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the fresh recollections of 1641. The protestants took panic, and left the kingdom in crowds.
The deposition of James, and the accession of William and Mary, brought these fermenting disasters to their crisis. James came over and conducted himself with his characteristic incapacity; he was served with exemplary fidelity and spirit in the brief but sanguinary struggle that followed; he was himself the first to desert his cause, which was maintained by his brave adherents to the last shift of desperation. We shall not, among the following lives, omit to sketch with minute fidelity the several incidents of fearful interest, from the siege of Derry to the capitulation of Limerick, and the field of Aughrim.
The revolution was established in Ireland, but under circumstances far from favourable to the civil growth of this unhappy country. The spirit of resistance was subdued, but party animosity survived. To pursue the consequences of this state of things, would demand no inconsiderable addition to a train of reflection already too long.
Commerce.—We have lastly to offer some general notice of the condition and social state of Ireland during the long period between the reigns of Elizabeth and George III. We shall begin by offering some general facts respecting our trade, which we could not conveniently bring together in the narrative portion of this work. We shall, on the subject of trade, confine our notices to some main circumstances, as it is our intention to enter upon it more copiously in the introduction to the succeeding period. The space already devoted to the present essay renders such a distribution convenient, and the more so as it is not our intention to enter upon the discussion of party polities as fully as we have found it essential to do in this introduction. As we approach the memorable events which led to the " Union," we shall endeavour to confine our pen as nearly as may be to the statement of indisputable facts. To enter upon the politics of the period in which we live, would demand the detailed discussion of numerous questions, each of which should be investigated with the most deliberate and scrupulous minuteness, and the most comprehensive scope, or passed in total silence; conditions perhaps inconsistent with historical composition. When we shall in the course of our labour, have arrived to the period of these events, the commercial, literary, and social history of the country, topics which we shall here but notice cursorily, will then offer more useful and less invidious topics of inquiry. And we must observe, that this division is more appropriate than may at first appear: as we advance towards the times in which we live, the relative importance of our great and distinguished men undergoes a change. Whatever importance may be claimed by the several actors on the political stage, they begin to be reduced to their appropriate rank in the scale of honour. In the more advanced progress of society, intellectual eminence will claim its due space, both in our ecclesiastical and literary divisions. Under these circumstances, the leading objects of our narrative are likely to embrace more full and deliberate views, and more detailed statements in those statistical, economical, philosophical, and literary questions and facts than we now think it justifiable to enter upon.
They who read in our uncertain and scanty records, of the great oppressions and the injudicious regulations by which the trade of Ireland was retarded in its earliest stages, are likely to be deceived by the tone of complaint in which these are represented; not because those complaints are unwarranted, but from not fully taking into account the exceeding ignorance which then prevailed on all that related to the commercial interests of nations. One glance at the contemporary history of English trade, would lead to more temperate deductions. That glance we cannot here afford to take, but we must remind the reader of a few facts. The trade of England was scarcely begun in the reign of James I.; the Dutch possessed the monopoly of every branch of European trade, and, while they produced nothing from their canals and swamps, made the fertility of every land their wealth. The fisheries of England, the spices of the East and West, the iron and timber of the north, loaded their vessels. They were the carriers and the merchants of every nation, ,and possessed the seas. In England a narrow trade, consisting mainly in the rural produce of a fertile country, of which the natural capacity for commerce was great, was kept down by restrictions, partly originating in ignorance, partly in tyranny— absurd patents and hydra-headed monopolies, which so far from having any object for the promotion of commerce, were simply regarded as a lucrative branch of the prerogative, brought their price into the coffers of spendthrifts and needy parasites, and their profits to a few individuals, while they suppressed the enterprise and industry of the nation. Under such circumstances, it was little to be expected that the English government was to be more just to Ireland, or wiser for her interests. Again, from these simple considerations it may appear, that the commercial interests of the two countries were chiefly confined to their staple produce. This in both countries was mainly the same. From this, jealousies and a real or seeming collision of interests must have been felt; and it was but natural that regulations hurtful to the trade of Ireland, so far as it could be supposed to affect the English market, should have been occasionally devised; the measure may have been erroneous, but cannot on other grounds be fairly complained of. Ireland was not then as now, a part of the one kingdom of Great Britain, but an independent kingdom; and, therefore, quite destitute of any claim to the consideration implied: her claim was on the king alone. But we shall not pursue this plain point. The practical experience of mankind quickly arrives at the perception of the main impediments to their interests; and both in England and Ireland complaints increased with wealth. The plantation of Ulster gave a rapid impulse to the internal prosperity of Ireland, the customs, produce, and general amount of exportation increased until the rebellion. The gratitude expressed by the people increased as they became acquainted with prosperity, and the taxes and subsidies were paid with contented alacrity. The balance of trade was in their favour, the commons congratulated the king on the flourishing and prosperous state of the kingdom. Manufactures began to increase, and the peasantry had materially advanced towards the comforts of industry and civilization. These interests were favoured by Strafford, whose conduct was otherwise arbitrary. He established the linen trade, which afterwards became so important to the interests of large districts of Ireland; while he discouraged the woollen trade, which, during the reigns of James and Charles, was' the staple of England.
