1. English Crimes against Ireland.

(From Lecky, A History of England in the 18th Century.)

"It would be difficult in the whole compass of history, to find another instance in which such various and such powerful agencies concurred to degrade the character and to blast the prosperity of a nation."

Lecky, ibid.

In the history of Ireland, we may trace with singular clearness the perverting and degrading influence of great legislative injustices, and the manner in which they affect in turn every element of national well-being. This portion of the history of the empire has usually been treated by English historians in a very superficial and perfunctory manner, and it has been obscured by many contradictions, by much prejudice and misrepresentation. It will be my object to analyse the social and political conditions of the country, to trace historically the formation of the peculiar tendencies, affinities, and repulsions of the national intellect and character.

In order to accomplish this task, it will be necessary to throw a brief glance over some of the earlier phases of Irish history. I leave it to professed antiquaries to discuss how far the measure of civilisation, which had undoubtedly been attained


in Ireland before the English conquest, extended beyond the walls of the monasteries. That civilisation enabled Ireland to bear a great and noble part in the conversion of Europe to Christianity. It made it, in one of the darkest periods of the dark ages, a refuge of learning and of piety; but it was not sufficient to repress the disintegrating tendencies of the clan system, or to mould the country into one powerful and united whole. England owed a great part of her Christianity to Irish monks who laboured among her people before the arrival of Augustine, and Scotland, according to the best authorities, owed her name, her language, and a large proportion of her inhabitants to the long succession of Irish immigrations and conquests between the close of the fifth and ninth centuries, but at home the elements of disunion were powerful, and they were greatly aggravated by the Danish invasions.

It was certainly a fatal calamity to Ireland that the Norman Conquest, which in England was effected completely and finally by a single battle, was in Ireland protracted over no less than 400 years. Strongbow found no resistance such as that which William had encountered at Hastings, but the native element speedily closed around the new colonists, and regained, in the greater part of the island, a complete ascendency. The Norman settlers scattered through distant parts of Ireland, intermixed with the natives, adopted their laws and their modes of life, and became in a few years, according to the proverb, more Irish than the Irish themselves. The English rule, as a living reality,


was confined and concentrated in the narrow limits of the Pale. The hostile power planted in the heart of the nation destroyed all possibility of central government, while it was itself incapable of fulfilling that function, and instead of that peaceful and almost silent amalgamation of races, customs, laws, and languages which took place in England, and which is the source of many of the best elements in English life and character, the two nations remained in Ireland for centuries in hostility.  

It was inevitable, in such a situation and at such a time, that those who formed the nucleus of the English power, should look upon the Irish as later colonists looked upon the Red Indians — as being, like wild beasts, beyond the pale of the moral law. Intermarriage with them was forbidden by stringent penalties, and many savage laws were made to maintain the distinction. 'It was manifest', says Sir John Davis, 'that such as had the government of Ireland under the crown of England did intend to make a perpetual separation and enmity between the English and Irish, pretending, no doubt, that the English should, in the end, root out the Irish'. A sentiment very common in the Pale was expressed by those martial monks who taught that it was no more sin to kill an Irishman than to kill a dog; and that whenever, as often happened, they killed an Irishman, they would not on that account refrain from celebrating mass even for a single day. 

It was not until the reign of Henry VIII. that the royal authority became in any degree a reality


over the whole island, but its complete ascendency dates only from the great wars of Elizabeth, which broke the force of the semi-independent chieftains, crushed the native population to the dust, and established the complete ascendency of English law. The suppression of the native race, in the war of Shane O'Neil, Desmond, and Tyrone, was carried on with a ferocity which surpassed that of Alva in the Netherlands, and was hardly exceeded by any page in the blood-stained annals of the Turks. Thus a deliberate attempt was made by a servant of the British Government to assassinate in time of peace the great Irish leader Shane O'Neil, by a present of poisoned wine; and although the attempt failed, and the assassin was detected and arrested, he was at once liberated by the Government. Essex accepted the hospitality of Sir Brien O'Neil. After a banquet, when the Irish chief had retired unsuspiciously to rest, the English general surrounded the house with soldiers, captured his host with his wife and brother, sent them all to Dublin for execution, and massacred the whole body of his friends and retainers. An English officer, a friend of the Viceroy, invited seventeen Irish gentlemen to supper, and when they rose from the table had them all stabbed. A Catholic archbishop named Hurley fell into the hands of the English authorities, and before they sent him to the gallows, they tortured him to extort confession of treason by one of the most horrible torments human nature can endure -- by roasting his feet with fire.


But these isolated episodes, by diverting the mind from the broad features of the war, serve rather to diminish than to enhance its atrocity. The war was literally a war of extermination. The slaughter of Irishmen was looked upon as literally the slaughter of wild beasts. Not only the men, but even the women and children who fell into the hands of the English, were deliberately and systematically butchered. Bands of soldiers traversed great tracts of country, slaying every living thing they met. The sword was not found sufficiently expeditious, but another method proved much more efficacious. Year after year, over a great part of Ireland, all means of human subsistence were destroyed, no quarter was given to prisoners who surrendered, and the whole population was skilfully and steadily starved to death. The pictures of the condition of Ireland at this time are as terrible as anything in human history. Thus Spenser, describing what he had seen in Munster, tells how, 'out of every corner of the woods and glens, they came creeping forth upon their hands, for their legs could not bear them. They looked like anatomies of death; they spoke like ghosts crying out of their graves; they did eat the dead carrion, happy when they could find them; yea, and one another soon after, inasmuch as the very carcasses they spared not to scrape out of their graves.'

It was a very unfortunate circumstance that the period when the English nation definitively adopted the principles of the Reformation should have nearly coincided with the events I have related;


but at the same time religious zeal did not at first contribute at all essentially to the struggle. The Irish chiefs repeatedly showed great indifference to religious distinction, and the English cared much more for the suppression of the Irish race than for the suppression of its religion. The Bible was not translated into Irish. All persons were ordered, indeed, under penalty of a small fine, to attend the Anglican service; but it was ordered that it should be celebrated only in English, or, if that language was not known, in Latin. The mass became illegal; the churches and the church revenues were taken from the priests, but the benefices were filled with adventurers without religious zeal and sometimes without common morality. Very naturally, under such circumstances, the Irish continued in their old faith.

The other cause which was called into action, and which in this state of Irish history was much more important, was the confiscation of Irish land. The great impulse which the discovery of the New World and the religious changes of the sixteenth century had imparted to the intellect and character of Europe, was shown in England in an exuberance of many-sided activity equalled in no previous portion of her history. It produced among other consequences an extraordinary growth of the spirit of adventure, a distaste for routine, an extreme desire to discover new and rapid paths to wealth. This spirit showed itself in the immense development of maritime enterprise both in the form of discovery and in the form of piracy, and still more


strongly in the passion for Irish land. The idea that it was possible to obtain, at a few hours' or drays' journey from the English coasts, and at little or no cost, great tracts of fertile territory, and to amass in a few years gigantic fortunes, took hold upon the English mind with a fascination much like that which was exercised by the fables of the exhaustless riches of India in the days of Clive and of Hastings. The Government warmly encouraged it. They believed that the one effectual policy for making Ireland useful to England was to root out the Irish from the soil, to confiscate the property of the septs, and plant the country systematically with English tenants. There were chronic disturbances between the English Government and the Irish chiefs, who were in reality almost independent sovereigns, and these were made the pretexts for gigantic confiscations; and as the hunger for land became more intense, and the number of English adventurers increased, other methods were employed. A race of discoverers were called into existence who fabricated stories of plots, who scrutinised the titles of Irish chiefs with all the severity of English law, and who, before suborned or intimidated juries, and on the ground of technical flaws, obtained confiscations. Many Irish proprietors were executed on the most frivolous pretexts, and these methods of obtaining confiscations were so systematically and skilfully resorted to, that it soon became evident to chiefs and people that it was the settled policy of the English Government to deprive them of their land.


