Page images
PDF
EPUB

lion, since neither our fathers or we, did at any time bind ourselves by any oath of allegiance to their fathers or to them, and therefore without the least remorse of conscience, while breath remains, we will attack them in defence of our just rights, and never lay down our arms until we force them to desist. Besides, we are fully satisfied to prove in a judicial manner, before twelve or more bishops, the facts which we have stated, and the grievances which we have complained of. Not like the English, who in time of prosperity, contemn all legal ordinances, and if they enjoyed prosperity at present, would not recur to Rome, as they do now, but would crush, with their overbearing and tyrannical haughtiness, all the surrounding nations, despising every law, human and divine.

“ Therefore, on account of all those injuries, and a thousand others, which human wit cannot easily comprehend, and on account of the kings of England, and their wicked ministers, who, instead.of governing us, as they are bound to do, with justice and moderation, have wickedly endeavored to exterminate. us off the face of the earth, and to shake off entirely their detestable yoke, and recover our native liberties, which we lost by their means, we are forced to carry on an exterminating war ; chusing in defence of our lives and liberties, rather to rise like men, and expose our persons bravely to all the dangers of war, than any longer to bear like women their atrocious and detestable injuries ; and in order to obtain pur interest the more speedily and consistently, we

invite the gallant Edward Bruce, to whom, being descended from our most noble ancestors, we transfer, as we justly may, our own right of royal dominion, unanimously declaring him our king by common consent, who in our opinion, and in the opinion of most men, is as just, prudent, and pious, as he is powerful and courageous : who will do justice to all classes of. people, and restore to the church those properties, of which it has been so damnably and inhumanly despoiled, &c.”

Now, would one not think that this was a picture of our own unhappy times? The same insults, injuries and oppressions ? The same spirit of just resentment? At least, at this time, it was not Popery, for the Irish were remonstrating against a Papal abuse. There were no reform speeches of Mr. Pitt-no Rebel Washington—no levelling Tom Paine--no Mirabeau—no French principlesm-no Duke of Richmond for universal suffrage—no parliamentary oppositionno Catholic convention-no Defenders-no United Irishmen-no Tone-no O'Connor-no Emmetno M’Nevin. But there were peep-of-day-boys, torturers, plunderers, corrupters, invaders, traitors !!! And like cause, like effect. There was fruitful soil, fish and wild foule, and commodious seats for habitations !

I now pass over a mass of atrocious records, and in order to gain some belief for crimes almost incredible, I will call once more to my aid the English attorneygeneral. Those who will not believe me, an Irish

man, will perhaps respect an English attorney-general.

“ Hence it is,” says Sir John Davies, than whose : there cannot be better authority upon this point,“ that in all the parliament rolls which are extant from the 40th year of Edward III. when the statutes of Kilkenny were enacted, to the reign of King Henry VIII. we find the degenerate and disobedient English called Rebels; but the Irish, which were not in the king's peace, are called Enemies. Statute of Kilkenny, c. 1, 10, and 11.-11 Hen. IV.c. 24.-10 Hen. VI.c.1, 18.-18 Hen. VI. c. 4.-5 Edw. IV. c.6.-10 Hen. VIII. c. 17.-All these statutes speak of English Rebels, and Irish enemies ; as if the Irish had never been in the condition of subjects, but always out of the protection of the laws, and were indeed in a worse case than aliens of any foreign realm, that was in amity with the crown of England. For by divers other penal laws, the English were forbidden to marry, to foster, to make gossippes with the Irish; or to have any trade or commerce in their markets and fairs. Nay, there was a law made no longer since than the 28th Hen. VIII. that the English should

any person of Irish blood, though he had got a charter of denization, unless he had done both homage and fealty to the king in the chancery, and were also bounden by recognisance in sureties to continue a loyal subject. ' Whereby it is manifest, that such as had the government of Ireland under the crown of England, did intend to make a perpetual separation of enmity between the English and the Irish.

with

not marry

One thing appears from all the old laws and tyrannies--that the Irish knew how to live, and the English were glad to learn from them—that their women were pretty and endearing, and the English were glad to marry them—and they were happier with the Irish manners than their own. No laws, however atrocious, could ever hinder them from loving these engaging Irishwomen, nor adopting the jovial manners of the men. They paid dear for it--they were confiscated in their turn--and nicknamed degenerate. And now, when there was little more to take from the Irish, they fell upon the English-Irish, and distinguished between English by birth, and English by · blood, and so opened a new road to commodious habitations. Two other nicknames were added

Irish-English, and English-Irish !" But this was a little more complex, and required more law: for the crimes of the mere Irish were easy of proof, and hard of defence, viz. that they were born in their own country, and spoke their own language. And even the Pope's bull was ex abundantiá. This right of the English to massacre the Irish, was not half so good as that of the Mohawks, if there be any

Mohawks at this day, would be, to scalp the New-Yorkers, because the New Yorkers could not speak Mohawkprovided always, that the Mohawks had a bull from the Pope, and tomahawks enough. For the Mohawks might say over and above, that we in NewYork were foreigners-degenerate Rebel-Englishthat we spoke English—they might divide us into English by birth, and English by blood-and that

some of us were mere English and rebel Englishand that we fostered and gossipped with the English, and were more English than the English themselves. Ipsis anglicis angliciores!!!

But hear the attorney-general, « The Irish nation petitioned to be naturalised.” This was the Catholic question in abstract! The then King, Edward III.

not King George III. observe, satisfied his conscience by referring to his Irish counsellors.” And the Irish counsellors, not the Beresfords and the Clares, satisfied the king's conscience by assuring him, “that the Irish might not be naturalised without damage or prejudice to themselves, or to the crown." What a happy conscience is a king's conscience !So the commodious habitations, and “the wild fowl,” were still good game. A simple man like you or I, would not perhaps understand why a man might not be naturalised in his own country, without prejudice to hinself.But these counsellors were the “ lives and fortune's men" of that day, and knew their own rea

“ The truth is,” says Sir John, “ these great English lords did, to the uttermost of their power, cross and withstand the enfranchisement of the Irish, for the causes before expressed.”

Again, he says, as long as they were out of the protection of the law, so as every Englishman might oppress, spoile and kill them, without controulment, how was it possible they should be otherwise than outlaws and enemies to the king of England ? When they might not converse or commerce with

any

civill men, nor enter into any towne or city without perill of

[ocr errors]

sons.

« PreviousContinue »