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In the year 1760, there was a very general tumult in Mexico. It was the people against the Government of Spain, that is, the governors, army, tax officers, who are very numerous, priests, &c. The dispute was about the king's quinta, or one-fifth of all saleable property, bullion, &c. It gave Spain more uneasiness than all the thunders of the memorable Pitt. In 1761, a deputation of respectable Mexicans, groaning under the galling yoke of ecclesiastical hierarchy and tyranny, empowered the Marquis De Auberade to offer Lord Shelburne, then in the Ministry, a large territory and a subsidy of £ 300,000 a year, for the assistance of two ships of war and a regiment of infantry, the expense of which was also to have been paid by those colonists; but this proposal, though very advantageous, was refused by the cabinet as tending to promote ******* *. It came to London too, when some overtures had been made for a peace.
There was another attempt to revolt and surprise the king's troops at Mexico, in 1774. I could never get any accurate account of it, although it was currently talked of at Madrid, where I was that winter, and heard in confidence from the Marquis De Auberade, the story before recited. Indeed, it was dangerous at that time to speak about the affair. I was told by the king's librarian, that Dr. Robertson, the historian, then collecting materials for his book, was in possession of the whole story.-The Doctor was too fond of royalty to state it fairly in his history. In 1785, there were risings of the people in great numbers, on account of the king's troops seizing upon some mines a little south of Mexico, but they were soon dispersed by the troops, and by the acts of the priests. The Governor of New Orleans, where several North Americans reside and trade to, received an express over land, about September, 1789, of a serious insurrection of the people in the neighborhood of Mexico, owing to an attempt to seize some mines for the king's quinta. The people to the amount of 7 or 8,000 appeared before and menaced the capital, and had actually got possession of the king's magazine, which, by-the-by, was destitute of arms. They were here again checked by the priests.
During the war between England and America, and even at the period when Spain was an ally to the latter, several Spaniards from the northern stations of Mexico, and particularly four Spanish friars, two of whom were Jesuits, found their way
to Congress, and actually produced a plan for the emancipation of New Spain. Congress had then formed offensive and defensive alliance with the Court of Madrid, and could not violate first faith. Indeed, to this day, it would be very difficult to get that body, and more particularly the President, to engage in any act of hostility against Spain ; but the states individually, and particularly those of Maryland, Virginia, Carolina, and Georgia, would secretly give help, and numbers of gentlemen are ripe and ready to assist their southern brethren. Two of the above friars, with a certain Padre Heres Mendez, who was taken about the same time in a ship from Vera Cruz, and was often with the Ministry, and was to have gone out in Governor Johnson's squadron to the Rio de la Plata, were frequently with me, the two former bringing introductions to me from some leading men in Maryland, and were very positive that the slightest aid in ships and troops would bring vast numbers to the standard of freedom, in any part of New Spain. They had a worse opinion of the Peruvian districts of South America, but their arguments never convinced me, for the people there being less under the yoke, may surely be easiest brought to revolt.
At that time two young Mexicans remained in Maryland, which is the most Catholic of the states, and went back since the peace. The consequence of this communication has been, that we have now four or five students at the college of Philadelphia, and Washington College, Maryland, from Lima, Mexico, and Santa Fe. This intercourse will, in the end, I am persuaded, lead to the completion of a most ardent and general wish throughout United America, the freedom and independence of Spanish America. I know there are plans and emissaries now in North America, in England, and in Old Spain, for even near the throne there are Spanish nobles who wish for it, trying to fix correspondences, and to get aid for the revolt. It may take years to accomplish it in this uphill way; but it surely would be accelerated by England now beginning hostilities with Spain, and despatching some small force of ships and men to act on either side of Mexico.
If, without warfare with the natives, England could make a military settlement in the Sandwich Isles, the temperature of the Pacific Ocean would admit of easy excursions into the coast of Mexico, and those places near the Isthmus of Darien, Panama,
&c. At this last place the Spaniards are generally strongest in military and weakest in ships. Acapulco, in Mexico, is better guarded with ships, as the Manilla and Philippine riches flow more into Spain through this than any other part of South America. I fear England will never give up her heretofore constant practice of warring for dominion and plunder. How few wars has that country been engaged in for liberty or for freedom!
