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I know not if others have been struck as I have; but every thing I see appears to me inexplicable, and nearly to approach to madness. I can understand those acts, however whimsical in them, selves, which tend to the same object, and are likely to benefit the authors of them : but I can form no conception of men who desire to save themselves, and who yet do the very thing that must destroy them. What occasion is there, I would ask, for those acts of violence which we have for some months witnessed--that agitation in the midst of repose--that thirsting after ministerial dictatorship, when no one disputes the established power? Why corrupt the journals, and afterwards bind them in chains, when the victories of an heir to the throne and the prosperity of France had destroyed all revolutionary opposition ? That which the King announced on opening the session of 1823, had been permitted by Providence, and accomplished by the army. Who is there that did not feel in his paternal soil a former footing? who that did not rejoice to see France regain her rank among the Powers of Eu
But some unknown circumstance arises to snatch away our fairest hopes. We retrograde, on a sudden, at least eight years ; we are replacing ourselves just where we were at the commencement of the restoration : we are arming ourselves afresh against the public liberties : we revert to the Censorship-aggravating the evil by an act without precedent as it regards the tribunals. We imitate the very conduct we had stigmatised: we introduce circular letters at ihe elections: we feel the need of Peers to secure a majo, rity; and yet, whilst we repel the Royalists, we assume that apelJation. Every thing was tending towards ministerial power ; every thing now is receding from it: it remains insulated, exposed to a thousand enemies, supported only by opinions that it dictates, by journals that it pays, and by flatterers whom it despises.
When looking for a solution of these inexplicable things, one sometimes feels inclined to fall into the opinion of those melancholy persons who think that certain mysterious societies are driving to destruction all established order. But what are we putting in its place ? the arbitrary will of Ministers, and the yoke of their clerks and underlings. And is it thus we would attempt to govern France, and contravene the advancement of society and of the age in which we live!
No, that is impossible : yet, if we would reject these fears, others will still remain, that are created by the faults of which we are at once the witnesses and the victims. By exaggerating every thing, by forcing every thing, by abusing every thing, by trenching on established institutions, and compromising things most sacred, all means of future government are destroyed, the
strongest minds are wearied out, whilst honest men are disgusted; and thus, between despotism on the one hand, and an impracticable liberty on the other, people shrink into that indifference in politics, which brings on the dissolution of society-as indifference in religion leads to annihilation.
Who can have produced these tremendous evils ? What ill-fated, but powerful genius has controlled the fortune of our country? It can be no genius. Nothing can be more deplorable than that which has happened to us, in the triumph of an undefinable something, and the success of a few little plotting contrivers. Two or three individuals get themselves fixed in power-and, in order to hold it for a few days, they stake the great destinies of France against their momentary interest.
We must make haste to quit the road we have got into, unless we would fall into a precipice. People may dispose of themselves, or destroy themselves, if they think fit; but ought on no account to compromise their country's welfare : but the Ministry by its system has shaken the legitimate monarchy to its foundations. What signify their intentions ? they can never make amends for their deeds.
The remedy indeed is easy, if the disease be taken in time : if it is suffered to make head, it becomes incurable. I cannot develop all my thoughts in this small pamphlet, the rapid work of a few hours, and which I publish in haste on account of the importance of the subject; it is hard for me, that am so far advanced in my career, to re-engage in struggles which have consumed my life; but, a Peer of France, and a Magistrate, I cannot see public liberty perish. I could not see the tribunals attacked without raising my voice-without yielding my support, feeble as it may be, to the institutions that are endangered. That the throne of our wise Monarch may remain unassailable—that France may be free and happy is my prayer ;-and as to my own destiny, God's will be done!
THE PRESENT DISTURBANCES
THE SOUTHERN DISTRICTS
A RESIDENT OF THE COUNTY OF CORK.
“ Ainsi, lorsqu'un prince veut faire de grands changements dans sa nation, il faut qu'il réforme pår les lois ce qui est établi par les lois, et qu'il change par les manières ce qui est établi par les manières ; et c'est une très mauvaise politique de changer par les lois ce qui doit être changé par les manières.”
• Il y a des moyens pour empêcher les crimes ; ce sont les peines : il y en a pour faire changer les manières ; ce sont les exemples.”
De L'ESPRIT DES Lois, liv, xix, chap. 14.
The following remarks have been written for some months, and were not at first designed for publication. I do not think that I have either exaggerated or misrepresented; and I lay them before the public with the single wish, that, if in no other way, at least by attracting attention to investigations of this nature, they may chance to be of some little service to my country. The habits of the higher and the lower orders in Ireland, and the relations in which they stand towards each other, have been sketched from time to time by writers of great ability; but never, that I know, strictly with a view to their political bearing, and their connexion with that sort of intermittent fever with which the southern districts have been afflicted for sixty or seventy years. As I proceeded, numerous tracks presented themselves in which I might have been tempted to travel, if other pursuits of a severer kind had left me leisure. Let me hope that others better qualified will undertake an office, which is not less interesting than the subject is deeply important.
It may seem strange that, in an inquiry into the causes of the present disturbances, I have scarcely said a word of Tithes. I thought it better to suppress some few remarks I had prepared, than touch lightly on a topic so large and so momentous.
It was not intended in these pages to write receipts for the curo of political diseases : my object was principally to describe some of the evils, leaving their remedies to those who have the leisure and abilities to devise, and the power to apply them. Education, however, was a subject too obvious and too tempting to pass wholly unnoticed.
Having made some strictures on the Magistracy of the South of Ireland, I think myself bound to render a just tribute of applause to the intrepid firmness, the unwearied vigilance, the devotion to public duty, which for several months have characterised a large portion of the magistracy of this county. Much of this is undoubtedly to be ascribed to the partial revision which has taken place of their body; a measure in which much still remains to be done. But convinced of the correctness of those general observations which truth obliged me to make, I must say, that when they shall have subdued, with the ample powers committed to them by Government and Parliament, the insurrection to which they are opposed, they will have performed a part only of their duty. It will then remain, that, by a total change in the conduct which for years has been pursued, they prevent the recurrence of the dreadful exigency which has required these unparalleled exertions.
County of Cork.