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Favtòg.” Opera et dies, line 40. But I answer that Hesiod was but a poet, in the first place, and in the next, we know nothing of his public principles, so that for aught that appears, he may have been a tory. This being merely an abstract point, I believe I need not be very particular in proving it. It may be sufficient to say, that as the continent must be greater than the thing contained, the whole, containing all the parts, must be greater than any one of them; and if any man is inclined to cavil or doubt my argument, let him make the experiment of a long walk with a shoe too short for his foot, and I apprehend he will feel sensibly that I am right, and become a convert to truth and
My thesis, that union is better than discord, might, I should apprehend, be thought as clear and obvious as the aforesaid maxim, did not I see the conduct of the whole of one party in this nation, and a great majority of the other, regulated by maxims diametrically opposite to it. Certainly they must see some lurking fallacy at the bottom of it, which escapes the duller organs of many ardent and true well wishers to Ireland, who, with all the ingenuity, sincerity, and diligence, they can exert, have not yet been able to discover it, and of which number, I confess myself one; for I cannot suppose that they would admit the truth of the principle, and yet square their conduct by rules flatly contradictory to it, or that God has given them reason to discover it, only that they may avoid it.
There is no man in Ireland, who, if the question were put to him in general terms, would not at once admit the affirmative; I therefore shall assume that, on the abstract merits of the case, union is better than discord, and that it is in a moral, religious, and political light, a more interesting and delightful spectacle, to see men embracing in amity and love, than cutting each other's throats, or roasting each other at a stake.
I have now got through, or perhaps I should say, got over my two heads; it remains to reduce them to practice, and apply them to the situation of Ireland at this day; I therefore say, first: Our whole people consists of Catholics, Protestants, and Presbyterians, and is, therefore, greater than any one of these sects, and equal to them altogether. This being matter of fact, will probably be conceded to me; but my thesis, when referred to Ireland, being matter of opinion, and, moreover, perplexed, com
plicated, and thwarted by all manner of interests, prejudices, passions, and every obstacle that can impede truth in its progress, will require somewhat of time, attention, and patience, to examine and ascertain it.
To prepare the way for this inquiry, the most momentous which ever came under the consideration of Ireland, it will be necessary to take a short glance at her situation, with reference to England; because I believe it will appear, that, independent of those general arguments, which apply to all countries, and which I find myself grow too serious to repeat in a ludicrous manner, there are some peculiar to herself, and those of the strongest, weightiest, most cogent, most just, and most powerful, which can influence human decision.
Ireland is a small country, connected by a mysterious bond of union with a larger, a poor country with a richer; her people are not one half so numerous, her capital in trade probably not one tenth as great, her skill and dexterity in mechanic arts, far below that of Great Britain. These would be great disadvantages, even if she were blest by an independent, and, therefore, an honest administration. But this is not, nor in the nature of things can it be, the case. She is governed by men sent from England, to do the business of England, and who hold the honors, the emoluments, the sword, and the purse of Ireland. From the situation, natural productions, and habits of the two kingdoms, there is and must be a perpetual rivalry in trade between them. Trade is regulated by laws, laws are made by Parliament, Parliament is uniformly and irresistibly swayed by Government, and the Government is English. It is easy, therefore, to see what will be the event, when the question of trade arises between Ireland and England. I believe no man will be impudent enough to deny this to be a fair state of the case; but if there be any of so hardy a forehead, I would refer him to a very recent transaction. The session before the last, our House of Commons voted £200,000 to enforce the claims of the British merchants to trade to Nootka Sound, because the interests of both countries were the same.'
► In the last session, an attempt was made to inquire whether, by any possibility, we could ever obtain a share of that trade, to secure which, we were so flippant with our blood and money. But we were then taught that it was extremely possible that the interests of both
“countries might differ materially;" for the argument which stifled this unseasonable inquiry, was, “that it would interfere 6 with the English East India Company;" and with this angwer, the Parliament and people were satisfied, as I suppose, for they yet acquiesce under it.
Considering this, therefore, merely as a question concerning the commercial interests of Ireland, there can be no doubt but that an internal union of all her people, is a grand, previous, and indispensable requisite to secure and extend the trade we have so lately extorted. England has 8,000,000 of united people, and they are free; Ireland has 4,000,000, of whom much above one half are degraded, and ought to be discontented slaves. Instead of watching the insidious arts of our Government here, we are watching each other; one party looking for advantages, contemptible if they could be obtained, and power unjust, if it could be exerted, the others so long cowed and rebuked, that they appear to have lost their spirit; the generous energies of their nature are stifled, and it is only by their figure, which the hand of foolish and wicked tyranny has been unable to deface, that they appear to be men.