The system was begun on a large scale in Leinster in the reign of Mary, when the immense territories belonging to the O'Mores, the O'Connors, and the O'Dempseys were confiscated, planted with English colonies, and converted into two English counties. The names of the Queen's County and of the King's County, with their capitals Maryborough and Philipstown, are among the very few existing memorials of a reign which Englishmen would gladly forget. The confiscation, being carried out without any regard for the rights of the humbler members of the tribes, gave rise, as might have been expected, to a long and bloody guerilla warfare between the new tenants and the old proprietors, which extended far into the reign of Elizabeth, and is especially famous in Irish memories for the treacherous murder by the new settlers of the Irish chiefs, who had with that object been invited to a peaceful conference at Mullaghamast. In Munster, after Desmond's rebellion, more than 574,000 acres were confiscated and passed into English hands. One of the conditions of the grants was that none of the native Irish should be admitted among the tenantry of the new proprietors. It was intended to sweep those who had survived the war completely from the whole of this enormous territory, or at least to permit them to remain only in the condition of day-labourers or ploughmen, with the alternative of flying to the mountains or the forests to die by starvation, or to live as savages or as robbers.

Then followed the great plantation of Ulster. Tyrone and Tyrconnel were accused of plots against


the government, whether falsely or truly is still disputed. There was no rebellion, but the earls, either conscious of guilt, or, quite as probably, distrusting tribunals which were systematically and notoriously partial, took flight, and no less than six counties were confiscated, and planted with English and Scotch. The plantation scheme was conducted with much ability. The great depopulation of the country in the last war rendered it comparatively easy, and for the first time in the history of the confiscations, some attention was paid to the interests of the natives, to whom a considerable proportion of the confiscated land, selected arbitrarily by the Government, was assigned.

The aspect of Ireland, however, was at this time more encouraging than it had been for many years. In the social system, as in the physical body, the prostration of extreme illness is often followed, with a strange rapidity, by a sudden reflux of exuberant health. When a nation has been brought to the utmost extremities of anguish, when almost all the old, the sick, the feeble have been hurried to the grave, and when few except the most vigorous natures remain, it may reasonably be expected that the cessation of the calamity will be followed as by a great outburst of prosperity. Such a rebound followed the Black Death, which in the fourteenth century swept away about a fourth part of the inhabitants of Europe; and a similar recovery, on a smaller scale, and due in part at least to the same cause, took place in Ireland after the Elizabethan and the Cromwellian wars, and after the great


famine of the present century. Besides this a new and energetic element was introduced into Irish life. English law was extended through the island. The judges went their regular circuits, and it was hoped that the resentment produced by recent events would be compensated or allayed by the destruction of that clan system which had been the source of much disorder, by the abolition of the exactions of the Irish chiefs, and by the introduction of skilful husbandmen, and therefore of material prosperity, into a territory half of which lay absolutely waste, while the other half was only cultivated in the rudest manner.

But yet it needed little knowledge of human nature to perceive that the country was in imminent danger of drifting steadily to a fearful catastrophe. The unspeakable horrors that accompanied the suppression of the Irish under Elizabeth, the enormous confiscations in three provinces, the abolition of the land customs most cherished by the people, the legal condemnation of their religion, the plantation among them of an alien and hostile population, ever anxious to root them from the soil — all these elements of bitterness, crowded into a few disastrous years of suffering, were now smouldering in deep resentment in the Irish mind.

The great Irish rebellion broke out in Ulster on the night of October 22, 1641. It has been asserted by numerous writers, and is still generally believed, that the Ulster rebellion began with a general and indiscriminate massacre of the Protestants, who were living without suspicion among the


Catholics, resembling the massacre of the Danes by the English, the massacre of the French in the Sicilian Vespers, or the massacre of the Huguenots at St. Bartholomew. It may be boldly asserted that this statement of a general and organised massacre is utterly and absolutely untrue. As is almost always the case in a great popular rising, there were, in the first outbreak of the rebellion, some murders, but they were very few; and there was at this time nothing whatever of the nature of a massacre. It was natural that these crimes should have been inordinately exaggerated in England. The accounts came almost exclusively from one side, and they were mainly derived from the reports of ruined, panic-stricken, uneducated fugitives. A single crime was continually repeated. Reports grew and darkened as they passed from lip to lip, and it is not surprising that when the whole English plantation had vanished from the soil it should have been assumed that all had been murdered. Yet it is certain that Dublin and all the walled towns in Ulster were thronged with fugitives who had passed through a country wholly occupied by rebels. The minds of men were in no condition for forming a careful judgment, and a ruling caste never admits any parity of comparison between the slaughter of its own members and the slaughter of a subject race. What is called in one case a murder, is called in the other an execution, and a few deaths on the one side make a greater impression than many thousands on the other. The most savage national and religious hatred


predisposed the English to exaggerate to the utmost the crimes of their enemies, and other influences of a more deliberate character were at work. The rebels in Ulster had tried to identify their cause with that of Charles I. by a forged commission from the King, and by this course they at once irritated the Royalists to the utmost, and gave the Puritans the strongest motives to magnify the crimes that were committed. As the civil war went on, there was a large party in Ireland who were fighting solely for the royal cause, and another party who had taken arms in order to secure their religion; and it became an object of the first political importance to the Puritan party, and especially to the English Parliament, to envelop both in a cloud of infamy, to prevent the reconciliation of the King with the Catholics, and to excite the English people to a war of extermination against the Irish.

From the very beginning, the English parliament did the utmost in its power to give the contest the character of a war of extermination. One of its first acts was to vote that no toleration of the Romish religion should be henceforth permitted in Ireland, and it thus at once extended the range of the rebellion and gave it the character of a war of religion. In the following February, when but few men of any considerable estate were engaged in the rebellion, the Parliament enacted that 2,500,000 acres of profitable land in Ireland, besides bogs, woods and barren mountains, should be assigned to English adventurers in consideration of small sums of money which they raised for the


subjugation of Ireland. It thus gave the war a desperate agrarian character, furnished immense numbers of persons in England with the strongest motive to oppose any reconciliation with the Irish, and convinced the whole body of the Irish proprietary that their land was marked out for confiscation.

