Page images
PDF
EPUB

.equality, and British shipping, and my amend.

ment is as follows and my vote shall be for the amendment and for the Bill, for the English Navigation Act on its own principle.”

He concluded with moving the following amend. ment to the preamble of the Act: . . ***** And whereas it is the meaning and intention of the said Act, passed in England in the twelfth Year of King Charles II. to impose the same restraints and to confer equal benefits on his Majesty's subjects in England and in Ireland, and that both kingdoms shall be thereby affected in the same manner.”

To put the House in possession of the whole measure, he stated that he intended to follow the amendment, by moving the andexed proviso for the Bill : : :

Provided, that the said Act, passed in England in the twelfth Year of the Reign of Charles II. shall bind his Majesty's subjects of Ireland, so long as it shall have the effect of conferring the same benefits, and imposing the same restrictions, on both kingdoms."

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

It will not, perhaps, be considered by the readers of this Volume an unnecessary, or an un. important inquiry, to give a short history of that system which has been so long, and with so much justice, condemned as one of the most fruitful sources of discontent and disaffection among the lower classes of the people of Ireland-nor will it contribute a little to the proper anderstanding of the merits, and to the due appreciation of the great talents which are displayed in those speeches which were pronounced by Mr. Grattan, in the years 1787, 1788, and 89; when the south and west of Ireland were distracted by a furious and barbarous association of persons, under the denomination of Whiteboys, whose cruelties and outrages could only be accounted for, by the melancholy reflection, that they seemed to have no resource but in the madness of despair-no prospect or hope of redress, but in the wild and senseless devastation of the property of those whom they considered their oppressors. Those who read the proceedings of the Irish Parliament, at this memorable and afflicting period, will be surprised, perhaps, that a Legislature, composed of men, whose interests should have been the peace and happiness of their poor and oppressed countrymen, could discover no remedy for public grievance but the severest penalties of vindictive law, and that it should refuse inquiry into those complaints, which every dispassionate man in the kingdom acknowledges to have arisen from the greatest injustice ever practised on the poor of any country. He, whose heart was not closed by the seductions of interest, or whose existence did not depend on his venality, and the prostitution of his voice to the purposes of a corrupt cabinet, saw, with pain and with in. dignation, the exercise of an unlimited and unde. fined power, in the hands of the meanest—the lowest and most inexorable tyrants-the tithe. proctors and tithe-farmers of Ireland ; a set of men, unfeeling, uneducated, and unprincipled, placed between the rector and the farmer, for the purpose of shielding the former from the odium of levying a tax, as difficult as unpleasant in the collection, and operating, in the majority of instances, as an intolerable grievance, and the fountain of bitterness and distress to the humble and industrious inhabitant of the cabin.-- That a Protestant Government, zealous for the propa. gation of its religion and its principles ;—that a

Protestant church, anxious, for extending the foundation of its establishment and the conversion of its people ;--that a church, which la. bours, through the medium of Charter Schools, and the prodigal dissemination of prayer books through the land--to diffuse a liberal and enlightened religion, among a people whom it has often been pleased to represent and stigmatize as barbarous and uncivilized-should have persevered in a system so well calculated to render that religion odious ;—that it should have per, severed in a system, which exposed the ministers of the Protestant religion to a comparison with the meek—the humble, and protecting ministers of the Catholic church ;-the former-from the cruel and relentless necessity of circumstances -obliged to goad and torment the miserable peasant, with all the chicanery, and cunning, and artifice of his tithe-proctor ; while the Catholic priest was ever to be seen administering to his mind-healing the wounds which oppression had inflicted, and preaching comfort and peace to the heart which injustice, in ber most odious form, had wrung. That the Go. vernment of Ireland, but more particularly that the landed property of the kingdom, should close the doors of Parliament against those men, who come forward to give evidence of the mise

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »