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THERE are two islands lying to self-developement, not less than in
the north-west of Europe, of knowledge of God, has made prowhich the soils and climates differ gress. The danger and temptation widely, but whose inhabitants have threatening the present generation in character and position even less is similar to that which assails such in common. The first is called a Christian. It is to be feared that Great Britain ; and though its soil the talents, energy, self-knowledge, be various and often sterile, and the and self-developement, which have prevalence of inhospitable winds fre been reared and fostered under the quently blight the best hopes of its hand of God, will be directed hencerural population; and though its in forth permanently—as too often, till habitants are subject to periodical misfortune or the voice of invitation misfortunes, the result often of class called back the wandering will, they legislation and the necessity on the have been given in times pastpart of its governors to play fast and away from the standard of obedience. loose with noisy factions,—it stands A sad end to so much honour. The before the world the shrine of Liberty energy, the talents, and the selfand Order, the temple of Public command, will in such an event pass Honesty, and the emporium and pre away ; 'God shall send them a siding goddess of the commerce of strong delusion that they shall behalf the globe. Within four hours' lieve a lie. Each class bent on the sail of the nearest, and twenty-five attainment of its own ends, and all or thirty of the farthest port of this indifferent to a sense of Christian thriving country, lies the other to duty, the nation will reel to and fro which we refer – Ireland.
like a drunken man, and be a picture Her soil is much richer: her of astonishment and pity where she people, in point of stature and phy was once the mirror of virtue. sical strength, rival, perhaps surpass, The history of Ireland is analogous those of the neighbouring island. to the life of a Christian born in sin But she is neither the shrine of and brought only nominally within Liberty nor the emporium of Com the shelter of the Church; who has merce. Still less can she be regarded been since infancy the sport of ig. as the temple of Honesty. Visited norance and the prey of passion; by the showers and dews which, who remains unloved by his fellowgathering above the Atlantic Ocean, men, and is proportionately unhappy; come floating on the wings of the but in whose downcast countenance west wind, she was meant by nature and frequent longing for a nobler to be the garden of the seas. She is life may be recognised the germ of a house of mourning, and the temple virtue. Such a man, in order that of Crime and of Want. Great part of he may repent, requires two things her rich soil lies uncultivated ; her besides the sorrow which brings refields are small and ill-sown; her morse: 'the knowledge of a distinct gentlemen are embarrassed; her cot line of duty, and hope,' that he tages are huts; the religion of her may be enabled to follow it. The people is a monstrous sham; her sorrow which brings remorse has peasantry are either mendicants or fallen upon Ireland, but the knowfreebooters ; and she is held under ledge of her duty, and hope to cheer the government of England by the her in its performance, are yet to be power of the sword. She is to the
supplied to her. sister kingdom what the gaol and What Ireland might have become poorhouse are to a thriving province. had she retained her independence of
The history of England, if we England it is not easy now - and it trace it from the dark ages to the would be quite useless — to conjecpresent hour, may be compared to ture. One assertion, however, seems the chequered life of a Christian to be a safe one. She has never born in sin, but brought within the been, she never could have been, and shelter of the Catholic Church, who she never will be, a greater object of has been often wayward and re pity than she is at present, and has bellious, but in energy of will and been these four years past. More
over, being still in subjection to the what we require is offered by the British crown, it is the duty of her newspapers.
There we see fairly rulers, if possible, to interfere and to reflected the state of the nation; change this state of things. And, and are taught that two interests, still further, God having been so each of which depends upon the bountiful to her, not only in respect prosperity of the other, are at to soil and climate, but in the gift of deadly feud. The agriculturists dethe finest natural harbours and navi sire to sell at a largely remuneragable rivers upon the face of the ting price ; the manufacturers wish globe, it seems impious to assert that to buy at the lowest possible amount she is placed beyond the compass of of outlay. Both bring their wishes hope.
to act upon their views respecting We have hazarded these remarks Ireland. The one asks, in apparent by way of preface, in order that, astonishment and with undisguised starting from the admitted fact that warmth, Are you mad enough to England is, in a moral point of view, think of raising the price of an deeply in Ireland's debt, we may be Irishman's food ?' the other exable at once to account for her past claims, in horror, “Would you deneglect in failing to discharge the preciate the value of his labour?' obligation, and suggest such measures It is a remarkable fact that neither as, in our own estimation at least, party seems to entertain a notion seem to hold out the prospect for that both calamities may be avoided; both countries of better results for that it is possible to give to an Irishthe future.
