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IRISH PLOTS AND IRISH PLOTTERS.
“Judge the present by the past."—(Rokeby.)
PUBLISHERS TO THE UNIVERSITY.
The following papers have no claim to originality or deep research. They are little more than a compilation from Wright's History of Ireland, a full and impartial work which those who have leisure would do well to study, and in which our rulers should be made to pass a competitive examination (!) more particularly (at the present crisis) that part of it which narrates the events of which these pages are but an imperfect summary. For the benefit of the many who have not leisure, these papers were originally written. They appeared, in the summer of the past year, in the columns of a newspaper* published in the town made famous by the historic meeting of the Volunteers of 1782.
A hundred years have all but passed since that event; in a few more days they will have completed their tale, and it seemed to the writer highly desirable that his fellow-countrymen, who are apt to be somewhat run away with by the enthusiasm of the hour, should have an opportunity of observing, from an impartial source, the steps by which, in the past, a movement, began in a splendid spirit of patriotism, was gradually caused to degenerate into very different
* The Tyrone Courier.
courses, and the manner in which, in our hapless land, the best and most natural instincts of our people have from time to time been warped and corrupted by wily and ever. restless plotters.
ERIN-GO-BRAGH, therefore, an ardent lover of his country, one who would gladly devote his life to her prosperity, has ventured to offer these pages for a wider circulation, trusting that they may be the means of inducing many, in a calm and dispassionate spirit, to “judge the present by the past," and to refrain from giving their countenance to any movement, how plausible or how enticing soever it may appear, in which their guileless and well-intended support might be made use of as a cloak for mischievous ulterior designs, such as cannot but tend to militate seriously against their country's. peace and prosperity !
It is hoped that the general reader will forgive the imperfections of these papers, which were originally written disconnectedly, from week to week, and which the exacting critic may possibly (and with justice) censure as being strung together in a somewhat erratic and disorderly way. They are but notes and reflections, and have no claim to be considered a history.
THEN AND NOW.
ACHAT Ireland has been for generations an 0.0 “agitated” country is a matter of too common notoriety to need proof. But a comparison of the agitations of the past with those of the present will prove a useful study-throwing much light on the aims of the disturbers of Irish peace. In this and some succeeding papers we propose to shed such a light. With all their faults and all their failings, the Irish, when not misled, are the most kindly-hearted race in the world. When Mr. Grattan brought forward in 1795 his proposal that Roman Catholics should have seats in the Irish House of Commons, an opponent of the measure, after dilating upon the connection between the Roman Catholics and the United Irishmen, made the following warm-hearted apology for the “mass” of his fellow-countrymen :
“The million is always honest, always simple; it means its own happiness. But to be led, and to follow, is the inevitable nature of the million. The conduct and the designs of the leaders, therefore, are the only sources of true information to the legislator. The wretched peasant, whose head is counted to swell this number, knows nothing of the means to be used, or of the ends to be obtained. He is called upon by his priest to subscribe, and he is told that Mr. Grattan is to relieve him from rent and wretchedness; the innocent man blesses Mr. Grattan,