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even a much shorter time, generally lose the true practical notion of the country, and of what may or may
not be done in it. When I knew Ireland, it was very different from the state of England, where Government is a vast deal, the Publick something, but Individuals comparatively very little. But if Ireland bears any resemblance to what it was some years ago, neither Government nor publick opinion can do a great deal; almost the whole is in the hands of a few leading people. The populace of Dublin, and some parts in the North, are in some sort an exception. But the Primate, Lord Hillsborough, and Lord Hertford, have great sway in the latter, and the former may be considerable or not, pretty much as the Duke of Leinster pleases. On the whole, the success of Government usually depended on the bargain made with a very few
The resident Lieutenancy may have made some change, and given a strength to Government, which formerly, I know, it had not; still, however, I am of cpinion, the former state, though in other hands perliaps, and in another manner, still continues. The house you are connected with is grotin into a much greater degree of power than it had, though it was very considerable at the period I speak of. If the D. of L. takes a popular part, he is sure of the City of Dublin, and he has a young man attached to him, who stands very forward in Parliament, and in profession, and, by what I hear, with more good-will and less envy, than usually
atteris so rapid a progress. The movement of one or two principal men, if they manage the little popular strength, which is to be found in Dublin and Ulster, may do a great deal, especially when money is to be saved, and taxes to be kept off. I confess I should despair of your succeeding with any of them, if they can not be satisfied, that every job, which they can look for on account of carrying this measure, would be just as sure to them for their ordinary support of Government. They are essential to Government; which at this time must not be disturbed, and their neutrality will be purchased at as high a price as their alliance offensive and defensive. Now, as by supporting they may get as much as by betraying their country, it must be a great leaning to turpitude, that can make them take a part in this war. I am satisfied, that is the Duke of Leinster and Lord Shannon would act together, this business could not go on; or if either of them took part with Ponsonby it would have no better success.
Hutchinson's situation is r’uch altered since I saw you. To please Tisdall, he had been in a manner laid aside at the Castle. It is now to be seen, whether he prefers the gratification of his resentment and his appetite for popularity, both of which are strong cnough in him, to the advantages, which his independence gives him, of making a new bargain, and accumulating new offices on his heap. Pray do not be asleep in this scene of action; at this time, if I ain right, the principal.
The Protestants of Ireland will be, I think, in general, backward ; they form infinitely the greatest part of the landed, and the monied interests; and they will not like to pay. The Papists are reduced to beasts of burthen; thcy will give all they have, their shoulders, readily enough, if they are flattered. Surely the state of Ireland ouglit for ever to teach parties moderation in their victories. People crushed by law have no hopes but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws ; and those, who have much to hope and nothing to lose, will always be dangerous, more or less. But this is not our present business. If all this should prove a dream, however, let it not hinder
from writing to me and telling me so. You will easily refute, in your conversation, the little topicks, which they will set afloat; such as, that Ireland is a boat; and must go with the ship; that, if the Americans contended only for their liberties, it would be different; but since they have declared independence, and so forth
You are happy in enjoying Townshend's company. Remember me to him. How does he like his private situation, in a country, where he was the son of the Sovereign ?--Mrs. Burke and the two Richards salute you cordially:
E. B. Beaconsfield, , October 8th, 1777.
MARQUIS OF ROCKINGHAM*.
My dear Lord,
pardon for troubling you at all in this season of repose, than to apologize for having been so long silent on the approaching business. It comes upon us, not indeed in the most agreeable manner; but it does come upon us : and, I believe, your friends in general are in expectation of finding your Lordship resolved in what way you are to meet it. The deliberation is full of difficulties ; but the determination is necessary.
The affairs of America seem to be drawing towards a crisis. The Howes are at this time in possession of, or are able to awe, the whole middle coast of America, from Delaware to the western
* This Letter, with the two Addresses, which follow it, was written upon occasion of a proposed Secession from Parliament of the Members in both Ilouses, who had opposed the measures of Government, in the Contest between this Country and the Culonies in North America, from the time of the Repeal of the Stamp Act.-It appears, from an endorsement written by Mr. Burke on the Manuscript, that he warmly recommended the measure, but (for what reasons is not stated) it was not adopted. VOL. IX.
It is now,
boundary of Massachusets Bay: the naval barrier on the side of Canada is broken; a great tract of country is open for the supply of the troops; the river Hudson opens a way into the heart of the provinces; and nothing can, in all probability, prevent an early and offensive campaign. What the Americans have done is, in their circumstances, truly astonishing ; it is, indeed, infinitely more than I expected from them. But having done so much, for some short time, I began to entertain an opinion, that they might do more. however, evident that they cannot look standing armies in the face. They are inferiour in every thing, even in numbers ; I mean, in the number of those, whom they keep in constant duty and in regular pay. There seem,
There seem, by the best accounts, not to be above 10 or 12,000 men, at most, in their grand Army. The rest are Militia, and not wonderfully well composed or disciplined; they decline a general engagement, prudently enough, if their object had been to make the war attend upon a treaty of good terms of subjection : but, when they look further, this will not do. An army, that is obliged at all times, and in all situations, to decline an engagement, may delay their ruin, but can never defend their country.' Foreign assistance they have little, or none, nor are likely soon to have more. France, in effect, has no King, nor any Minister, accredited enough either with the Court or nation, to undertake a design of great magnitude.