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nomy of Elizabeth, who was engaged in the affiftance of the Dutch in their war against Spain; and even the abfurd and pernicious jealoufy of fome, left the people of this island, no longer weakened and impoverished by inteftine wars, fhould become independent of the English crown. Only a small sum of money was granted by the queen, who had afterwards ample reason to repent, as the fubfequent wars of Ireland, which would have been prevented, were the cause of a vast and grievous expenditure. p. 275-6.
The Irish policy of Elizabeth, certainly contributes nothing to her reputation for wisdom and vigour; and in the regards which she bestowed upon her subjects in that country, there never was any great portion of tenderness. Her successor, James, had a passion for improving Ireland; but there was a large mixture of evil in his plans. The nature and tendency of his system of plantations, and other Irish measures, are by no means well delineated by this author. In his account of the great events of the succeeding reign, indeed of all that took place till the final settlement of the island by King William, when the history of Leland closes, our author invariably adopts the sentiments of that writer; sometimes making large quotations, and often borrowing, without any formal acknowledgment. Nothing that the author can call his own in the way of remark, or comment, or reflexion, once intervenes during this long and variegated portion of history, to mark the exercise of independent judgment. Nor is he by any means fortunate in the selection and disposition of the matter which he borrows; and some interesting pieces of infor mation are either altogether omitted, or very inadequately given. Thus, for example, we have no distinct account of the extent and operation of the Catholic forfeitures, which effected such a signal, indeed unexampled revolution, in the landed property of Ireland. The act of settlement, we believe, transferred to English adventurers 7,800,000 acres ; and the forfeitures, at the revolution, 1,060,793 acres.
By the victories of William, and the total loss of their posses sions, the Catholics were thoroughly brought under the yoke; but the war of arms was succeeded by the war of penal statutes, in order the more completely to secure the prostration of these rebellious apostates. Under Queen Anne, the system of rigour and abaseinent received new refinements: indeed, to use the language of Burke, the severe and jealous policy of a conqueror in the crude settlement of his new acquisition, was strangely made a permanent rule for its future government. The author gives a very indistinct view of the provisions and principles of the penal code; and there is nothing of the spirit or philosophy of history
See Plowden's Ireland, &c.
in his feeble and scanty reflexions. Our readers know, that, soon after the revolution, the British Parliament began to assume the right of legislating for Ireland, and of forcibly interfering to restrain and regulate Irish industry. We quote the following passage to make our readers acquainted with the author's manner of thinking upon these subjects.
" Since, from the final fubmiffion of the Irish to William the Third, in 1691, this island remained, above a century, free from other than external war, the hiftorian of this period has happily little elfe to record than Parliamentary tranfactions; but, unhappily, thefe were fometimes of fuch a nature as, more permanently than war, to fink the nation in poverty and barbarifin. In the peaceful period, fince the furrendering of Limerick, this country has been of important fervice to her fifter kingdom, but of vaftly less than fhe would have been, if the English Parliament had acted towards her with a policy guided by common fenfe, or common juftice. The glorious revolution of 1688, which established in England an unparalleled fyftem of civil freedom, was far from extending the benignity of its influence in the fame degree to Ireland, where it only fccured the adminiftration of internal government exclufively to the Proteftant inhabitants, while thefe fame Proteftants, the conquerors, or the offspring of the conquerors of this country for the Eaglish Crown, were, in common with the Catholics, treated as a conquered people by the English Legiflature, whofe laws, with equal cruelty and impolicy, precluded them from availing themfelves of the fruits of their own induftry.' II. 184.
The restraints, to which the author alludes, make, indeed, a long chapter in the history of Irish grievances. Previous to the restoration, we believe, the commercial privileges of the two countries stood on the same footing; but, soon after that period, it seems to have been discovered that the sister states had in this respect very opposite interests, and that the wealth and resources of the one would be greatly enlarged by diminishing those of the other. The restraining system was, as we have already said, grievously extended after the revolution, and continued in ful! force till the year 1779, when the spirit of the country, boldly and successfully exerted itself in procuring a material relaxation. By the articles of Union, many of the remaining restraints were at length removed, and the commerce of Ireland again replaced on a footing of equality and reciprocity.
In the account here given of the reigns of George the First and Second, there is great lack both of matter and judgment; insomuch, that the author stoops from the dignity of history to to record political toasts, satires, and witticisms. Here, too, Lord Chesterfield's administration is made to introduce the subject of his letters; and we have the authority of the rector of Killegney to say, that this collection of paternal hortatives to fri
volity and gallantry, attaches no blame whatever to his Lordship's character. We cannot say that the author is more judicious or instructive in his account of the present reign, than in the other parts of his work. His narrative, never very luminous, is, as usual, clumsily broken by frivolous, unmeaning, or inapplicable digressions. The French revolution introduces a long dissertation; in the course of which, the author makes a discovery, which we must communicate to our readers, that Mr Burke's book on that subject was written purely in revenge for the destruction of the Catholic religion in France, to which he avers that statesman had a most heretical affection. Among other impertinences, he moreover introduces a discourse upon the merits and fate of his book on the rebellion; and this notable piece of egotism is quaintly entitled the history of a history!' From all this the reader must see, that our author never trifles with his subject; that he faithfully adheres to his plan of noticing only what is important and interesting; in a word, that his notions of history are purely classical.