The Irish Parliament, which was the only organ by which the Irish gentry could express their loyalty to the sovereign in a way that could not be misrepresented or denied, was prorogued. Not content with denouncing vengeance against murderers or even against districts where murders were committed, the Parliaments, both in England and Scotland, passed ordinances in 1644 that no quarter should be given to Irish who came to England to the King's aid. These ordinances were rigidly executed, and great numbers of Irish soldiers being taken prisoners in Scotland were deliberately butchered in the field or in the prisons. Irishmen taken at sea were tied back to back and thrown in multitudes into the water. In one day eighty women and children in Scotland were flung over a high bridge into the water, solely because they were the wives and children of Irish soldiers.

If this was the spirit in which the war was conducted in Great Britain, it may easily be conceived how it was conducted in Ireland. In Leinster, where assuredly no massacre had been committed, the orders issued to the soldiers were not only 'to kill and destroy rebels and their adherents and relievers, but to burn, waste, consume, and demolish all the places, towns, and houses where they had been


relieved and harboured, with all the corn and hay therein; and also to kill and destroy all the men there inhabiting capable to bear arms.' But horrible as were these instructions, they but faintly foreshadowed the manner in which the war was actually conducted. The soldiers, in executing the orders of the justices, murdered all persons promiscuously, not sparing the women, and sometimes not children. Whole villages as well as the houses of the gentry were remorselessly burnt even when not an enemy was seen.

In the north the rebellion was chiefly an agrarian war and a war of race. The confederation of the Catholic rebels in the other provinces comprised a large proportion of the English families of the Pale, and they drew the sword for the purpose of defending their religion from the destruction with which it was threatened and obtaining for it a full legal recognition. Though actually in arms against the Government, they disclaimed from the first the title of rebels, asserted their allegiance to the king, and were quite ready to be reconciled with him if they could only secure their religion and their estates. A third party, headed by Ormond and Clanricarde, remained firm through every temptation in their allegiance to the King, and before long a new and terrible party representing the Puritan Parliament rose to the ascendant.

In spite of the vehement efforts of the Lords Justices, and of the other members of the Puritan party, a truce was signed between the King and the confederate Catholics in September 1643, but the


complete reconciliation of the great body of the Irish and of the Loyalists was only effected by successive stages in 1646, 1648, and 1649. But rebel and royalist sank alike under the sword of Cromwell. It should always be remembered to his honour that one of his first acts on going to Ireland was to prohibit the plunderings and other outrages the soldiers had been accustomed to practise, and that he established a severe discipline in his army. The sieges of Drogheda and Wexford, however, and the massacres that accompanied them, deserve to rank in horror with the most atrocious exploits of Tilly, or Wallenstein, and they made the name of Cromwell eternally hated in Ireland. At Drogheda, there had been no pretence of a massacre, and a large proportion of the garrison were English. The officers of Cromwell's army promised quarter to such as would lay down their arms, but when they had done so, and the place was in their power, Cromwell gave orders that no quarter should be given. Ormond wrote that 'the cruelties exercised there for five days after the town was taken would make as many several pictures of inhumanity as are to be found in the "Book of Martyrs".' 

The war ended at last in 1652. Out of a population of 1,466,000, 616,000 had in eleven years perished by the sword, by plague, or by famine artificially produced. 504,000 were Irish, 112,000 of English extraction. A third part of the population had been thus blotted out. Famine and the sword had so done their work, that in some districts the


traveller rode twenty or thirty miles without seeing one trace of human life, and fierce wolves — rendered doubly savage by feeding on human flesh — multiplied with startling rapidity through the deserted land, and might be seen prowling in numbers within a few miles of Dublin. Slave-dealers were let loose upon the land, and many hundreds of boys and of marrigeable girls, guilty of no offence whatever, were torn away from their country, shipped to Barbadoes, and sold as slaves to the planters. Merchants from Bristol entered keenly into the traffic. The victims appear to have been for the most part the children or the young widows of those who were killed or starved, but the dealers began at length to decoy even Englishmen to their ships, and the abuses became such that the Puritan Government, which had for some time cordially supported the system, made vain efforts to stop it. How many of the unhappy captives became the prey of the sharks, how many became the victims of the planters' lusts, it is impossible to say.

The worship which was that of almost the whole native population, was absolutely suppressed. Priests continued, it is true, with an admirable courage, to move disguised among the mud cottages of the poor and to hold up the crucifix before their dying eyes, but a large reward was offered for their apprehension, and those who were taken were usually transported to Barbadoes or confined in one of the Arran Isles.

Above all, the great end at which the English adventurers had been steadily aiming since the


reign of Elizabeth, was accomplished. All the land of the Irish in the three largest and richest provinces was confiscated, and divided among those adventurers who had lent money to the Parliament, and among the Puritan' soldiers, whose pay was greatly in arrear. 'Innocent Papists', who could prove that they had taken no part whatever in the struggle, were assigned land in Connaught, and that province, which rock and morass have doomed to a perpetual poverty, and which was at this time almost desolated by famine and by massacre, was assigned as the home of the Irish race. The ploughmen and labourers who were necessary for the cultivation of the soil, were suffered to remain, but all the old proprietors, all the best and greatest names in Ireland, were compelled to abandon their old possessions, to seek a home in Connaught, or in some happier land beyond the sea. A very large proportion of them had committed no crime whatever, and it is probable that not a sword would have been drawn in Leland in rebellion if those who ruled it had suffered the natives to enjoy their lands and their religion in peace.

The downfall of the old race was now all but accomplished. The years that followed the Restoration were years of peace, of mild government, and of great religious toleration; the prosperity of the country gradually revived, and with it some spirit of loyalty to the Government. But the Rovolution soon came to cloud the prospect. It was inevitable that in that struggle the Irish should have adopted the cause of their legitimate sovereign,


whose too ardent Catholicism was the chief cause of his deposition. It was equally inevitable that they should have availed themselves of the period of their ascendency to endeavour to overthrow the land settlement which had been made. James landed at Kinsale on March 12, 1689. One of his first acts was to issue a proclamation summoning all Irish absentees upon their allegiance to return to assist their sovereign in his struggle, and by another proclamation a Parliament was summoned for May 7. It consisted almost wholly of Catholics.

It will hardly appear surprising to candid men that a Parliament so constituted and called together amid the excitement of a civil war, should have displayed much violence, much disregard for vested interests. Its measures, indeed, were not all criminal. By one Act which was far in advance of the age, it established perfect religious liberty in Ireland, and although this measure was, no doubt, mainly due to motives of policy, its enactment in such a moment of excitement and passion reflects no small credit on the Catholic Parliament. By another Act, it abolished the payments to the Protestant clergy in the corporate towns, while a third Act ordered that the Catholics throughout Ireland should henceforth pay their tithes and other ecclesiastical dues to their own priests and not to the Protestant clergy. The Protestants were still to pay their tithes to their own clergy, but as the Catholics formed the immense majority of the Irish people, almost the whole religious property of the country was by these measures transferred from the


Church of the small minority to that of the bulk of the nation.

If these had been the only measures of the Irish Parliament, it would have left an eminently honourable reputation. But, unfortunately, one of its main objects was to re-establish at all costs the descendants of the old proprietors in their land, and to annul by measures of sweeping violence the grievous wrongs and spoliations their fathers and their grandfathers had undergone. The first and most important measure with this object was the repeal of the Acts of Settlement and Explanation. The measure of repeal was speedily followed by another Act of much more sweeping and violent injustice. The Act of Attainder, which was introduced in the latter part of June, aimed at nothing less than a complete overthrow of the existing land system in Ireland.

