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qualify it in all its exertions. The example of a
maintained between the sense and the nonsense of wise, moral, well-natured, and well-tempered spirit mankind, know nothing of the former existence of freedom, is that alone which can be useful to and the ancient refutation of the same follies. It us, or in the least degree reputable or safe. Our is nearly two thousand years since it has been obfabrick is so constituted, one part of it bears so served, that these devices of ambition, avarice, and much on the other, the parts are so made for one turbulence, were antiquated. They are, indeed, another, and for nothing else, that to introduce the most ancient of all common-places; commonany foreign matter into it, is to destroy it. places, sometimes of good and necessary causes;
What has been said of the Roman empire, more frequently of the worst, but which decide upon is at least as true of the British constitution, neither.- Eadem semper causa, libido et avaritia, “ Octingentorum annorum fortuna, disciplinaque, et mutandarum rerum amor.-Ceterum libertas
compages hæc coaluit; quæ convelli sine con- et speciosa nomina pretexuntur ; nec quisquam “ vellentium exitio non potest.”—This British con- alienum servitium, et dominationem sibi сопсиріstitution has not been struck out at an heat by a vit, ut non eadem ista vocabula usurparet. set of presumptuous men, like the assembly of Rational and experienced men tolerably well pettifoggers run mad in Paris.
know, and have always known, how to distinguish
between true and false liberty; and between the “ 'Tis not the hasty product of a day, “ But the well-ripen'd fruit of wise delay.”
genuine adherence and the false pretence to what
is true. But none, except those who are proIt is the result of the thoughts of many minds, in foundly studied, can comprehend the elaborate many ages. It is no simple, no superficial thing, contrivance of a fabrick fitted to unite private nor to be estimated by superficial understandings. and publick liberty, with publick force, with An ignorant man, who is not fool enough to order, with peace, with justice, and, above all, meddle with his clock, is however sufficiently con- with the institutions formed for bestowing permafident to think he can safely take to pieces, and nence and stability, through ages, upon this invaput together at his pleasure, a moral machine of luable whole. another guise, importance, and complexity, com- Place, for instance, before your eyes, such a man posed of far other wheels, and springs, and ba- as Montesquieu. Think of a genius not born in sances, and counteracting and co-operating powers. every country, or every time; a man gifted by Men little think how immorally they act in rashly nature with a penetrating, aquiline eye; with a meddling with what they do not understand. Their judgment prepared with the most extensive erudidelusive good intention is no sort of excuse for tion; with an herculean robustness of mind, and their presumption. They who truly mean well nerves not to be broken with labour; a man who must be fearful of acting ill. The British consti- could spend twenty years in one pursuit. Think tution may have its advantages pointed out to of a man, like the universal patriarch in Milton, wise and reflecting minds; but it is of too high an (who had drawn up before him in his prophetick order of excellence to be adapted to those which vision the whole series of the generations which are common. It takes in too many views, it were to issue from his loins,) a man capable of makes too many combinations, to be so much as placing in review, after having brought together comprehended by shallow and superficial under- from the east, the west, the north and the south, standings. Profound thinkers will know it in its from the coarseness of the rudest barbarism to the reason and spirit. The less enquiring will recog- most refined and subtle civilization, all the schemes nise it in their feelings and their experience. of government which had ever prevailed amongst They will thank God they have a standard, which, mankind, weighing, measuring, collating, and comin the most essential point of this great concern, paring them all, joining fact with theory, and callwill put them on a par with the most wise and ing into council, upon all this infinite assemblage knowing:
of things, all the speculations which have fatigued If we do not take to our aid the foregone studies the understandings of profound reasoners in all of men reputed intelligent and learned, we shall times !—Let us then consider, that all these were be always beginners. But men must learn some- but so many preparatory steps to qualify a man, where ; and the new teachers mean no more than and such a man, tinctured with no national prewhat they effect, as far as they succeed, that is, to judice, with no domestick affection, to admire, deprive men of the benefit of the collected wisdom and to hold out to the admiration of mankind, of mankind, and to make them blind disciples of the constitution of England ! And shall we their own particular presumption. Talk to these Englishmen revoke to such a suit? Shall we, deluded creatures (all the disciples and most of the when so much more than he has produced remasters) who are taught to think themselves so mains still to be understood and admired, innewly fitted up and furnished, and you will find stead of keeping ourselves in the schools of real nothing in their houses but the refuse of Knaves science, choose for our teachers men incapable of Acre ; nothing but the rotten stuff, worn out in being taught, whose only claim to know is, that the service of delusion and sedition in all ages, and they have never doubted; from whom we can learn which being newly furbished up, patched, and var- nothing but their own indocility; who would nished, serves well enough for those who being un- teach us to scorn what in the silence of our hearts acquainted with the conflict which has always been we ought to adore ?
