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That Ireland is sunk in poverty—that her inhabitants endure a load of affliction and of misery greater than is supported by any other people upon the earth-is testified by unquestionable evidence, both native and foreign.
Why is Ireland in this miserable condition ?
To this common question the uniform answer of every member of the Irish party, for ages has been, “ It is because of the injustice, the oppression, and the misgovernment of English rulers.”
The usual reply of these English rulers, and their supporters, to this complaint, has been a direct denial of its truth, and a demand for instances of their injustice.
This reply is embarrassing. The very affluence of instances of misgovernment in Ireland, and the difficulty in deciding which has proved most injurious, perplexes the complainant. To ask an Irishman to tell where Ireland has been unjustly treated, is like calling upon a Highlander to point out where is the check in his tartan; the entire tartan is a mass of checks—the entire government of Ireland has been a tissue of injustice.
The veil of falsehood in which Irish matters have been purposely shrouded, presents another difficulty. Much time and much labour are required to tear off this veil, and to exhibit in their naked deformity, the injustice, and oppression, and misgovernment, which Ireland has been forced to endure for ages, and under which she is at this moment suffering almost as heavily as ever.
To remove, in some degree, these difficulties, the obscure compilers of this work propose to examine, in a series of memoranda, the several heads of injustice, and oppression, under which Ireland is still suffering—to explain their causes and objects—and to point out exactly what the Irish party have demanded, and still demand, as their remedies.
In this part it is proposed to give an account of a late struggle in Ireland, against the continuance of one of these grievances, viz., the mode of appointing to offices of power in that country, or, as it is usually termed, “the rules of Irish promotion;" and, in doing so, to explain those rules, and the reasons why they have, at all times, been so injurious and so odious in Ireland.
The conflicting statements on this head, render an investigation of the subject highly desirable. The Prime Minister of England during the present session of Parliament, has declared, that Ireland has no just grounds of complaint on account of the manner in which the offices of power and influence in that country are at present filled.
On the other hand, the Irish people maintain, that the long practised mode of filling all the offices of power in Ireland, is degrading to that country, insulting to its inhabitants, injurious to its interests, and destructive to its prosperity.
It is undertaken in the following memoranda, to establish the truth of these assertions of the Irish party, and also to demonstrate, that these “rules of Irish promotion,” are at present maintained in direct violation.
First-Of the sixth article of the legislative union between Great Britain and Ireland, which is the law of the land.
Secondly_Of the pledged honour of England.
Appended to this part is an account of the composition of the beautiful song of “ the Exile of Erin.” In that account the fame of having produced the most beautiful of Lyrics, is restored to Ireland, as the fame of having produced the most beautiful of Elegies, was some time since restored to that country by Mr. Mortimer O'Sullivan.
Dublin, JUNE, 1844.
MEMORANDA OF IRISH MATTERS.
THE BAR REQUISITION. But upon Friday the 18th of June, the
retirement, or rather the removal of Lord "I desire to shew to the House of Commons, Plunket from office, was positively announced, that one of the main reasons, why the repeal move
On that day Mr. Connellan, Secretary to the ment had obtained such a head in Ireland, consists in the fact, that Englishmen and Scotchmen,--and not Chancellor, descended into the hall of the Irishmen,-have been appointed to the chief offices Four Courts, after the Court of Chancery in that country”-Speech of Mr. Smith O'Brien, had risen, and declared that Lord Plunket 29th May, 1843.
was about to resign the seals of office, and
to be succeeded by Lord Campbell. Mr. ConIn the month of June, 1841, the public mind nellan further stated, that Lord Plunket in Dublin was much excited, by a widely wished the bar to understand, that his retirespread report, that the government had de- ment was not voluntary, but had been wrung termined to remove Lord Plunket from the from him by the importunities of the Lord chancellorship of Ireland, and to elevate Lieutenant, and Lord Melbourne. Lord Campbell in his stead.
The uncertainty, which had heretofore To some, the advancement of a common hung over the unpleasing prospect, was thus law lawyer to the chancellorship, seemed in dispelled ; and the feelings of discontent, and the highest degree objectionable'; to others, exasperation, up to this time partly supthe introduction of a member of the English pressed, now burst forth from all sides, and bar, and the consequent neglect of the bar of united in one strong, and universal tempest Ireland, appeared Anti-Irish, and insulting. of popular indignation.
But by all, the committing of the Great The consequences of this outbreak of pub. Seal of Ireland to a Scotchinan, who, from lic opinion have been deep, and various; its the position of public affairs, could not pro- most immediate effects appeared amongst bably hold it for more than two months of the bar of Ireland. the vacation, was regarded with disgust, and A circular, calling upon the bar to meet, indignation. This appointment was looked was issued on the night of Friday the 18th on as a mean device to saddle the Irish Pen- of June; and, on Saturday the 19th, a con. sion List with a charge of £4,000 per an- siderable number of the outer bar assembled num, without any cause, or shadow of justice; in the Rolls Chamber, to consider what steps and was universally branded as a government ought to be taken upon the occasion. job of the lowest, and most profligate descrip- Thomas Fitzgerald, Esq., of the Munster tion.
circuit, was called upon to take the chair; The great fame of Lord Plunket helped to and, after some discussion, the following reswell these feelings; that one, described by quisition, to the father of the bar, was adopted Curran, as “the Irish Gylippus, in whom formally by the meeting, which, deeming itself were concentrated all the energies and all the strictly preliminary, refused to entertain any talents of the nation ;" that one, proclaimed other proposition. by Canning, “the Wellington of the House “ We, the undersigned members of the of Commons;" should be contumeliously cast Irish bar, having heard that it is in contemaside, to make way for a mere worn out offi- plation to fill the highest judicial station, in cial, wounded to the quick every sentiment this kingdom, in a manner opposed to the of Irish pride, and Irish independence. feelings of our profession, require that you
Still doubt hung over the causes of dis- will call a meeting of the bar, at the earliest content, and suppressed, in some degree, the opportunity, to take into consideration such popular indignation ; it was not known, with appointment." certainty, that the report was well founded, This requisition, immediately after its and many hesitated to express aloud their adoption, was laid upon the table of the law sentiments of dissatisfaction, lest they should library ; and, in about two hours, received the be striking only at a shadow.
following eighty five signatures.