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" he had better have taken the way lord Clarendon took, and have “ said nothing at all.”-Can they claim title to the fairness of reviewers, who charge the author (p. 661) with interdicting any reference to_Temple, Borlase, Clarendon, Garte, and Cox, and accusing the Protestants with having commenced the first massacre in 1641; a position (they assert) contrary to the faith of history; when they must have read the following words, quoted out of Clarendon (Hist. Rev. 137): “ About the beginning of November “ 1641, the English and Scotch forces in Carrickfergus murdered, “ in one night, all the inhabitants of the island Gee, commonly call" ed Mac-Gee, to the number of above three thousand, men, women, “ and children, all innocent persons, in a time when none of the “ Catholics in that country were in arms or rebellion. Note, that
this was the first massacre committed in Ireland on either side.” Let any man of common honour or honesty (I appeal to none other) say, is this interdicting the authority of Clarendon? Is this Mr. Plowden's or lord Clarendon's accusation?
Such barefaced attempts to impose upon ignorance or inability to attain the truth, such prostitution to every thing uncandid, such total abandonment of uprightness, will discharge the author from the nauseating task of specifying more of the wilful falsifications and mis-statements of the writers of the British Critic. They have, however, called upon the author to disclose to the public his object in publishing such a work, at such a time as the present, with a further complaint that at this unpropitious moment he has thrown down the gauntlet of religious and political controversy (p. 465). Before the author enters into the detail of the circunistances, under which he wrote and published his Historical Review, he begs leave to premise, that the work does not contain a single sentence of religious controversy. If the narration of historical truths be, in the language of these pseudocritics, throwing down the gauntlet, the author declines not the contest with any one, who fairly enters the lists to disprove them.
In the autumn of 1801, the author had in the press a work, that has since appeared, upon the constitution of the United
ingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, civil and ecclesiastical. It was his intention to have subjoined to it an Appendix, relating to the then recent transaction of the union.
The difficulty of procuring any materials for the purpose in London, sharpened his eagerness for research, and led him to contemplate that great event in all its bearings. The subject was not new to him: he had long considered*, as he still does consider, that an incorpo
The author had, in April 1792, after several conversations with the minister upon the subject of Ireland, put into his hands the following considerations upon the state of that country, accompanied with a letter, which, should these sheets come under his eye, the author trusts will work an impression on that rate union of the two kingdoms must be the greatest blessing to the British empire, if followed up by an indiscriminating adoption of all his : majesty's subjects, in the assumption of the imperial parliament's manifesting the same tutelary attention to the integreat man's mind, which either was not produced or not expressed at the time he received them. The writer was ordered, and he obeyed the order, to put a copy into the hands of Mr. Dundas (now lord Melville). From that hour, though the author frequently solicited an interview with that minister, he never could obtain one during the remaining nine years lie continued in office thougla the objects of his solicitation were of the first national magnitude. Truth alone survives all changes of times, fashions, and circumstances. In justice to him. self and family, the author now submits to the impartial public, that letter and, that paper, which the consequent conduct of the ministers, who received them, to wards the writer shews to have been displeasing or offensive The fate of the Historical Review renders the case of the author the cause of Ireland ; and it is now become expedient, just, and necessary, that his negociations in Downing street concerning it should be disclosed.
Adelphi, 13th April 1792. SIR, Your apparent surprise at what I hinted to you about Ireland, the last time I had the honour of seeing you, has made me turn my thoughts more than ever to that subject. If the information, which you have received concerning the situation of affairs in that country be contrary to my representation of them, for once I shall cordially rejoice in being deceived. I have used what means ! could to come at the truth : and you may rely upon the uprightness of my in. tentions in communicating to you the contents of the enclosed paper. I have withstood some pressing solicitations to publish an argument in support of the emancipation of Ireland. For very obvious reasons, I have preferred this measure, of submitting privately the grounds of the case to your
consideration, that your prudence may apply such remedy, as you shall find the nature of it de. mands. You will forgive perhaps an officious, certainly a zealous attempt to contribute towards the preyention of very serious evils. I have that confidence in your judgment and resolution, that nothing but misinformation of facts, can betray you into an inefficient measure of government. I hope, therefore, that my surmise of false reports having been made to you will plead my apology for having troubled you upon the subject. I most devoutly wish the circumstances not to happen, which, I am sorry to acknowledge, I see the strongest probability of happening If happily they do not, I shall rejoice in having given an useless alarm : If unfortunately they do, I shall console myself in the consci. ousness of having done whatever lay in my slender ability to prevent them. My constant ambition is to promote and ensure the welfare and happiness of every part of the British empire. I have the honour to be with the most respectful deference and highest esteem,
Sir, your devoted and obedient
FRANCIS Plowdex. The Right Honourable William Pitt.