It is as
Different from them are all the great criticks. and impious clubs; his revenues dilapidated and They have taught us one essential rule. I think plundered ; his magistrates murdered ; his clergy the excellent and philosophick artist, a true judge, proscribed, persecuted, famished ; his nobility deas well as a perfect follower of nature, Sir Joshua graded in their rank, undone in their fortunes, Reynolds, has somewhere applied it, or something fugitives in their persons; his armies corrupted like it, in his own profession. It is this, that if and ruined ; his whole people impoverished, disever we should find ourselves disposed not to ad- united, dissolved ; whilst through the bars of his mire those writers or artists, Livy and Virgil for prison, and amidst the bayonets of his keepers, he instance, Raphael or Michael Angelo, whom all the hears the tumult of two conflicting factions, equally learned had admired, not to follow our own fan- wicked and abandoned, who agree in principles, cies, but to study them until we know how and in dispositions, and in objects, but who tear each what we ought to admire; and if we cannot arrive other to pieces about the most effectual means of at this combination of admiration with knowledge, obtaining their common end; the one contending rather to believe that we are dull, than that the to preserve for a while his name, and his person, rest of the world has been imposed on.
the more easily to destroy the royal authority, good a rule, at least, with regard to this admired the other clamouring to cut off the name, the perconstitution. We ought to understand it accord- son, and the monarchy together, by one sacrileing to our measure; and to venerate where we gious execution. All this accumulation of calaare not able presently to comprehend.
mity, the greatest that ever fell upon one man, has Such admirers were our fathers, to whom we fallen
upon his head, because he had left his virowe this splendid inheritance. Let us improve it tues unguarded by caution ; because he was not with zeal, but with fear. Let us follow our ances- taught that, where power is concerned, he who will tors, men not without a rational, though without confer benefits must take security against ingraan exclusive, confidence in themselves; who, by titude. respecting the reason of others, who, by looking I have stated the calamities which have fallen backward as well as forward, by the modesty as upon a great prince and nation, because they were well as by the energy of their minds, went on, not alarmed at the approach of danger, and beinsensibly drawing this constitution nearer and cause, what commonly happens to men surprised, nearer to its perfection, by never departing from they lost all resource when they were caught in it. its fundamental principles, nor introducing any When I speak of danger, I certainly mean to adamendment which had not a subsisting root in the dress myself to those who consider the prevalence laws, constitution, and usages of the kingdom. of the new Whig doctrines as an evil. Let those who have the trust of political or of na- The Whigs of this day have before them, in tural authority ever keep watch against the des- this Appeal, their constitutional ancestors ; they perate enterprises of innovation : let even their have the doctors of the modern school. They will benevolence be fortified and armed. They have choose for themselves. The author of the Reflecbefore their eyes the example of a monarch, in- tions has chosen for himself. If a new order is sulted, degraded, confined, deposed; his family coming on, and all the political opinions must dispersed, scattered, imprisoned; his wife insulted pass away as dreams, which our ancestors have to his face like the vilest of the sex, by the vilest worshipped as revelations, I say for him, that he of all populace ; himself three times dragged by would rather be the last (as certainly he is the these wretches in an infamous triumph; his chil- least) of that race of men, than the first and dren torn from him, in violation of the first right greatest of those who have coined to themselves of nature, and given into the tuition of the most Whig principles from a French die, unknown to desperate and impious of the leaders of desperate the impress of our fathers in the constitution.
LETTER TO A PEER OF IRELAND,
THE PENAL LAWS AGAINST IRISH CATHOLICKS;
PREVIOUS TO THE LATE REPEAL OF A PART THEREOF,
SESSION OF THE IRISH PARLIAMENT.
