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votes, proclamations, addresses ; all the acts of parliáment, and they are the most wonderful ever yet seen; all the reports of committees, secret or open, go to prove, that the evil still encreased as their ignorant and vicious remedies were applied. It could not therefore be otherwise than a labored point on their side ; and it is easily explained, why they so much dreaded, and do dread to this day, that the truth should escape out of bondage.
It is doubtless for this reason that the state prisoners are still shut up in Fort St. George, contrary to an agreement made near four years ago,* that they should go abroad. Perhaps it was for no other reason that the petitions of the people were prevented from approaching the throne. And the peaceable petitioners assembled under every regulation of strict law, treasonably dispersed by the bayonet. And that printers were imprisoned or assassinated, and their houses wrecked or burned. Mr. O'Connor, in his letter to Lord Castlereagh, dated from his prison, states, that his evidence, written and verbal, contained a hundred pages, out of which one only was published, and ninety-nine suppressed. For my own part, my interest, my connections and my hopes, lay decidedly with the court party, rather than the people. It certainly was nothing but the conviction of the great oppression of my country, which is written in so plain a hand that every eye can read it, that could
* These letters were written several years since in France, when the prisoners were still in custody,
have engaged me to take any part. But in the course of my profession of an advocate, I have been a witness of systematic outrage, such as I once thought had forever disappeared with the past ages of barbarity. I have, in this respect, as in every other, endeavored to discharge my duty with honor and fidelity; and I have been no otherwise than I had foreseen, the victim of that duty, and that native abhorrence which I have of crime. It may be said however, that if there were horrors on one side, there were crimes also on the other. I do not say the contrary. Oppression ever generates crimes ; and if those who enjoy, in the social scheme, wealth, rank, and power, are not contented without trampling on the common rights of their fellow-citizens, they must ever live in the fear of bitter retaliation. Let me now ask any man, from whatever quarter of the world, who has, at any time, chanced to visit my country, and to witness its position : let me challenge him who has ever read its history to say, whether, in any
civilised region of the world, there exists a system of greater misgovernment and cruelty, or a country so formed by the hand of nature for the choicest happiness, where there is such an accumulated weight of misery. If any crimes have been committed, and doubtless there must have been, it is to this cause that they are due.
I may be supposed partial to my countrymen, and I am not ashamed of being so. But I do think, that there is no where a people on the earth, capable, with all their faults upon their heads, of more
exalted virtue. And whose order, generosity of heart, industry, and courage, deserve a higher rank amongst the people of the earth, however long and systematic oppression may have labored in some respects too successfully to degrade and vilify them.
I feel myself the better qualified to speak in this behalf, as I have no need of justification for myself. No one having yet dared to mention any crime I have committed, at least in such a manner as to deserve
When any person does so, I have a victorious answer. For, unless it be a crime, as I have said, to resist rape and torture, will any one ever be able to fix the shadow of crime on me? The English ministry, and their dependants, may applaud and glorify themselves for having, by a great stroke of policy, duped all parties in my country, and through our civil calamities, obtained their ends ; but it is too barefaced even for them to say, that it was criminal in us to try to keep our country independent and united.
But to return to this point of history and fact, which is the hinge of the whole, and most important to be explained. The committee, finding that no alliance was formed until after the insurrection
project of arming and resistance was of a very recent date; and that the numbers and proselytes to the union had encreased in an equal ratio with the cruelties inflicted upon the people, and that these cruelties had driven so many men of talents and consequence into the ranks; and that few of the
present leaders were, until after these cruelties, so well
calculated to act upon the consciences of virtuous men, in any way concerned with the system. This committee found it necessary to their interest, to steer dexterously round this point, and accordingly they had recourse to the opinions of Mr. Tone. He had avowed frankly, before the tribunal met, to pass judgment of death upon him, (See Appendix, No. 111.) that he had meditated můch upon the subject, and saw no redemption for his country, but in its separation from that one which held it in bondage. Now this reference to Mr. Tone's opinion, challenged an obvious answer from those whose justification might seem to require it.
At the time that Mr. Jackson was sent from France, to get information of the condition and feelings of the people in England, as well as Ireland, he addressed himself, amongst others, to Mr. Tone. This gentleman, was supposed to have drawn up that acute statement, read upon Jackson's trial, in which he made the true distinction between the feelings of the English and the Irish people ; not founded upon any vague abstractions, or arbitrary conceits, but upon the solid ground of their different moral and physical existence. He shewed, that the mass of the Irish people were in that state that rendered all nations most fit for rebellion and for war. That the people of England, whatever grievances they had, were more respected, less oppressed, and less insulted. That it might be presumed, the Irish would gladly embrace deliverance from any hand, but that the English people were not yet at that point. 'I only from memory
I knew very
undertake to give you some lines of this paper ; I remember it the rather from having been employed on the trial of Mr. Jackson, and having published the trial verbally from short-hand notes. little of Mr. Tone; and had only, until then, had occasion to admire him as a man of engaging and amiable qualities. It remained for the vicious administrations in Ireland to do justice to the political sagacity with which he calculated upon their misgovernment and the misery of the people : and to increase his partizans from perhaps half a dozen speculative politicians, which he might have had at first, to six hundred thousand fighting men, if we may believe the assertion of the minister, Lord Castlereagh.
But it is said we are now united with England, and such questions should be buried in oblivion. I deny the fact. One step towards that union is certainly gained: the consent of England! Whether Ireland may consent I do not know. I am far from taking upon me to say to the contrary. But before that can be known, the nation must be let out of prison, or recalled from banishment, and fairly treated with. If we reap no other benefit than whips, racks, and house-burnings, free quarters, and martial law. If there be no tenderer mode of wooing us than this, adopted, I have no scruple to protest against it as a frightful treason, and a blood-stained union. We may be obliged to submit, as we have heretofore done. We may be governed by force, as we have been heretofore governed. But we shall not have consented to this match of force, and the