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from without, less obvious, yet perhaps not less essential to our continued well-being. In some unknown manner, solar energy unquestionably reacts upon the electrical and magnetic condition of our planet, by turns stimulating and relaxing its activity in correspondence with its own rhythmical alternations. Such correspondence is part of the vital union which subsists between the various members of our system. No one of them is truly independent of the others. They form together, as it were, a living and co-operative whole. Polar lights are as a beacon kindled in response to the subtle messengers of the sun, telling that the earth is no dead or cast-off member, but still thrills in harmony with, as well as moves obediently to, the great life-sustaining luminary.
ART. V.-1. Miscellaneous Works of Philip Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield. 3 vols. 8vo. London: 1779.
2. A Tour in Ireland. By ARTHUR YOUNG. 2 vols. 8vo. Dublin: 1780.
3. Memoir of Thomas Drummond. By JOHN F. MACLENNAN. London: 1875.
MR. R. LECKY, who has himself given us an interesting sketch of the subject in his History of England in the 'Eighteenth Century,' justly remarks that 'Irish history has 'passed to a lamentable extent into the hands of religious polemics, of dishonest partisans, and of half-educated and uncritical enthusiasts." He might have used stronger adjectives and sharper invectives. It is a disgrace to our literature that the materials, which are now fairly abundant, should not by this time have been woven by some practised and trustworthy writer into a readable history, conceived in a spirit of absolute impartiality, and available at the present crisis for the formation of opinion. The history of England itself is of comparatively little moment at the present stage of our national life; the country wants to know what it has done with Ireland during the seven centuries of its dominion, especially what it has done since the expulsion of King James the Second from Irish soil, and during the present century. Even the shallowest politician is aware that the future for which he is now summoned to provide must necessarily be the offspring of the past. If ever there was a demand for the eye of experience' it is now. The most brilliant statesman, the most inventive constitution-monger is no more to be trusted than a child unless he has
thoroughly mastered all the details of Irish history and grasped their full significance; nor unless we have each of us in our measure acquired some such knowledge, can we escape the ignominy of rendering a blind obedience, very unworthy of Englishmen, to political leaders.
One phenomenon must strike any person who has even skimmed the pages of such histories and sketches of Irish history as exist. Whoever and whatever else is right, the English Government is always wrong. Roman Catholic or Protestant, Nationalist' or brutally English,' the writer feels he cannot be wrong if he attributes the failures which have occurred to the follies and vices of the English system, and that he cannot be right if he allows his reader to suppose that there ever was a time when Ireland was well governed and her people anything but miserable. If facts of an opposite kind are obstinate, they are of no avail-for what is the use of picking out two or three doubtful exceptions? -or, if they cannot be tossed aside, they are made to lend additional force to the argument. Have the 'downtrodden' people appeared to give evidence of contentment or prosperity? What could you expect from men out of whom all spirit had been crushed? It only proves that the iron had entered into their very soul. Even the slaves on the Middle Passage were said to be enjoying happy dances on deck when they were only leaping up and down in fetters under the lash of the owner, in order that they might keep life together a little longer. Enough! It is impossible to deal with perverse and uncandid interpretations of history. Let us submit one or two considerations to the reader.
Have not these critics of the English Government a little too much lost sight of the fact that the larger island has during the last ages been only slowly passing into her present stage of enlightenment? Was she herself governed upon principles much superior to those which she introduced into the government of Ireland? Could she be expected to do more for her than for herself? And secondly, when a cheap and virtuous indignation is poured forth with so much unction upon the government of Ireland under the Penal Laws, is sufficient allowance made for the fact that the ramification of Jacobite intrigue in France and Spain, as well as England and Ireland, was necessarily the main factor in the English policy of the first half of the eighteenth century? We might suppose, if we listened to some, that the danger of a Stuart reaction had passed away with the Battle of the Boyne, whereas the earlier Hanoverian kings and their
ministers were never free from the dread of an impending catastrophe. What we have to do then-it ought not to be necessary to say so-is to learn to regard the modern history of Ireland not abstractedly, but relatively; and the way in which it was governed not as the thing which might have been had man never been expelled from Paradise, but as it existed under certain circumstances and after a particular past history. A few words on the Ireland which the House of Hanover found at its arrival on English shores must precede the estimate which we propose to make of the sort of government which existed in that island during a large part of the eighteenth and nineteeth centuries. The mediæval history of Ireland, the Reformation period, that of the Stuarts and Cromwell, even the pious and immortal 'memory' of William and the brilliant reign of Anne will find no place here; not even the Treaty of Limerick and the endless discussion as to the conduct of the conquerors in dealing with its provisions. We cannot undo the past; we may take warning by it. Those who attempt to roll back the stream of time are engaged in the frivolous task of Sisyphus.
