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HUMANITY the chief blessing, solace, and charm of life, how much of happiness do we owe to thy soft endearments, enchaining heart to heart in the social ties of love and friendship, disposing every thing to harmony, abating the pride of prejudice, and reconciling the differences of philosophy and religion, in that admirable agreement of general principles, which is the preservation of the morals, and of manners; how easily might thy kind influence be used to dispel the gloom of disaffection, and all the mischiefs of party distinction, and yet a blind and mistaken policy prevails, a system of terror is still preferred, and un, happy IRELAND remains the peculiar object of its stern regards; the opiates of conciliation are yet neglected by men who judge without feeling the pulse, or being properly acquainted with the fever of the people of that country, as ignorant physicians prescribe wrong from their mistaking the true complaint of the patient. To cut off a diseased member, the knife may be applied with success, but where the whole body is in a morbid state, skilful alteratives must be used, and
the change in the constitution must be effected by regimen and gentle treatment. It is true, that when rebellion erects its hydra heads, it is time to be severe; but it should be that just description of severity, that shows both the power to punish, and the desire to pardon;and indeed, where the people of a country from peculiar circumstances like the Irish, labours under the misfortune of disunion among themselves, it would be wise and prudent to use some mild means to abate the virulence of their mutual hatred, by a mediation that might cause them to believe an union with England, the greatest blessing that could happen them.
The fact is, that the disposition of the people of Ireland is misunderstood, the country is divided in itself, and not all the military power that exists, can remove the rooted enmity one party bears the other. It was currently believed, and insisted upon by the Roman catholics, that they were to be massacred immediately after the union should take place, and even at this time, they believe it fatal to their interests in the commonwealth. The distinctions in use, that is the bit of orange ribband, worn in the breasts of the Orange party, is another eye sore to the Catholics, and serves to keep in recollection dangerous memoranda, that are mischievous to the true happiness of the country. To such an extent is this reciprocal hatred carried, that the great Roman catholics will not purchase even the articles of trade from the shop of a protestant, and so vice versa. Where such ignoble tenets prevail, it is virtue to be of no religion, but that
of nature; for the professors disgrace christianity, which is properly the religion of universal good-will, and are alike distant from that true goodness which knows not in the true duties of life a Samaritan from a Jew. There is nothing so difficult to overcome as rooted prejudices, and they certainly never will be overcome in Ireland, until the manners of the people can be changed; the means that have been used are mistaken means; terror may for a time silence the active voice of disaffection, but it will murmur; the caffold may present dreadful examples, but when the sufferers are loved, every rebel is called a martyr, and the cause acquires inward strength; the Irish have it now strongly fixed in their minds, that they are a degraded people, that they shall never be liked again by this country, and that they will always be used with harshness and cruelty; in short, they are sinking fast into that fatal despondency, which creates the strong sensations of revenge and hatred against the authors of their misery. I have paid much attention to the succession of tragic events which have occurred in Ireland, I have seen the noble minds of men disordered with the phrenzy of rebellion, who would have been grand ornaments of society; but notwithstanding the knife has been used, the corroding ulcer remains, the constitution of Ireland is as diseased as ever.
It is the great business of true policy, by insensible inculcations of truth, to operate on the minds of a people, not to shock by new and offensive innovations, but to get at their consents by introducing among them a new spirit, and the spirit of humanity
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is best suited to soften the fierceness and asperity of the Irish, who are naturally hospitable and brave. I am sorry to observe, but I do it with respect and love for the Roman catholics, that their religion is encompassed by superstitions and prejudices which destroy its beauties; the Roman catholics, or rather the Papists, are much too jealous, much too proud, they ask for toleration, but do not give it: the greater part of the misunderstanding among mankind has originated in priest-craft. It is pleasing to the rational mind to contemplate the unassuming dignity with which some of the clergy of the church England perform their offices of charity and love, and there is a Roman catholic priest in this country, whose sermons are the same lessons of good will and charity; men like these can never disagree; no, it is the ignorant wretched dealers in the false articles of religion, who keep up their conjurations to maintain themselves; for hundreds of priests in Ireland would starve, were the poor people once frced from the enchantments of priestcraft; wretched as they are, they will frequently give all they have to their priests, who in return, inculcate and nourish in their minds that hatred so fatal to their happiness. Good heavens! where is the understanding of the country hid; will it for ever suffer low and mean prejudices to disturb the repose of reason ? let the hated distinctions of Orange and Croppies be heard no more, but let the catholic and the protestant embrace; let them be united by the intermarriage of sentiment; let the priests be instructed by the superiors of their church to imbibe no more ideas of dis
like and hatred, but let them preach love and peace; let the present race of ignorant teachers run out, and let their places be supplied by men of education and understanding, in whose hands religion may be unpolluted, and the people safe from imposition, much fewer in numbers, but much stronger in true religion,
The custom of hunting the Wren is an unhappy proof of the hatred of the low. Irish; for the Orange party, it is said, that at the time Prince William gained the battle of the Boyne, one of these poor little harmless creatures happened to alight upon a drum, which was considered as a good omen by the army of William, and since that time, a barbarous and disgraceful anniversary of sport is kept of this incident, when the low catholics sally forth, and wherever they can find a wren, hunt the poor little creature to death. Who is it can thus dare to separate humanity from religion?
True policy will then direct the means of giving peace to that country. It can only be brought about by the mutual determination of men of liberal minds of either party; to produce so desirable an object, let invidious distinctions be proscribed; let the catholics participate all the blessings and advantages of the protestants, power alone excepted; let the good sense of each country unite for the benefit of each, and it
may then be called, with truth, the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.