תמונות בעמוד


Ireland held their commissions entirely at the will of the Crown; and that no national spirit existed to check a wealthy and powerful executive. Thus, kept under, humiliated, or corrupted, it is probable that the colony of Ireland was worse governed and less free than any colonial dependency of the empire.

Nor were persecution and restricted franchises the only wrongs of Ireland at this period. The Catholic nation being out of the account, and the Protestant colony unable to resist, the industry, trade, and enterprise of the island were sacrificed to imaginary English interests. The harsh machinery of the mercantile system was applied with steady injustice to Ireland, and kept her bound in commercial subjection. For the sake of protecting English agriculture, the wool, the sheep, and the cattle of the island, which have always been her staple products, were prevented from entering English markets. For the sake of protecting the English shipowner the trade between English and Irish ports was confined exclusively to English bottoms; and a merchant of Cork, Limerick, or Galway was disabled from sending a cargo to Bristol, in a vessel manned by Irish

In addition, prohibitory duties were placed upon the export of linen and glass—almost the only manufactures of Ireland — the markets of every colony in the empire were jealously closed against Irish produce; and Irishmen were excluded from the Companies which then monopolised our foreign traffic. The import trade was equally restricted, the products and manufactures of the empire being only made admissible into Ireland through an intermediate passage from England, and foreign imports being exposed to an adverse tariff arranged at Westminster. Though other and deeper causes concurred, this odious policy certainly contributed to keep Ireland poor and barbarous; to check her agriculture and commerce; and to stifle her trading and maritime energy. How the Protestant colony exclaimed against it, and placed it foremost amongst their grievances, must be known to every student of the period.

It gave fuel to the sæva indignatio of Swift, edged the graceful irony of Berkeley with bitterness, and many years afterwards quickened into anger the sober sense of Arthur Young.

Such, down to the middle of the eighteenth century, was the state of Protestant and Catholic Ireland. The next generation witnessed a struggle between the colony and the mother country, which had at least the beneficent effect of shaking the bonds of the subjugated nation, though it failed to secure the welfare of the island. We need not detail the events of that contest, how a Whig opposition grew up in Ireland which, step by step, exacted from the Government important constitutional franchises - how that opposition turned for support to the prostrate race of Catholic Ireland, and began to proclaim its title to freedomhow, in the agony of the American war, the nominal independence of Ireland and the first relaxation of the Penal Code were extorted from the weakness of the empire — how that independence proved a delusion which only inaugurated the reign of corruption, notwithstanding the efforts of the patriotic party, and revived the discords of race and religion—how the growing jealousies of the emancipated colony retarded the progress of the Catholic cause and how the last years of the cighteenth century saw Ireland torn afresh by dissensions, and about to plunge into civil warfare. Of the eminent Irish Whigs of this period none were more conspicuous than Sir Lucius O'Brien for moderation, sound judgment, and skill in arranging practical reforms. Though not an orator, he had more weight than almost any orator of his time, in a Senate prone to over-estimate eloquence; and he owed this eminence in part to his character, and in part to his mastery of the Case of Ireland' in all its financial and commercial aspects. Indeed, few statesmen of that generation were equally versed in political science; and his singularly clear and penetrating mind was well fitted to embody its doctrines in actual subjects of legislation.

He was elected for Clare in 1761, soon after the short but interesting contest in which the leaders of the Irish Whigs had established the right of the Irish Commons to allot the surplus revenue in estimates. Having joined this party, we find him in 1766 bringing in a Bill to secure for the Irish Bench the independence of their brethren in England; in 1767 contending for an Octennial Bill to make the irresponsible Irish Commons in some degree a representative assembly; and in 1771, protesting against the_claim of the Privy Council to initiate all the legislation of Ireland. Soon afterwards, when the exigencies of the strife between the colony and the empire had induced a section of the Irish Whigs to seek the aid of the Roman Catholic nation, he appears prominent among the advocates for relaxing the worst of the Roman Catholic disabilities. The celebrated Acts of 1778 — the happy heralds of a larger emancipation, which assured to Catholic Ireland the rights of the free exercise of its religion, and of purchasing freehold property and enjoying it, received his cordial support and approval ; and none of the Irish Whigs of the day were more imbued with that true principle, enunciated in noble words by Grattan, that Protestant Ireland could never be free while Catholic Ireland remained a slave.' VOL. CXIV. NO. CCXXXII.


