« PreviousContinue »
countrymen, the body who saved them, when deserted or opposed by all those whom they toasted on the 20th inst. Your prudence in overlooking Mr. Tandy, who has been destroyed in your cause ; your wisdom in disregarding the sufferings of Mr. Butler, Bond, and Reynolds, who were imprisoned for you, and your temperance in neglecting this town, which has been abandoned for four months past to martial law on your account, cannot but be highly gratifying to every true Irishman. But your omitting to mention the Dungannon convention, which represented one million and a quarter of your countrymen, and which demanded the restoration of your rights in particular, as well as of the rights of Ireland in general, was such an act of
as will not in future be believed, and which I confess I never can forget. I speak to you, my dear friend, the language of a warm, but of an honest Irishman, and I know you too well to think
you will censure me for it; I may be mistaken, but you know I am not easily operated on; trifles do not usually affect me. I thought it my duty to communicate with one, who I believe to have similar feelings with myself on such occasions, and I will be much gratified by a reply, as soon as convenient.
I am, &c. yours,
SAML. NEILSON. 26th August, 1793.
DEAR TONE: Į have received an unpleasant letter from Samuel Neilson, in consequence of that unlucky dinner, containing complaints and heavy charges, some exaggerated, but in general too well founded. He requires a reply from me. I did not think I could, in the compass of a letter, give him that ample satisfaction I wish, and he has a right to expect; therefore, having some pressing business to Newry, I have determined to push on to Belfast, and have an interview with him, for which purpose I am just setting off. I leave his letter behind me for your inspection.
R. M CORMICK. To T. W. TONE, Esq.
London, September 21, 1793. DEAR SIR: I have for a long time been seeking a safe opportunity of writing. It is at present afforded by Mr. Corsadine, just appointed an Ensign in Major Doyle's corps. Corsadine was recommended to me by Todd Jones, who entreated I would endeavor to do something for this young man. I tried several lines in vain, but at length my friend's Regiment offers the means. I will, however, solicit very earnestly the aid of you and your colleagues to enable Corsadine to raise men; because, as Doyle is authorized to sell the ensigncies, if Corsadine does not get recruits it is really so much out of the Major's pocket as the commission would have brought.
Now to my business. I read to Lord Loughborough the paper which was entrusted to me, and sustained the representation with all the argument I could use. The statement was treated by him as very unimportant, and I could get nothing from him beyond an admission that the Irish Chancellor had not been judicious in his behavior. I read it also to the Prince of Wales. But by him it was received very differently indeed. Whatsoever his counsel can do will be exerted to procure attention to thc business. His influence, however, is unfortunately very triling.
There is now not the least chance of my coming to you as Lord Lieutenant. I wish you would take care that this be made generally understood, because I have great reason to think that Ministerial people on your side of the water, from time to time, propagate the report, in the belief that the expectation lulls dissatisfaction, which might otherwise embarrass administration.
Accept, my dear sir, every good wish from me, and believe that, with a warm recollection of the kindness I received from you all, I have the honor to remain your very faithful and obedient servant,
CROSSNAWYD, near Wrexhan. To THEOBALD WOLFE Tone, Esq.: Your letter is serious indeed, and I feel a deep conviction of the truth of its representation. Often have I told you that the democracy of Ireland was not to be relied upon; not because the people in themselves were
inferior to any created race, but because domestic division, ancient habits of servitude, and British arts, had made the Irish people talkers, loquacious, indolent, and I fear cowardly : but I will croak no more.
I receive your kind letter buried in the wilds of Denbighshire, and know nothing further of Dr. Edwards, regarding the time of his Irish visitation, than I acquainted you with before, but I conjecture it to be about this date. I have had a short letter from his friend Mr. Cutting since I have been here, introducing a Major Jackson, who was Aid-de-camp to Washington, and afterwards Secretary to the Grand Convention which formed the present Federal Constitution ; but he does not cross the channel, and neither he nor Cutting mentioned Edwards's departure. This day brings me a bulky packet of long arrived letters from my habitation in London, which Borrowes would not venture to enclose before, knowing the possible eccentricity of my wandering motions. Three from John Sweetman, yours, two from Lord Moira, and a long one from Belfast, none of which I have yet acknowledged.