To measure the responsibilities of the nation when it imposed the Penal Laws of Queen Anne's reign, common fairness requires that we should take into account that they were framed during a state of war, under the memory of the recent Irish struggle in which England had only just held her own, under the pressure of the enormous taxation required to hurl back the legions of Louis XIV., James Stuart's master and patron, and when it had become necessary to bridle the hostility of Scotland by means of a 'union' effected in much the same manner as in Ireland a century later. Gladly would the wise ministers of Anne have adopted that expedient in the sister island at the same time; but the circumstances of the two smaller kingdoms were wholly different. The machinery which alone in Ireland presented itself to them was that afforded by the Protestant landlords and the Church of Ireland. Power was to be reposed in their hands; the Roman Catholic estates were to be gradually broken up by a Gavel Act;' every inducement was to be held out to the Roman Catholics to change their religion. If our modern civilisation has taught us to shudder at these ideas, let us not forget what had made them seem not only expedient but right to the men of that age-what has forced the impartial Ranke to defend the sanguinary policy of Elizabeth, the tolerant Locke to find
an exception to his theory, the eloquent Jeremy Taylor, pleading for Liberty of Prophesying,' to acknowledge that there were limits beyond which even he could not proceed.
The root of bitterness strikes right down through the soil of the Middle Ages. The claim of the Papacy to hold the secular sword, to array the kings of the earth against one another in its service, and persecute to the death all who refused allegiance to the Vatican, produced its effects long after the Reformation, and has indeed only retired from observation by stress of adverse circumstances. As long as these principles were openly avowed and acted upon, the Reformed communions not unnaturally felt that the holders of them must be restrained and debilitated in order that they might not subvert society. If no faith was to be kept with heretics, then the holders of that opinion must not be allowed to assume a place which would enable them to give effect to it. If we are to measure degrees of blameableness, one wrong must be set off against the other. The conscientiousness with which, to the point of misery and death, the Papal theory was so often held, may excite our admiration; but the exercise of conscience has its limits, as modern society pronounces pretty frequently in our own day. When conscientious obligations make people hate one another for the love of God," it is time for the policeman to step in.
At any rate, under the Protestant ascendency' Ireland was at least retained in connexion with Great Britain during the critical period of the great war, and this was the system which the House of Hanover found in operation when the voice of Great Britain called it to the throne. If the new dynasty had desired ever so much to commence its rule under a better system, the Rebellion of 1715 settled the question in the negative. Ireland was too securely governed at the moment to admit of its taking any part with the Pretender; but who at that time could dream of superseding the machinery under which such a result had come about? Who could blame George I. and his advisers if, finding a large section of the Tories inextricably mixed up with the interests of the fallen dynasty and making common cause with the Roman Catholics for that purpose, they decided to govern England and Scotland through the agency of the Whigs, Ireland through that of the 'Protestant ascendency'? Great Britain approved. Speaking by the mouth of her Parliament and the mass of the governing classes, she showed that, little as she loved the new-comers, she feared the return of the old House far more. The memory of the first Queen
Mary and the second King James was burnt into the soul of the English and Scotch people. That deep and indelible impression will account for many more things than can be noticed here.
The period of rest and tranquillity which Ireland experienced after the establishment of the Protestant ascendency is reckoned by different writers at fifty, sixty, or ninety years; some going back to William's conquest of the Roman Catholic malcontents and their French allies, some to the commencement of Walpole's premiership; but all agree in closing the period with the outbreak of the war between Great Britain and her colonies. For fifty years,' says Mr. Froude, Ireland has no history.' This is very convenient for the historian, but it is at least equally suggestive to the political philosopher. Mr. Lecky accounts for the phenomenon by the engrossing occupation of the people in the supply of their material wants, and by the absence of the fighting part of the population in the military service of France and Spain. We cannot refuse to recognise the force of these reasons, but they are wholly inadequate. We must rather look to the growth of a moderate Roman Catholic party and the policy of playing them off against the Protestants; to the further policy which began to obtain of relaxing (without abrogating) the Penal Laws; finally, to the spirit of good will which was the result of these things on the part of the Roman Catholics, and which found its most remarkable expression under the influence of Lord Chesterfield, both as Lord Lieutenant and afterwards. All this is perfectly well known to students, but does not find sufficient notice in books. The struggle against the Jesuits which was proceeding in Europe towards the latter end of the period now before us was only the outcome of a long previously growing sentiment within the Roman Church. As education advanced, intelligent Roman Catholics had begun to see the error of the position into which the Popes and the Jesuits had led them, and, having got the worst of it in many a conflict with the State, were glad to establish a modus vivendi. There had always been a certain number of loyal Roman Catholics in Ireland, as the famous 'Loyal • Remonstrance' proved; it was now largely increased.
Further, we must distinguish the half-century of Hanoverian government, during which the Penal Laws were deliberately relaxed, from the earlier period when they were far more generally, but not always, enforced. We connect this systematic relaxation with the policy of Walpole,