Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

of population will follow; because find the agriculturist superior to the parents, who are contented with their mechanic not only in physical strength, own condition, will feel no uneasi- but in moral energy. The one is it ness for their offspring, who can, natural soldier, who coinmands rewithout any difficulty, procure a si- spect, and enacts consideration; while tuation siinilar to their own. Emi- the other is a mere animated machine, gration from such a country was not whose ideas serve but as internal to be expected; for men whose modi- wheels to keep his hands in motion. fied wants were amply satisfied at His frame is distorted, his mind home har no need to seek elsewhere crippled, and his courage annihilated: for wealth they did not desire, or dis- but the agriculturist is a man such as tinctions they did not value. Besides, Nature intended-fearless, active, and Ireland has always had peculiar at- resolute; the air he breathes ensures tractions in retaining her children : him health ; the ground he tills supa Scotchinan loves a Scotchman, but plies him with sustenance; and his an Hibernian loves the green fields occupations make hin moral, hardy, of his youth ; and to enjoy these there and brave. This is the copy of a are few privations to which he will not million portraits, and they are all cheerfully submit. The eccentric hu- found in Irelanıl. mour, the boisterous mirth, the kind · For this blessing we are indebted. and social intercourse, that charac- to our rulers, who forced us into agriterize the peasantry, likewise spread culture; even our artisans are agricultheir charms, and generally succeed- turists ; for every weaver, carpenter, ed in subduing the aspiring notions of and smith, through the country, have adventurers, and helped to retain the generally attached to their cottages a people at home. When to these were piece of ground, where they occasionadded the allurements of a more ally renovate their health in rural tender kind, and when no restraint toil, and acquire that vigour which was placed on the natural instinct of places them on a parallel with their man, we must not wonder that Ire- rustic neighbours.' land is blessed with a population with- * And this state of things,' said I, out a parallel in Europe.

still further tends to increase your The base and cowardly conduct of population, which, under present cirthe Irish proprietors in deserting the cumstances, inust only be an ampliticountry, though at the moment a cation of misery.' grievance, was absolutely productive But misery,' returned Emmet with of good. Their large domains were a self-complaisant smile, 'is only enparcelled out to humble cottagers; dured where it cannot be obviatedl. farms were divided and subdivided; The patient Samson, who, in his decabins everywliere raised their unostej- privation of strength, turned the will tatious roofs; and every floor was bless- for his oppressors, buried them in the ed with a numerous progeny: ruins of their temple when his

powers Ireland has been forced into agri- were restored ; and though Ireland, culture ;* and this still further tends in her weakness, endured the badges to increase the population, and to give of slavery, that is no reason she is her that political importance she never calmly to submit when enabled to could have acquired if the people had cast them off. The aspirations of cibeen immured in mineral dungeons, vilized man after freedom are coeval or confined to the fetid vapours of a with his existence. His rights, like manufacturing bastille. Rural labour the mountain torrent, may be diverted, is not more conducive to the health of from their original channel, but canthe body than it is beneficial to the not be effectually impeded in their exercise of the mind; and we always course. Dams may be raised io stop.

Agriculture. The mother and nurse of a military population. Ireland has been forced into this. It was thought that she had sunk under the arbitrary tyranny of British monopoly. Let the proud Briton regale himself in the wholesome air of mines and workshops, and become ossified in the strengthening attitudes of monotonous' labour ; while the degraded Irishman draws health and number, and fierceness and force, and becomes too nimble to be caught by his crippled owner, who hobbles after him, and threatens with his crutch.'-CURRAN.

Vos. I.-No. 2

L

the coming stream; but, if the congre- be to enrich a spendthrift nobleman gated waters cannot find another way by à job, or coerce the unfortunate to the place of their destination, they peasantry by an Insurrection Act. will burst through every opposition, I know my countrymen ; I have and overwhelm in destruction all the conversed with them, and have found works of lorldly and presumptive them practical philosophers. man.'

sentiments are the pure emanations of • But we find,' said !, that very acute minds, instructed in the school populous countries have continued in of Nature, and taught by adversity. slavery.

