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thofe of other men with whom fate has dealt more kindly.? Whilft the adjacent nations were reT folving into civilized habits, what has been the government of Ireland, but a perpetual fcuffle between the ftate and the people? And in that conteft it might have continued to wafte its ftrength for ever, if the Britilh government had not interfered with views very different from thofe of our domeftic rulers. The feceflion of America, firft rendered it effential to concentrate the remaining powers of the empire. This inducement awakened, in the Britifh government, towards the clofe of the laft war, a difpofition to attach the people of Ireland to the ftate, and led to the firft relaxation of the laws againft the Catholics, which, Kke every fubfequent meafure of the kind, was extorted by the Grown from a relufltant ariftocracy. The government was too intelligent not to perceive, that however acceptable to that body, it would not promote the caufe of general vigour and refource to rule this land by force, and in oppofition to the genius of the people. f Minif
* "Nature," fays an elegant anil admired author, " never made an unkind creature. Ill nfage and bad habits have deformed a fair and lovely creation."—Sterne.
f Bylaws, enacted in the reign of Queen Anne, the Catholics of Ireland, which is another name for the people, were is to franthifes, political influence and power, reduced to the fituation of women and children; and as to property, they could acquire no beneficial intereft in land, for even on the leafeholds, which they were permitted to enjoy, the refervation of a full rent was ftipulated. This conftitates a degree of difcountenance equal to that which aliens incur, where alienage is lead favored.
The natural confequence of this arrangemenr, was to form the nation into two calls; a minority, the favourites of the ftate, who poffelfed all the authority, and influence^ and emolument; a majority, the mere objects of power, unprivileged and outcaft. Iam warrantcd"in calling this a government againft the genius of tke people.
ters fought to render Ireland an effe&ual helprnate to Great-Britain, and they only could
About twenty years ago, thajt part of thefyftem, which related to property was abandoned, probably on account of the inducements ftated in the text, but certainly the confequence was an immenfe acceflion to the capital and induftry of the country, which is moft unfairly fet down to the account of the vigilance of Parliament. Catholics, who acquired property abroad, fettled in Ireland, and ethers laid out their money at home, who would have emigrated.
Still all the avenues to honor, emolument, and political influence were interdicted, and thefe conceffions on the fide prOjrfrty, (although they otherwii'e benefited the nation,) as they turned men's thoughts from an afylum in foreign countries, led them to Speculate more minutely on the inconvenience of their fituation at home. I take it to have been one of the wildeft projects that ever occurred to any perfon, to fuppofe that this country might be made to flourifh with fuch an obvious provocation t© difcontent. But fome ftatefmen imagine, that things go on very fmoothly, if they are ftrpng enough to iupprefs or prevent rebellion. It never occurs to them that a nation, like an individual, may languifh under bad management, and that a (late mud be robuft, to ftruggle with the buffettings of fhefe times we are placed in.
'A further conceffion was made about fix years fince, in confe-. quence of ftrong reprefentations offered on the part of the Catholics to his Majefty. But this favourwas fo warmly difputed, thatitrevived animofities through thecountry, orfliarpened them where they appeared to have been dormant. And the conceffion was in fome (and thefe very principal) parts, more nominal htan real. For the weight of Parliamentary intereft is fp ftrong jgainlt the Catholics," that after all, .they participate as little as Sa3e in fituations of influence or advantage;
I apprehend that it is the intereft of Ireland to bring the parties nearer to a ftate of equality than they are at prefent, which can enly be effected by a change in the conftitutipn of Parliament. Augment the importance of the counties and diniinifh that of the dole boroughs. The Church eftablifhment is fecured by England; it has, moreover, the balance of property on i is fide. The object is to put man and man upon a level in the affairs of civil life. This appears preferable to the policy of raifing up one party againft another.
Another circumftance, which operates more immediately againS the repoie of this land, and to which I fhall have cccafion to iv< ur
fucceed by improving the circumftances of the people. Next came the conflict with France, which exemplified at once the infufficiency of the means hitherto employed, and the urgent neceflity of binding us to the commonweal, and to each other, by a more impreffive feeling of affection and intereft. The feuds of the Irifh were to be plucked up by the roots. Thefyftem that cherifhed thefe contentions was to be abandoned.