A sincere well-wisher to government thinks it a call of duty and loyalty to submit to the minister the following considerations upon the present state of Ireland.
It is allowed that 3,000,000 of the inhabitants are Roman Catholics. It is a matter of notoriety, that they have petitioned parliament in vain for the free elective franchise. The indulgences, which have been granted to them by par. liament, affect but few individuals of their body.
The situation of Ireland is at present widely different from what it was twenty years back. The sentiments and feelings of men upon government and subordination are also widely different from what they were five years back rests of the people of Ireland, which they do to those of the city of London, or other the most favoured portion of the British empire.
He passed in review all the intermediate scenes exhibited on
Wherever a government or constitution is radically good, the discussion of its principles will strengthen and confirm it: but where it is otherwise, such discussion must produce a contrary effect.
Every general principle of the British constitution operates in the inverse ratio upon Ireland : and the Irish are now taught to see, and spirited up to feel, that a nation cannot be taxed that is not represented, nor bounden by laws, in the framing of which they do not concur.' They know themselves to have been loyal to their king and country: they profess that faith which they be. lieve their consciences require, which they know to be civilly innoxious, and in no manner repugnant to the spirit of the constitution of their country. They therefore feel themselves galled by persecution and oppression merely on account of their religious persuasion. They know that they form a most decided majority of the nation ; and they are now forcibly taught to insist upon the prac. tical effects of the first principle of all civil government, that the free will of the majority can alone bind a nation. The bulk of the Irish Roman Catholics con. sists of their peasantry. They are chiefly aggrieved by the want of the elective franchise, which subjects them to be constantly postponed in the letting of farms to Protestant 40s. freeholders to keep up parliamentary influence. Ca. tholic families are daily ejected from their tenements to make room for Protestant 40s. freeholders.
The body of Roman Catholics indeed is generally inclined to monarchy: the society of United Irishmen of Belfast are mostly, if not entirely, Presbyterians, who are known to be less cordially affected towards monarchy: and it appears evi. dent from their resolutions, oath, and proceedings, that they aim immediately at a total change in the representation of the kingdom of Ireland, intended probably to be followed up by a total separation from this country, and, if possibles by the establishment of a republican democracy.
The attempts of this society to form an union or coalition with the Roman Catholics are unremitted : every lure, every promise, every temptation to civil freedom and liberty, are artfully displayed, and every incentive to retaliate for past horrors or grievances, every provocative to reclaim usurped rights, are most ingeniously and forcibly and seasonably brought forth to keep up the irascibility of those, who have been so sorely hurt at the disdainful rejection of their petition to parliament for the right of the elective franchise. The few Roman Catholics of landed property, or ostensible respectability, who have signed any instrument to denote or intimate their acquiescence in the deprivation of this great civil right, have either lost their influence upon the body at large, or repented, for having committed themselves upon the question. The body itself has acquired an increased degree of spirit, energy and determination to pursue this object to every extreme, in proportion as they have been heretofore supposed to be under the influence of lord Kenmare and others who sided with him.
The unparalleled sufferance and forbearance of the Roman Catholics of Ire. land for this last century, under the galling pressure of the severest laws, was solely owing to the influence and exertions of their clergy over their respective Aocks. But now, from forming themselves into associations, and being taught to think more fully and freely upon their civil rights, they have determined amongst themselves, that in this they have been deceived and misled by their clergy : that no consideration whatever ought to have withholden them from asserting their just rights, as unoffending members of that society, of which they formed the decided majority The consequence has been, that the cler. gy have found it necessary to secede from the committee of the Roman Catho. lic body. They have also felt, that during this unaccountable and infamous the theatre of that fatal country between the years 1792 and 1801 he inquired into the effects produced up to that time (the end of August 1801) by the union; and he lamented to find, that it became daily less palatable to the people of that part of the United
slupor of their body, as they term it, lord Kenmare had pretended to command and exercise an influence over the body, which he really never possessed ; and lest the deception might still continue, they have expelled him from the committee : and it is notorious, that his lordship could not command one single name or signature to an address, that he wished to be presented to government from his own county of Kerry, where the bulk of his property lies.
The consequences of irritating and provoking the majority of the Irish nation, by the refusal of what they feel they have a right to, are too horrid to dwell upon, and much too serious to trifle with. The resolution no longer to submit to any incapacities or grievances upon the score of religion is general with the body. And those who think that the Irish Roman Catholics are now peaceable, inactive, quiet, and contented with their situation, are grossly de ceived. A spirit of resistance has pervaded the greater part of them, and is increasing in a rapid though silent manner : the more so at present, as their future measures will be probably planned and concerted by the society of the United Irishmen of Dublin, who have deeper schemes than the Roman Catho. lics, whom they mean to use as their instruments for executing them.
