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innumerable and discordant factions. The cruelty with which that tyrant endeavoured to impose his religious tenets on the country, allayed the jealousy of the contending parties, and even softened down the mutual prejudices of the English of blood and the mere Irishman. But Henry was not easily turned from his purpose ; and indeed it was natural for him to expect the same ready obedience from the Irish people, which had been sơ wonderfully yielded by the majority of his English subjects.
The short reaction in the reign of Mary was succeeded by the persecution of her equally bigoted, but more crafty, sister, It would be exagerating the persecutions of Diocletian, and compli. menting too highly the refined and subtle tactics of the apostate Julian, to compare their conduct to that of Elizabeth. The one was a Pagan from his birth, the other an able but deluded enthusiast; one confined his proscriptions to presbyters, and his burnings to christian churches only; the other vainly confided the extirpation of christianity to the silent and insidious workings of the law. Elizabeth patronized both engines with a fervour scarcely credible. Her sanguinary agent, the first earl of Totness, a deputy, worthy such a sovereign, compiled the memoirs of his government, or rather the register of his persecutions,
The book, if there were no other testimonies, would exhibit a disgraceful monument of England's policy, and of Ireland's ruin.
naced, while in another, to preserve that connec, tion, she sacrificed her independence. When the. Irish legislature attributed the rebellion to your discontent, the English government offered you emancipation for your support. Hence a double and contradictory charge has been preferred against you, of kindling the insurrection, which was to consume all the ties by which this country is bound to England, and of precipitating a measure which promised to render the bonds of union indissoluble. These calumnics, if like the coefficients in an algebraic equation, they were not mutually destructive, are refuted by the testimony of experience and the decorum of your demeajour. Persevere, and, at no distant period, your efforts must necessarily prove successful.
Six centuries and an half have elapsed since our connection with England. During that gloomy and calamitous interval, she has maintained, as I have said, relatively at least, a foremost rank among the nations of Europe. In peace, and in war, in civil discord, or amid the more implaca. ble fury of religious zeal, England was the hope, or the terror, or the arbitress of contending states. Her colonies planted her name, her commerce declared her opulence, and her navy diffused her renown at the opposite extremities, if geographers will allow the phrase, of the habitable world. But that wealth, which should have inspired generosity, rendered her insolent; that power which enabled her to combine justice with prudence, she
converted into an engine of oppression. With & free constitution, or, if the epithet be disputed, with those equivalents which, in the present civilized state of society and imperfect condition of man, must be received as a tantamount blessing, with the forms and language of freedom in her councils and among her people, shé trampled, in her intercourse with our country, upon the dearest rights of mankind, and violated, in her public acts, and in her private intrigues, the first principles of national honor. Nor did she ever recant her doctrines with regard to Ireland, nor relax the iron dominion she had obtained, until the combined fleets of France and Spain rode in the British Channel, till the island was consigned to the defence of the. Volunteers, and America had renounced her allegiance. IN HER DURESS she yielded the volatile image of a constitution, and the more substantial advantage of trade. Shocking as the idea may be, Ireland dates the commencement of her prosperity from the epoch of England's disgrace.
In 1793, England was again at the eve of a great crisis, she was about to plunge into a war, doubtful in its policy, indeterminable in its duration, and unpopular, at least in Ireland. But the Irish nation was to be won, although its parliament. should be degraded. , The repeal of 1793, instead of being an offering at the altar of justice, was a sacrifice to circumstances. Since this period, although every thing around them lias changed,
there has been no change in the condition of the Catholics. England herself has incurred a most fearful alteration. From being the spring and soul of every confederacy; from having her gold in every province, and her emissary in every court; from having her trade in every harbour, and her influence almost in every house on the continent; she is obliged to withdraw within the verge of her own coasts, while her deadly enemy assumés the controul, if not the absolute command, of cons federated Europe. ENGLAND IS AGAIN IN DURESS, and experience and Mr. Grattan have informed you, that DUŘESS alone is the season of her liberality.
Proceed then, gentlemen; regard not the advice of your hollow friends, nor of such of your own. body as may be connected with such friends. You are too powerful, too independent, too numerous to consign yourself to any party. You have never yet been served by one, although you have received repeated injuries by your connection, or at least experienced bitter mortifications. They may have been earnest in their devotion to your cause, but they never have had the ability to accomplish your deliverance. This, gentlemen, must be performed by yourselves. Your moral, mental, and physical power must find, in spite of lukewarmness, bigotry or resistance, its natural level. Every sign in the political horizon, every symptom of the times, foretels the rapid approachi
your freedom, and almost ascertains the preciso riod of your success.
At a period like the present, when the pen of calumny is drawn against your character, and the bigot redoubles his noisy vituperation of your principles; when the exploded lie of antiquity is reasserted in print, and the anti-social and unchristian doctrine imputed in parliament; when the mercenary and vulgar slanders of Duigenan, and the insane and sickening sophistries of Musgrave are repeated and republished ; at such a time, and under such circumstaces, the Volume of your first VINDICATOR appears with peculiar propriety, and claims your encouragement with a peculiar force. It is your code, your political bible, your magazine of arguments, your depot of authorities; your repository of facts. Armed with such a book the 'most clamorous of your enemies must be reduced to silence, and the most impudent to shame. There are many indeed who will refuse to listen to the voice of reason, and some who are insensible to contempt. But with those who question the statements in the following pages, it would be ridiculous to argue; it would be still more degrading to dispute with others, who, admitting the facts, attempt to justify the spoliations and massacres of England. Who would contend with the bigotry of an idiot, or listen to the morality of a knave?
I remain, Gentlemen,
your most faithful servant.