man cheap and abundant food, while If we look for a true representation at the same time you afford every of the state of the United Kingdom, encouragement for the developement social and economic, in the Imperial of his industry. The state of parties Parliament, we shall scarcely find our and of the nation may, therefore, be expectations realized. Sir Robert summed up as follows. Peel and his followers represent a At present the manufacturing inpolicy which has no name, no mean terest having come off the victor, ing, no direct object, and, apparently, and the importations of foreign corn no end. Lord John Russell and the during the year having been so vast gentlemen on the ministerial benches as to confound all previous specukeep us, in regard to their purposes, lations, we hear a cry—and a pretty almost as much in the dark. Their loud one-of agricultural distress. object is, probably, place : and pro Well - meaning men, accordingly, vided the other parties in the house stand aghast: mischievous men wait shall leave them unmolested, they anxiously the progress of the session. will be content to talk progress and Mr. Disraeli sounds the trumpet in to stand still. Mr. Cobden, again, Buckinghamshire of unjust burdens though within three years the oracle on the land; the Marquis of Granby of the many, stands at present almost holds out hopes of protection ; Mr. alone: he is assuredly not the leader Cobden threatens revolution; and even of the Radical faction. The Sir Robert Peel, weighing the chances Irish members have no Irish policy ; of a change of tenantry, takes steps, and the Protectionists, though bent with an elaborate air of generosity, on the destruction of free trade, to put his farms in order. Meanare undetermined as to the method while the funds seem to be approachof attacking it in its stronghold. ing par; the cotton-market lanIn fact, the House of Commons pre guishes (so much so that mill-owners, sents to view a number of factions, many of them, work short time, and but no policy. We used to see there are reduced to fabricating fine in two parties, — Tory and Whig; we place of coarse wares); a smaller now behold a heterogeneous num quantity of the raw material in hand, ber of English, Irish, and Scottish though smaller in amount than has gentlemen, possessing a very large been known for several years, is examount of aggregate intelligence, but pected to supply the weavers for a doing for the amelioration of the longer space of time. The Times, people --- especially for the Irish – with all this, cries · Prosperity,' and almost nothing. A far better me points, as its consequence, to another dium through which to look for speculative mania. The balance of
trade has turned steadily against us, to look to Parliament, and to changes of gold being much dearer on the Conti law, for improvements in their condition nent than in the London money which they might effect for themselves. market; there is a rumour of the Now, my object was this — to take away
from all those who have done evil to enlargement of the franchise and of the reduction of the army; but for
Ireland that subterfuge under which they Ireland, not one word of consolation,
have constantly sheltered themselves,
that there is something in the race and except from parties peculiarly in
religion of Irishmen which makes it im. terested -a proposition for a return possible for that country to prosper. to protection. That remedy, it is (Cheers.) said, and not without justice, has
We have here two very important been weighed in the balance and found wanting.
assertions : Ist. That the neglect of In the midst of this excitement a
a truly Irish policy is attributable to
the aristocratic form of our governgentleman of considerable ability, and
ment; 2d. That there is nothing in still greater notoriety, has spoken in
their race or religion which makes it public to the Irish portion of his constituents upon the state and pros
impossible for Irishmen to prosper.
We beg of our readers to bear in pects of their country. The member for Manchester visited Ireland, and
mind these two confessions; and on his return home made a speech.
without making further comment on The Times newspaper protested that
the first than to say that to the dethere was neither anything. very
mocratic nature of a reformed Parnew in the information which he had
liament, not to the aristocratic form collected, nor anything very original
of our Government, is attributable or distinctive in the schemes which
the neglect of which Mr. Bright comhe proposed. Mr. Bright, therefore, plains ; and without dissenting from
the second, further than to observe took an early opportunity of making another speech. As a good intro
that religion and race have something duction to the developement of our
to answer for in respect to Ireland's own policy, let us examine into this
sorrows, we will hold Mr. Bright
to his two conclusions: the one that gentleman's latest assertions, and
Parliament can frame laws for the weigh impartially the worth of his
benefit of Ireland; the other that if opinions.
such laws be framed, and good opAfter reminding his audience that the Irishmen in Manchester amounted
portunities be given to Irishmen to
advance their fortunes, such opporto 60,000 or 80,000, and noticing the criticisms to which his former speech
tunities will be taken advantage of,
and such laws meet with obedience. had been subjected, Mr. Bright pro- Referring to the remarks of a Scotch ceeded to unfold those principles which he believed to be essential to
newspaper, Mr. Bright proceeds :the restoration of the condition of
But I should like to know upon what Ireland.'