The English Government here was founded, has been supported, and now exists but in the disunion of Irishmen. God forbid I should wish to see it subverted, but surely it is no bad pledge for the good conduct of rulers, that they should have a wholesome fear of the spirit of a people united in interest and sentiment. This I am sure of; that a good Government would have nothing to apprehend from such an event, as the general conciliation of the people of Ireland; and, for any other, the more general, the more determined, and the more active opposition they met with, the better for the country.
Ireland is paralytic; she is worse; she is not merely dead of one side, whilst the other is unaffected, but both are in a continual and painful and destructive struggle, consuming to waste and to destroy each other.
MR. PRINTER: I am one of his Majesty's most liege subjects, a warm friend of our happy Constitution, and one who loves England better than any country upon earth, excepting only this little island of our own. Therefore, Sir, I was not a little startled the other day, when, accidentally, I met with a pamphlet, the title to which was “ An inquiry how far Ireland is bound of right to embark in the impending contest, on the side of Great Britain ;" for I never had a doubt, but that Ireland must, of necessity, be involved in every war which any Minister of England should think fit to make, though it was to cost us the last shilling in our pockets, and the last drop of blood in our veins; and that, even to suppose the contrary, would be little less wicked than imagining the King's death, which our law declares to be high treason. However, Sir, having no relish for this war with Spain, knowing that it must injure me in my business, for I am but a weaver in the Liberty, and God knows our business is already bad enough, I did venture to read a page or two of this same pamphlet, and, as I read it, I began to think that the notion was not altogether treasonable; and at length, reflecting a little longer on the subject, I brought myself to believe, that a man might not only imagine, but avow some such sentiment, without feeling his head totter on his shoulders, or dreaming at nights of blocks and of axes.
It is amazing when any old prejudice is battered down, what a tide of new thoughts and opinions rush into the mind, which before could never have got the smallest admittance there. I already begin to think our standing neutral would not only be possible and wise for us at the present crisis, but that it would be even for the advantage of England that we should do so. And as this last is the consideration which, I believe, will influence most, not only of the English, but of the Irish, who have any authority in our Government, and, I might add, many thousands besides, I am right glad that I have any thing to say upon this head. Indeed, if I had not, I believe I should, in despair, give up all thoughts of writing a single word on the subject. For, though to this understanding of mine it appear's reasonable, that the first object with an Irishman should be Ireland, and that England should only be the next, yet, as the pre
judice of the greater folk runs the other way, I, with many others, must submit to the will of my betters.
I know, Mr. Printer, my countrymen are a brave and fighting people, and may not readily lend an ear to any one who recommends peace to them, when our neighbors are at war. Nay, I feel myself, that I should be ready enough to leave my loom, and take a firelock on my shoulder, in a good cause, for my King and my country. But I remember too well the miseries which we all suffered in the last war, not to desire my countrymen to stop and think; and not run on into the present contest, hand over head, as they are too apt to do on every occasion. Let them think what a check it will give to all our manufactures, and what a brain blow it will be to our infant commerce; how many of our most industrious people it will drive to idleness, and want, and beggary; how much of our best blood it will spill, and how little of our little wealth it will leave with us, and then, perhaps, they will begin to consider what all this is for, and whether it might, in any way, be prevented? “ No," people will say, " it cannot be otherwise--you know how we are “ connected with England—it is very hard, but,” &c. Now, to say that it is a necessary consequence of our connection with England, that we should be involved in every war her Ministers shall wage for her pride, or her power, or her profit, I hope and believe is a most foul calumny upon that connection. Devoted to the connection, as I am, it would grieve me to the heart, to think that such a curse was to be the consequence of it. And, therefore, as an honest and loyal, though poor subject to his Majesty, I set out, before I will enter into any argument on the subject, with here solemnly disclaiming, as a most abominable heresy against his Crown and Government, this most pernicious and dangerous doctrine, that Ireland is to be involved in every war which it shall please the Minister of England to make; and that our King has not a right to make terms of peace and neutrality for us, to keep us clear of contests we have, properly, nothing to say to, and to secure us a quiet intercourse with nations we have not offended, and which, having no fleet, we cannot offend.
Although I am no lawyer, Sir, but a poor weaver, this appears such good sense to me, that I believe it to be law, viz : That as Ireland is an imperial kingdom, the same as England, that, therefore, our King has the same rights in making war or peace