It is not possible to say how that Act would have been executed, for the days of Jacobite ascendency were now few and evil. The Parliament was prorogued on the 20th of July, one of its last Acts being to vest in the King the property of those who were still absentees. The heroic defence of Londonderry had already turned the scale in favour of William, and the disaster of the Boyne and the surrender of Limerick destroyed the last hopes of the Catholics. They secured, as they vainly imagined, by the treaty of Limerick, their religious liberty; but the bulk of the Catholic army passed into the service of France, and the great confiscations that followed the Revolution completed the


ruin of the old race. When the eighteenth century dawned, the great majority of the former leaders of the people were either sunk in object poverty or scattered as exiles over Europe; the last spasm of resistance had ceased, and the long period of unbroken Protestant ascendency had begun.


2. Ireland from the Surrender of Limerick
(1691) to the End of the 18th Century.

(From Green, A Short History of the English People.)

"The history of Ireland, during the fifty years that followed its conquest by William the Third, is one which no Englishman can recall without shame."   Green, ibid.

After the surrender of Limerick every Catholic Irishman, and there were five Irish Catholics to every Irish Protestant, was treated as a stranger and a foreigner in his own country. The House of Lords, the House of Commons, the magistracy, all corporate offices in towns, all ranks in the army, the bench, the bar, the whole administration of government or justice, were closed against Catholics. The very right of voting for their representatives in Parliament was denied them. Few Catholic landowners had been left by the sweeping confiscations which had followed the successive revolts of the island, and oppressive laws forced even these few with scant exceptions to profess Protestantism. In all social and political matters the native Catholics, in other words the immense


majority of the people of Ireland, were simply hewers of wood and drawers of water to their Protestant masters, who looked on themselves as mere settlers, who boasted of their Scotch or English extraction, and who regarded the name of "Irishman" as an insult. But small as was this Protestant body, one half of it fared little better, as far as power was concerned, than the Catholics; for the Presbyterians, who formed the bulk of the Ulster settlers, were shut out by law from all civil, military, and municipal offices. The administration and justice of the country were thus kept rigidly in the hands of members of the Established Church, a body which comprised about a twelfth of the population of the island; while its government was practically monopolised by a few great Protestant landowners.

During the first half of the eighteenth century two thirds of the House of Commons was returned by a small group of nobles, who were recognised as "parliamentary undertakers," and who undertook to "manage" Parliament on their own terms. Irish politics were for these men a means of public plunder; they were glutted with pensions, preferments, and bribes in hard cash in return for their services; they were the advisers of every Lord-Lieutenant, and the practical governors of the country. The Irish Parliament had no power of originating legislative or financial measures, and could only say "yes" or "no" to Acts submitted to it by the Privy Council in England. The English Parliament, too, claimed the right of binding Ireland as well as England by its enactments, and


one of its statutes transferred the appellate jurisdiction of the Irish Peerage to the English House of Lords. But as if to compensate for the benefits of its protection, England did her best to annihilate Irish commerce and to ruin Irish agriculture. Statutes passed by the jealousy of English land-owners forbade the export of Irish cattle or sheep to English ports. The export of wool was forbidden, lest it might interfere with the profits of English wool-growers. Poverty was thus added to the curse of misgovernment; and poverty deepened with the rapid growth of the native population, till famine turned the country into a hell.

The bitter lesson of the last conquest, however, long sufficed to check all dreams of revolt among the natives, and the outbreaks which sprang from time to time out of the general misery and discontent were purely social in their character, and were roughly repressed by the ruling class. When political revolt threatened at last, the threat came from the ruling class itself. At the very outset of the reign of George the Third, the Irish Parliament insisted on its claim to the exclusive control of money bills, and a cry was raised for the removal of the checks imposed on its independence. But it was not till the American war that this cry became a political danger, a danger so real that Englund was forced to give way. From the close of the war, when the Irish Volunteers wrung legislative independence from the Rockingham Ministry, England and Ireland were simply held together by the fact that the sovereign of the one island was


also the sovereign of the other. During the next eighteen years Ireland was "independent"; but its independence was a mere name for the uncontrolled rule of a few noble families and of the Irish Executive backed by the support of the English Government. To such a length had the whole system of monopoly and patronage been carried, that at the time of the Union more than sixty seats were in the hands of three families alone while the dominant influence in the Parliament now lay with the Treasury boroughs at the disposal of the Government.

The victory of the Volunteers immediately produced measures in favour of the Catholics and Presbyterians. The Volunteers had already in 1780 won for the Presbyterians, who formed a good half of their force, full political liberty by the abolition of the Sacramental Test; and the Irish Parliament of 1782 removed at once the last grievances of the Protestant Dissenters. The Catholics were rewarded for their aid by the repeal of the more grossly oppressive enactments of the penal laws. But when Grattan, supported by the bulk of the Irish party, pleaded for Parliamentary reform, and for the grant of equal rights to the Catholics, he was utterly foiled by the small group of borough owners, who chiefly controlled the Government and the Parliament. The ruling class found government too profitable to share it with other possessors. It was only by hard bribery that the English Viceroys could secure their co-operation in the simplest measures of administration.


In Pitt's eyes the danger of Ireland lay above all in the misery of its people. Although the Irish Catholics were held down by the brute force of their Protestant rulers, he saw that their discontent was growing fast into rebellion, and that one secret of their discontent at any rate lay in Irish poverty, a poverty increased if not originally brought about by the jealous exclusion of Irish products from their natural markets in England itself.


3. A Short View of the State of Ireland.
(By Jonathan Swift.)

"No strangers from other countries make this a part of their travels, where they can expect to see nothing but scenes of misery and desolation."   Swift, ibid.

I am assured that it has for some time been practised as a method of making men's court, when they are asked about the rate of lands, the abilities of tenants, the state of trade and manufacture in this kingdom, and how their rents are paid, to answer, that in their neighbourhood all things are in a flourishing condition, the rent and purchase of land every day increasing. And if a gentleman happens to be a little more sincere in his representations, besides being looked on as not well affected, he is sure to have a dozen contradictors at his elbow. I think it is no manner of secret why these questions are so cordially asked, or so obligingly answered.


But since with regard to the affairs of this Kingdom, I have been using all endeavours to subdue my indignation, to which indeed I am not provoked by any personal interest, being not the owner of one spot of ground in the whole Island, I shall only enumerate by rules generally known, and never contradicted, what are the true causes of any country's flourishing and growing rich, and then examine what effects arise from those causes in the Kingdom of Ireland. 

The first cause of a Kingdom's thriving is the fruitfulness of the soil, to produce the necessaries and conveniencies of life, not only sufficient for the inhabitants, but for exportation into other countries. 

The second, is the industry of the people in working up all their native commodities to the last degree of manufacture.

The third, is the conveniency of safe ports and havens, to carry out their own goods, as much manufactured, and bring in those of others, as little manufactured as the nature of mutual commerce will allow.

The fourth, is that the natives should as much as possible export and import their goods in vessels of their own timber, made in their own country.

The fifth, is the liberty of a free trade in all foreign countries which will permit them, except those who are in war with their own Prince or State. 

