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The disputed succession had sown and was able, in the space of six years,
The short spear and appeared most of all from the events
had supported fell to the ground.
+ Walsing, p. 106. Mon. Malms. p. 152, 153.
ledged; and the eyes of Scottish pa- to earn his freedom as well as his subtriotism turn with the greater exulta- sistence. tion to his triumphs, from the con Least of all are such advantages to trast which their splendour affords to be anticipated from the conquest of a the barren and humiliating annals of free people. That the dominion of the subsequent reigns. But the im- free states over conquered countries is portant coNSEQUENCES of his victo- always more tyrannical than that of ries are not sufficiently appreciated. any other form of government, has While all admit the purity of the been observed ever since the birth of motives by which he was actuated, liberty in the Grecian states, by all there are many who lament the con who have been so unfortunate as to be sequences of his success, and perceive subjected to their rule. If we except in it the source of those continued the Roman republic, whose wise and hostilities between England and Scot- beneficent policy is so entirely at valand which have brought such incal- riance with every thing else which we culable calamities upon both coun observe in human affairs, that we are tries, and from which the latter has almost disposed to impute it to a speonly within half a century begun to cial interposition of divine providence,
Better would it have been, there is no free state in ancient or it is said, for the prosperity of this modern times, whose government tocountry, if, like Wales, she had passed wards the countries whom it subdued at once under the dominion of the has not been of the most oppressive English government, and received, description. We are accustomed to five centuries ago, the present of that speak of the maternal government of liberty which she so entirely lost du- free governments, but towards their ring her struggles for national inde- subject provinces, it is generally the pendence, and which nothing but her cruel tyranny of the stepmother, who subsequent union with a free people oppresses her acquired children to fahas enabled her to obtain.
your her own offspring. There is something, we think, a Nor is it difficult to perceive the priori, improbable in this supposition, reason why a popular government is that, from the assertion of her inde- naturally inclined, in the general case, pendence under Robert Bruce, Scot- to severity towards its dependencies. land has received any injury. The A single monarch looks to the revenue instinct to maintain the national in- alone of the countries whom he has dependence, and resist aggression from subdued, and as it necessarily rises foreign powers, is so universally im- with the prosperity which they enjoy, planted among mankind, that it may his obvious interest is to pursue the well be doubted whether an obedience measures best calculated to secure it. to its impulse is likely in any case to But in republics, or in those free goproduce injurious effects. In fact, vernments where the popular voice subjugation by a foreign power is it- exercises a decided control, the leading self a greater calamity than any
bene men of the state themselves look to the fits with which it is accompanied can property of the subject country as the ever compensate; because, in the
very means of their individual exaltation. act of receiving them by force, there Confiscations accordingly are multiis implied an entire dereliction of aļl plied, with a view to gratify the peothat is valuable in political blessings, ple or nobles of the victorious couna security that they will remain try with grants of the confiscated permanent. There is no example, lands. Hatred and animosity are thus perhaps, to be found in the history of engendered between the ruling gomankind, of political freedom being vernment and their subject provinces ; either effectually conferred by a sove and this, in its time, gives rise to new reign in gift, or communicated by the confiscations, by which the breach beforce of foreign arms; but as liberty 'tween the higher and lower orders is is the greatest blessing which man can rendered irreparable. Whoever is acenjoy, so it seems to be the law of na- quainted with the history of the doture that it should be the reward of minion which the Athenian and Syraintrepidity and energy alone; and cusan populace held over their subthat it is by the labour of his hands, ject cities; with the government of and the sweat of his brow, that he is Genoa, Venice, and Florence, in mo
Il as his mi
dern times; or with the sanguinary and the tenantry on their estates, at-
and hatred would thus have been
tribes on their northern estates. They
Had the English, then, prevailed English forces were engaged in the
the temptation which the remoteness
try were entirely exhausted, and the As the numbers of the people inpeople sunk in' hopeless submission creased, however, and the value of under the power that oppressed them. the immense farms which had been
But, in the progress of these wars, thus granted to the descendants of their an evil of a far greater and more per- original proprietors was enhanced, the manent description would naturally task of collecting rents over so exarise, than either the loss of lives or tensive a district would have become the devastation of property which they too great for any individual, and the occasioned. In the course of the pro- increased wealth which he had actracted contest, the LANDED PROPER- quired from the growth of his tenTY OF THE COUNTRY WOULD ENTIRE- antry, would have led him to dislike LY HAVE CHANGED MASTERS ; and the personal labour with which it in place of being possessed by natives would be attended. These great tenof the country permanently settled on ants, in consequence, would have subset their estates, and attached by habit their vast possessions to an inferior and common interest to the labourers set of occupiers, who might each superof the ground, it would have come in- intend the collection of the rents withto the hands of foreign noblemen, in his own farm, and have an opporforced upon the country by military tunity of acquiring a personal acpower, hated by the natives, residing quaintance with the labourers by whom always on their English estates, and it was to be cultivated. As the numregarding the people of Scotland as ber of the people increased, the same barbarians, whom it was alike impoli- process would be repeated by the diftic to approach, and necessary to curb ferent tenants on their respective by despotic power.
