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It was understood that the exposures made by Sir Jonah Barrington, in his work, liad mainly contributed to deter the Irish members from reviving any allusions to the Irish Parliament, or to the subject of repealing the Union. Now, however, it is rumoured that the statements and views contained in Sir Jonah's work are the very inducements with the O'Connell party for pressing the motion. As this is the case, let us show the public Sir Jonah's exposure of the gross imposition of what was called Irish feeling, Irish interests, or Irish patriotism, in the Irish Parliament.
The reader will find, what is by far more important, that Sir Jonah illustrates, most powerfully, the hollowness of what used to be called the Patriotic, or Popular, or Irish party, in the Dublin senate. We know that in England, until very lately, popular feelings and principles were never appealed to or assumed, except as a cloak to enable opposition to “ embarrass his Majesty's Government.” In Ireland, this system was practised most palpably; and even where Sir Jonah's predilections are averse to this opinion, his disclosures appear to us to show that even the strongest cases of Irish patriotism were merely Whig or opposition manæuvres. It is clear that, in the Irish Parliament, there never was but one instance of a representative being influenced by Irish or popular feelings, distinct from government or opposition politics; and this individual, though his talents and his virtues were great, was isolated, reviled, got rid of, and at last treated as insane. We need not say that we allude to Mr. Flood, a truly great man, equally discarded by all parties. Let us attend to facts and dates, and we will appeal to the candid reader, whether every disclosure made by Sir Jonah does not corroborate this opinion.
The first points carried by the Irish patriots were the commercial concessions, consummated in 1782, which Mr. Burke was pleased to call the year of the Irish Revolution. Even Sir Jonah would fain treat this as a triumph of Irish patriotism over the English Government party in Parliament. Never was there a more unfounded delusion; it was merely the triumph of a Whig manæuvre, carried by Whig partisans, who abandoned all Irish interests, directly they had made their use of the popular sympathies.
The disasters of the American war, and other events which we need not recapitulate, had brought Lord North and his administration into the utmost extreme of obloquy throughout every part of the empire. The previous change of Irish lands from tillage into pasture, owing to the high price of cattle, consequent upon the murrain that had ravaged Holstein, Holland, England, and Ireland; the close of the American market for linens—the staple manufacture of Ireland—had made that country a by far greater sufferer than England, under the general distress that pervaded the agricultural and manufacturing interests of the two kingdoms. Mr. Fox saw that the best way of planting a thorn in the side of Lord North, the best way of “ embarrassing his Majesty's ministers," was to rouse Irish energies in favour of commercial concessions from England. Mr. Burke, the Whig, commenced the crusade in the English House of Commons, without, in the first instance, consulting any Irish partisans.
At length a rising genius, Mr. Grattan, offered himself as a Whig champion, for the same object, in the Irish House of Commons. Dr. Lucan had grown weary, and Flood was a radical, a real Irish patriot, equally hateful to Whig and Tory. Lord North himself was at length glad of an opportunity to make the concession, with a view of breaking the strength of the most rapacious Irish oligarchy and English monopolists. The concessions were made, and, on Lord North being driven from power, the Whig administration granted the simple repeal of the Act of Geo. I., which had made English statutes paramount in Ireland. All this was trumpeted forth with matchless chicanery, as the triumph of Irish patriotism in the Dublin parliament. It was merely a Whig job; and as soon as the Irish Whig patriots had gone as far as the Castle had directed or permitted, they threw Irish patriotism, Irish interests and Irish feelings to the dogs, and the business of the Irish legislature went on as subserviently to the English treasury as ever it had done in the days of Lord North.
Mr. Grattan's first motion in favour of free trade (12th October, 1779,) was made in compliance with the Lord Lieutenant's wishes, and it was, of course, carried, and thirty-seven peers in the English parliament supported the same measure. The Whigs were gaining strength; and Mr. Grattan's second motion (a resolution) was carried by one hundred and seventy to forty-seven. Lord North then took the job out of the patriot's hands, and himself brought forth his commercial concessions. The Whigs' next manoeuvre was the repeal of the 6th Geo. I. ;—the simple repeal. Mr. Grattan made his popular motion on 19th April, 1780, and the house adjourned unanimously. The next trial of strength was upon the atrocious and unpopular Mutiny Bill; and yet Government carried the Bill on a division of sixty-nine to twenty-five. Next session Mr. Grattan and Mr. Flood united on the same subject, and were easily defeated by a large majority. In the ensuing session Grattan and Flood, Whig and Radical, upon a resolution impugning the Act of Geo. I., were defeated by a division of one hundred and thirtyseven to sixty-eight.