The sixth, is, by being governed only by laws made with their own consent, for otherwise they


are not a free People. And therefore all appeals for justice, or applications for favour or preferment to another country, are so many grievous impoverishments.

The seventh, is, by improvement of land, encouragement of agriculture, and thereby increasing the number of their people, without which any country, however blessed by Nature, must continue poor.

The eighth, is the residence of the Princes, or chief administrators of the civil power.

The ninth, is the concourse of foreigners for education, curiosity or pleasure, or as to a general mart of trade.

The tenth, is by disposing all offices of honour, profit or trust, only to the natives, or at least with very few exceptions, where strangers have long inhabited the country, and are supposed to understand, and regard the interest of it as their own.

The eleventh is, when the rents of lands, and profits of employments, are spent in the country which produced them, and not in another, the former of which will certainly happen, where the love of our native country prevails.

The twelfth, is by the public revenues being all spent and employed at home, except on the occasions of a foreign war.

The thirteenth, is where the people are not obliged, unless they find it for their own interest, or conveniency, to receive any moneys, except of their own coinage by a public mint, after the manner of all civilised nations.


The fourteenth, is a disposition of the people of a country to wear their own manufactures, and import as few incitements to luxury, either in clothes, furniture, food or drink, as they possibly can live conveniently without.

There are many other causes of a Nation's thriving, which I cannot at present recollect; but without advantage from at least some of these, after turning my thoughts a long time, I am not able to discover from whence our wealth proceeds, and therefore would gladly be better informed. In the mean time, I will here examine what share falls to Ireland of those causes, or of the effects and consequences.

It is not my intention to complain, but barely to relate facts, and the matter is not of small importance. For it is allowed that a man who lives in a solitary house far from help, is not wise in endeavouring to acquire in the neighbourhood the reputation of being rich, because those who come for gold, will go off with pewter and brass, rather than return empty; and in the common practice of the world, those who possess most wealth, make the least parade, which they leave to others, who have nothing else to bear them out, in showing their faces on the Exchange.

As to the first cause of a Nation's riches, being the fertility of the soil, as well as temperature of climate, we have no reason to complain; for although the quantity of unprofitable land in this Kingdom, reckoning rock, and bog, and barren mountain, be double in proportion to what it is in England,


yet the native productions which both Kingdoms deal in, are very near on equality in point of goodness, and might with the same encouragement be as well manufactured. I except mines and minerals, in some of which however we are only defective in point of skill and industry.

In the second, which is the industry of the people, our misfortune is not altogether owing to our own fault, but to a million of discouragements.

The conveniency of ports and havens which Nature bestowed on us so liberally is of no more use to us, than a beautiful prospect to a man shut up in a dungeon.

As to shipping of its own, this Kingdom is so utterly unprovided, that of all the excellent timber cut down within these fifty or sixty years, it can hardly be said that the Nation has received the benefit of one valuable house to dwell in, or one ship to trade with.

Ireland is the only Kingdom I ever heard or read of, either in ancient or modern story, which was denied the liberty of exporting their native commodities and manufactures wherever they pleased, except to countries at war with their own Prince or State, yet this by the superiority of mere power is refused us in the most momentous parts of commerce, besides an Act of Navigation to which we never consented, pinned down upon us, and rigorously executed, and a thousand other unexampled circumstances as grievous as they are invidious to mention. To go unto the rest.


It is too well known that we are forced to obey some laws we never consented to. Thus we are in the condition of patients who have physics sent them by doctors at a distance, strangers to their constitution, and the nature of their disease: And thus, we are forced to pay five hundred per cent, to divide our properties, in all which we have likewise the honour to be distinguished from the whole race of mankind.

As to improvement of land, those few who attempt that or planting, through covetousness or want of skill, generally leave things worse than they were, neither succeeding in trees nor hedges, and by running into the fancy of grazing after the manner of the Scythians, are every day depopulating the country.

We are so far from having a King to reside among us, that even the Viceroy is generally absent four-fifths of his time in the government.

No strangers from other countries make this a part of their travels, where they can expect to see nothing but scenes of misery and desolation.

Those who have the misfortune to be born here, have the least title to any considerable employment to which they are seldom preferred, but upon a political consideration.

One third part of the rents of Ireland is spent in England, which with the profit of employments, pensions, appeals, journeys of pleasure or health, education at the Inns of Court, and both Universities, remittances at pleasure, the pay of all superior officers in the army and other incidents, will amount


to a full half of the income of the whole Kingdom, all clear profit to England.

We are denied the liberty of coining gold, silver, or even copper. In the Isle of Man, they coin their own silver; every petty prince, vassal to the Emperor, can coin what money he pleases. And in this as in most of the articles already mentioned, we are an exception to all other States or Monarchies that were ever known in the world.

As to the last, or fourteenth article, we take special care to act diametrically contrary to it in the whole course of our lives. Both sexes, but especially the women, despise and abhor to wear any of their own manufactures, even those which are better made than in other countries, particularly a sort of silk plaid, through which the workmen are forced to run a sort of gold thread that it may pass for Indian. Even ale and potatoes are imported in great quantity from England, as well as corn, and our foreign trade is little more than importation of French wine, for which I am told we pay ready money.

Now if all this be true, upon which I could easily enlarge, I would be glad to know by what secret method it is that we grow a rich and flourishing people, without liberty, trade, manufactures, inhabitants, money, or the privilege of coining; without industry, labour or improvement of lands, and with more than half of the rent and profits of the whole kingdom annually exported, for which we receive not a single farthing: And to make up all this, nothing worth mentioning, ex-


cept the linen of the North, a trade casual, corrupted and at mercy, and some butter from Cork. If we do flourish, it must be against every law of Nature and Reason, like the thorn of Glastonbury, that blossoms in the midst of Winter. 

Let the worthy Commissioners who come from England ride round the Kingdom, and observe the face of Nature, or the face of the natives, the improvement of the land, the thriving numerous plantations, the noble woods, the abundance and vicinity of country-seats, the commodious farmers' houses and barns, the towns and villages, where everybody is busy and thriving with all kind of manufactures, the shops full of goods wrought to perfection, and filled with customers, the comfortable diet and dress, and dwellings of the people, the vast number of ships in our harbours and docks, and shipwrights in our sea-port towns. The roads crowded with carriers laden with rich manufactures, the perpetual concourse to and fro of pompous equipages.

With what envy and admiration would these gentlemen return from so delightful a progress? What glorious reports would they make when they went back to England

But my heart is too heavy to continue this journey longer, for it is manifest that whatever stranger took such a journey, would be apt to think himself travelling in Lapland or Iceland, rather than in a country so favoured by Nature as ours, both in fruitfulness of soil, and temperature of climate. The miserable dress, and diet, and


dwelling of the people. The general desolation in most parts of the Kingdom. The old seats of the nobility and gentry all in ruins, and no new ones in their stead. The families of farmers who pay great rents, living in filth and nastiness upon butter-milk and potatoes, without a shoe or stocking to their feet, or a house so convenient as an English hog-sty to receive them. These indeed may be comfortable sights to an English spectator, who comes for a short time only to learn the language, and returns back to his own country, whither he finds all our wealth transmitted.

