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UNION MAGAZINE,

For AUGUST, 1801.

ORNAMENTED WITH A PORTRAIT OF THE LATE SIR WILLIAM JONES,
AND A VIEW OF BOULOGNE.

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Sold by Lackington, Allen, and Co. Finsbury-Square; Vernor and Hood, in the Poultry;
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J. Archer, and B. Dugdale, Dublin; and by all the Booksellers

throughout the United Kingdom.

J. Cundee, Printer, Ivy-Lane.

To Correspondents.

THE Essay by MARCUS, on the various Commentators of Shakespeare, is under consideration.

Our CHICHESTER Friend has our thanks for his Communications; but most of the Anecdotes are too well known to be repeated.

The Sonnets signed ZORAIDA cannot appear. They are without sense and sound.

X's Suggestions are received; the plan he proposes is on a scale so very extensive as to require much consideration.

THE

UNION MAGAZINE,

AND

IMPERIAL REGISTER.

No. VIII. AUGUST, 1801.

HISTORY OF THE UNION WITH IRELAND.

[Continued from Page 4 of our last.]

SUCH was the zeal of the metropolis, and so powerful was its influence over the rest of the country, to defeat all attempts which might have been made to effect an union, that the question was not brought forward even indirectly until the year 1798. The supporters and friends of government in both kingdoms, but particularly in Ireland, no longer thought it necessary, in the months of September and October of that year, to conceal his Majesty's intention of recommending the measure to the consideration of his parliaments. They felt themselves justified in that avowal by the wretched situation of the inhabitants. The insurrection was indeed suppressed, but there still existed many serious causes of alarm. Property was insecure; the spirit of political party, and the rancour of religious prejudice, were unsubdued; the mass of the people, groaning under the tyranny of their own countrymen, might be considered as mere spectators, curious to witness, but little interested in the result of the measure. Its adoption might improve, but could not render their situation worse. The British cabinet and the Irish government had before them the report of the Committee of Secrecy of the House of Commons, which stated, "That the rebellion originated in a system, framed not with a view of obtaining either Catholic emancipation, or any reform compatible with the existence of the constitution, but for the purpose of subverting the government, separating Ireland from Great-Britain, and forming a democratic republic, founded on the destruction of all church-establishment, the abolition of ranks, and the confiscation of property;" and who could undertake to say, that a political connection, dependent upon the precarious proceedings of two distinct legislatures, would again triumph over a new conspiracy equally formidable, and the possibility of which none could deny?

VOL. 2.No. 8.

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It was also maintained, that the vices and defects of the parliamentary system, as well as of the governing system of the sister kingdom, could not long subsist without adding to the calamities of the Irish people, and endangering the safety of the whole empire. For these vices and defects, it was contended, that the only remedy which could be found was either a reform or an union with Great Britain; but the former, which, by opening an inlet to innovation, might overwhelm the whole fabric, was supported by few, and the latter remained the sole remedy. A brief review of the parliamentary system of Ireland, in its origin and progress, will at once shew the justice of these opinions, and illustrate the present subject in several interesting points of view.

It is not necessary to revert to those very remote and melancholy times when the great body of the people was reduced to a state of absolute slavery, deprived of all conception of common interest, common law, and common defence; when the power of a tyrannical and capricious chieftain was ever before their eyes, from whose disposal nothing could shield their fortunes and their lives; and when the exercise of the royal jurisdiction was restricted to less than a tenth part of the kingdom. The state of Ireland in the reign of Elizabeth, when the power of the crown, after a contest of 440 years, was for the first time extended over all the island, and a force was retained in it sufficient to support that power, more immediately presents itself to the view. The minds of men, satiated with the horrid scenes of war, were sincerely disposed to taste the blessings of peace. A dreadful series of disorders, devastations, and bloodshed prepared them to receive with alacrity those civil regulations which were introduced by succeeding

monarchs.

The rebellion under Queen Elizabeth having occasioned forfeits to a great extent, with respect both to number and value, a colony of protestants was sent over by James I. in order to occupy those lands, and contribute to their improvement. But the new settlers were soon exposed to the barbarous animosities of the natives, who differed from them in religion, in language, in laws, and in all the habits of social intercourse. To provide, therefore, for their security by extraordinary means became a measure of necessity with government, and the king erected for that purpose sixtyseven protestant corporations, with the privilege of sending each two representatives to sit in parliament. To this circumstance the institution of an Irish parliament was indebted for its commencement; for although the assembly of the Pale had previously existed, that meeting could assert no just claim to the title.

A hostile parliament was thus established in a hostile country, and a government arose whose views were opposite to those of its subjects. It derived prosperity and permanence from the wretchedness of the people, and certainly no system could be more formidable than that which had for its basis a necessary reciprocity of coercion and resistance, The protestant interest was further strengthened by Cromwell, who erected new boroughs, and made

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new distributions of the property belonging to the papists; and while the revolution gave to England additional security, for life, liberty, and property, it served in Ireland but to throw heavier chains on the people, to exclude the Roman Catholics from the legislature, to wrest from them all means of education, and to arm the hands of the protestant aristocracy with new instruments of oppression.

The melancholy effects of this miserable policy were but too soon visible upon the face of the country, and upon the manners of the inhabitants. Industry and emulation were quickly banished; the Irish people, with the Irish soil, became the property of a proud and selfish aristocracy, and to cultivate the land almost for the exclusive benefit of prejudiced and inhuman landlords was the principal object of their unceasing toils and cruel servitude.

At the accession of the present royal family, the attention of Great-Britain was very much diverted from Ireland, both by the agitation which succeeded the settlement of the House of Hanover upon the throne, and the multiplicity of foreign considerations with which she was then occupied. Ireland was left in a great · degree to the will of her own aristocracy, which increasing in power, and assuming an irresistible controul over every viceroy, were heedless of the sufferings, or prevented the complaints of the people from reaching the ear of the Sovereign. A compliance with the wishes of the party became a necessary condition on the part of each successive Lord Lieutenant to carry on the common operations of government. A nobleman still living, who was expressly appointed chief governor of Ireland, for the purpose of crushing this overbearing and selfish confederacy, succeeded in destroying its power and influence; but it was only by raising upon its ruins an opposite faction, whose views, principles, and conduct, were nearly, if not altogether, similar.

Since that period a temporizing plan between the adverse parties was pursued, in order to carry on the business of government, and an insurmountable barrier remained between the crown and the people. Of the removal of an obstacle so hateful and so unnatural no hopes could be entertained, while, from the preponderance of the borough interest in the House of Commons, a few principal proprietors possessed the power of perverting the genuine spirit of legislation, and of frustrating the wise and benevolent intentions of the Sovereign. A most pernicious consequence resulting from such a coalition was, that it became necessary for the aristocracy to give to their scheme of coercion a vigour proportionate to the numerical increase of population; and it was obvious to every man acquainted with the most common principles of civil polity, that a system of reciprocal exertion and coercion, once established and recognized in the heart of a country, would infallibly tend to dissolution.

The constitutional and commercial advantages obtained since the year 1780 were in vain held up as proofs of the excellence of the parliamentary system. The people were not to be deceived

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