farms; and thus there would have But while such would be the feelings sprung up universally in Scotland a and policy of the English proprietors, class of middle men between the prothe stewards whom they appointed to prietor and the actual cultivator of manage their Scotch estates, at a dis- the soil. tance from home, and surrounded by While these changes went on, the a fierce and hostile population, would condition of the people, oppressed by have felt the necessity of some as a series of successive masters, each of sistance, to enable them to maintain whom required to live by their latheir authority, or turn to any ac- bour, and wholly debarred from obcount the estates that were committed taining any legal redress for their to their care. Unable to procure mi- grievances, would have gradually sunk. litary assistance, to enforce the sub- Struggling with a barren soil, and a mission of every district, or collect host of insatiable oppressors, they the rents of every property, they could never have acquired any ideas would of necessity have looked to of comfort, or indulged in any hopes some method of conciliating the peo- of rising in the world. They would, ple of the country; and such a me in consequence, have adopted that spethod would naturally suggest itself in cies of food which promised to afford the attachment which the people bore the greatest nourishment for a family to the families of original landlords, from the smallest space of ground; and the consequent means which they and from the universality of this possessed of swaying their refractory cause, the Potatoe would have bedispositions. These unhappy men, on come the staple food of the country. the other hand, despairing of the re The landed proprietors, on the covery of their whole estates, would other hand, who are the natural probe glad of an opportunity of regaining tectors, and ought always to be the any part of them, and eagerly em- best encouragers of the people on their brace any proposal by which such estates, would have shrunk from the a compromise might be effected. The idea of leaving their English possessense of mutual dependence, in short, sions, where they were surrounded by would have led to an arrangement,
an affectionate and comfortable tenantby which the estates of the English ry, where riches and plenty sprung nobles were to be subset to the Scottish from the natural fertility of the soil, proprietors for a fired yearly rent, and where power and security were and they would take upon themselves derived from their equal law, to settle the task to which they alone were in a northern climate, amongst a peo. competent, of recovering the rents ple by whom they were abhorred, and from the actual cultivators of the soil. where law was unable to restrain the
licentiousness, or reform the barba Had the English, therefore, sucrity of the inhabitants.--They would ceeded in subduing Scotland in the in consequence have universally be time of Robert Bruce, and in maincome ABSENTEE PROPRIETORS; and taining their authority from that penot only denied to the Scottish people riod, we think it not going too far to the incalculable advantages of a resi. assert, that the people of this country dent body of landed gentlemen ; but, would have been now in the lowest by their influence in Parliament, and state of political degradation : that their animosity towards their north- religious discussion and civil rancour ern tenantry, prevented any legisla- would have mutually exasperated the tive measure being pursued for their higher and lower orders against each relief.
other; that the landed proprietors In such circumstances, it seems would have been permanently settled hardly conceivable that arts or ma- in the victorious country; that every nufactures should have made any pro- where a class of middlemen would gress in this country. But, if in spite have been established to grind and of the obstacles which the unfavourable ruin the labours of the poor ; that climate, and unhappy political circum-. manufactures would have been exstances of the country presented, ma- tinguished, and the country covered nufactures should have begun to spring with a numerous and indigent popuupamongst us, they would speedily have lation, idle in their habits, ignorant been checked by the commercial jea, in their ideas, ferocious in their manlousy of their more powerful southern ners, professing a religion which held rivals. Bills would have been brought them in bondage, and clinging to preinto parliament, as was actually done judices from which their ruin must in regard to a neighbouring island, ensue. proceeding on the preamble, “ that Is it said, that this is mere conjecit is expedient that the Scottish ma- ture, and that nothing in the history of nufactures should be discouraged;" English government warrants us in and the prohibition of sending their concluding, that such would have goods into the richer market of Eng- been the consequence of the establishland, whither the whole wealth of ment of their dominion in this counthe country were already drawn, would try? Alas! it is not conjecture. The have annihilated the infant efforts of history of IRELAND affords too memanufacturing industry.
lancholy a confirmation of the truth Nor would the Reformation, which, of the positions which we have adas matters stand, has been of such vanced, and of the reality of the deessential service to this country, have duction which we have pursued. In been, on the hypothesis which we are that deduction we have not reasoned pursuing, a lesser source of suffering, on hypothesis or conjecture. Every or a greater bar to the improvement step which we have hinteil at, his of the people. From being embraced there been taken ; every consequence by their English landlords, the Re- which we have suggested, has there formed Religion would have been ensued. Those acquainted with the hateful to the peasants of Scotland; history of that unhappy country, or the Catholic priests would have sought who have studied its present condirefuge among them, from the perse- tion, will recognize in the conjectucution to which they were exposed in ral history which we have sketched, their native seats; and both would of what would have followed the anhave been strengthened in their hatred nexation of this country to England to those persons to whom their com in the time of Edward II., the real mon misfortune was owing. Religi- history of what HAS FOLLOWED its ous hatred would thus have combined subjugation in the time of Henry II., with all the previous circumstances of and perceive in the causes which we irritation, to increase the rancour be- have pointed out, as what would have tween the proprietors of the soil, and operated upon our people, the real the labouring classes in this country; causes of the misery and wretchedness and from the circumstance of the lat- in which its population is involved. ter adhering to the proscribed reli Nor is the example of the peaceful gion, they would have been rendered submission of Wales to the dominion yet more incapable of procuring a re of England, any authority against this dress for their grievances in a legisla- view of the subject
. Wales is so intive form.
considerable in comparison to Eng