Nostrâ miseriâ magnus es.

There is not one argument used to prove the riches of Ireland which is not a logical demonstration of its poverty. The rise of our rents is squeezed out of the very blood and vitals, and clothes, and dwellings of the tenants who live worse than English beggars. The lowness of interest, in all other countries a sign of wealth, is in us a proof of misery, there being no trade to employ any borrower. Hence alone comes the dearness of land, since the savers have no other way to lay out their money. Hence the dearness of necessaries for life, because the tenants cannot afford to pay such extravagant rates for land (which they must take, or go a-begging) without raising the price of cattle, and of corn, although they should live upon chaff.   Hence our increase of buildings in this City, because workmen have nothing to do but employ one another, and one half 


of them are infallibly undone. Hence the daily increase of bankers, who may be a necessary evil in a trading country, but so ruinous in ours, who for their private advantage have sent away all our silver, and one third of our gold, so that within three years past, the running cash of the Nation, which was about five hundred thousand pounds, is now less than two, and must daily diminish unless we have liberty to coin.

"Ye are idle, ye are idle," answered Pharao to the Israelites, when they complained to his Majesty that they were forced to make bricks without straw.

England enjoys every one of these advantages for enriching a Nation, which I have above enumerated, and into the bargain, a good million returned to them every year without labour or hazard, or one farthing value received on our side. But how long we shall be able to continue the payment, I am not under the least concern. One thing I know, that when the hen is starved to death, there will be no more golden eggs.

I think it a little unhospitable, and others may call it a subtile piece of malice, that, because there may be a dozen families in this Town, able to entertain their English friends in a generous manner at their tables, their guests upon their return to England, shall report that we wallow in riches and luxury.

Yet I confess I have known a hospital, where all the household officers grew rich, while the poor for whose sake it was built, were almost starving for want of food and raiment.


To conclude. If Ireland be a rich and flourishing Kingdom, its wealth and prosperity must be owing to certain causes that are yet concealed from the whole race of mankind, and the effects are equally invisible. We need not wonder at strangers when they deliver such paradoxes, but a native and inhabitant of this Kingdom, who gives the same verdict, must be either ignorant to stupidity, or a man-pleaser at the expense of all honour, conscience and truth.


4. Observations on the Policy of the War with

(From Richard Price, Essay on Liberty.)

"Our Colonies in North America appear to be now determined to risk and to suffer every thing, under the persuasion that Great Britain is attempting to rob them of that liberty to which every number of society, and all civil communities, have a natural and unalienable right."

Price, ibid.

The object of this war has been often enough declared to be "maintaining the supremacy of this country over the colonies." I would observe that this supremacy is to be maintained, either merely for its own sake, or for the sake of some public interest connected with it and dependent upon it. If for its own sake, the only object of the war is the extension of dominion, and its only motive is the lust of power. All government, even within a state, becomes tyrannical, as far as it is


needless and wanton exercise of power; or is carried farther than is absolutely necessary to preserve the peace and to secure the safety of the state. This is what an excellent writer calls Governing Too Much; and its effect must always be, weakening government by rendering it contemptible and odious. Nothing can be of more importance in governing distant provinces and adjusting the clashing interests of different societies, than attention to this remark. In these circumstances it is particularly necessary to make a sparing use of power, in order to preserve power. Happy would it have been for Great Britain, had this been remembered by those who have lately conducted its affairs. But our policy has been of another kind.  

The Colonies were at the beginning of this reign in the habit of acknowledging our authority, and of allowing us as much power over them as our interest required; and more, in some instances, than we could reasonably claim. This habit they would have retained: and had we, instead of imposing new burdens upon them, and increasing their restraints, studied to promote their commerce, and to grant them new indulgences, they would have been always growing more attached to us. Luxury, and together with it, their dependence upon us, and our influence in their assemblies, would have increased, till in time perhaps they would have become as corrupt as ourselves; and we might have succeeded to our wishes in establishing our authority over them. But, happily for them, we have chosen a different course. By exertions of authority which have


alarmed them, they have been put upon examining into the grounds of all our claims, and forced to give up their luxuries, and to seek all their resources within themselves. And the issue is likely to prove the loss of all our authority over them, and of all the advantages connected with it.

In the 6th of George the Second, an act was passed for imposing certain duties on all foreign spirits, melasses and sugars imported into the plantations. In this act the duties imposed are said to be given and granted by the Parliament to the King; and this is the first American act in which these words have been used. But notwithstanding this, as the act had the appearance of being only a regulation of trade, the colonies submitted to it; and a small direct revenue was drawn by it from them.

In the 4th of the present reign, many alterations were made in this act, with the declared purpose of making provision for raising a revenue in America. This alarmed the Colonies; and produced discontents and remonstrances, which might have convinced our rulers this was tender ground, on which it became them to tread very gently. There is, however, no reason to doubt but in time they would have sunk into a quiet submission to this revenue act, as being at worst only the exercise of a power which then they seem not to have thought much of contesting; I mean, the power of taxing them externally. But before they had time to cool, a worse provocation was given them; and the Stamp-Act was passed. This being an attempt to tax them internally, and a direct attack on their property,


by a power which would not suffer itself to be questioned, which eased itself by loading them, and to which it was impossible to fix any bounds, they were thrown at once, from one end of the continent to the other, into resistance and rage.

Government, dreading the consequences, gave way; and the Parliament (upon a change of ministry) repealed the Stamp-Act, without requiring from them any recognition of its authority, or doing any more to preserve its dignity, than asserting, by the declaratory law, that it was possessed of full power and authority to make laws to bind them in all cases whatever. Upon this, peace was restored; and, had no farther attempts of the same kind been made, they would undoubtedly have suffered us (as the people of Ireland have done) to enjoy quietly our declaratory law.

But the spirit of despotism and avarice, always blind and restless, soon broke forth again. The scheme for drawing a revenue from America, by parliamentary taxation, was resumed; and in a little more than a year after the repeal of the Stamp-Act, when all was peace, a third act was passed, imposing duties payable in America on tea, paper, glass, painter's colours, &c. This, as might have been expected, revived all the former heats; and the Empire was a second time threatened with the most dangerous commotions. Government receded again; and the Parliament (under another change of ministry) repealed all the obnoxious duties, except that upon tea. This exception was made in order to maintain a show of dignity. But


it was, in reality, sacrificing safety to pride; and leaving a splinter in the wound to produce a gangrene. For some time, however, this relaxation answered its intended purposes. Our commercial intercourse with the Colonies was again recovered; and they avoided nothing but that tea which we had excepted in our repeal. In this state would things have remained, and even tea would perhaps in time have been gradually admitted, had not the evil genius of Britain stepped forth once more to embroil the Empire.

The East India Company having fallen under difficulties, partly in consequence of the loss of the American market for tea, a scheme was formed for assisting them by an attempt to recover that market. With this view an act was passed to enable them to export their tea to America free of all duties here, and subject only to 3d. per pound duty, payable in America. By this expedient they were enabled to offer it at a low price: and it was expected the consequence would prove that the Colonies would be tempted by it, a precedent gained for taxing them, and at the same time the Company relieved. Ships were, therefore, fitted out, and large cargoes sent. The snare was too gross to escape the notice of the Colonies. They saw it, and spurned at it. They refused to admit the tea; and at Boston some persons in disguise buried it in the sea.