HELD A. D. 1782.
Charles-street, London, Feb. 21, 1722. sometimes been made before the temper of the na
tion was ripe for a real reformation, i think it may MY LORD,
possibly have ill effects, by disposing the penal matI am obliged to your lordship for your commu- ter in a more systematick order, and thereby fix
, nication of the heads of Mr. Gardiner's bill. I ing a permanent bar against any relief that is truly had received it, in an earlier stage of its progress, substantial. The whole merit or demerit of the from Mr. Braughall; and I am still in that gentle measure depends upon the plans and dispositions of man's debt, as I have not made him the proper those by whom the act was made, concurring with return for the favour he has done me. Business, to the general temper of the protestants of Ireland, which I was more immediately called, and in which and their aptitude to admit in time of some part my sentiments had the weight of one vote, occupied of that equality, without which you never can be me every moment since I received his letter. This FELLOW-CITIZENS.—Of all this I am wholly ignofirst morning which I can call my own, I give with rant. All my correspondence with men of publick great cheerfulness to the subject on which your importance in Ireland has for some time totally lordship has done me the honour of desiring my ceased. On the first bill for the relief of the opinion. I have read the heads of the bill, with Roman Catholicks of Ireland, I was, without the amendments. Your lordship is too well ac- any call of mine, consulted both on your side of quainted with men, and with affairs, to imagine the water and on this. On the present occasion, that any true judgment can be formed on the I have not heard a word from any man in office; value of a great measure of policy from the perusal and know as little of the intentions of the British of a piece of paper.
At present I am much in the government, as I know of the temper of the Irish dark with regard to the state of the country, which parliament. I do not find that any opposition was the intended law is to be applied to.* It is not made by the principal persons of the minority in easy for me to determine whether or no it was the house of commons, or that any is apprehended wise, (for the sake of expunging the black letter froin them in the house of lords. The whole of of laws, which, menacing as they were in the lan- the difficulty seems to lie with the principal men guage, were every day fading into disuse,) solemnly in government, under whose protection this bill is to re-affirm the principles, and to re-enact the supposed to be brought in. This violent opposiprovisions, of a code of statutes, by which you are tion and cordial support, coming from one and the totally excluded from THE PRIVILEGES OF THE same quarter, appears to me something mysteriCOMMONWEALTH, from the highest to the lowest, ous, and hinders me from being able to make any from the most material of the civil professions, clear judgment of the merit of the present meafrom the army, and even from education, where sure, as compared with the actual state of the alone education is to be had.
country, and the general views of government, Whether this scheme of indulgence, grounded without which one can say nothing that may not at once on contempt and jealousy, has a tendency be very erroneous. gradually to produce something better and more To look at the bill, in the abstract, it is neither liberal, I cannot tell, for want of having the actual more nor less than a renewed act of UNIVERSAL, map of the country. If this should be the case, it UNMITIGATED, INDISPENSABLE, was right in you to accept it, such as it is. But if | DISQUALIFICATION. this should be one of the experiments, which have
One would imagine, that a bill inflicting such a • The sketch of the bill sent to Mr. Burke, along with the re- was altered' afterwards, and the clauses re-allirniing the incapeal of some acts, re-affirmed many others in the penal code. it pacities left out; but they all still exist, and are in full force.
multitude of incapacities, had followed on the heels | those hundreds of thousands, who are denied their of a conquest made by a very fierce enemy, under chance in the returned fruits of their own industhe impression of recent animosity and resentment. try. This is the thing meant by those who look No man, on reading that bill, could imagine he upon the publick revenue only as a spoil; and will was reading an act of amnesty and indulgence, naturally wish to have as few as possible confollowing a recital of the good behaviour of those cerned in the division of the booty. If a state who are the cbjects of it: which recital stood at should be so unhappy as to think it cannot subsist the head of the bill, as it was first introduced : but, without such a barbarous proscription, the persons I suppose for its incongruity with the body of the so proscribed ought to be indemnified by the repiece, was afterwards omitted.—This I say on mission of a large part of their taxes, by an immemory. It however still recites the oath, and that munity from the offices of publick burden, and by catholicks ought to be considered as good and an exemption from being pressed into any military loyal subjects to his majesty, his crown and go- or naval service. vernment. Then follows an universal exclusion Common sense and common justice dictate this of those good and Loyal subjects from every at least, as some sort of compensation to a people (even the lowest) office of trust and profit; from for their slavery. How many families are incaany vote at an election; from any privilege in a pable of existing, if the little offices of the revenue, town corporate ; from being even a freeman of and little military commissions, are denied them! such a corporation ; from serving on grand juries ; To deny them at home, and to make the happi
a ; from a vote at a vestry; from having a gun in his ness of acquiring some of them somewhere else, house; from being a barrister, attorney, or soli- felony, or high treason, is a piece of cruelty, in citor, &c. &c. &c.
