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people. Relations commercial and political are at this day better underftood, than they were in the middle of the prefent century. The fciefcce of fociety is ftill in progref?; and are we to fix our eyes upon the retrofpe§, and pine over explpded faults? and are we to imagine that in the great change of maxims that has taken place, one courfe of impolitic proceedings will alone be preferved, although this fyftem of conduit has been rendunced, has been difcarded as injudicious, and atoned for as offenfive; abjured by ftatefmen, and cenfured by authorities; and all thii through the mere love of doing evil; for the apology for putting any reftraint upon this country, the only" one indeed ever offered, that Ireland was not pledged to all the burdens of the em pire, is "at an end, when the two countries fhall be formed by an' incorporating Union into one government.
If our domefiic government were to be fubjefted to the fame jealous teft, and to the fame rigid fcrutiny, has it fo cxercifed its functions, as to be entitled to the confidence, which, on the ground of England's delinquencies, we are advifed to, withhold from, the Imperial Legiflature? Has fuch been the blamelefs tenor of its political exiftence, that we are to throw ourfelves with implicit reliance on its difcretipn? If falfe policy be inexpiable, where is the lhade of the Popery Laws ito repofc? The Parliament of England abridged our foreign trade; a feries of Englifti writers * expofed the error of the praclice, and it was abolifhed. The Parliament of Ireland fubmitted to the inconvenience, and filled up the fyftem, where it was incomplete; but it alio interdicted the people from the cultivation of the' land, and from civil liberty. We might have
* Child, Decker, Poftlewaite, Tucker, Smith and Young.
lived without foreign trade; but what is a nation without arts, or manners, or improvement? A law was in force in thiskingdom, to a date as recent as the Britifh reftrictions upon our commerce, which authorifed any mantofix at five pounds the value of a Papift's horfe, or to levy upon that defcription of the people, the amount of depredations committed upon the coaft by an enemy. Now I rely upon the manners of the age, that thefe laws will not be again impofed. I rely upon the fame manners, and upon an improved fenfe of public intereil, that the Catholics will not again be rendered incapable of holding landed property, even although no more than twenty years have elapfed, fince, in this refpecT:, the ftatute law has been corrected in their favour. Shall we not at leaft expect the manners of the age, to be as accurately followed, and a judicious fenfe of public intereft to be confulted by an Imperial Legiflature, as by this domeftic Parliament, which does not touch the people very clofely either by delegation, or property? It is morally certain, that the Bri tiffin ,. government
*No circumftance has contributed in a greater degree to render theUnion popular in fomeparts of Ireland, than the temper difplayed by the gentlemen who came over, hr the beginning of the difturbances, as officers of the guards and niilitia regiments. It was not the leaft of the good copfequenceS refulting from that generous and fortunate acceffiou of military ftrength, that loofe fufpicion ceafed tt> be followed by the punifhment of atrocious guilt; 'and the religious defcription, under which a man was claffed, to be received as prefumptive evidence of his criminality. Thofe who are acquainted with the ftyle of con verfation that prevailed during the laft fummer, will readily agree, that Ireland was faved from itfelf by the Britifh reinforcement. The party would have chofen in preference, to arm their own adherents, who were certainly very adequate to fupprefs the rebellion, but whofe means and projects for reftoring peace were no lefs pernicious, than the diforders they we*c oppofed to.
•government muft, for its own fake, conduit this nation with a view to its improvement; and equally certain, that paffions muft eternally arife, which will prevent the high Proteftant afcendancy from becoming a mild dominiodT I conceive that the controverfy between the Minuter, and a certain party, deep in the oppofition to this meafure, might be reduced to a dialogue of this tenor. "Sir, we will undertake to preferve Ire"land to the Grown; but you muft give up the "country to our mode of management." " No, "gentlemen, I do not approve of your project;
it is a bad fyftem, which has been purfued too *' long, and we are weary of it. I know "Ireland may be kept by a government of "terror; but a refourcelefs fubjettion will "not anfwer the exigencies of the times. I "muft not only hold Ireland, but make it a pro* ** Stable member of the empire. I will endeavour to «* reclaim the people. The Duke of Cumber"land reduced Scotland; but a judicious ma"nagement, and clemency fecured it. I will "make the law apply with equal vigour and «' vigilance to all clatfes of the Irifti nation. I *' bold you gentlemen by your properties; I will "gain the affe&ion of the lower people."—^ This language founds ftrangely in the ears of perfons who cannot imagine any refaurce of imperial government, except affixing Ireland by a party to Great-Britain. They exclaim that the connection of the countries is in danger; they made the fame exclamation, on the different fteps to the abolition of the popery laws,* and each outcry may
* Compare the refolutions of the county of Louth, and thofe of the Corporations of Dublin, in gpftq|and in 1799.
be explained by the other. The narrow provincial or garrifon policy, to which their minds had been formed, was certainly put to hazard. But the members of the cabinet, not having imbibed their politics in College-green, happened to entertain a more rational aud comprehenfive fcheme both of government and connection. '.. The law of the land does not bear heavil y on the Irifh people.-j-1 hey are oppreffed by the practical difcipline between rich and poor, and by grievances arifing from the local management of counties and diHrids. Then, preferve the law, and take effectual meafures to compel a change of pra&ice The mild application of authority may in the cafe of a very unthinking people, be expe&ed to precede, it certainly cannot fail to produce, a benignant temper.
Let the influence of private men be dimini/hed. Accommodate, in fome degree to the temper of the people, the manner of forming a fund for the maintenance of the Church, and place that income under the fateguard of the laws of property. The weight of landed intereft gives to the body of I^roteftants an immenfe preponderance; but it is fuch, as cannot admit of a ieafonable exception. It fecures every objecfc they hold dear; it ought to fuffice; it does fatisfy the moft valuable and intelligent members of that communion. A pre-, ponderance, founded on party pretentions alone,
f I hare omitted a head which is ve/y material, but which has been already very fenfibly difcuffed. ''he difference of intereft oetween the government and the people, running in advei fe currents, and, only to be reconciled by an Union,
the good will decline, and the wife will reprobate; let i; be legally fuppiefled, and practi. cally difcountenanced, and give Great-Britain an intereft to guarantee the lettlement. Such is the fcheme of pacification, which the ftate of the country feems to demand, and which promifes to be durable. Such I humbly offer as the Euthanafia of our (hort-lived* but boifierouj, and ill-omened independence.