Had our governors in this case satisfied themselves with requiring a compensation from the province for the damage done, there is no doubt but it would have been granted. Or had they


proceeded no farther in the infliction of punishment, than stopping up the port and destroying the trade of Boston, till compensation was made, the province might possibly have submitted, and a sufficient saving would have been gained for the honour of the nation. But having hitherto proceeded without wisdom, they observed now no bounds in their resentment. To the Boston port bill was added a bill which destroyed the chartered government of the province; a bill which withdrew from the jurisdiction of the province persons who in particular cases should commit murder; and the Quebec bill. At the same time a strong body of troops was stationed at Boston to enforce obedience to those bills.

All who knew anything of the temper of the Colonies saw that the effect of all this sudden accumulation of vengeance would probably be not intimidating but exasperating them, and driving them into a general revolt. But our ministers had different apprehensions. They believed that the malcontents in the Colony of Massachusetts were a small party, headed by a few factious men; that the majority of the people would take the side of government, as soon as they saw a force among them capable of supporting them; that, at worst, the Colonies in general would never make a common cause with this province; and that the issue would prove, in a few months, order, tranquillity, and submission. Every one of these apprehensions was falsified by the events that followed. 

When the bills I have mentioned came to be carried into execution, the whole Province was


thrown into confusion. Their courts of justice were shut up, and all government was dissolved. The commander-in-chief found it necessary to fortify himself in Boston; and the other Colonies immediately resolved to make a common cause with this Colony.

So strangely misinformed were our ministers, that this was all a surprise upon them. They took fright, therefore, and once more made an effort to retreat; but indeed the most ungracious one that can be well imagined. A proposal was sent to the Colonies, called Conciliatory; and the substance of which was that if any of them would raise such sums as should be demanded of them by taxing themselves, the Parliament would forbear to tax them. It will be scarcely believed, hereafter, that such a proposal could be thought conciliatory. It was only telling them: "If you will tax yourselves by our order, we will save ourselves the trouble of taxing you." They received the proposal as an insult, and rejected it with disdain.

At the time this concession was transmitted to America, open hostilities were not begun. In the sword our ministers thought they had still a resource which would immediately settle all disputes. They considered the people of New England as nothing but a mob, who would be soon routed and forced into obedience. It was even believed that a few thousands of our army might march through all America, and make all quiet wherever they went.

Under this conviction our ministers did not dread urging the Province of Massachusetts Bay into rebellion, by ordering the army to seize their stores,


and to take up some of their leading men. The attempt was made. The people fled immediately to arms, and repelled the attack. A considerable part of the flower of the British army has been destroyed. Some of our best Generals, and the bravest of our troops, are now disgracefully and miserably imprisoned at Boston. A horrid civil war is commenced; and the Empire is distracted and convulsed.


5. English Abuses of the Rights of War in the
   American War of Independence.

(From G. O. Trevelyan, The American Revolution.)

"It is allowable and perfectly justifiable, to use every means which God has put into our hands." The Earl of Suffolk, Secretary of State, Nov. 1777.

Throughout the years which elapsed between 1775 and 1782 war raged all the world over, and military reputations were made, and unmade, with startling rapidity. And yet, as far as England was concerned, the most distinguished names which have come down to us from that stirring time are those of civilians, and not of soldiers; for, in the full sense of the phrase, the toga was then more powerful than the sword. In the course of our long parliamentary history the two great parties in the House of Commons have not unfrequently been led by rival statesmen each of whom was an orator of the first order; but, except during the period which coincided with the American Revolution, such a pair of champions as Burke and Fox have seldom indeed fought side by side in the same ranks.


The question of the relations between Great Britain and her American Colonies had thrown all other questions into the back-ground; and it was a problem by which Burke, with his vast knowledge and his all-embracing sympathy, was sure to be attracted, and which he was pre-eminently competent to handle. That disastrous controversy would never have reached an acute stage if King George's Cabinet had acted in obedience to those great principles of exalted common-sense which were the main articles of Burke's creed. He had been constantly repeating, in a form of words which all readers could understand, and with a force and pregnancy on which no writer who over lived could improve, that the temper of the people whom he governs should be the first study of a statesman, and that magnanimity in politics is the truest wisdom. Parliament (so he freely admitted), had a constitutional right to tax America: but it was a right which, in the condition of feeling that prevailed beyond the Atlantic, no British Minister in his senses would dream of exerting.

When war had broken out between Great Britain and her colonies, and when France and Spain had thrown themselves into the quarrel, Burke directed his attention to those elements of the situation which lay in his habitual line of thought, and with regard to which his advice was especially valuable. He left it for Charles Fox to animadvert upon the strategical operations in America, and to expose the inadequacy of the military and naval preparations which had been made for the defence of


our island; and he confined himself, as his own particular province, to what may fairly be described as the moral aspects of the war. From the summer of 1778 onwards the ministers of George the Third finally and deliberately abandoned their attempt to reconquer the Northern and Central States of the Union; but they continued to keep the dispute alive by a series of petty and inconclusive acts of hostility directed against the civil population, rather than against the armed forces, of the enemy. It was a species of warfare which served no purpose except to irritate the Americans, and dispose them to persevere in a course of active retaliation at a time when, in their utter weariness, they would otherwise have been inclined to rest quiet, and allow France, Spain, and England to fight until one or the other of them was beaten. Burke lost no opportunity of denouncing this resort on the part of the British Government to a system of pin-pricks, where sword-thrusts had failed. He condemned it as futile, and most impolitic; and he did not shrink from reprobating it as cruel and unrighteous; for he was one of those who was not afraid to follow where his conscience led him.

When Lord Carlisle and his colleagues, leaving their mission unaccomplished, withdrew themselves from Philadelphia to New York in the wake of Sir Henry Clinton's retreating army, they were in a fit of temper which was not without its excuses. They had been befooled by the Cabinet Ministers who sent them across the ocean; and their efforts to open a negotiation with Congress had been ignored


by that body with an indifference which bordered on contempt. Before taking their passage back to England they exhaled their vexation, and endeavoured to salve their wounded dignity, by the issue of a valedictory Proclamation which they circulated, in an enormous number of copies, throughout the United States. They announced, in dark and ominous terms, that the world must expect a change "in the whole nature, and the future conduct, of the war," and the British Government would henceforward direct its efforts to desolate the country, and distress the people of America.