The growing prosperity of Ireland received, from the rebellion of 1641, an interruption from which it never entirely recovered in some of the most important respects; the blow was at the time severely felt in its commercial interests. The Duke of Ormonde, by his sagacity and paternal care, in some measure restored the broken fortunes of his country. A severe law, prohibiting the export of Irish cattle into English ports, was, by the interest of this great and good man, taken off in 1667, with many other severe commercial restrictions, which had been designed for the protection of English trade. At the same time, and by the same interest, there was a prohibition against the importation into Ireland of Scottish linen and other commodities, which might interfere with the manufactures of the country, and draw away its money. The woollen manufacture was originated, and the linen manufacture which had been ruined in 1641, was re vived by the care and munificence of this nobleman. Land was brought under cultivation; rents were doubled; towns grew numerous, large, and wealthy; and the country again began to hold up its head, when fresh troubles broke out in the following reign, and drove industry, and the trust on which it mainly rests, from this harassed island. For a season the country was trampled down by war, its periodical disease, and reduced to a state approaching desolation. The vigorous government of king William in some degree repaired the ruin. The rally was brief; and towards the end of this reign, the prohibition against her woollen manufactures again laid Ireland in the dust. From this point we feel compelled to postpone the further consideration of this most important subject.
Religion.—Under this head we might include any notices of which our plan admits, of the several denominations of Christian worship, which can be considered to have had existence in Ireland during the period to which we must here be understood to refer. But it is far from our design to take so wide a scope,—more special as well as more wide and general statements may be referred to the head of our ecclesiastical memoirs. The general state of religion was as low as might well be inferred from the general view of the state of all parties which has here been offered. The struggles of churches are at best little favourable to religion: they are most likely to awaken and maintain those -tendencies of human nature, which are at widest variance from the spirit of Christianity, as described in its only real authority. Though it must be admitted as a general principle, that the Christian should be ready to stake life itself for the truth he holds; yet we think that the inference which may too readily be drawn from such a maxim, is by far too much the dictate of the worst parts of our nature: it is easier to fight for truth than to conform. When sects and parties begin to war about their churches, they seldom or ever give themselves much care about the only essential object which could be worth the fighting for: and their spirit is ever, with the uniform certainty of necessary consequence, to be known by its fruits. In these hapless, unenlightened, and turbulent times, there are evidences enough of fanaticism —of political ambition under sacred names—of popular crime and
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party animosity—of ruthless oppression and rabid resistance—and, lastly, of most ignorant and unspiritual formalism, substituting the externals of truth for the spirit. But when we look for the religion of the age, we must look to the lives of a few eminent individuals, and finding such, we are to infer that many more were numbered in the spiritual fold, than history has recorded in its register, which more properly appertains to the illustration of human infirmity, than to those unworldly graces which find their more appropriate note in a different record, and according to the estimate of a purer witness.
