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which stud the western coast, whose deep and land-
locked bays form many safe and commodious har-
bours. The wild mountain scenery of the western
counties is diversified by many lakes, which dis-
charge their waters by short and rapid rivers,
offering great facilities of water power; while the
drainage of the inland counties is chiefly effected
by the Shannon. This great river swells out into
several extensive lakes, and finally empties itself
into the Atlantic by a broad and deep estuary. A
considerable portion of this limestone district is
occupied by deep wet bogs, which are yet suffi-
ciently elevated for drainage; but by far the greater
part is covered with a light but very fertile soil,
producing good crops of corn, and affording excel-
lent pasturage. The sides and bases of the moun-
tains, though partly covered with bogs, support
large numbers of cattle and sheep, for which the
natural mountain pastures, favoured by the mild-
ness of the climate, afford grazing throughout
nearly the whole year. To these advantages it is
a serious drawback, that its western sea-coast con-
sists so largely of wild rock and barren mountains,
which greatly interrupt the communication of the
interior with the sea.
Peculiar as are the natural features of the
country, the character and circumstances of its
inhabitants are yet more extraordinary and di-

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versified. It possesses a fertile soil, and a climate of almost unequalled mildness. Its rivers and the ocean around it teem with fish. Many of these rivers are navigable for miles inland, while others offer water-power in immediate proximity to the sea. But this fertile soil is ill-cultivated ; these fisheries are neglected ; the navigable rivers bear few vessels on their bosom ; and the rapid current, which might have been made available for various purposes of profitable industry, runs neglected to the ocean. The inhabitants, taken individually, are active and intelligent, fertile in resources, full of hope, kind to their neighbours, affectionate and faithful in the domestic relations of life; yet they make slow progress in civilization. The time is wasted in party dissensions, which, well employed, might have advanced the prosperity of all. The rich in many cases neglect and oppress the poor, who return their oppression by servility and hatred ; and too often by deeds of cold-blooded violence, which are of such frequent occurrence, that they are scarcely regarded, until some outrage of peculiar atrocity fixes the public attention for a time. It is a land of strong contrasts. The splendid mansion looks down on wretched hovels, where a single room, perhaps without window or chimney, lodges the numerous family of the peasant. The luxury of the rich contrasts painfully with the hopeless and squalid pauperism of the poor. It has been remarked as one of the anomalies of this extraordinary country, that while its intelligent inhabitants differ widely among themselves as to the causes of its difficulties and degradation, and the means of cure, they are unanimous in ascribing to the people of England the grossest ignorance as to their social character and position. There is certainly too much reason for this opinion; it is evident to every Irishman who mixes in English society. Whence, then, arises the difficulty of comprehending us? Perhaps the answer may be found in the great variety of character and social circumstances, as affected by locality, by race, and by religion; the differences resulting from which are not sufficiently appreciated by strangers, who seem to regard all Ireland as presenting similar features. From the great difference of feeling produced by these divisions, it also results, that Irishmen view every subject connected with their country through an atmosphere of prejudice. The energetic character and industrious habits of the people of England have been ascribed, and probably correctly, to the thorough amalgamation of the Saxon inhabitants with their Norman conquerors. These, seizing on all the property of the country, reduced its former possessors to unresisting submission to their will, yet in course of time yielded to the influence of numbers, adopted the language, and much of the laws and political institutions of the conquered Saxons, and the two nations became one people. But Ireland, although invaded, vanquished in warfare, her princes stripped of their inheritance, and her people bent beneath the yoke of strangers, was never so thoroughly subdued as to blend the conquerors and the conquered into one. The Norman adventurers exhibited in Ireland the same daring spirit, the same military prowess, the same lust of power, the same cruelty and disregard of the rights of others, which the unfortunate Saxons had already experienced. But the circumstances attending their invasion of Ireland, were very different from those of their conquest of England. In the one case, a few military adventurers of minor importance sought for individual aggrandizement ; in the other, a whole people followed the standard of their sovereign, to take possession of a kingdom of which they considered him the rightful heir. The English monarch claimed only the feudal lordship of Ireland ; but the Norman duke had been crowned as the acknowledged successor of a long established line of kings. Here lay the essential difference. Had the early Norman kings succeeded in the attempt to establish their sovereignty in France; had they dictated laws to their island conquest from Rouen, or Bourdeaux, or Paris, England would have been placed in somewhat similar circumstances, and the fate of Ireland might now be hers. Some intention of subjugating the whole island appears to have existed at first, as is shown by the settlement of the Fitzgeralds, the De Courcys, the families of Roche, Barry, and others in Munster, and of the De Burghs in Connaught. But these distant settlers, so far separated from the seat of government, intermarried with the native Irish, adopted their language and manners, assumed the power and state of Irish chieftains, and became, in the language of the old chroniclers, “ipsis Hibernis Hiberniores.” Even the powerful barons of Leinster, the Fitzgeralds earls of Kildare, the Butlers earls of Ormonde, and others, while professing allegiance to the king of England, exercised independent authority in their own territories. They made war upon each other, or against the native Irish, at their own pleasure. The king's writ had no course within their jurisdiction. The Irish princes who had offered homage, and made nominal submission to Henry, resumed their former independence as soon as he left Ireland ; and thus, before the termination of a century, the English rule and law were confined to the limits of the Pale, comprising the four counties of

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