Lord North having conceded all that he intended to concede, treated Irish independence, Irish popularity, and Irish Whiggism with sovereign contempt; and this division of one hundred and thirty-seven to sixty-eight was at a time when he was at his last gasp, on the eve of succumbing to the Whigs in England. At last Mr. Fox came into power, and his first letter to Ireland was to make the Irish opposition “ the principal supporters of the new administration." This is sufficiently intelligible, and the Irish patriots took the hint. Mr. Grattan.opposed the new Lord Lieutenant's opening address, and his resolution was carried nem. con. His speeches and resolutions cut up every Irish grievance root and branch, and the English Supremacy Act of Geo. I. was denounced as illegal and detestable, and Irish independence was to be renounced only
Mr. Fox agrees to repeal this act; Mr. Grattan forthwith
an unconditional grant of 100,0001. to the English minister, and a resolution that “ there would no longer exist any constitutional question between the two nations that can interrupt their harmony." Two members objected to this abject submission, and the house divided—two hundred and eleven to two. Mr. Grattan, for his patriotism, obtained his memorable grant of 50,0001. Mark the sequel. Mr. Flood denounces the repeal of the 6th Geo. I. as deceptive and imperfect, and he requires England not only to repeal the statute, but to relinquish the ciaim or right of passing laws for Ireland. Mr. Grattan now turns tail
upon Mr. Flood and the patriots; and actually only six members supported the motion. So thoroughly was parliament, the volunteers, and the nation, the tools of any English party that was uppermost, that of 308 volunteer companies, 306 were in favour of Mr. Grattan and the Whig Lord Lieutenant. The Whigs are now ousted, and their Tory successors voluntarily accede to Mr. Flood's views, and the Irish parliament hail the concessions, though only the year before but six members could be found to support it. Toryism is now triumphant, and the Whig leaders have recourse to the old trick of patriotism and popularity. Mr. Grattan now broaches the doctrine of reform, and all Ireland is responsive to the call; and yet we shall see by what majorities Government carried all unpopular, and resisted all popular, motions.
On the first motion for retrenchment, Mr. Flood opposes Mr. Grattan and the Castle, and is beaten by fifty-seven. Upon a question of reform the division was one hundred and fifty-eight to forty-nine; the next division was one hundred and fifty to sixty-eight; and then one hundred and fifty-nine to eight-five; and next Grattan, Curran, Whigs and Patriots, tried their strength with the Castle on the popular question of retrenching pensions, and the division was one hundred and thirty-four to seventy-eight. At one period, the legal amount of the civil list pensions was 70001., and the actual amount 72,000l. per annum In this period, in which every administration was so uniformly successful in obtaining majorities, there had been innumerable changes of parties, varying from the extremes of Whiggism under Fox, to the most iron sway of Toryism under Mr. Pitt.
By this brief outline the reader must see that parliamentary patriotism in Ireland was a mere trick of opposition; that her best patriots were but hired partisans; and that the Irish parliament was a most venal, subservient body, totally destitute of principle or nationality, and the tools of the Castle equally upon Irish, English, or mixed questions. In fact, of the three hundred members, fifty-three pensioned peers nominated one hundred and twenty-three, and influenced the return of ten; fifty-two pensioned commoners nominated ninety-one, and influenced the return of three; whilst the remaining seats of seventy-three members were in the open market. But the state and condition of all classes, from the Lord Lieutenant to the meanest cottier-the morals and feelings of every grade of society—the clique honour of the different parties and professions, as they are incidentally betrayed—or directly exposed, by Sir Jonah Barring ton, are precisely what must have arisen from such a sink of political corruption.
Happily for Ireland, for humanity, and for the honour of our common nature, the Union put an end to this government of bribery. The Irish people, except as objects of plunder, as victims of vengeance, or as serfs to be counted as make-weights in party strife, were neyer held in the slightest consideration in the Irish Parliament. It was not until the Union that the Irish people ever were of the slightest consideration in the eyes of government. The greatest curse that ever befel the people of Ireland, was the repeal of the Act of 6th Geo. I. After that repeal, the government of England could do nothing for them, except through the medium of the Irish Parliament; the members of which, even the most soddened in bribery, were intractable and restive at all attempts to Feb.--VOL, XL, NO. CLVIII.
meliorate the condition of the people, however abjectly slaves they might have been to Ministers upon all other subjects.