We should, however, give an unfair review of the book, did we not admit that the account of the rebellion is interesting, and, upon the whole characterized by a benevolent and manly spirit.. It would not indeed be difficult to shew, that he occasionally offers inadmissible apologies for that arbitrary system which was adopted upon the recal of Lord Fitzwilliam; and throws the whole of that blame, which ought to be shared with the authors, upon the immediate agents of the system. But we gladly relinquish strictures, which we could not pursue, without recurring to transactions but little accordant either with British magnanimity or British justice.
We must also remark, in favour of the author's liberality, that he is very decided for Catholic emancipation; and as his opinion has the sanction of local knowledge and experience, we quote his words.
A more kind hearted and obliging people than the Catholics of Ireland, I am perfuaded, can no where be found; and I must confets that I feel for them a strong affection: Nor can I entertain a doubt of their inviolable attachment to the British government, if they were once fully admitted to an unqualified participation of its benefits.' Vol. II. P. 507
We believe, that the kind of proofs which the conful Pliny requires of a good governor of a province, were never more abundantly produced than upon that occafion. Volo ego qui provinciam rexerit, non tantum codicillos amicorum, nec urbana conjuratione eblanditas preoes, fed decreta coloniarum, decreta civitatum alleget.' Panegyr. Traj.
We have nothing further to say of this book, but that it is as defective in composition as it is in all the higher attributes of history. The style is tame and loose, full of conceits, heavy expletives, and uncouth inversions. In short, we would exhort the reverend author to think no more of writing history, but to bestow his labour, where we hope he will reap more success, upon the cultivation of his vineyard in the church.
ART. IX. Speech of Mr Deputy Birch in Common Council. March 5. 1807. London, 1807.
Speech of the Right Honourable Lord Hawkesbury, in the House of Lords, on Friday, the 10th of May 1805, on the Subject of the Catholic Petition. 2d Edition. London, 1805.
Cursory Reflections on the Measures now in Agitation, in favour of the Roman Catholics of the United Kingdom. By a Loyal Irishman. London, 1807.
WHI HEN Sir John Throckmorton's publication on the subject of the Catholic claims came before us, we were certainly impressed with an opinion, that, unless in an incidental manner, the subject would not again challenge our attention for some time to come. Since, however, circumstances, at that time unforeseen, have called a new host of pamphleteers into play, and given the enemies of what we deem sound and liberal policy another triumph, we will not be wanting to our duty, nor suffer the errors which we think have beguiled the multitude, to pass without refutation or reproof. What we shall offer will be little. Plain reasoning commonly lies in narrow compass; and though we are no orators, as Deputy Birch is, we are still inclined to think, that some little effect may be produced by sober reasoning, even opposed to his eloquence, though it flow more sweet than the macaroon, and more ardent than turtle-soup.
It would be very foolish to contend, that all who oppose the pretensions of the Roman Catholics, are narrow and fanatical bigots, actuated by an intolerant hatred of those who dissent from their own creed. They comprehend, unfortunately, too large a portion of the public, to be reviled, or turned into ridicule. We may very possibly, in the present state of British opinion, belong to a minority; no good reason, we presume, for concluding us to be in the wrong; but certainly a very proper inducement
* Vol. VIII. p. 311.
inducement to keep us within bounds, and prevent the retaliation of such indiscriminate charges as are for ever in the mouths of our adversaries. There are, in fact, so many sensible and judicious, as well as conscientious men, who hesitate about the propriety of such a bill, as was lately brought into Parliament, for the purpose of admitting the Catholic subjects of the King, to military and naval command, that it is worth while to attempt winning them over, by somewhat a more legitimate sort of logic than the writers on their side are wont to adopt. And though we remember the words of Montesquieu, lorsqu'il s'agit de prouver des choses claires, on est sûr de ne pas convaincre ;' we are not without hope, that some such men may retire from the discussion with less unfavourable impressions than before.
As we are desirous to address our observations to such men as these only, we assume it as an admitted point, that, provided such relaxation of our laws can be proved not to endanger the established church, it ought, on a double account, to be granted; both for the sake of the individuals, to whose industry and fair ambition it gives encouragement; and for the sake of the nation, whose effectual strength it tends greatly to augment. If any man denies this conditional position, we wish him to read no farther; his is insanabile caput, and argument will be of no use to him. Of the advantage which the nation would derive from opening, as it were, a fresh mine of labour and talents, by admitting the Catholics into those stations from which we exclude them, we have said enough in our review of Sir J. Throckmorton; and, certainly, the military and naval professions would afford the most striking illustrations of our general remarks. And to this, when we join the consideration, that such measures would conciliate many, and probably silence all of those whose disaffection we dread in Ireland, it is inconceivable, that any really temporate man can avoid wishing at least to be persuaded, that no evil would be felt, where so much good would certainly be effected. • Primum ita esse velim,' says an ancient of the soul's immortality; deinde, etiamsi non sit, persuaderi mihi velim.' We do not recommend this anxiety to believe a proposition as very philosophical; yet when we see how the judgement of men is ever cheated by their inclinations, we cannot help suspecting, that those who are so quick of alarm at the Catholic claims, have never appreciated the undeniable benefit of admitting them. It is unlike all we know of the human mind, that men should put the most strained suppositions, and the most improbable cases, to defeat their own wishes, and to withdraw their assent from measures, which they sincerely desire to approve. Let us begin
Vol. VIII. p. 312.