the Irish people are to rely. I am as
much for self-reliance as the editor of I said, if I recollect right, that for that paper ; but I have stated before, and thirty years past the Imperial Legislature state again, that the Irish people are not had had laid before it, time after time, a the possessors of Ireland ; that the coun. statement of the actual condition of the try is not theirs—that the land is not Irish people ; and I brought it as a theirs ; that it has been purposely, and serious charge against the Constitution systematically, and by law, prevented of this country - against the aristocratic from becoming theirs ; that Irishmen are form of our Government--that all these wanderers and beggars in their own land; statements had passed unregarded, and that the raw material of a nation's in. that the condition of Ireland had scarcely, dustry, the soil, is in chains, and in until recently, excited any real solicitude chains of law, and therefore to rely upon on the part of either the Ministry or that as a source of industry is impossiParliament. An influential organ of the ble. And, further, I have shown that if Whig party in the Scottish metropolis by any means there is any industry, and brought another charge against me, which any productiveness, there is no was, that I was fostering that want of curity for the reward of industry, and self-reliance which has been charged therefore no stimulus for the exertions of against the Irish people, when I blamed the people. (Loud cheers.) To tell the the laws and institutions under which literal fact with regard to Ireland, the they lived ; that I taught them, in fact, soil of that country has been, for two or
three centuries past, in the possession of the enemy. The present possessors of land are the successors of those who were the possessors of it through conquest and through confiscation (loud cheers); and the laws of this country- of the Imperial Legislature, and of your Legislature, when it was under the power or the corruption of ours — the laws which have prevailed in Ireland from that time to this have made it impossible for the Irish people to become possessors of the soil of their own country. In fact, it is in the possession of those who have neces. sarily been regarded ---if I may quote the very notorious expression of a very notorious individual —as aliens in blood, in language, and in religion.' (Cheers.) Now, we will not go back to these bygone days two or three hundred years ago, and pretend that the acts of those days can be reversed, but I do assert that it would have been possible for the Legislature to have taken such precautions with regard to property in Ireland that there would have been a complete amalgamation of the two nations long before this; and if you could not have given to Irishmen a common faith, which is by no means necessary, you might long ago have given them a common interest in the redemption of their common country. (Loud cheers).
Here again we have some very important assumptions: 1st. The soil has been in possession of the enemy (it is a man of peace, a patriot desirous of amalgamating the two nations, who uses this expression !) and is in chains of law. 2d. There is no security for the reward of industry, and therefore no stimulus for the exertions of the people. 3d. It is no use going back two or three hundred years and pretending that the acts of those days can be reversed; but, says Mr. Bright, I do assert that it would have been possible for the Legislature to have taken such precautions with regard to property in Ireland that there would have been a complete amalgamation of thetwo nations long before this; and if you could not have given to Irishmen a common faith,' &c. Good: though it would appear from his regret as regards amalgamation that Mr. Bright has a lingering notion that Irish horrors are attributable partly to Irish race.
However, let that pass: Mr. Bright is quite right, both with respect to property and as regards the discouragement of industry. At the same time he might have re
membered that the Legislature has corrected the first evil, though it leaves the last untouched. Indeed with respect to property, Parliament has gone too far; for it gives power to a creditor to force on the sale of all the estate, although he should hold a mortgage only over a small portion of it. However, let this pass also. We hold Mr. Bright to his two confessions that there is every discouragement to Irish industry, and that it is highly desirable to amalgamate the two nations.
The following facts, taken from the Report of the Land Commission, are as important for this paper as for Mr. Bright's speech :
Now, the facts or figures I give I take principally from the Report of the Land Commission presided over by Lord Devon, as the most recent authority, and probably that most to be relied upon. They state that Mr. Griffith, the great public valuator, and the best authority on Ireland at this moment, says, that 3,755,000 acres of land are totally neglected which are capable of a high degree of improvement; and they state that these acres, nearly 4,000,000, only yield upon an average a gross produce of 48. per acre, while they are capable of being made to yield profitable produce to the amount of 61. per acre; which would be an increase on the whole of from 751,0001. to 22,500,0001. per annum, And the Report states that this result can be obtained not only without any permanent loss, but with a very large permanent gain. Now, the whole acreage of Ireland is little over 20,000,000 ; and here you have one-fifth of the island lying waste that could be profitably im. proved. I leave out of view a very large amount of waste land, which, it is de. cided, would not pay for draining, subsoiling, and so forth ; but then beyond this, the Report states that out of 13,500,000 acres of land in Ireland now cultivated, 10,000,000 are so badly cultivated, and in so bad a condition, that it would pay to expend 8l. per acre in draining and subsoiling. Now, 81. per acre on 10,000,000 acres comes to the enormous sum of 80,000,0001, sterling -a sum so large we can scarcely form an accurate idea of it. Now, within the last thirty years it is said that Great Britain and Ireland have sent abroad, in loans to foreign Governments, something like 150,000,0001. sterling, a great portion of which has been sent abroad for very unworthy purposes, and a great portion of which will never come back again. How much of that 150,000,0001. might, and in all probability would have
been expended on Ireland, on the soil, in its cultivation, in the employing of people in producing food ; in fact, in growing peace and concord, and happiness in that country, if the soil of Ireland had been free for the free employment of the capital which the United Kingdom could have turned to it? (Cheers.)
