תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

INTRODUCTION.

[ocr errors]

The history of Ireland has been brought from Advanits first connection with England down to its tage of co

temporaUnion with Great Britain. That political event rs histohas not realized the flattering, prospects which "y. the British Minister held out to the Irish people, as inducements to adopt the measure. The effects of the Union are of transcendent importance to the British Empire, and cannot be otherwise made known, than by continuing the history of Ireland from its incorporate Union up to the current year.

The task of writing modern history is arduous and invidious. Nothing reprehensible, unsuccessful or disastrous can be fairly represented, without wounding the feelings of those, who planned or executed the measure. On the other hand, cotemporary history must ever gratify a people interested in the faithful re

cording

cording of their national atchievements. If the truth be at first disguised, distorted or suppressed, it may then be readily rectified or supplied by co-existing documents or testimony; and the existing generation will be assured, that their actions will be handled down in true colours to posterity. The liability of a co-temporary historian to be questioned either in or out of a court of justice for any falsehood, slander or malice, is a security not to be looked for in the writer of remote cvents. Though Ireland be legislatively united with Great Britain, the history of her people and Government is wholly distinct, and widely different.

men.

Necessity

In order to bring under the eye of the reader of deve a comprehensive and impartial view of the histoloping the Society of ry of Ireland for the last nine years, which

may

be Orange. called the first fruits of the Union, it will be re

quisite to trace to its source that political power, which had swayed the country for several years previous to the Union, as it still continues, though in a somewhat different manner, to sway it at this hour. As many of the facts, which gave rise and strength to that power happened before the period, which forms the subject of this volume, they are brought forward as introductory matter to the history, which they more materially, than perhaps, ostensibly affect. The existence of the Society of Orangemen in Ireland, has

ever

ever since its institution been productive of such strong effects upon that country, that it is impossible to do her historical justice, without fully' representing the different parts, which the Orangemen have been permitted or made to perform upon the national theatre. Although many of their atchievements have found their regular place in the history of the times, in which they happened, yet a minute disquisition concerning the rise, progress, nature and effects of that society has become necessary to develope the views, motives and consequences of instituting, countenancing and keeping it on foot.

It exceeds the function of the historian to Protesttrace the acts of government to the private in- ant As

cendancy. ducements of the ministers, who directed them. It is his duty to connect times and circumstances with public measures, and the reader will draw his

own consequences. The history of Ireland during the last century is an uninterrupted chain of facts, proving to demonstration, that the government was carried on by keeping up a local ascendancy of foreign power or influence over the natural constitutional rights and interests of that country. It bore succesively the appellations of the King's business, the English interest, the British ascendancy: and then it was an avowed appendage to the patronage of the British minis

B 2

ter.

ter. It afterwards fell into the hands of an Irish oligarchy, who by a bold and arrogant usurpation, monopolized the whole political power of the country. In order to keep out of sight the paramount influence of the British Cabinet, they dignified their lucrative acquisition by the imposing title of Protestant ascendancy. - Lord Clare had the address to bring forward the aristocracy of the country to pledge their lives and fortunes in support of it, before its practical meaning was made known to them.

germ of

Union in

[ocr errors]

First Soon after the declaration of Irish indepen

dance, in 1782, Mr. Pitt failed in carrying Mr. Pitt's his commercial propositions through the Irish mind.

Parliament. From having been thwarted in that favourite plan, which had been adopted by the two houses of the British parliament, his views and conduct towards Ireland greatly changed. In 1786 Mr. Foster was chosen Speaker of the House of Commons, which greatly encreased his political influence in the country. A coincidence of views, and disposition to keep up a political ascendancy in the country, strictly united the then Attorney General, Mr. Fitzgibbon, and the speaker, with Mr. Beresford, to devote themselves to Mr. Pitt, under pledges to carry through all his business, provided the internal management and patronage of the country were left to their direction. The

baughty

[ocr errors]

haughty mind of Mr. Pitt seldom permitted him to communicate fully his plans to others : he often made his most confidential servants the unconscious engines of his deepest designs. From that time Mr. Pitt meditated a legislative Union, which for a long time he carefully concealed from those political contractors, who would then have revolted against the project, as defeating the objecť of their lucrative and ambitious speculations. Mr. Pitt was a man of resistless pertinacity and ambition. Sensible that the measure of Union, particularly after the late establishment of their legislative independence would be resisted by every true Irishman, his mind was brought to conviction, that it could only be pressed upon her in the hour of fear and weakness, of which the most immediate and unfailing causes are national division and religious dissention.

contro

Dr. Woodward, Bishop of Cloyne, published Bishop of a pamphlet, which he entitled, The Present Cloyne's State of the Church of Ireland, in which he versy. roundly charged the Catholics and Presbyterians with being by principle hostile to the constitution in Church and state. This raised a polemical contest kept up by numerous publications on both sides. Each party, as usual, on such occasions, claimed the victory. The rewards, however, were all on one side. Every clerical writer

in

« הקודםהמשך »