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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 kecping 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
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.
First Soon after the declaration of Irish indepenUnion in
dance, in 1782, Mr. Pitt failed in carrying Mr. Phe's his commercial propositions through the Irish
Parliament. From having been thwarted in that favourite plán, which had been adopted by the two houses of the British parliament, his views and conduct towards Ireland great. ly 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 à 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
haughty 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 object 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.
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 support of the Bishop was liberally promoted for the share he bore in the warfare.* Of the
• Out of that controversy arose the admirable productions of the Rev. Arthur O'Leary, a Ca holic priest, on toleration, which removed from the minds of many Catholics the difficulties, which up to that time it is well known prevented them from swearing allegiance to the house of Hanover, and abjuring the pretensions of the House of Stuart. That Rev. Divine so happily blended a vein of liberality and original bumour with orthodox instruction, that his writings became popular even with Protestants, and produced so much loleration and cordiality between them and the Catholics, that created a serious alarm in those, who studied to perpetuate their division and consequent weakness. With much art they endeavoured to stop the progress of this terrifying liberality and harmony among Irishmen of different religious professions. The Rev. Arthur O'Leary was thanked by the British Minister for the services he had rendered to the state, by frightening away the bugbear of Jacobitism, and securing the allegiance of the whole Catholic body to the illustrious house of Hanover. A pension of £200 was granted to him for his life in the name of a trustee ; but upon the secret condition, that he should for the future withhold his pen, and reside no more in Ireland : in such dread was holden an evangelizer of tolerance and brotherhood in that country.
Two or three payments of this hush money were made. Afierwards an arbitrary refusal. for many years threw the Rev. Pensioner upon the voluntary support of his friends for subsistence. After a lapse of many years, by importunity and solicitation, and repeated proofs of his having complied with the secret conditions, he received a large arrear; and in order to niake himself independent for the rest of his days, he purchased with it an annuity for his life from a public office, and died before the first quarter became due.
utility of the several publications, which arose out of that controversy, every man will judge, who has read them. No one however can deny, that the immediate result of the contest was encreased virulence and animosity on the part of the Protestant ascendancy against the Catholic and Presbyterian : and reconciliation and amity between the Presbyterian and the Catholic. An union, which naturally stimulated the Protestant ascendancy to a fiercer lust of rule, and provoked the Catholics and Presbyterians, (they compose the bulk of the population) to a vindictive acerbity of retaliation, to which they had long been strangers. From that hour to the present, the fair observer of political events in Ireland will distinctly mark the workings of the Protestant ascendancy in the rule and guidance of a numerous body of men united by oaths of secrecy, deluded under pretence of religion, goaded by. superst ition and passion, lured by interest, and organized into complete subordination and blind obedience to the commands of their leaders. Mr. Pitt largely lént the arm of the executive to all the purposes of intolerance, to which his Irish undertakers thought fit to apply it. The weakening of Ireland by internal dissension was the private order given to the triu mvirate. The public instructions to the ostensible and responsible officers of the Crown