In looking to the history of the church of England, as established in this country, its condition was in all respects of the lowest—its churches poor and dilapidated—its ministers insufficient either in their appointments or education—and its interests entirely neglected by the same government which made or enforced severe laws against the papal church. Looking to both churches simply with a view to their respective political instrumentalities, the lord-lieutenants of Ireland were not more zealous to disarm the church of Rome of its weapons of popular excitement and foreign connexion, than to suppress any movement of progress in its rival establishment. While the forms and external muniments of its constitution were preserved, its zeal was as carefully overruled by the equal indifference of secular policy. Hence, notwithstanding the numerous intrinsic advantages of its constitution, the progress of this establishment was slower in Ireland than elsewhere. Of these assertions we shall have abundant illustrations when we shall have arrived at our next ecclesiastical division.
Social State It is one of the numerous popular prejudices of mankind, that the history of events and civil workings is generally felt to be more important, and a study of more interest than the progress and changes of the moral and intellectual character of society. A small portion of history has been devoted to the consideration, and of this, the general defectiveness is a plain index to the difficulty of the subject. Yet such is the information most essential to the just understanding of history, of which the facts are for the most part neither correctly traced, connected, or even truly stated until the historian has by patient study and meditation realized the past, and brought clearly the mind of the age before his comprehension. If this duty (for such it is) is generally imperative upon the historian, we would more especially recommend it to the historian of Ireland: for here it is most essential to fairness, and has been most neglected. All the recent writers upon our history are examples of this in a very high degree, and the dereliction is the more remarkable on account of the importance of the facts neglected being such, that they could never be passed by from any thing but oversight: thus indeed they are ever stated as facts, but rejected or forgotten in the application. It is from a steady and unremitting contemplation of these general considerations, that we have hitherto ordered all our statements and inferences; and we are therefore the less necessitated to enter here at any length into the full detail of the knowledge, opinions, religion, arts, and social condition of the long period into which we are next to enter. In the details of biography, we shall have ample room for all the remarkable features of the times which are to succeed; nor shall any illustrative incident be wilfully neglected*
There are, however, it must be admitted, topics of which the connexion with the general state of society, is not easily perceivable; and some which the curiosity of research, or the importance as corroborative of facts or opinions, have raised into principal subjects of inquiry. These are generally treated with such fulness and ability, by the antiquarians of the present day, that we have thought it needless to occupy our pages with the voluminous details they would necessarily require.
The period we have before us consists of less than two centuries, but they are centuries of rapidly accelerated change, and have, therefore, the perspective distances of a longer lapse of time. Between the death of queen Elizabeth and the accession of George III., the social advance of Ireland has been more than equal to its progress in the preceding thousand years; a fact too little allowed for. In this rapid succession of changes, it cannot be expected that any sketch of Irish manners, customs, or literature can be generally applied with any pretence to accuracy.
In some respects, nevertheless, the social condition of the country must be viewed as stationary. A period of political change, though modified and hastened by the growth of public mind, must always have the effect of retarding that growth in many of the most important respects. The advance made, was by means of the operations of government in enlarging and strengthening the bonds of civil order; of cultivation and commerce, in improving the condition and enlarging the circle of the middle orders. Under the slow and often interrupted operation of these elements of improvement, there was an inCreasing diffusion of civilized manners and tastes, and of the light of education. The intercourse with England imparted a small, but continuous stream of the deepening lights of that great nation; and above all, the university of Dublin preserved and scattered wide in every corner of the island some gleams of taste for the humaniores literce. But through the whole time, although we may describe the mind of the people as decidedly upon the advance, one description may serve for the character of its attainments. The minister of the parish, the noble, the lawyer, and generally, all who had received a collegiate education, and had the industry to profit by it, may have possessed individually more or less of the best knowledge of the age: but in any fair general estimate of the social state of Ireland, we should be compelled, to a late period, to omit all consideration of the manners of the higher aristocracy, of the learning of the university, or of men such as primate Usher. The state of general education was low—the knowledge of the middle orders was scanty—the opinions of the period were largely entangled with prejudices. The arts and accomplishments, the literature and history of the mass, were still the remains of Irish antiquity.
It is thus, then, that while our history has advanced, and the elements of our social condition have widely varied, we have, in some respect, a different division to observe in our view of the literature and arts of Ireland, from that which is presented by the changes of social character and civil constitution. We have for this reason reserved to the latest period to which they can be applicable, a few notices of the