They are, in consequence, generally Nuinbers,' rejoined Emmet, correct; and, without any great exerwhose minds are more enslaved than tion of thought, are frequently protheir bodies, may submit to injustice; found. How often have I seen them but numbers inspired with intelli- smile at the abortive efforts of their gence never can. The Irish people friends, who endeavour to procure are not only shrewd, but inforined; them redress in a constitutional way, and for this good, as well as for every while, at the same time, they have told other blessing they possess, they are me very pertinently, and very truly, indebted to the folly and wickedness that they expected no concession from of their governors. Divide et impera Government until they are able to inhas long been the maxim of those who sist on it! oppressed us; but the result has been • Thuś party spirit; however hurtful the reverse of their anticipations. The it has been in certain cases, has tendcontinual agitation, faction, and dis- ed to bring the people to a correct cord, consequent upon such a system knowledge of their rights; and, by of legislation, produced their moral keeping their country, and its grieva effects, and, like the vivid lightning, ances, continually before them, it has served to purify the element they habituated them to the expectation of disturbed. The political whirlpool relief, and familiarized their minds to has drawn within its vortex every man the only means of procuring it. The in Ireland; discussion has been uni- Government stands upon a mine, and versally provoked; and the passions that mine is publie opinion--and it have been enlisted in the general con- requires only some pure spirit to apflict. The human intellect has been ply the match, and blow to atoms the propelled; vulgar errors corrected; engines of corruption. The people and the spirit of inquiry and investi- have grown too cunning to be deceivgation has gone abroad.

ed, and too numerous to be despised. • To reason upon the political state Temporary expedients—the resort of of his country has long been the pro- pusillanimity and weakness-will no pensity of the Irish peasant; and, from longer avail. They know their rights, continually thinking upon that sub- and wait but for an opportunity to assert ject, he has at length learned to think them; they are acquainted with their right. He not only knows his de- strength, and wish for the moment to graded condition, but is well ac- exert it. quainted with the cause. There is • The cause of man must ultimately not a subject connected with the coun- triumph; for Ireland is arrived at try on which he cannot give an accu- that period beyond which she must rate opinion; he knows as well as any cease to derive advantage froin the man in the Castle the purpose of every blessings I have enumerated. A furineasure of Government,* whether it ther increase of population will aug.

** It may be asked, why I mention those things? The grand jury knows them very well;-but then they ought to be concealed. Miserable, infatuated notion! these things are not concealed ; there is not a grand-jury job in the country which is not known and commented upon by the peasantry. Every mischkf and every enormity I have this day stated is as thoroughly well known to the peasantry as to the gentry throughout Ireland. The affected apprehension of exciting and exasperating them, by a reprobation of these enormities, is puerile and contemptible. It cannot do mischief;--it cannot add to the poignancy of their feelings-it may allay or sooth them. Already thoseoxactions are the subject of discussion, and of minuto scrutiny, in every cabin.'JUDEE FLETCHER'S Charge,

[ocr errors]

ment the local disturbances, and the was beautiful and the soil productive, measures Government must have re- but asked me " What were all these çourse to for suppressing them will when the people were in chains ?' spread disaffection and discontent. Surely,' I replied, “Irishmen are Thus misery must be progressive; not thus degraded without some adeand, we all know, the cup, however quate canse. There must be some capacious, that receives a continnal political inferiority in a religion which stream, will at last overflow. Let is thus proscribed in a nation proGovernment pursue the usual system, fessing to be free.' and this event must be accelerated. None,' he replied. Population, taxes, and poverty, will Protestants, however,' I rejoined, increase, until universal suffering pro- 'think otherwise, and, I believe, with duces among Irishmen a general dis- soine show of justice ; for has not the position to rid themselves of the do- Reformation been every where the mination of England. Ireland can harbinger of freedom? From this it have no interest in supporting the may be inferred that Catholicity is

powers that be;' for individuals are opposed to political rights, and that a so poor that they can lose nothing love of liberty is an inherent prin, from a change. The good of the ciple in the Protestant creed.' people and the wishes of their rulers "I did not expect,' replied Malachy, are beginning to diverge from each to find in one, who apparently has other, and circumstances must widen the courage to think for himself, the the separation.'

advocate of an opinion, merely be• That is,' I interrupted, ' unless cause it is general, when history and Government conciliates.'

