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who perpetuate civil or religious discord, by committing outrage on the persons and property of others : and whilst the peace of the land is impartially maintained, not any means should be spared to remove that gross ignorance of the lower orders of the people, in many parts of the kingdom, which is incompatible with internal tranquillity and obedience to the laws; to give education to the rising generation, whether Catholic or Protestant, in the most general manner possible ; each, where practicable, under the superintendence of those of their own faith ; not so much to teach them to write or to read, as to civilize their minds, to accustom them to the habits and decorums of social life, and the duties of man to man in the state. Let as many as possible be instructed in some trade or manufacture, by which they may be enabled to gain a livelihood in their own or in another country.
Every lawful and constitutional means should be employed, to induce the nobility and the gentry of the land to reside: how far a revenue, raised from the absentee, and applied to the education of the lower orders, might be practicable or expedient, would remain for consideration : certainly it would seem but just, that those who expended the produce of their estates abroad, should at least con. tribute to remedy some of those evils of which their continued nonresidence was a leading cause.
The vital importance to their country of a frequent residence on their estates, cannot be too strongly impressed on the minds of the great landed proprietors of that kingdom : all those ties which should unite a people are broken, by the continued separation of the high from the low; the rich from the poor; the landlord from the tenant; the natural guardian of the indigent and the oppressed, from those who require his aid.
The lower orders are thereby excluded from all which tends most to attach them to the government under which they live ; which would encourage them to be orderly and industrious, and accustom them to the decorums of life.
That strong attachment which the landlords of other countries often experience from their tenantry; and that powerful influence which they possess over the minds and affections of a people, whom they and their ancestors have bound to themselves and to their families, by every feeling of gratitude for past benefits, and a full confidence of future interest in their welfare, must be looked for in vain by those, who for generations are strangers on their own domain; unknown, even in person, to their tenants and dependants, and often only kept alive in their recollections, through the arbia trary exercise of delegated power, and the ruinous employment of middle men; an evil most oppressive to the people, which unquestionably ought to be much regulated, and greatly abridged.
The country is thus deprived of the services, 'as magistrates, of those who have the greatest interest in the welfare of the people, and who would, in that station, be the most qualified to promote the prosperity of the kingdom ; and in their place, the exercise of these duties, which, in the present state of Ireland, arę so important to her peace, is, from the necessity thus created, but too often committed to persons not competent to so responsible an office. 5 1
The miseries which have been brought upon Ireland from this one lamentable cause of non-residence alone, extend themselves in their unhappy consequences more widely and deeply through the land, than it is possible to suppose can ever have been contemplated by those on whom the remedy depends, yet who still absent themselves from their country; but a conviction of these truths must be certain to follow a close and impartial investigation of the subject; and it is confidently to be hoped, that such conviction will alone be wanting, to stimulate the generous and the patriotic of the great landholders of Ireland, by the happy combination of their own true interests with the gratification of the best feelings of our nature, to devote a part of their time and a portion of their incomes, thus derived from that kingdom, to the welfare of their fellow-subjects; thus making the most effectual atonement to their country for former neglect, by steadily pursuing one of the most certain means to ensure her future prosperity and happiness.
Equally honorable would it be to themselves, and beneficial to their country, that the regular clergy of the Protestant Church, should, as much as possible, reside on their benefices; and, where a plurality of livings is allowed, that the incumbent should at least make some one of those in the kingdom of Ireland, his abode, and thus expend his income within the country from which it was derived.
Measures for the commutation of tithes have already been commenced; and all must admit, that this salutary object demands the serious attention of both clergy and laity, for the adoption of such arrangements as may remove present dissension, and introduce an improved system, equally to the advantage of the parties, and essential to the peace and prosperity of the kingdom.
Some plan should be arranged, by which an independent income might be provided for the Catholic clergy, suited to the dignity of the several offices which they hold in their own church. The state of dependance in which the inferior parts of their priesthood are placed, in being compelled to receive the very means of their existence from the hard-earned pittance of their destitute flocks, is fraught with the worst consequences to society, and has had the most prejudicial effects on the country.
The selection of a liberal, an enlightened, and a humane magis
tracy, is an object of as great vital importance to the future well-be. ing of Ireland, as any which can come under the cognizance of the government: on their selection, the due execution of every conciliatory measure would mainly depend : it is in vain to enact liberal laws, if they are not well administered; even a bad law, in judicious and benevolent bands, is deprived of half its evil; whilst the best of enactments become worse than a dead letter, under the direction of a party spirit, and distorted to the purpose of the moment, by faction and intolerance.
The reform of this department will require all the vigilance, firmness, and disinterested regard for the future peace and prosperity of the country, which can be exerted by a truly patriotic and enlightened administration; but which important service to the country never can be effectually performed, until the more regular residence of a sufficient number of the higher orders, shall supply the government with the means of making such a selection.