It was chiefly, however, in the numerous attempts to relieve Ireland from commercial bondage, which were made by his party at this period, that Sir Lucius O'Brien was most conspicuous. At the crisis of 1778, when the league of France and Spain with America had almost ruined the only commerce which Ireland possessed in that age of restriction, and an angry people and menacing army were clamouring for instant separation from England, he was honourably prominent in arranging a compromise which perhaps saved the empire from dismemberment. As the representative of the Irish Whigs, he went to London to negotiate with Lord North the terms on which the commerce of Ireland was to be, in part at least, emancipated. The Acts of 1779, which partially opened the ports of England to the various staple products of Ireland, removed a number of prohibitory duties from most articles of Irish exportation, and gave Ireland the nominal right of trading with Africa and the West Indies, were mainly due to his strenuous exertions; and for these he was somewhat rhetorically styled “the father of • the free trade of his country.' In 1784 we see him again at a juncture memorable as foreshadowing the Union. Notwithstanding the settlement of 1779, the Channel trade between England and Ireland had continued checked by many impediments. Moreover, as Ireland had no mercantile navy, and, owing to the effects of the Act of Navigation, could not use English vessels as carriers to interchange commodities with the colonies, her right to a partial colonial commerce had proved merely a shadowy privilege. With a just sense of national interests, and probably with an ulterior object, Mr. Pitt proposed, in 1784, that for all purposes of traffic in the Channel, the ports of England and Ireland should be free to each other, and that power should be given to Ireland and the Colonies to exchange their respective products through the medium of a carrying trade in British bottoms. He was forced, however, by clamour in England, to make considerable changes in this scheme; and at length it issued clogged with the conditionthat the laws respecting the navigation of both kingdoms should be framed first by the Parliament of Great Britain, and be ratified afterwards by that of Ireland. A loud outcry arose in a Senate especially jealous of British interference; and Flood and Grattan denounced the proposal as a blow aimed at the settlement of 1782, which had nominally made their country independent. Almost alone among the Irish Whigs, Sir Lucius O'Brien supported the plan as calculated by degrees to raise 'us to a nanufacturing and opulent nation; and his sensible language on this occasion attests the manliness of his character, and the soundness and depth of his economic knowledge. It is very significant of the weight of his character that, in a proud and passionate assembly which considered 'truckling to English • interests' the most unpardonable of public crimes, even calumny never insinuated that this conduct was wanting in disinterested patriotism.

Sir Lucius O'Brien did not live to see the close of the History of Ireland as a nation. He died in 1794, when the fierce spirit of the French Revolution, reanimating the passions of Irish parties, was about to cause the violent convulsion which was only in part composed by the Union. His name and title have descended to a grandson who fitly represents his eminent ancestor and the long line of the younger O'Briens. The elder branch of the race having fallen with the Houses of Thomond and Inchiquin, the barony of Inchiquin has devolved on Sir Lucius O'Brien of Dromoland as the next heir of Morrogh the Tanist, although this right has not yet been established. We trust that the difficulty of the negative proof required by the Committee of Privileges—the extinction of all antecedent claimants through a period of more than three centuries — will not prevent the recognition of this Peerage. Confiscation, war, and exclusion from the state, have told heavily on the Celtic families which represent the chieftains of Ireland ; 'and few of them hold their natural place among the ennobled Houses of Great Britain. We may hope that the historical name of O'Brien will not be classed with Bohun and Mowbray as an evidence of the sport of fortune in putting an end to family distinction.

Art. V.-1. The Church History of Scotland from the Com

mencement of the Christian Era to the present Century. By the Rev. JOHN CUNNINGHAM, Minister of Crieff. 2 vols.

1859. 2. Lectures on the History of the Church of Scotland from the

Reformation to the Revolution Settlement. By the late Rev. JOHN LEE, D.D. LLD., Principal of the University of Edinburgh. With Notes and Appendices from the Author's

Papers. Edited by his Son, the Rev. W. LEE. 2 vols. 1860. THE HE best friends of the Church of Scotland will have no

reason to complain, if the ignorant and superficial attacks which have recently been directed against that institution have the effect of attracting the attention of our countrymen in the southern part of this island to the eventful history of the Church which has prevailed for three centuries in the northern part of it. We therefore gladly seize the first opportunity to notice some recent publications on the subject, by men who have treated it with far greater knowledge and far less prejudice than Mr. Buckle. The Church of Scotland since the Reformation offers a subject of singular and in some respects of unique interest to the student of Church History. If the field be a narrow one, it presents on this very account great unity and completeness of view, while, as Mr. Cunningham has remarked, it shows at the same time a fuller and freer developement of the spiritual element than is to be found elsewhere within the sphere of Protestantism. The Scottish Reformed Kirk, in short, has a life and history of its own independently of the biographies of the illustrious men who have adorned it, and its connexion with the general intellectual and mental progress of the country — a life and history concentrated in the working of its republican constitution, and especially its great Representative Court or General Assembly.

It is not to be wondered, therefore, that the subject has attracted many writers. Scotch divines have naturally taken a pride in contemplating the successful struggles of Presbytery, and in recording the course and consummation of those struggles. They have done so in some cases with learning, care, and impartiality, yet without being able to invest the suliject with any attraction to the general student. Dr. Cook's • History of the Church of Scotland from the Reformation to the • Revolution ’ is a specimen of this class of history. No one has treated the facts more carefully than Dr. Cook; no one's opinion

« הקודםהמשך »