fact demonstrate its falsity. It is the Conciliation,' he repeated, is the gasconade of an arrogant sect, who, writing on the wall, which they can- without a shadow of authority, have not understand, and they have no assumed to themselves a political suDaniel to interpret it for them. periority'

· But, whether they conciliate or Your zeal, my friend,' I replied, oppose, Ireland has directly benefitted ' for your own religion, I fear, leads by misyovernment; for numbers and you to depreciate the merits of mine. intelligence have increased, and these, It was the opinion of a great man when united, and unencumbered with that Catholicism was best adapted wealth, must be productive of free- for monarchy, and Protestantism for dom.'

a republic.' During this dialogue Emmet's fine

The authority of a great name,' manly countenance glowed with an returned Malachy, however extenenthusiastic ardour, and he delivered sive its influence, has no power to himself with as much animated fer- make wrong right, or give to falsevency as if he were addressing, a hood the consistency of truth. That numerous, but distracted assembly, amiable lawyer mistook, in this inwhich he wished to persuade. His stance, as well as in many others, the words flowed with a graceful fluency, effect for the cause ; and has conseand he combined his arguments with quently paid a compliment where no all the ease of a man accustomed to compliment was due. A brief review abstract discussions.

of facts will convince you that the The entrance of a stranger sus- implied praise was unmerited; and pended our conversation, and, after a that the Protestant religion has no few minutes' private conference be- advantage, in a political point of view, tween Emmet and my cousin, the for- which the Catholic does not possess. mer took his leave, and Malachy and I shall hear you with pleasure,' I set out for my uncle's residence. On said I, ' for I am always accessible to our way I could not help admiring the reason, and shall be glad to have an delightful scenery on each side; but impression removed which I have fremy pleasure was considerably damped quently thought erroneous, and alby my companion's melancholy reflec- ways wished to find so.' tions. He admitted that the country • We are all,' he replied, “in some

* Montesquieu.

*

[ocr errors]

on me.

measure, slaves to prejudice; and, ferent men, we must ever expect to when I recollect how long I enter- find the followers of Christ the obetained the same opinion myself, I dient subjects of all governments, cannot hesitate to excuse such a be- from absolute despotism to pure relief in you. But, the moment I exa- publicanism; for submission to exmined the merits of the case, I was isting authority is the characteristic astonished at my own stupidity in of their faith. Thus we find that not having sooner detected the spie- Christianity, however its professors cious sophistry that so long imposed may differ from each other, forms

one of the ten thousand causes which Christianity—under which deno- prevent men from breaking down the mination we may include all those barriers which tyranny and injustice religions founded on revelation--the have raised around them; and this Protestant as well as others—is in its influence is increased wherever it is essence purely spiritual, and has for directly or indirectly connected with its object to prepare men for another temporal power. world rather than to reform the insti- •But, as Christians are men, human tituons which make them miserable in nature, however modified by instithis. It tends to create, in the minds tutions, can never be wholly éradiof men, a contempt of terrene hap- cated. Man has rights, and his claim piness, by promising them, on this to these he has in all ages and in condition, endless felicity hereafter. every country asserted. Men of all The world, and all it can bestow, religions have thought, and thought whether it be the inflictions of ty- justly, that political freedom and ranny or the advantages of freedom pure Christianity are not incompaand justice, is below the apprehen- tible; and accordingly have oftensions or the desires of a pure Christian. times endeavoured to unite them. His life he considers as a state of Perliaps they might have been more probation, in which he cannot pos- frequently successful had they not sibly be happy; for how can that found that Christianity has a tendmind be tranquil which is perpe- ency-not in its principles, which tually fixed on the future, a region are liberal beyond all otlier religions divided between endless torments and and all systems of philosophy, but in never-ceasing felicity ?

its very perfections, which are huThe first lesson he is taught, and mane, and averse to the spilling of which he hears continually repeated, blood—to perpetuate the domination is the shortness and uncertainty of of the “ powers that be,” however this life; and he has no need of pro- oppressive these powers may have tracted years to be convinced that been.' wliat he has learned is truth. To So far as your argument goes,' spend the period allotted him, and said I, “it tends to confirm what you which a thousand incidents may meant to disprove. Passive obedishorten, in acts of piety and works ence may be found in that Church of mercy, is a duty enjoined him by which attributes so many virtues to an unequivocal authority--which he mortification; as those who behold, dares not dispute, and which, if he in every infliction, only the chastising rejiets, he finds himself encountered hand of Providence, are adequately by the condemnation of reason. prepared to submit to tyranny. Such