The general cultivation of the waste lands; extending manufactures, commerce, and fisheries; working collieries and nines ; improving barbours ; cutting canals; opening the navigation of rivers ; and such other great national undertakings, are well worthy the liberal encouragement of government; and could not fail to give a new impulse to the people : industry and enterprize would be encouraged; British capital would unhesitatingly be employed; and hundreds of thousands of those who now search in vain for occupation abroad, would thus find it at their homes : they would feel that they indeed possessed a country which regarded them as children, and not as aliens and an encumbrance to their native soil ; they would feel that these ameliorations of their condition, which, during the late and the present reign, had removed more grievous laws from the statute-book, and done more towards placing them on the footiog of their fellow-subjects, than had been accomplished since the establishment of the Protestant Church, were only the precursors of a more general system.
Many of these objects, particularly of late years, have engaged the attention of government: some severe and partial laws have been repealed; and it has not been found that the administration of justice was thereby rendered more difficult : in some counties a better selection of magistrates has taken place; and in proportion to the extent in which this measure has been adopted, its advantages have been immediately apparent.
In parts of the kingdom, particularly in the north-east, many of the urst of the nobility and gentry are resident, and the prosperity and the tranquillity of the country have in a similar proportion advanced: in all those dioceses in which the residence of the clergy has of
late been more universal, equally beneficial consequences have followed.
Wherever education has become general, the inhabitants have become more orderly and tranquil ; and where the commerce, the manufactures, and the agriculture of the nation, have met with the fostering care of those in power, the people have shown an alacrity in availing themselves of the advantages thus afforded ; and their increased industry, and their decreased misery have been the certain consequences.
Enough" has in this manner recently been effected, to bring conviction to every mind disposed to take an impartial view of the subject : that these seeds have not been sown in a steril soil, and that such is the course which will most effectually promote the tranquillity, the prosperity, and the happiness of Ireland; which will the soonest rescue her from her present dangerous and lament. able state, and elevate her to that rank amongst nations, to which she is entitled by her natural advantages, and the talents and the character of her people.
In such a state of things every ground of alarm from that muchdreaded evil, an overgrown population, would, by a two-fold operation, cease to exist : the present generation would find employment; the future, instructed in the habits of orderly and civilized life; feeling the contrast between their late abject misery and the benefits they would thus enjoy, and above all, having through these means imbibed the most important conviction that à decent home, comfortable food and clothing, cleanliness, and decorum, were amongst the requisites of life, and essential to domestic happiness, they would not, as at present, almost universally marry at a very early age; they would endeavour first to obtain the probable means of support for themselves and their future families, before they changed their condition. This is not a vague theory; many parts of England and Scotland furnish abundant proofs of the beneficial effects of education, order, and employment, on the lower classes of life in this particular respect.
Accompanied by such measures, and with the people attached, as unquestionably by these means they would be, to that government which had thus evinced so strong a feeling for their welfare, and done so much to promote it: this long-contested question of Catholic emancipation would be stripped of its present terrors, even in the minds of the most timid and sceptical: the people would become prepared for the changes which would be thus produced : it would have been ascertained that this emancipation was but one of many important requisites to the tranquillity and the prosperity of this long-distracted kingdom: in the mean while, other objects and pursuits would have occupied the minds of men ; their ani, mosities and contentions would have gradually died away, from a reciprocity of good offices and a community of interests ; and that which had before been the source of so much strife and bloodshed, would in this manner accommodate itself to the order of things, and its final accomplishment complete the great work : men would acquire the conviction that human beings might differ from each other as to the forms they used in worshipping their Creator, and yet be equally valuable citizens, and faithful subjects of a paternal goverument.
The earliest act of his present Majesty, after his coronation, was to go over to Ireland—the first sovereign of his house who visited that kingdom : the example which he there set to all parties ; his magnanimous endeavors to conciliate and reconcile to each other, men of every class; to obliterate past animosities, and to commence a new order of things, was well worthy of a great monarch, and did equal honor to his talents and his heart. Unhappily, after his return, that dignified and liberal example which he had set to his people was not generally followed to the extent that it might have been, or Ireland had already felt its beneficial effects.
It is, however, by no means too late to act up to the impulse then given : every circumstance seems peculiarly to call the attention of both countries to this great and vital object: the hope may yet be entertained that a liberal and enlightened policy would be crowned with complete success : every thing on the other hand clearly demonstrates that Ireland cannot much longer go on in her present state without the most disastrous results.
With Great Britain, prosperous and tranquil at home, in peace with the whole world, the present seems, above every other, the most propitious period for the enlightened and the truly patriotic of all classes and parties, by one generous and disinterested effort, to concur iu suppressing anarchy and violence; in promoting the most effectual means for the salvation of that noble but ill-fated country; and by the firm, vigorous, and liberal pursuit of that object, to ensure its accomplishment.
The destiny of Ireland is in our hands; and we have to choose between the two extremes, whether misery, anarchy, and bloodshed shall continue to desolate the country, and render her wretched in herself, and dangerous to the empire; or, by seizing the opportunity still within our power, to raise her to prosperity and greatness; render her happy and united at home : in peace, the brightest jewel in the imperial crown, and the consolidation of the British power in war.
But the important moment, allowed !o pass by, may not again recur; and self-reproach, late and unavailing regrets, and the con
VOL. XXV. Pam. NO. XLIX.