Whilft to every man out of Ireland, the objects of our domeftic altercations were contemptible, the condition of this kingdom, of Britain, and of Europe, has given the molt alarming afpedbto their confequences. Elevated above the confederations of a felfifh, or a local nature, which fway individuals in this ifland, the councils of the Sovereign contemplated the mifchief in its full extent: and in the fpirit of a wife and benignant difcharge of duty, the crown propofes a plan of adjuftment to compofe the difference for ever; the project is not to be liftened to :-—; No, let us rather truft the repofe of our country to accident, or to romance; the diftindlnefs of Parliament is not to be impaired; we muft not forego the pride of independence! To all this fuftian it may be replied, that to facrifice your comfort to your pride is folly. Parliament is but One of the forms of the conftitution, the end of which, and the end of. independence, is focial
again, is the hibit offufpecting the members of the fi\bje£t religion. They were very properly fuppafed to be attached to the houl'e of Stuart after the Revuluiion, but, ever fince every difpofition to that attachment muft have ceafed, people are unwilling to admit that there is not fome other atluating principle of difaffection.
It is worthy of remark, that there is no other project on foot, which aims, or profelTes to aim at fupprefling the feuds of the Irifh p ople. Thofe who oppofe the Union, defire us to go on in the old way, that is, laying the foundation of diftutbanc;s in bad polity, and reprelfing them by languinary executions.
jhgppinefs; and both good fenfe, and patriotifnr enjoin, to vary the means, if they do not correfpond to their deftination.
'"What in truth is the extent of this independence? and how far does it juftify the pride and pretenfiohs that are built upon it? It may not be irrelevant to beftow a few lines upon this enquiry. Do not expect that I (hall allow you the choice of weapons, that has been generally made on. this occafion ; this double game of two conftitutions, one for ufe, and one for argument; one which we wield againft Great-Britain, whilft we finite with the other our own prefuming population. I muft fix you to that conftitution, which we have been enrolled together to protect, and which confifts with our fubmiflion to the legal eftablifhments, to , the Bntifh crown and empire. I prefume you will willingly circumfcribe yourfelf within thefe limits. If Ireland does really maintain the port and figure of ap independent ftate, nothing lefs than irremediable abufe in the conduct of pqblic affairs, can juftify the facrifice of national dignity.; The deed admits of no alternative :—It is fuggefted by the moft generous feelings of enlightened patriotifm, by pious fenfibility, and unbiaifed difcernment; orelfe, it is prodigal and profane, and to be feverely repiehended. If the pride of plaqe, reflected from the nation to the individual, elevates and invigorates the character of the people; if they are well protected, comfortable, and contented; what Switzerland was, with fome defects in its political arrangements but what it now has ceafed to be; then he is a bafe traitor who, even by bis fpeculation, would interrupt the enviable enjoyment. We fhall confider how that feparatenefs of legiflature, commonly called the independence of Ireland, operates externally as to rank, and inter
nally as to happinefs. It will be incumbent on me tojuftify the opinion I have formed, by Griping our conilitution of the falfe plumage, in which, for this occafion, falfe patriotifm dreffes it; and I hope to fliew that Ireland, in order to be practically free, ought to be incorporated with Greatgritain. An Ad of Union, framed as we are authorifed to expeS, will prove to the people a fireat charter of civil liberty. To every other gde I look in vain for a confolatory perfpe&ive. Our prefent ftate of connexion, is indeed, fubferviency. If we agree to confider ourfelves blended with our fellow citizens of Britain in a community of privileges and pretentions, we of courfe ftand as equals. If we reft upon the capacity of a feparate, but confederated people, whilft the confederacy fubfifts, we are neceffarily inferior. Under the fame head, the ftate of Ireland will ever be fubfervient to the ftate Britain; but let the ftates be united, and between the fubjects refident in either, locality cannot make an humiliating difference. If fubfervient, you will reply, we are fo by our own forms' That may be very well for the few, (for they are but few) who draw advantages from contributing to this accommodation; I do not fee how it can favourably affect the public. Upon thefe queftions I muft invite you to decide. Was Ireland at any time decorated with the conftitution that is now fet up f At this hour do we fubftantially enjoy it?
In the infancy of the prefent European fyftem, it was the fate of Ireland, (whether on an happy or unpropitious moment, it is now too late, and befide the prefent qucftion, to enqure) to be attached to the fortunes of the filler ifland. At that period, there was little intercourfe even between contiguous ftates. The great continental