Such a man must be averse to a people have sometimes called a faevery thing which tends to disturb mine, caused by their rulers, a vithe Christian composure of his mind, sitation of Providence; but Protestor remotely risk that salvation to antism, being freed from these errors, which his life is only preparatory. is incapable of such folly.' He considers it his duty to comply - We should take care,' returned in all cases with established forms, Malachy, ‘not to charge Christianity when these do not militate against with the errors of a barbarous age; his spiritual interest; and in this he nor blame it for not inculcating what does no more than what sound philo- it never proposed to teach. Political sophy will approve. As Christianity economy made no part of the dochas not «itterent doctrines for dif- trine of Christ; nor did he require

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

his followers, like the disciples of the did not, at first, aların men's conGrecian sage,* to be initiated in any sciences by impeaching any of the science previous to their receiving his fundamental doginas of the Church : instructions. Men may be very pious, they allowed her to be in possession though very ignorant; and want of of truth,t but to have admitted cerprofane knowledge, where it was not tain abuses which required to be erawilful, I have never heard charged as dicated; that the temple was holy, a crime. An impartial examiner will though defiled; and that, when the discriminate, and not impute to the cobwebs of superstition were brushed Catholic religion what it has always away, all might enter again without condemned—the errors of local su- fear of pollution. perstition. Our Church boasts no · The lower ranks, who are necessupremacy of scientific knowledge; sarily the most moral, had long been and it is not to be expected that the scandalized at the conduct of the divines of the middle ages could be higher orders, as well as at the indofree from some of the universal errors lent and indecent luxury of the benewhich then overshadowed Europe.' ficed clergy, and eagerly listened to

• But,' said I, though we may those who promised to reform the excuse a man for being in darkness abuses which Religion had fallen into at midnight, there is no reason why by her union with temporal power. he should keep his eyes obstinately But the Church by law established closed when the sun has risen. He manifested the folly of those who nethat refuses admission to truth, when glect the simple remedy because they all around are informed, may be said can use the wrong one. Persecution to obstruct the designs of Providence; followed persecution, until those who and, if he does not merit execration, were originally only reformers behe ought not, at least, to expect any came separatists, who carried with imitators. Why have not Catholic them, into their new conventicles, countries been as forward in improve- that resentment they must have nament as those where Protestantism is turally felt against their implacable professed ? Surely the superiority of enemies; and, as these were Catholics the latter is not without some assign- and kings, popery and monarchy beable cause.'

came the objects of their unappeased • That superiority,' replied Mala- hatred. chy, which Protestants once claimed, • Their zeal became enthusiasm, exists no longer; and even its early and their piety fortitude.

Like a possession was owing to circum- stag at bay, their courage was instances, and not to their religion. spired by despair, and all their proAt the cominencement of the reign ceedings originated in necessity. Reof Henry VIII. Catholicism was in ligion and politics were blended in all every part of Europe the religion of their controversies; and for a short the state, interwoven with the con- time they evinced a love of liberty stitution of every kingdom, and fa- that was then novel. But, as they had voured by every power,

every thing to apprehend from exist. • The Catholics displayed then the ing governments, there is little wonintolerant spirit of all privileged der they found fault with kings, and classes, and persecuted with an inte- wished to change a system under rested zeal, heightened by religious which they could not safely exist. rancour, the new and innovating • This love of independence was creed; while the reformers, like the awakened in them as men, and not Israelites of old, multiplied under the inculcated by their religion ; for

perlash of persecution. Their numbers secution, and not Protestantism, made soon became formidable; for they men republicans. I

* • Let no one enter here ignorant of geometry' was the well-known inscription over the door of Plato's academy. + Under the Papacy,' says Luther, in his book against Anabaptists,

are many good Christian things, yea, all that is good in Christianity, and that Protestants had, if from thence. I say, moreover,' says he,' that under Papacy is true Christianity, even the very k rnel of Christianity.'

* Cuvier.

« AnteriorContinuar »