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recovering a brother. Phelim had now conquered his foolish dislike to trade : his brother took him into partnership, and Phelim O'Mooney never relapsed into sir John Bull.
UNABLE any longer to support the tone of irony, we joyfully speak in our own characters, and explicitly declare our opinion, that the Irish are an ingenious, generous people ; that the bulls and blunders of which they are accused are often imputable to their neighbours, or that they are justifiable by ancient precedents, or that they are produced their habits of using figurative and witty language. By what their good -humour is produced we know not; but that it exists we are certain. In Ireland, the countenance and heart expand at the approach of wit and humour: the poorest labourer forgets his poverty and toil in the pleasure of enjoying a joke. Amongst all classes of the people, provided no malice is obviously meant, none is apprehended. That such is the character of the majority of the nation there cannot to us be a more convincing and satisfactory proof than the manner in which a late publication was received in Ireland. The Irish were the first to laugh at the caricature of their ancient foibles, and it was generally taken merely as good
* Castle Rackrent.
humoured raillery, not as insulting satire. If gratitude for this generosity has now betrayed us unawares into the language of panegyric, we may hope for pardon from the liberal of both nations. Those who are thoroughly acquainted with Ireland will most readily acknowledge the justice of our praises; those who are ignorant of the country will not, perhaps, be displeased to have their knowledge of the people of Ireland extended. Many foreign pictures of Irishmen are as grotesque and absurd as the Chinese pictures of lions: having never seen that animal, the Chinese can paint him only from the descriptions of voyagers, which are sometimes ignorantly, sometimes wantonly exaggerated.
In M. de Voltaire's Age of Lewis the Fourteenth we find the following passage :-“ Some nations seem made to be subject to others. The English have always had over the Irish the superiority of genius, wealth, and arnis. The superiority which The whites have over the negroes.”
A note in a subsequent edition informs us, that the injurious expression—“The superiority which the whites have over the negroes,” was erased by M. de Voltaire; and his editor subjoins his own opinion. “ The nearly savage state in which Ireland was when she was conquered, her superstition, the oppression exercised by the English, the religious
«Il y a des nations don't l'une semble faite pour être soumise à l'autre. Les Anglois ont toujours eu sur les Irlandois la supériorité du génie, des richesses, et des armes.
La supćriorité que les blancs ont sur les noirs."
fanaticism which divides the Irish into two hostile nations, such were the causes which have held down this people in depression and weakness. Religious hatreds are appeased, and this country has recovered her liberty. The Irish no longer yield to the English, either in industry or in information.”*
The last sentence of this note might, if it had reached the eyes or
ears of the incensed Irish historian, Mr. O'Halloran, have assuaged his wrath against Voltaire for the unguarded expression in the text; unless the amor patriæ of the historian, like the amour propre of some individuals, instead of being gratified by congratulations on their improvement, should be intent upon demonstrating that there never was any thing to improve. As we were neither born nor bred in Ireland, we cannot be supposed to possess this amor patriæ in its full force : we profess to be attached to the country only for its merits; we acknowledge that it is a matter of indifference to us whether the Irish derive their origin from the Spaniards, or the Milesians, or the Welsh :
• “On lisait dans les premières éditions, la supériorité que les blancs ont sur les négres. M. de Voltaire effaça cette ex. pression injurieuse. L'état presque sauvage ou étoit l'Irlande lorsqu'elle fut conquise, la superstition, l'oppression exercée par les Angolis, lę fanatisme religieux qui divise les Irlandois en deux nations ennemies, telles sont les causes qui ont retenues ce peuple dans l'abaissement et dans foiblesse. Les haines re. ligieuses se sont assoupies, et elle a repris sa liberté. Les Irlan. dois ne le cédent plus aux Anglois, ni en industrie ni en lumières."
we are not so violently anxious as we ought to be to determine whether or not the language spoken by the Phænician slave, in Terence's play, was Irish; nay, we should not break our hearts if it could never be satisfactorily proved that Albion is only another name for Ireland.*
We moreover candidly confess that we are more interested in the fate of the present race of its inhabitants than in the historian of St. Patrick, St. Facharis, St. Cormuc; the renowned Brien Boru; Tireldach, king of Connaught; M.Murrough, king of Leinster; Diarmod; Righ-Damnha; Labra-Loing-seach; Tighermas; Ollamh-Foldha ; the M Giolla-Phadraigs; or even the great William of Ogham; and by this declaration we have no fear of giving offence to any but rusty antiquaries. We think it somewhat more to the honour of Ireland to enumerate the names of some of the men of genius whom she has produced : Milton and Shakspeare stand unrivalled; but Ireland can boast of Usher, Boyle, Denham, Congreve, Molyneux, Farquhar, sir Richard Steele, Bickerstaff, sir Hans Sloane, Berkeley, Orrery, Parnel, Swift, T. Sheridan, Welsham, Bryan Robinson, Goldsmith, Sterne, Johnson,t Tickel, Brooke, Zeland, Hussey Burgh, three Hamiltons, Young, Charlemont, Macklin, Murphy, Mrs. Sheridan, Francis Sheridan, Kirwan, Brinsley Sheridan, and Burke.
* See O'Halloran’s History of Ireland. + Author of Chrysal, or Adventurers of a Guinea.
Author of the beautiful moral tale Nourjahad.
We enter into no invidious comparisons: it is our sincere wish to conciliate both countries; and if in this slight essay we should succeed in diffusing a more just and enlarged idea of the Irish than has been generally entertained, we hope the English will deem it not an unacceptable service. Whatever might have been the policy of the English nation towards Ireland whilst she was a separate kingdom, since the union it can no longer be her wish to depreciate the talents or ridicule the language of Hibernians. One of the Czars of Russia used to take the cap and bells from his fool, and place it on the head of any of his subjects whom he wished to disgrace. The idea of extending such a punishment to a whole nation was ingenious and magnanimous; but England cannot now put it into execution towards Ireland. Would it not be a practical bull to place the bells upon her own imperial head ?