Sir Jonah Barrington depicts the horrors of the Rebellion of 1798, compared to which all the real or fictitious raw-head-and-bloody-bones stories of Robespierre and the French Revolutions are as riplings of the milk of human kindness. He shows that in suppressing the Rebellion, the chief difficulty of the English government was to check the excessive cruelty of faction against faction. Even the pretended false movement of one of our corps, at the slaughter called the battle of Vinegar Hill, was a premeditated contrivance for the escape of the miserable rabble called rebels. That the Irish aristocracy and members of the Commons produced the Rebellion, with Mr. Pitt's consent, as a means of effecting the Union, by driving all parties for shelter from horrible evils to the English government, Sir Jonah Barrington clearly shows; but that Mr. Pitt had any idea of the dreadful character that the Rebellion would assume, we do not believe. Mr. Pitt himself was but a tool in the hands of the Irish oligarchy. He had no notion of the enormities that were to be committed in the Rebellion. Of all men in Europe, he was the worst informed as to those details of Irish life, upon which Sir Jonah Barrington's work is so instructive, and so important at the juncture of the meeting of a Parliament, in which the repeal of the Union is to be agitated. He knew nothing of the Irish Parliament, except as a body enormously expensive, and absorbent of all that it wrung from the Irish people by way of aid and contribution to the commonwealth of the united empire. Mr. Pitt was surrounded solely by that part of the Irish oligarchy which had the greatest interest in concealing from him the real state of Irish affairs. He fell into their trap; but they over-reached themselves. The Irish oligarchy introduced fire and sword, the tomahawk and scalping-knife, into their country, in order to enhance their importance and price in the bureau of the English minister. Their price became intolerable, and the storm they gathered was too violent for their management. Sir Jonah Barrington's details amply fill up this outline. The Irish PEOPLE are now in a position to reap the benefits of the Union; they have representatives able to take care of her interests—amply able—if they would throw aside all considerations but those of Ireland and the Irish people; but the Irish popular members are now acting precisely as Sir Jonah Barrington shows that the Irish patriots acted in the Irish Parliament, from 1782, until they were all bought en masse at the Union.
Were Mr. O'Connell and his party to bring forward measures in detail for the benefit of the people of Ireland—were they to unite in opposing, not the Government measures, but those dreadful neutralizing modifications which our peerage impose upon those measures, they would not only unite all the English liberals, semi-liberals, radicals, and even Tories in their favour, but they would recruit into their ranks two-thirds of the sixty Irish members that keep aloof from them, upon an impression of their mischievous schemes, and upon a suspicion of their unworthy motives. It is impossible to read Sir Jonah Barrington's disclosures, respecting the Irish Union, without perceiving the analogy between the precursors of that event, and the game which the Irish popular party is now playing in the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
A SINGING IN MY HEAD.
I HAVE a singing in my head,—the result of an accumulation of tunes which has been gathering in it for nearly half a century. Depletion is requisite to prevent apoplexy; a determination of tunes to the head being as serious a disease as one of blood. Garrick said of Shakspeare, that, when he wrote, he dipped his pen into his own heart. Mine takes its direction upward to a loftier organ.
I remember a housemaid, in my father's residence in Bucklersbury, who used to scrub the stairs singing, “ Had I a heart for falsehood framed,” and “ Ah! sure a pair," from Sheridan's “ Duenna." I caught the contagion, and, although I could not have been more than five years of age, (this happened in the year 1780,) I bawled out“ Had I a heart,” in so loud a key that you might have heard me as far as Butler's eating-house, at the back of the Royal Exchange. The City Marshal warned my father to piano my efforts, as the rioters were then in full fire, and might have taken me for one of their fraternity. Moore's “ Harp, that once through Erin's Hall,” to the same tune, has since driven Sheridan's song from the ears and tongues of the present generation; but I am one of the old school, and mean to have a heart for falsehood” framed to the end of the chapter. Leoni must have been the singer who brought that air into vogue at that period. I have since heard his pupil, Braham, sing it: but, somehow, I prefer the recollection of the housemaid. Rodney now captured the Count de Grasse in the Ville de Paris. The ballad-singers took the hint; and a tall woman, in a red cloak, sang, under our window,
“ With Rodney we will go,
And with Rodney we will go,
With Rodney we will go."
· We'll fight the hold Americans,
For with Rodney we will go," &c. There was a big boy in our school, from New York, who gave me what was then called a thump on the head (it is now denominated a punch) for this threat to the Transatlantics : but it failed to knock the song out of it. Rodney dined one day with my grandfather, a Russia merchant, in King's Arms Yard, when I was called in, and made to sing that song, to the great amusement of the line-breaking commander.
I have but a faint recollection of the pantomime called “ Omai, or a World Discovered :" but I remember Edwin in it, in the character of an English ship's carpenter, who had gone ashore at Otaheite, (I wish the modern voyagers would stick to the O, and not keep calling it Taheite,) and who had been decorated in feathers by the female natives. Thus accoutred, he sang a song, the burden of which was Chip chow, cherry chow.” This, as a matter of course, I got by heart, and I used to sing it to the boys, on a half-holiday, standing under the master's sounding-board to give it a more sonorous effect. Jack Yates brought