which, till very lately, I did not suppose this age This has surely much more the air of a table of capable of persisting. Formerly a similarity of proscription, than an act of grace. What must we religion made a sort of country for a man in some suppose the laws concerning those good subjects to quarter or other. A refugee for religion was a prohave been, of which this is a relaxation ? I know tected character. Now, the reception is cold inwell that there is a cant language current, about deed ; and therefore as the asylum abroad is dethe difference between an exclusion from employ- stroyed, the hardship at home is doubled. This ments even to the most rigorous extent, and an hardship is the more intolerable, because the proexclusion from the natural benefits arising from a fessions are shut up. The church is so of course. man's own industry. I allow, that under some Much is to be said on that subject, in regard to circumstances, the difference is very material in them, and to the protestant dissenters. But that point of justice, and that there are considerations is a chapter by itself. I am sure I wish well to that which may render it advisable for a wise govern- church, and think its ministers among the very ment to keep the leading parts of every branch of best citizens of your country. However, such as civil and military administration in hands of the it is, a great walk in life is forbidden ground to best trust; but a total exclusion from the com- seventeen hundred thousand of the inhabitants of monwealth is a very different thing. When a go- Ireland. Why are they excluded from the law? vernment subsists (as governments formerly did) on Do not they expend money in their suits ? Why an estate of its own, with but few and inconsider may not they indemnify themselves, by profiting, able revenues drawn from the subject, then the few in the persons of some, for the losses incurred by officers which existed in such establishments were others? Why may not they have persons of confinaturally at the disposal of that government, which dence, whom they may, if they please, employ in paid the salaries out of its own coffers ; there an the agency of their affairs? The exclusion from exclusive preference could hardly merit the name the law, from grand juries, from sheriffships, and of proscription. Almost the whole produce of a under-sheriffships, as well as from freedom in any man's industry at that time remained in his own corporation, may subject them to dreadful hardpurse to maintain his family. But times alter, and ships, as it may exclude them wholly from all that the whole estate of government is from private is beneficial, and expose them to all that is miscontribution. When a very great portion of the chievous, in a trial by jury. This was manifestly labour of individuals goes to the state, and is by the within my own observation, for I was three times state again refunded to individuals, through the in Ireland from the year 1760 to the year 1767, medium of offices, and in this circuitous progress where I had sufficient means of information, confrom the private to the publick, and from the cerning the inhuman proceedings (among which publick again to the private fund, the families from were many cruel murders, besides an infinity of whom the revenue is taken are indemnified, and an outrages and oppressions, unknown before in a equitable balance between the government and the civilized age) which prevailed during that period subject is established. But if a great body of the in consequence of a pretended conspiracy among people, who contribute to this state lottery, are Roman catholicks against the king's government. excluded from all the prizes, the stopping the cir- I could dilate upon the mischief that may happen, culation with regard to them may be a most cruel from those which have happened, upon this head hardship, amounting in effect to being double and of disqualification, if it were at all necessary. treble taxed; and it will be felt as such to the The head of exclusion from votes for members very quick by all the families high and low of of parliament is closely connected with the former.