This extraordinary production, which excited anger rather than uneasiness among the Americans whom it was intended to frighten, was read with consternation by all sensible men in Great Britain. The attention of the House of Commons was called to the Manifesto by Coke of Norfolk in the first of those brief and weighty utterances which, for five-and-fifty years to come, were always heard with favour by an assembly to whose taste both speech and speaker were in all points precisely suited. He reminded his fellow-members that the plunder and destruction of commercial towns, and defenceless fishing villages, would invite reprisals which the Board of Admiralty had taken no precautions to meet; and the young senator vehemently declared that, apart from considerations of prudence and public safety, such modes of warfare were repugnant to the humanity, and the generous courage, which had in all times distinguished the British nation. A subordinate member of


the Government had provided himself with copious extracts from Puffendorf and Grotius to prove that the burning of unfortified towns, "which were the nurseries of soldiers", was perfectly consistent with the accepted rules of war; but all the respect and deference due to those antique pundits was swept away by the flood of indignant rhetoric which poured from the lips of Edmund Burke. "The extremes of war," he said, "and the desolation of a country, were sweet-sounding mutes and liquids; but their meaning was terrible. They meant the killing of man, woman, and child; — burning their houses, and ravaging their lands, and annihilating humanity from the face of the earth, or rendering it so wretched that death was preferable. They exceeded all that the rights of war, as observed between civilised nations, would sanction; and, as no necessity could warrant them, so no argument could excuse them." The impression produced by Burke was so deep, that the Prime Minister, and the Attorney-General, rose successively to assure the House that an interpretation had been placed upon the Manifesto which the words would not bear; but they were roughly contradicted by Governor Johnstone, who had been a brother Commissioner of Lord Carlisle, and who therefore spoke with an authority which there was no gainsaying. He had returned to England, breathing fire and fury against the Americans; and in consequence, for the first time in his life, he had been graciously received at Court when he went to pay his respects to His Majesty. Johnstone now told Parliament


fiercely and repeatedly that, whatever might be alleged to the contrary, the Proclamation most certainly did mean a war of destruction. "It meant nothing else; it could mean nothing else; and, if he had been on the spot when it was issued, he would himself have signed it. No quarter ought to be shown to the American Congress; and, if the internals could be let loose on them, he would approve the measure." No Minister of the Crown was able to gainsay a man who knew so accurately what he was talking about, and who (as North and Wedderburn were both aware), gave expression to the exact sentiments held by their own strong-willed and masterful Sovereign.

Burke performed a still more notable and durable service to mankind by his protest against the employment of savage auxiliaries in a warfare between civilised Powers. His statesmanlike and impassioned oratory produced an immediate effect upon the opinion, and an ultimate and permanent change in the practice, of our own and other nations. It was said at the time, and it has been repeated since, as an excuse for Lord North's Government, that French and English commanders in former years had often taken the field, or more properly speaking the forest, with a large contingent of Indian warriors in their train. British generals had used red men as scouts for the purpose of exploring the woods, and covering the flank of their columns, during an advance through the wilderness. But the Indians had hitherto been exclusively employed in aid of regular operations directed against an


armed and disciplined foe. It was reserved for Lord North and his colleagues to send them forth as executioners to punish a civil population for the crime of rebellion. Cherokees and Senecas, under injunctions sent from Downing Street, were subsidised with public money, and bribed with food and brandy, and then turned loose upon some peaceful country-side in Virginia or Pennsylvania to work their will, and glut their ferocity, amidst a community of English-speaking people who had not a single paid and trained soldier to protect them; and these hordes of savages, on more than one occasion, marched to the scene of slaughter and rapine under the orders of a Loyalist officer who bore His Majesty's commission. Lord Chatham, in the last months of his life, raised his voice in condemnation of this barbarous, — and, as he maintained, this unprecedented, — policy; but he got no satisfaction from a Secretary of State who seemed to have peculiar views of his own about the Third Commandment. "It is allowable," (replied the Earl of Suffolk,) "and perfectly justifiable, to use every means which God has put into our hands."

That statement was made in the House of Lords in November 1777; and, before the year was out full particulars of the catastrophe of Saratoga arrived in England. The history of Burgoyne's expedition was one long object lesson on the military value, and moral characteristics, of our Indian allies; and Burke chose an early opportunity for driving that lesson home to the conscience of Parliament. He spoke for more than three hours to


a crowded and entranced assembly. Those Indian tribes, (he said), had in the course of years been so reduced in number and power, that they were now only formidable from their cruelty; and to use them for warlike purposes was merely to be cruel ourselves in their persons. He called attention to the salient distinction between their employment "against armed and trained soldiers, embodied and encamped, and against unarmed and defenceless men, women, and children, dispersed in their several habitations" over the whole extent of a prosperous and industrious district. He attributed Burgoyne's defeat to the horror excited in the American mind by the prospect of an Indian invasion. The manly and resolute determination of the New England farmers to save their families and their homesteads from those barbarians led them "without regard to party, or to political principle, and in despite of military indisposition, to become soldiers, and to unite as one man in the common defence. Thus was the spectacle exhibited of a resistless army springing up in the woods and deserts". Indians, (said Burke), were the most useless, and the most expensive, of all auxiliaries. Each of their so-called braves cost as much as five of the best European musketeers; and, after eating double rations so long as the provisions lasted, they kept out of sight on a day of battle, and deserted wholesale at the first appearance of ill-success. They were not less faithless than inefficacious. When Colonel St. Leger found himself in difficulties they turned their weapons, with insolent treachery, against their


civilised comrades; and over a circuit of many miles around Burgoyne's camp they plundered, and butchered, and scalped with entire indifference to the sex, the age, and the political opinions of their victims. Burke told the story of the poor Scotch girl's murder, on the eve of her intended marriage to an officer of the King's troops, with an effect on the nerves of his audience which perhaps was never equalled except by his own description, during the trial of Warren Hastings, of the treatment inflicted by the Nabob Vizier on the Oude princesses. Many of his hearers were moved to tears; — a spectacle which, in the British Parliament, is seen hardly once in a generation; and Governor Johnstone congratulated the Ministry that there were no strangers in the Gallery, because they would have been worked up to such a pitch of excitement, that Lord North, and Lord George Germaine, must have run a serious risk from popular violence as soon as they emerged into the street from the sanctuary of the House of Commons.

And then Burke changed his note, and convulsed his audience by a parody of Burgoyne's address to the Indians. He related how the British general harangued a throng of warriors drawn from seventeen separate Indian nations, who, so far from understanding the Burgoynese dialect, could not even follow the meaning of a speech made in plain English; how he invited them, — by their reverence for the Christian religion, and their well-known, and well-considered, views on the right of taxation in-


herent in the Parliament of Westminster, to grasp their tomahawks, and rally round His Majesty's standard; and how he adjured them, "by the same divine and human laws," not to touch a hair on the head of man, woman, or child while living, though he was willing to deal with them for scalps of the dead, inasmuch as he was a nice and distinguished judge between the scalp taken from a dead person, and from the head of a person who had died of being scalped. "Let us illustrate this Christian exhortation, and Christian injunction," said Burke, "by a more familiar picture. Suppose the case of a riot on Tower Hill. What would the keeper of His Majesty's lions do? Would he not leave open the dens of the wild beasts, and address them thus: 'My gentle lions, my humane bears, my tender-hearted hyaenas, go forth against the seditious mob on your mission of repression and retribution; but I exhort you as you are Christians, and members of a civilised society, to take care not to hurt man, woman, or child.'"

The walls of the chamber fairly shook with applause; and Colonel Barré declared that, if Burke would only print the speech, he, on his part, would undertake that it should be nailed to the door of every parish church beneath the notice proclaiming a day of general fasting and humiliation on account of the surrender of Saratoga. That speech would explain, far better than the homily of any courtly bishop, the real causes of the disaster which had brought the nation to dust and ashes.