The following remarks with respect to the feelings of an Irish emigrant towards England cannot, we think, be too carefully weighed :
The suspicions that exist between the tenants and proprietors are such as make it impossible that there should be harmony and progress in that country. (Hear, hear.) The cultivators are poor, they are unskilful.
Under the pressure of recent circumstances they are leaving the country by every vessel, and carrying 'with them whatever skill they have, and whatever small property they have saved from the wreck of their fortunes. In fact, the export of Ireland consists now of Irishmen. (Hear, hear.) And they do not go abroad to found flourishing colonies, to live in amity with the present country ; but whenever they set their feet on a foreign soil, there stands a man in whose breast rankles a feeling of hostility to this country.
(Hear, hear, and cheers.) That which is true now has been true for seventy or eighty years at least, for it is upon record that Lord North himself expressed his sense of the injury which Irishmen in America had done to England; for their courage and their hostility against this country, united, in the War of Independence, was the main cause of the first and signal successes which the American forces achieved. (Cheers.)
Mr. Bright next proceeded to remind his audience of the amount of money borrowed by Irish proprietors; from which fact he drew the following logical conclusion: That capital having been already wasted by the owners of the Irish soil, and America having grown great under the auspices of free institutions, therefore what Ireland requires is not capital but free institutions.
With respect to which we have to remark, that Ireland is at this moment in possession of such institutions, though doubtless from her want of capital, and consequent poverty, it is the Queen's army alone which protects property.
Upon Emigration, the Poor-law, and Protection to Agriculture, Mr. Bright shall speak for himself :
If the land of Ireland were free, if it
were capable of subdivision, if the peo. ple who have capital there could pur. chase land freely as they can purchase potatoes or corn, or household furniture or cattle—my honest conviction is that at this moment there is not population enough in the agricultural districts of Ireland fairly to cultivate the soil of that country. (Hear, hear, and cheers.) There were paupers in Ireland before the Poor-law, and they were kept out of the charity of the farming and peasant classes. Under the present law they come, of course, a heavy burden often upon the farmer, but they come also as a burden upon the landlord, which they did not before ; and the effect of that Poor-law, grievously as it is felt in some districts, will be, through a very rough but neces. sary process, to bring the landlords of Ireland and the Government of this country to look closely to the condition of Ireland, and honestly to set themselves to a remedy. With respect to the enormous pressure of the poor-rates, it is not the fault of the House of Commons that this heavy pressure was not, in some degree, relieved, because the House of Commons did pass an amended Poorlaw last session, with a clanse that limited the amount of rates to 58. in each electoral division in a union, and to 78. 6d. in the union. It was the House of Lords that rejected that clause, and if the rates in Ireland now are 108., 158., or 20s., in any union, it is the fault of the House of Lords, who are great proprietors in that country and in this, and is in no degree the fault of the Government or of the House of Commons. But there is another proposition now made for the advantage of Ireland, and that is the reenactment of the Corn-laws. (Laughter.) This surpasses in audacity, probably, any of the other propositions. It is made by a body of coronetted conspirators against the food and the industry of the people of the United Kingdom. (Loud cheers.) We have no standard to measure the height of the folly, and the plummet cannot sound the depths of the depravity of those men, in asking that the Imperial Legislature should make food scarce and dear in a country which has been a spectacle to the world for four years past, for the intensity of agony and of famine which it has endured. (Cheers.) Who is this Lord Glengall, and who are these men who are uniting with him for this audacious object? What do the people of Ireland owe to the landlords of Ireland ? They have made the laws for Ireland for generations past. In both houses—first in your own Parliament, and since the Union in the Imperial Parliament—the laws have been those which they have assisted to make,