The subjects of Spain in Mexico, or those we may call royalists, are very few, but hold the whole weight of power. By every account that I have been able to collect, they do not form near the proportion to the other inhabitants, that our North American royalists did at the period of our revolt. One line of battle ship and a few frigates, with 3,000 soldiers, would insure the surrender of Lima or Valdivia, but they could never be held without aid, and a good understanding with the people. The going there or to any more insignificant port in Mexico, for the purpose of conquest or plunder, would certainly fail of success. Get a station in any spot, and make known that your intention is to free the country, and not injure the people in their rights, and it will insure a revolution.
Members of the Political Club formed in Dublin, 1790, which
preceded that of the United Irishmen. John Stack, Fellow of Trinity College; Wm. Johnson, lawyer; Whitley Stokes, Fellow of Trinity College ; T. W. Tone, T. Russell, Mr. Bailie, Mr. Hutchins, Peter Burrowes, Joseph Pollock, Dr. Wm. Drennan, T. A. Emmett, &c. &c.
ESSAYS, &c. Introduction, by Wm. Johnson. On Planting, by J. Stack. On Lotteries, by same. On the necessity of an independent spirit in the people, by same. Remedy for the Poor, by associations to employ them, by same. *On the English connection, by T. W. Tone. *On the state of Ireland in 1720, by same. *On the state of Ireland in 1790, by same. On Sail Cloth, by same. On the state of the Army, by same. Defence of Government, by Whitley Stokes. Conduct of Opposition in the Whiskey bill—Sir La. Parsons. 13 Essays, 23d Feb. 1791–Tom. Russell. * Poem on the state of Ireland, 1791–Sir Laurence Parsons. On the want of a law of opinion—Wm. Johnson. On the expense and dissipation of Ireland—J. Stack. *On the necessity of domestic union—T. W. Tone. N. B. Of these essays I have found the agh drafts of the following* in manuscript, and taken the liberty to republish amongst them the beautiful poem of Sir Laurence Parsons.
I. ESSAY-JUNE 29, 1790-TH. WOLFE TONE.
ON THE ENGLISH CONNECTION.
I purpose to inquire into a question of the highest import to your honor and your interest. There is not a man of you but is concerned, and, therefore, I demand your most serious attention, praying, only that what I shall lay before you be read with the same zeal and spirit with which it is written.
“ Are we bound to support Great Britain in the impending war?”
I do expect that to some it may appear an extraordinary thing to doubt, on a proposition so long received as evident. Perhaps it at first appeared so to myself, but the more I have looked into the question, the more I am satisfied that neither by law, honor, nor interest, are we bound to engage in the present war.
The situation of England and Ireland, considered with regard to each other, has been, since the year 1782, a phenomenon defying all hypothesis and calculation, an empire, as it is called, of two parts, co-equal and co-ordinate, with such a confusion of attributes as nothing less than a revolution can separate and determine. Before I proceed to state my reasons for being so satisfied, it may be advisable to take a very short glance at the present state of this country, which appears to me such as in no age or history can be paralleled. A mighty kingdom, governed by two or three obscure individuals of another country, on maxims, and with views totally foreign to her interest, and kept in this subjection by no other medium, that I can discover, than the mere force of opinion and acquiescence of custom. I confess I behold with amazement a phenomenon which mocks all calculation, to that extreme degree that nothing short of the evidence of my senses could convince me of its existence.
Antecedent to this date (1782) the power of Great Britain in Ireland was so well established by laws of her own enacting, fleets of her own building, and armies of her own raising, that it was of very little moment what were the opinions of Irishmen on any public question. Our woollen manufacture was demolished by a single vote of the English Commons, the appellative jurisdiction torn from us by a resolution of the English Lords, and, in a word, insult was heaped on injury and wrong for so long a series of years, that we were sunk to the subordination of an English county, without the profits of English commerce, or the protection of English liberty. We had ceased to remember that we were a nation, or that we had a name, 'till the genius of American liberty burst asunder a sleep, that seemed the slumber of death ; the nation started forth, and, by one bold exertion, shivered the manacles which British ambition had hoped were forged for eternity. Our constitution, our commerce, were enlarged from a dreary captivity, and the name of Ireland became once more respected; her independence was admitted when it