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neutralize the injustice pursued towards the five millions, of whom these five hundred form one ten-thousandth part ? and how can any deliberately believe that this will permanently quiet them? Is there then no genius remaining in Ireland after these five hundred aspirants are abstracted ? Do we forget what history so often tells us, that many of the principal actors in the affairs of nations have never been observed to deviate from the beaten track of common humanity, until some unusual circumstance has suddenly fired their souls, and shown to an astonished world how ardently they could burn ?
Would history have ever informed us that there had been a Brutus, had Tarquin learned to control his passions ? Would the names of Cromwell, Fairfax, and others, have been heard by us, had they been quietly allowed to sail to America, where they were proceeding, that they might till the land in peace and quietness, and no longer feel that they were victims of religious intolerance ? Or ask the present Lord Chancellor if he has not an evidence of it in his own person ?
time would fail me to state, or the reader to listen to the proofs which might be adduced, that man is the creature of circumstances, and you have not yet provided for the circumstances of the Irishman, who perhaps is more the creature of circumstances than any other of the species.
Now let us imagine these five hundred to have each found a quietus in various profitable places, such as their respective habits and connexions paved the way to. Well; does Ireland lack the germs of fifty such five hundreds, if room were found for them in succession ? It's of no use to say,
“ Poh! what's genius without education ?" “ look to the History of the World for an answer :" there are plenty, who, encouraged by the success of their predecessors, would become as noisy in declamation as O'Connell and his compeers. O'Connell could not have agitated had there not been a cause; and if you take away the five thousand most eloquent men of Ireland, abundance more will come forward and perform the work of agitation; because though the business of
the agitators is carried, the interests, the honest interests of the agitated remain unprovided for, untouched, by the measure. The hearts of these will continually vibrate to succeeding agitators, supplied by that genius so remarkable and general in Ireland which drives straight home to their incitable feelings, and takes triumphant possession of the heart of almost every man, woman, and youth of Ireland.
It will probably soon be seen that there will be no lack of the resumption of agitation, unless you remove the appetite for that agitation which is found in their hatred of other Christian sects, chiefly because the support of one of them is made a pretence for their oppression ; and who can deny that it is a pretence, when all sensible men on the subject know that the tithe-system has been the grand stumbling block to the reformation in Ireland; and if you do any thing professing thereby to promote any specific object, and you know at the same time that that thing defeats that object, is it want of charity and love to call it a 161
pretence? Does pure Christianity forbid that this simple truth shall be told in simple terms ? The
poor Irish peasant will ask his priest, Well, what have we got by our Relief Bill ?” The priest may probably reply, “ You have got no relief by it, but it gives you advocates of your own to strengthen and enforce your claims for relief.”
Do any fear that the Romish church will obtain so much power as to enable them again to persecute the members of other churches ? Let them trust to the DIVINE BLESSING on their honest and consistent endeavours to remove the means of oppression from all, themselves as well as others, that the very principle of oppression for religious opinions might be extinguished from the land; but if they will hold oppression for their own benefit, they will naturally fear those who are struggling in the contest; for who shall possess the power, until that power no longer exists for either to scramble for ?
It would be easy to legislate usefully, and pretty effectually to guard all from harm, if
those who legislate would steadily adhere to honest bonâ fide principles; but to make the same conduct appear black in one class of men, and white in another class of men, is no easy task, and it is to be hoped never will be easy. And are those clear of it, who, struggling for the safety of the tithe-system, direct the people's attention to the oppressions of the Romish church ?