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SAMUEL J. MACHEN, 8, D'OLIER-STREET.
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“I HAVE HEARD DIVINES AFFIRM THAT NOTHING IS SO LIKELY TO DRAW DOWN VENGEANCE FROM HEAVEN, AS UNIVERSAL OPPRESSION ; AND HOW FAR THIS MATTER MAY CONCERN THEM, THEIR WORSHIPS THE LANDLORDS ARE AT FULL LEISURE TO CONSIDER."-SWIFT,
The united parliament is about to meet. (musicians term the major), to for ever baulk Contending parties are busily accoutreing this hope, and reiterate the flat and fearing for the fray. Each shaft is freshly dipt in tone (musicians call the minor key), most hate, and every shield is burnished bright touchingly expressive of the feelings of men anew. Power—the great hereditary cause doomed long to figure in a minority, who of seud-divides, as it has time immemorial shall emulate the master touch of Peel ? done, the leading combatants. Meaner mo- Meanwhile their opponents, once so eloquent tives stimulate their partizans of every and promiseful, threaten to sing dumb, unless, degree. How this campaign shall differ perhaps, upon some ill-appreciated foreign from its forty predecessors, -reckoning from theine, whereon, for aught we know, their the time, when the three aristocracies of these execution may be most prodigious; but as three isles agreed with one another to make for any familiar subject, there seems as little joint-stock work of legislation,—or to what chance of aught exhilarating or vigorous new themes of war, the running accompani- from them, as there is of inspiriting notes ment of “ earnest requests to attend,” will from the costliest and best-gilt set of organbe adapted,—time alone can tell. The buffo pipes that were ever ranged in row, when and bravura will doubtless be sustained by there is no wind in the bellows. the accustomed skill of a Sinclair and a All which, could we look on and listen Stanley; and the expectations of those, who unconcernedly, were amusing and farcical are used to listen to the plaintive and un- enough. But we have no heart to be merry, utterably mournful airs of an Inglis or a even when we cannot help, now and then, Winchelsea, may hope in confidence for a laughing at the elaborate mummery that we resumption of their gratification. For have seen annually enacted, by the motley “ fantasie" and paganinic strains mingling multitude who, about this season of the year, all varieties of modulation, and rapidly ob- take to the expensive amusement of wearing literating, by unlooked-for whimsies, the me- the masks, and stumbling through the parts mory of that which went before, who shall of legislators. We are rather tired of openaspire to rival the illustrious Lord Harry ing those huge parcels which are remitted to Harlequin ? And for the admirers of that us at the end of each session (labelled subtle art, whose magic is to keep up a suc- “acts,” and thereby pretending to disclose cession of false concords, and where the some thing or things done,) and of finding, listener expects the bold and honest tone after weary rummaging through the entire
VOL. III. NO, XVI,
bundle, nothing substantial done, or half these good intentions, the relief bill, and the done, or for all that appears in the wrappings ten-pound franchise, were proposed; as ulor foldings, even so much as attempted to be timate objects, they were comparatively done. And we are sick and weary of seeing worthless, for statutes are, at best, but a pile the few earnest men that are, in reality, dis- of dead words, whereinto, if the animating posed to turn their office of representatives spirit enter not, they remain inefficacious, save to some good account for their country, as a monument of popular disappointment, doomed to strive in vain.
and senatorial insincerity. So long as this elegant amusement of Was not this put bitterly to the proof in act-of-parliament-making was kept up, merely our case? Religious equality was proclaimas a relaxation or gentle exercise for the no- ed in 1829, yet the old monopoly of the bility and gentry, the do-nothing mode of public service was fraudulently maintained work was no great harm; indeed, all things for six years after; and not until the fear of considered, it may be concluded that the less a Tory resumption of power was unmistakesuch worthies did, the better. But after the ably before their eyes in 1835, could the Relief Bill and the Reform Act had solemnly Whigs of England be roused to the abandeclared, each in its own, but both in the donment of the anti-catholic policy of their most emphatic way, that the people are the predecessors. Parliamentary reform was only source of legitimate power, we naturally decreed for Ireland in 1833, and the immehoped that the reign of fiddle faddle was diate consequence which had in Scotland and over; that the undressed wounds of centuries England followed from it—corporate reform would be tended; that an end was begun of —was withheld for seven years; and in the iniquities, that had, for so many generations end it has been meagrely granted, and with in Ireland, sat enthroned upon the fraud-and- manifold unjust and dishonest drawbacks. force-propped lie-that this fair land, which Above all, peace and security for our lives, God had given us, was not ours to own or to liberties, and properties, was a thousand times enjoy, but the rightful heritage of an anti- declared to be the great end of these muchnational, irresponsible, aristocracy, self-in- promising changes. Political inequality, vested with boundless power.
