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PROSPERITY OF IRELAND DURING THE ERA OF INDEPENDENCE, AND THE MEANS BY WHICH THE
LEGISLATIVE UNION BETWEEN GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND WAS CARRIED.
The committee of the Repeal As. sociation voted, from the funds sacred to the God of Mystery, £225, as prizes for the three best “ Essays written in support of the Repeal of the Act of Union;" and suggested, among other things, that the authors “ should develope a forin of executive and legislative constitution" for Ireland. Fortyeight manufacturers of governments and artificers of constitutions, quickly presented schemes for the construction of parliaments, and the forma. tion of cabinets. John O'Connell, Thomas Davis, and Smith O'Brien, Esqrs., presided over the sortilege," by which was decided the chances, for we cannot conceive thəy pro. nounced judgment on the claims of the competing Benthams, and rival Siēyes. The three Solons, who ob tained the prizes, diminishing in all the elegance of arithmetical propor
tion, were Michael Joseph Barry, Esq., Alderman Staunton, and the Rev. J. Godkin. To their essays in the volume we are about to examine, is appended as a tail piece, a brochure on Federalism by a gentleman named Ramsay.t
Now, we have never happened to see so perfect a correspondence between a subject proposed for investigation, and the mode of conducting its discussion, as those Essays exhibit. To effect this beautiful congruity, the wion between cause and effect is almost uniformly repealed; the connection among related facts, nearly without exception dissolved ; arguments diverge from arguments as if in horror of centralization; and the authors, in hatred of Britain, we sup. pose, have even attempted to revolutionize the English language. Thus, Mr. Barry calls an abridgment of Plow
* As we cannot discover the reasons why the essay of Mr. Barry was preferred to that of Alderman Staunton, which is in every respect so much its superior, we are forced to conclude that cbance, not opinion, decided the prizes. The first prize is called-Ireland as she is, as she was, and as she shall be. The second Reasons for a Repeal of the Legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland. The third_The Rights of Ireland ; and the fourth--A Proposal for the Restoration of the Irish Parliament.
† This gentleman obtained praise but no pudding, which is at once disgraceful to the liberality of the Association, and derogatory to the dignity of Mr. Grey Porter.
Vol. XXVII.-No. 157.
den's History of Ireland, and some statistical facts (or assertions) con. cerning the state of Irish manufacture in 1800, the “ Consequences of a Re. peal of the Union;" and the Rev. Mr. Godkin, in the true spirit of lingual reform, and to establish, perhaps, a repeal vernacular, terms his chapters on “the Ancient Irish Nation,” the “ Anglo-Norman Conquest," “ the English Pale,” “ the Reformation," &c., &c., “ The rights of Ireland.”
Although, a contempt for logical arrangement, and a scorn of chrono logical order, may, under certain circumstances, be of great advantage to writers, and to the advocates of Repeal, we at once concede their utility ; yet, from sorrowful experience, we know, that a lofty disdain of sequences and eras, is an almost intolerable evil to the unhappy being, whose deplorable destiny condemns him to read, and, if possible, to understand the productions of such authors. It is painful, nay, it is mentally excruciating, as we can affirm, with all the sincerity of misery, to peruse-study-ponder, and to find yourself, at last, about as rationally employed, as if you were making a succession of efforts to grasp a handful of water.
When truth had to pass through the prism of repeal, although we knew that the brightness of the ray would be lost, still we looked for the beauty of the spectrum. The me dium, no doubt, was misty, not with. standing we hoped the iris would be distinct. We had not, indeed, the
extravagant credulity to believe that the prize essays would contain lucid reasoning; still we expected that they would abound in brilliant sophistries; and it was with a feeling of disappointment, even in some degree resembling regret, we were forced to conclude, that the strongest case ever made against the repeal of the Legislative Union, was developed in the prize essays; and that the intellect of the empire could not produce positive arguments, of a value equal to the negative proofs supplied by these tracts, of the necessity and advantages of the imperial connexion.
Yet, perhaps, we would be doing the authors of those essays injustice, if we did not furnish the instructions given them by the repeal committeeinstruction of such a character as must have, necessarily, influence both in the materials and style of their compositions.
The committee suggested that the authors should state and refute the arguments which may be advanced against the establishment of a domestic legislature for Ireland ; that they should state fully the arguments for repeal; that they should develop a form of executive and legislative constitution, calculated to secure the happiness of the Irish people, and to promote unity of feeling between the constituent parts of the British empire ; that they should illustrate the inter-national relations which they propose shall liere:fter subsist between Great Britain and Ireland, by examples taken from the history and existing
* Mr. Barry thus gets rid of this suggestion, and avoids all historical investigation, “Having drawn from the history of Ireland hersell, the arguments which go to prove that necessity and those advantages, I might at once reply to any oue, who sought to controvert them, by facts taken from the history of other countries, by saying, such facis may be very true, but they prove little. If you can show an exact similarity of produce, of geographical position, of national characterin fact, a complete resemblance in every particula: between the country, whose example you cite, and Ireland, then, indeed, your argument has weight: if not, all it goes to show is that the circumstances of the countries being different, like relations to other countries have produced different effects. This would be fair and honest reasoning, but I will not now have recourse to it." Now, notwithstanding Mr. Barry's last statement, there is but one short passage having reference to foreign history in his Essay, although he devotes a chapter to the present condition of Belgium and Scotland.