Ireland is testifying herself a besotted nation ; but is not England still more ignominious? So says one of my correspondents; to all which I can only reply, that I always thought it injudicious in the Irish to afford, by expressions, handles for the exercise of tyranny under the language of the Constitution; and that to preach political sermons, under our situation, in the language of the National Assembly, was to show our teeth when we could not bite-was to pluck the apple before it was ripeand was summoning the wolf to devour the lamb.
But with all that prodigious shower of wisdom with which I am favoring you, I see nothing very tremendous to the cause of Irish liberty in my Lord Fitzgibbon's gambols and Star-chamber rescripts. The more of them the better, for the sooner comes the crisis; that is, if the Irish people choose to be free, or are capable of it; and if they do not choose it, or are incapable of it, in the name of God, why need a few burthen their minds, exhaust their fortunes, and waste their best hours, to prevent or protract the political suicide of this or of any other country?
And so, God bless you, and direct your steps and determinations. If you favor me with one line, I will write you two in return.
WM. TODD JONES.
P. S. I will certainly walk into some of your parlors about November, as I have a curiosity to hear what the geese are saying in the pie about that time, and a dirty nest it is.
I hope this will be opened at the Post Office. I would give a crown to hear Lord Chancellor read it; and the clean-mouthed Clonmell and courtly Dillon descant upon Todd Jones. If my contempt and detestation and defiance for the three could be increased, that would do it.
To John Russell, Esq. DEAR RUSSELL: I shall break you, in postage, by these enclosures. Do you know I am so mad as to have been writing a small pamphlet on the chimericalness of the fear of an assumption of forfeited lands, and some other stumbling blocks? How do you go on! Yours, faithfully,
WM. TODD JONES.
P. S. Shall I dedicate to the Society of United Irishmen? It ought to be called Tone's work, for he set me upon doing some good or mischief.
STATEMENT of the Situation of Ireland, found on Jackson's arrest, April,
1794, and written by my Father.
The situation of England and Ireland are fundamentally different in this: The Government of England is national ; that of Ireland provincial. The interest of the first is the same with that of the people. Of the last, directly opposite. The people of Ireland are divided into three sects, the established church, the Dissenters and the Catholics. The first, infinitely the smallest portion, have engrossed, besides the whole church patronage, all the profits and honors of the country, and a very great share of the landed property. They are, of course, all aristocrats, adverse to any change, and decidedly enemies to the French Revolution. The Dissenters, who are much more numerous, are the most enlightened body of the nation. They are devoted to liberty, and, through all its changes, enthusiasti
cally attached to the French Revolution. The Catholics, the great body of the nation, are in the lowest degree of ignorance and want; ready for any change, because no change can make them worse; they have, within these two years, received a great degree of information, and manifested a proportional degree of discontent, by various insurrections, (they are known by the name of Defenders,) There is no where a greater spirit of aristocracy than in all the privileged orders—the clergy and the gentry of Ireland, down to the very lowest; to countervail which, there seems to be a spirit rising amongst the people, which never appeared before, but which is spreading most rapidly, as will appear by the Defenders and other insurgents. If the people of Ireland be 4,500,000, as seems probable, the established church may be reckoned at 450,000, the Defenders at 900,000, the Catholics at 3,150,000. In Ireland, a conquered and oppressed and insulted country, the name of England and her power is universally odious, save with those who have an interest in maintaining it, such as the Government and its connections, the church and its dependencies, the great landed property, &c.; but the power of these people, being founded on property, the first convulsion would level it with the dust. On the contrary, the great bulk of the people would probably throw off the yoke, if they saw any force in the country, sufficiently strong to resort to for defence. It seems idle to suppose that the prejudices of England against France, spring merely from the republicanism of the French; they proceed rather from a spirit of rivalship, encouraged by continued wars. In Ireland the Dissenters are enemies to the English power, from reason and reflec. tion; the Catholics from hatred to the English name. In a word, the prejudices of the one country are directly favorable, and those of the other directly adverse, to an invasion. The Government of Ireland is to be looked upon as a Government of force; the moment a superior force appears, it would tumble at once, as being neither founded in the interests nor in the affections of the people.
It may be said the people of Ireland show no political exertion. In the first place, public spirit is completely depressed by the recent persecution, the gunpowder act, convention bill, &c.; so that they have no way, with safety to themselves, of expressing their discontents, civiliter; which is, at the same