When you cast your eye on the statute book, you | under excellent orders and regulations, and under will see that no catholick, even in the ferocious the government of a very prudent and learned acts of Queen Anne, was disabled from voting on man (the late Dr. Kelly). This college was account of his religion. The only conditions re- possessed of an annual fixed revenue of more than quired for that privilege, were the oaths of allegi- a thousand pounds a year; the greatest part of ance and abjuration—both oaths relative to a civil which had arisen from the legacies and benefacconcern. Parliament has since added another tions of persons educated in that college, and oath of the same kind : and yet a house of com- who had obtained promotions in France, from mons adding to the securities of government, in the emolument of which promotions they made proportion as its danger is confessedly lessened, this grateful return. One in particular I rememand professing both confidence and indulgence, in ber, to the amount of ten thousand livres, annueffect takes away the privilege left by an act full ally, as it is recorded on the donor's monument in of jealousy, and professing persecution.
their chapel. The taking away of a vote is the taking away
It has been the custom of poor persons in Irethe shield which the subject has, not only against land, to pick up such knowledge of the Latin the oppression of power, but that worst of all op- tongue as, under the general discouragements pressions, the persecution of private society, and and occasional pursuits of magistracy, they were private manners. No candidate for parliamentary able to acquire; and receiving orders at home, influence is obliged to the least attention towards were sent abroad to obtain a clerical education. them, either in cities or counties. On the con- By officiating in petty chaplainships, and pertrary, if they should become obnoxious to any forming, now and then, certain offices of religion bigotted or malignant people amongst whom they for small gratuities, they received the means of live, it will become the interest of those who court maintaining themselves, until they were able to popular favour, to use the numberless means which complete their education. Through such diffialways reside in magistracy and influence to op- culties and discouragements many of them have press them. The proceedings in a certain county arrived at a very considerable proficiency, so as in Munster, during the unfortunate period I have to be marked and distinguished abroad. These mentioned, read a strong lecture on the cruelty of persons afterwards, by being sunk in the most abdepriving men of that shield, on account of their ject poverty, despised and ill treated by the high speculative opinions. The protestants of Ireland orders among protestants, and not much better feel well and naturally on the hardship of being esteemed or treated even by the few persons of bound by laws in the enacting of which they do fortune of their own persuasion; and contracting not directly or indirectly vote. The bounds of the habits and ways of thinking of the poor and these matters are nice, and hardly to be settled in uneducated, among whom they were obliged to theory, and perhaps they have been pushed too live, in a few years retained little or no traces of far. But how they can avoid the necessary appli- the talents and acquirements, which distinguished cation of the principles they use in their disputes them in the early periods of their lives. with others, to their disputes with their fellow- with justice, cut them off from the use of places citizens, I know not.
of education, founded, for the greater part, from It is true, the words of this act do not create a the economy of poverty and exile, without prodisability ; but they clearly and evidently suppose viding something that is equivalent at home? it. There are few catholick freeholders to take the Whilst this restraint of foreign and domestick benefit of the privilege, if they were permitted to education was part of a horrible and impious syspartake it : but the manner in which this very tem of servitude, the members were well fitted to right in freeholders at large is defended, is not on the body. To render men patient, under a dethe ideas that the freeholders do really and truly privation of all the rights of human nature, every represent the people ; but that all people being thing which could give them a knowledge or feelcapable of obtaining freeholds, all those who, by ing of those rights was rationally forbidden. To their industry and sobriety, merit this privilege, render humanity fit to be insulted, it was fit that have the means of arriving at votes. It is the it should be degraded. But when we profess to same with the corporations.
restore men to the capacity for property, it is The laws against foreign education are clearly equally irrational and unjust to deny them the the very worst part of the old code. Besides your power of improving their minds as well as their laity, you have the succession of about 4000 cler- fortunes. Indeed, I have ever thought the progymen to provide for. These, having no lucrative hibition of the means of improving our rational objects in prospect, are taken very much out of the nature, to be the worst species of tyranny that the lower orders of the people. At home, they have insolence and perverseness of mankind ever dared no means whatsoever provided for their attaining a to exercise. This goes to all men, in all situations, clerical education, or indeed any education at all. to whom education can be denied. When I was in Paris, about seven years ago, I Your lordship mentions a proposal which came looked at every thing, and lived with every kind from my friend the provost, whose benevolence of people, as well as my time admitted. I saw and enlarged spirit I am perfectly convinced of; there the Irish college of the Lombard, which which is, the proposal of erecting a few sizerships seemed to me a very good place of education, in the college, for the education (I suppose) of