prosecution was directed against the Catholic delegates, and from an exclusive jury the verdict was obtained. But was the Catholic question thereby suppressed ? In 1812, an Irish member was appointed Chief Secretary. It was Mr. Peel. You are surprised at the intimation. He was returned for the borough of Cashel, where a very small, but a very discriminating constituency were made sensible of his surpassing merits. It has been remarked that young statesmen who are destined to operate upon England, are first sent to dissect in this country. Mr. Peel had a fine hand and admirable instruments, and he certainly gave proof that he would give the least possible pain in any amputations which he might afterwards have to perform. He was de
corous—he avoided the language of wanton insult, endeavoured to give us the advantages of a mild despotism, and dwelt in decencies for ever. Yet was his Irish Government, and he must have felt it, an utter failure. He must have seen, even then, the irresistible arguments in favour of Catholic Emancipation; but he had not the moral intrepidity to break from his party, and to do at once what he was compelled to do afterwards. The Insurrection Act was renewed, the disturbances of the country were not diminished, and Ireland continued to reap the bitter fruits of Imperial legislation. A new policy was tried after Mr. Peel had proceeded to England, and the notable expedient was adopted of counteracting the Secretary with the Lord-Lieutenant, and the Lord. Lieutenant with the Secretary. We had Grant against Talbot, and Wellesley against Goulburn. It is almost unnecessary to say, that a Government carried on upon such a principle was incapable of good.”
The struggle which terminated in 1829 in Ireland, was followed by one equally menacing in England. Parliamentary Reform was carried by agitation the most threatening; and if to sympathize openly in such agitation were to render men available to a charge of conspiracy, the members of Lord Grey's Cabinet
might have been indicted for that offence. So might the members of the Anti-Corn-Law League and every other association seeking redress of wrongs by appeals to popular feeling. “It is not by ratiocination that a redress of grievances can be obtained. The agitator must sometimes follow the example of the diplomatist, who asks for what is impossible, in order that what is possible may be obtained. The main source of all our grievances, I am convinced, is to be found in the Colonial policy pursued with regard to this country. The Union never has been carried into effect. If it had, Ireland would not be a miserable dependent in the great Imperial family.”
In the House of Commons, Lord John Russell moved, on the 13th of February, for a Committee of the whole House to take into consideration the state of Ireland.
That country, which two years before had been left by himself and his colleagues in a condition of profound repose, was then filled with troops, whose presence was deemed necessary for the suppression of discontent. “ Ireland was occupied, not governed.” The man who of all others was beloved by the majority of the people had been found guilty of sedition, and was then awaiting sentence of imprisonment; while burning emotions of resentment,
and enmity to the existing order of things was ascribed to millions to whom he was endeared. Whence did all this proceed ? From the failure of the promises of complete assimilation of rights and identification of interests held out with all solemnity, at the time of the Union. In name indeed, the same fundamental laws existed in the two countries; but in practice they were so differently administered as to create two widely dissimilar systems of rule. Trial by jury prevailed in both ; but in Ireland persons of certain political and religious opinions were, under the sanction of Government, openly excluded, upon trials of importance.
The elective franchise had, by judicial construction, been limited to a degree never contemplated by the Reform Act in Great Britain ; and Lord Stanley and his friends in power had, while in Opposition, done their utmost to restrict that franchise still further. Then with regard to administrative functions. In England, no great sect or class was made to feel that its members were under an interdict, though nominally eligible by law—in Ireland, though Emancipation had for fifteen years been theoretically acknowledged, Catholics of education and talent were as rigorously debarred from office by a Conservative Government as they had ever been. Mr. O'Connell had been prosecuted for exciting