They are taught and spirited up by some very artful and determinate indi. viduals of their own and of other bodies of men, to be insulted with the very idea of the Protestant ascendancy, to insist upon absolute equality in all civil advantages; to view every ascendancy over the bulk of the nation as an unjust and tyrannical monopoly of a few interested individuals ; in a word, not to look upon those their representatives in parliament, whom they neither elect nor depute. What must be the consequences of an enraged, resolute, and united people, thus tutored, and thus affected?
The radical defect of redress lies in the act of the 23d of his present majes. ty, which established a sort of imperium in imperio, and made Ireland independent of our legislature. A most fatal solecism in politics ; which nothing but an union can now possibly correct; and to that Ireland will object, and En. gland is disabled by this very act to enforce it.
Government best knows of what importance it is to the state, that Ireland should be dependant upon, or united with Great Britain : they will therefore be the proper judges of the necessity of engaging the majority of the nation to relish and support that dependance or union. Let them not, therefore, permit the Roman Catholics of Ireland to remain under their present prepossession, that their exclusion from the state is necessary to preserve that dependance or union.
Ere some fatal resolution be entered into, let them be convinced that their petition will be attended to, and granted. Under the desperate irritation at its rejection, some moderate men shudder at the violent extremities to which the more active and determinate members of the body are now proceeding.
The Irish are determinately faithful to the cause they embark in, and they would remain loyally attached to their king and their constitution, were they admitted to an equal participation of it with others. Their religion enforces the observance of civil duties wherever they have civil rights. It appears the extremity of rashness to alienate their affection, and drive them to the fatal provocation of asserting what they claim as an unalienable right, by force or violence.
If government wish to preserve the form of the British constitution in Ireland, if the possessors of landed property in that kingdom wish to annex any parliamentary influence to their possessions, if the public wish to avoid blood. shed, to preserve the harmony and ensure the prosperity of that kingdom, it is evident that the content, freedom and independence of their native tenantry are essentially necessary.
Kingdom. He discovered from inquiries, that, so far from its uniting and consolidating the affections of the Irish with those of the British, a general discontent and disgust at the measure seemed to pervade all ranks of people throughout that country. He was assured by an Irish member of the imperial parliament, that although he had ever execrated the measure, he had voted for it uniformly from its proposal to its accomplishment; and that it was, he believed, cordially detested by ninety-nine out of one hundred of his countrymen. It was impossible not to see, that the consequences of the rebellion of 1798 had left an impression of vindictive soreness in the breasts of numerous individuals : and it was evident, that the union had not hitherto counteracted those effects. The efforts of some anti-unionists to discredit the mea. sure, and render it unpopular, were increasing, not abating. To the disaffected, the union offered a plausible ground for indulging an acrimonious disgust at government. Many of the venal supporters of that measure having either gotten all they expected, or less than they thought themselves entitled to, were wickedly mischievous in endeavouring to bring it into contempt and hatred. Two powerful arguments were employed in traducing it in the eyes of the Catholics. To the supporters of that measure (they were far the majority), that they were swindled into that support by False promises and delusive expectations never intended to be realized. To the few who opposed it, it was urged (by the con
The spirit in which very many Roman Catholics have embarked in the resobution of asserting an equal participation of civil rights and advantages with their Protestant brethren, is emphatically expressed in the form of the oath, which is required to be taken by all who enter into the society of United Irish men, which is as follows: "I X. B. in the presence of God, do pledge myself “ to my country, that I will use all my abilities and influence in the attainment “ of an impartial and adequate representation of the Irish nation in parlia“ ment; and as a means of absolute and immediate necessity in the establish« ment of this chief good of Ireland, I will endeavour, as much as is in my abili“ ty, to form a brotherhood of affection and identity of interests, a communion “ of rights, and an union of power among Irishmen of all religious persua“ sions : without which every reform in parliament must be partial, not nation“ al, inadequate to the wants, delusive to the wishes, and insufficient for the “ freedom and happiness of this country.”
Many thousands of Roman Catholics have already entered into this society. A coalition between the Catholic committee of Dublin and the Dissenters of the north, is already completed, though not with the Roman Catholics of the south-west. The most earnest attempts are made to bring this to bear, and the prevention of it alone can save that country from a general attempt, by means perhaps the most horrible, to throw off their dependance upon this government (if any they still have), and to form a new one for themselves.
The enthusiastic conviction of asserting civil and religious rights superadded to the natural impetuosity of the Irish disposition, and aggravated by the most artful incentives to retaliate for the oppressions and confiscations of their an. cestors, must fill cvery thoughtful person with the awful dread of scenes, at which humanity will shudder, and from which God of his merry preserre 11s.