As the circumstances required by Mr. Barry to constitute an analogy are morally and physically impossible, all reasoning drawn from the experience of other countries must, according to his dicta, be abandoned. The attempt thus to extinguish the torch of history required no ordinary courage.
institutions of other countries ; and, slow remedial process of individuality; in particular, that they should examine error, a wide-spreading epidemic how far the constitution of Norway, among multitudes; nonsense repeated, and its connexion with Sweden, maymay at last become disordered opiserve as a model for the new constitu. nion; and even such arguments as tion of Ireland ; that they should de. those contained in the prize essays (if cribe the probable consequences which unanswered) might have a power to may be expected to result from a effect evil. repeal of the Union, pointing out the We will endeavour to examine, dangers to be apprehended, and the what we must in reverence to the mealis by which those dangers may be memory of Chesterfield, term the araverted.
guments of the essayist, protesting, In these instructions, political prob at the same time, vehemently-for we lems, with impossible conditions, are confess ourselves liable to contagionoffered for solution; inconsistent pro. against any exception being taken to positions required to be reconciled ; a our consistency, should we, partially, demand is made to discover analogies deviate from this arrangement. among contradictions, and to develop, “Under domestic legislation,” says in extenso, absurdities. They present Alderman Staunton, “the progress of a task well worthy of the genius of the country (Ireland) was without exByfoged Horneman and his fellow ample.” Now, if this assertion be legislators, who altered, in about a true, the following are its deducibles, month, the second-hand and cast-off viz. : that the prosperity of a country constitution of Spain to suit Norway. is best promoted by the sternest ty
The prize essays inay be regarded ranny; its aidvantages most quickly as one of the results of the repeal po. forwarded by the grossest ignorance ; licy to create a public opinion in its wealth most rapidly developed by favour of separation, since it has been rendering industry penal; that perfound that threats of force, however secution must be an invaluable instruviolent, and the assemblage of niobs, ment of government; and cruelty the however large, are insufficient to dis. best means of rule; for the Irish solve the connexion. For this purpose, parliament, skilled in the science of an educational course has been pre- oppression, employed all those devices pared. The novel, the history, the to dehumanise the great mass of the ballad, literature in every form, have population it ruled. But, it may be been made subsidiary to this object. alleged, that “ the progress without Falsehood is insinuated in the beautiful example," is limited to the period language of poetry; sedition incul. which intervened between the era of cated in the seducing pages of ro. Independence and the Union ; now mance. This policy has been eini. although, this sense of the passage nently successful : the youthful mind will involve a most violent refraction of the middle classes, of the men who of language, yet, in charity to Alderhave time to read, but not the skill to man Staunton's understanding, we reason, is in the state of rapidly must adopt it as his meaning. Is it being debauched; and we trust that true, then, that the prosperity of Irethose facts will form our apology to land “ progressed without example," our readers for having obtruded the between 1782 and 1800. prize essays on their attention. Dis. The following Abstracts of the Exease may be transmitted by contagion; ports and Imports of Ireland, for but there is no means of propagation thirty-six years before the Union, will of health ; as is the physical, so is the aid the solution of the question :moral nature of man; truth is the
1765 22,366 48,854 10,529 903 129,331 | 122,318 67,409 46 757,185 153,470 1,230,840 4,431,801 263,908 4.968 | 1,448
4,191 | 1,595
394,457 73,991 1,033,003 5,468,373 918,981 716,235 1.992 588 1708
320,699 81,101 1,057,497 4,207,935 944,744 601,156 2,166 1,954 1,039
256,405 67,823 1,148,595 3,212,785 1,420,591 650,307 2,092 2,562 1,007
213,671 100,624 839,900 3,929,475 1,101,096 635,700 2,142 2,845 1,145
63,379 86,044 559,136 / 1,771,326 1,389,844 454.754 | 1,973 2.898 21 934
34,508 77,355 498,946 6,422,920 1,620,954 420,336 685 3,582 1,565 1796
26 2,398 223,891
27,971 9,152 218,870 4,872,505 2,418,918 551,783 2,348 7,983 2,141 1797 7,056 155 9,164 180,674
11,189 6,655 125,136 6,302,323 2,025, 733 300,533 306 4,491 22 1321 7 1798 52 611 9,627 214,845 3,498 1,363 79,720 8,790,196
2,372, 103 120.151 81 1,124 131 16619 1799 3,237 85 2,373 224,788
8,603 324 127,140 7,140,067 2,856, 011 97.229 227 | 6,267 | 8 | 206 19 1800 44,898 18,588 13,187 241,177
15,830 5,371 372,582 7,368,790 2,734, 037 | 139.6001 931 | 8,459| 33 | 1.071 | 21