and political excitement, had led, it was said, We did expect much we had a right to to turbulence; and turbulence was made the expect much--for much was due to us. pretext for distrust on the part of the goIt is an insolent mockery to say, that the vernment, and their continuance of Orange people of Ireland should be content with the yeomanry and police. Another way of governpretended concessions of religious liberty, ing was to be tried. The confidence of the or the ten-pound franchise (which latter was people was no longer to be a bar to office; hardly given 'till it was judicially rendered, the wishes of the people were to be the to a great extent, void). These were no guiding stars of legislation; the principle of concessions, made by repentant wrong, to an self-rule was to be acknowledged, and its injured people. They were terms—reluctant, developement was to be worked out under tardy, and extorted terms, wrung from the a United legislature, which pledged itself to fears of our masters; and that man is a the common sovereign of the two kingdoms, blockhead, or a spy, who dares to palter with to do for Ireland all that an Irish parliathe nation's wants and miseries, by sounding ment could do. Thus, if self-rule of one the dishonest chime of great concessions in kind was denied, self-rule of another was to our ears. Again and again, we say, conces- be secured ; and this concession, as it was sions there have as yet been none. Eman- called, amounted just to this, that the cipation and Reform are two great pledges people should not be treated as aliens in unredeemed. The fruit of them is still to their own land, that they should be protected come; for what did their advocates promise by the imperial senate and administration, to the body of the people as their result from local power, extortion and misrule. when they should be obtained, but equal and The condition upon which this vast conjust laws, and the restoration of long lost cession of leave to live a quiet life in our peace, freedom, and security. 'Twas put, as own country was accorded us, was, that it were a bargain, between the people and crime and agrarian combination should cease. their keepers. Crime and tyranny are mu- We have kept our half of the bargain ; tual child and parent. Destroy the one, and never before was there so little violence; you destroy the other. Let tranquillity be never so much forbearance under multiplied the price of freedom,–let the rights of pro- provocations ; never so great a disposition perty be respected, and its duties will be evinced, even by those districts hitherto rent performed in a better spirit. As earnests of by social warfare, to wait peaceably the
amendment of the law, and its improved We make the charge to serve no interest administration, instead of resorting to the of any petty faction, nor to hurt the official once too ordinary resource of wild and law- character of a well intentioned administraless vengeance. With one or two memora- tion; but in the name and for the sake of ble, because isolated exceptions, whose ru- the trampled and insulted thousands, who are mour fell upon the unaccustomed ear, like lest defenceless at the mercy of the most the last thunders of the subsiding storm, unsparing, unpitying, and widespread compublic tranquillity has not, during late years, bination, that ever yet was formed against been roused from its dream of increased and the liberties and properties of a people. increasing security. Would that the time We call loudly and earnestly upon Parhad been improved to better purpose, by liament for enquiry into the state of the our rulers,—that so great an opportunity— country, and especially into the manner (we say not of settling, but of evincing a in which its peace is menaced, and its proscapacity for, and a desire of settling,) the perity retarded, by the perversion of the laws great social questions that have for centuries of landlord and tenant, as they at present been working up the minds of men to he- stand. We emphatically assert that life reditary fury and despair, had not been suf- and property neither are, nor can be made fered by the imperial legislature to pass secure, until some strong and effectual check away.
is put, not upon the rights, but upon the But such has been our fate. The poze | wrongs
property. It is no longer the session of land, and the laws relative to its few who are insecure; it is the many,-the tenure,—all the fraud of absenteeism, and all industrious, the resident, the moral, the the iniquity of the ruinous ejectment sys- million-numbering people. The combination tem, as it is carried on under the perverted which menaces,-aye, and is fearfully fast forms of law,—all that eats like a canker undermining all the foundations of law and into the national frame,-all that lies, a order in the state, is no longer that of the moral, social, and political load on the popu- shebeen house, or the ribbon lodge, but is lar heart,-has been left untouched and un- one concocted in high places, and which alleviated,-has never been so much as en- holds its festivals with insolent publicity. quired into, by the united wisdom of the Land, the great, and unhappily the only Lords and Commons in parliament assem- means of livelihood to seven-eighths of the bled. And yet, we do affirm, that never at Irish people,-land is the object of the new any time in the history of Ireland, was the -(as it used to be of the old)-agrarian duty and policy of legislative interposition outrages; but the difference between the two so necessary for the safety of the people, species of combination is immeasurable. and for the maintenance of public order. Agrarian disturbance was forinerly the offence Public order still reigns, thank God; long, of the poor. In the days of the Whiteboy, long, may its authority subsist unbroken. Rockite, and Terry Alt associations, the Without it, improvement is a chimera, trade provocations were often great; but they a cheat, science a fugitive, art a beggar, were local, and generally personal. A few country a once beauteous garden trodden bad men, in a particular county, strove to down into an aceldama. And they—call turn the screw of extortion tighter than had themselves by what conservative name they been the custom there, and their lands were will—they are the anarchists, the revolu- ploughed up, or their cattle maimed, or tionists, the destroyers, who abet and foster their drivers injured ; and then the law, the continuance of ihat aristocratic tyranny, blind to the thousand exasperating causes, which leaves the mass of the people insecure was invoked ; disturbance was repressed for in their properties and lives.
the time; and when a sufficient number of Insecurity of life and property in Ire- the peasantry were hanged-(it mattered land” has hitherto been appropriated as a little whether they were the guilty parties or charge by the enemies of our country. At not, to say nothing of the sort of evidence the beginning of each succeeding session, they were convicted on)- life and property we have been told “life and property in were pronounced once more secure; and bad Ireland are insecure,” and that were enquiry landlords might distrain and extort for the granted, they could be clearly shown to be next seven years, in peace and comfort to so. It high is time to put an end to the themselves and bailiffs. But the entire syshypocritic cry, by declaring as we now do, tem of things is now altered. For their in a far different sense from that in which own purposes the aristocracy of ose days our libellers use the phrase, that property desired to have a numerous tenantry. The and existence itself are insecure in Ireland. poor man might be oppressed, might be ca