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HISTORY OF IRELAND.
The reader of the preceding reign would be inA.D.
clined to conclude, that suficient zeal had been 1702.
manifested by the advocates of what was now denominated “protestant ascendancy,” to destroy the religion and violate the rights, as well as insult the feelings, of their catholic countryinen. The pages which are to follow, will display the eccentric ingenuity of malice and cowardice-of malice to torture and cowardice to triumph over an innocent and unoffending nation, which had won, by the sacrifice of its best blood, the enjoyment of those privileges that the confiscating spirit of monopoly had dared to withhold. He who is acquainted with the splendid events which distinguished the reign of Anne, who has followed the rapid and astonishing progress of English arms, under the directing genius of Marlborough, who has stopped to reflect on that constellation of talent and learning which illuminated the Augustan period of British history, will turn with wonder and astonishment from the vandal scene of infamous oppression under which our people were then doomed to suffer. He will no longer wonder at the feeling which prompts the honest Irish heart to repine at the fluctuation of England's fortune ; nor will he in future join in that hypocritical exultation which the sycophants of power would pretend to feel at the victories
and glory of the nation who persecutes them. There can be no better evidence of the successful debasement of the public mind by the perpetual infliction of ignominy, than the hollow and affected loyalty which too often distinguished the class of the unprivileged Irish, who were nearest to the seat of power; whose humiliation was conspicuous in proportion to their rank and fortune among their oppressed fellow citizens; who fawned, and flattered, and professed, though the public eye turned from the scene with indignation; and talked of loyalty, and content, and satisfaction, under the chains whose clanking still rung in the ear of every Irishman. Nothing can be more contemptible, nor more destructive to the fair honest claims of the people, than this aristocratic insincerity, which Ireland too often witnesses. The government of the country are deceived by an appearance of attachment and of loyalty, where such feeling neither can nor ought to exist. The people are abused by the specious display of a spirit which only covers the wound that ought to be probed and examined. The catholic aristocrat, who talked of his loyalty under the laws of William or of Anne, deceived the prince as well as the people. His hypocrisy was rewarded by additional degradation, and his exclamations of loyalty were answered by the ferocious denunciations of monopoly. The people, who reflected on the meanness of such duplicity, triumphed in the ignominious repulsion of the sycophant, and the pride of the monopolist was fed and nourished by the precious incense of his noble slave. We are now come to that period when the integrity of nations to each other was fully and unequivocally developed; when national liberality might have been practised with magnanimity; when England, if inclined to administer Ireland with justice, might have ruled with dignity and with safety; when the hostile arm was in the grave, and the susceptible and affectionate heart of Ireland could have been gained by kindness and protection; when England might boast of having reached the highest climax of human greatness; when she presented her firm and undaunted countenance, and shook to the foundation the only power which menaced the liberties of Europe; when every breeze which could disturb her prosperity was hushed to silence, and the mind of her monarch reposed in the victories which astonished and intimidated the world. This surely might have been the period of concession to Ireland; yet this was the period which England chose to select, when Ireland could be put to the torture with impunity ; insulted for her unthinking confidence in a nation's honor, and stript of the last sad remnant of that covering which sheltered her from the scorn and contempt of nations.
Let no Irishman ever forget that this proud day, when England raised her forehead to the skies, Ireland, bathed in tears, sunk in despondency to the earth, the sport of every fool, the subject of every ruffian hand to practise its tricks of torture, and the melancholy spectacle of a confiding, innocent and betrayed country. No wonder that the voice of every muse, on the sad subject of Ireland, should be that of sorrow and despair; no wonder that the Irish harp should sound its deep and melancholy tone, when the sufferings of such a people are the subject of its strain. Our poetry and our music make their powerful appeals to the heart, and the dark mournful hue of oppression increases the interest, and adds to the beauties of the finest productions of Irish genius. In the reign of William, the sword of oppression and violence was sometimes suspended. Unschooled in the arts of persecution, that illustrious monarch sometimes retreated from the task which national prejudice assigned him. He required some time to reconcile him to the work of intolerance, but was at length a successful pupil to the instructions of monopoly. But the reign we are now recording, commenced in despotism, and ended as it began. The op. pressor is generally systematic in the work of torture; he is delighted with the capabilities of suffering which his victim may possess, and if the latter can survive the experiment, he would prefer his gradual destruction to iminediate annihilation. The laws enacted in Ireland, under the parental protection of the “ immortal William" might have appeased the vengeance of monopoly, during the reign of that illustrious monarch; but succeeding, tyrants of Ireland wanted some new wound with which they might feast their eyes, and the “good queen Anne" most kindly consented to their gratification. The Irish monopolists imagined new danger to the constitution in church and státe and called for new powers to avert them. The catholic priest, though exiled from his country, still appeared formidable. Even the memory of his religious and moral example should be provided against, and the last mind which remained in the country, that might perhaps have retained a single principle which the catholic priest had planted, must be banished, before the constitution in church and state could be considered secure against its enemies. Were the catholics, or in other words, were the people of Ireland guilty of any acts which could have exasperated the hand of power? Were they inclined to rebel against this tyranny ? No; history says they were not ; and the observation of mankind attests, that the sanguinary code of Anne would never have been enacted—that no government would have so dared to violate the rights of human nature, if a spirit had cxisted in the people or their leaders, which would have had the courage to resist the oppression.
England found Ireland prostrate, and she trampled on her. Had even a breathing of indignation been perceived, that same England would not have dared to make the experiment. Let it be a lesson to the future men of our country ; let them meet the approaches of tyranpy with a steady and determined tone, or the same scenes may again be acted, which disgrace the pages of our history at the commencement of the eighteenth century. The constitution has now armed the people of Ireland
with the strong and irresistible power of public remonstrance. Let that remonstrance be
the grievance of which it complains is severe ; and though the retreat of intolerance may be slow, yet the light of reason and Christianity will illumine the progress of the petitioner.
It is painful to recall the human mind to the contemplation of those laws which were conceived by the malignant genius of monopoly: for the interest of mankind it would perhaps be better to bury these examples of public infamy; the very mention of which must more or less contribute to the degradation of public morals; but the duties of the historian silence the voice of the philanthropist; and the loathing narration of every villany, as well as the record of every virtue, are equally the labors and the office of impartial history.
We have already detailed the splendid labors of king William “ of immortal memory,” against this country. It was he who gave the first grand and master stroke; it was he who first plundered the mind of Ireland. It was he who legalized national ignorance and national immorality. He banished the instructor of youth, and the preacher of religion. He exposed the people to the arms of the midnight robber. He forbade the Irish catholic the possession or the use of arms. He established a never failing source of perpetual discord and suspicion among the different sects of Christians. He prevented intermarriage between the protestant and catholic; and threw up a perpetual bar to the concord or happiness of the nation : but that law which the “immortal king” thought proper, in his affection for Ireland, to give his consent to, and which was the natural prelude to all the oppression which followed, was that with which he commenced his reign, namely,* the act which excluded the
Among the many productions which the genius and spirit of the 19th century has produced on the melancholy subject of the sufferings of the Irish catholics, there is none perhaps which merits so high a place o the estimation of every honest and enlightened mind, as that work