No Redress—No Inquiry
Parliament has refused to redress our wrongs, or even to inquire into
five long nights were they compelled to listen to arguments, facts, and
principles proving that we were sorely oppressed. They did not deny the
facts—they did not refute the reasoning—they did not undermine the
principles—but they would not try to right us.
right of hatred for six centuries of oppression; what will you do to
repentance and propitiate our revenge?’—and the answer is, ‘That's an
story, we wish to hear no more of it.’
of Britain, you shall hear more of it!
of Irishmen are the first generation of freemen which Ireland nursed these three centuries. The national
may teach them only the dry elements of knowledge adulterated with
and Trinity College may teach them bigotry, along with
graceful lore and
strong science; but there are other schools at work. There is a
and there is an Irish literature growing up. Day after day the choice
young men discover that genius needs a country to honour and be loved
Irish Press is beginning to teach the People to know themselves and
history; to know other nations, and to feel the rights and duties of
The agitation, whose surges sweep through every nook of the island,
all that the People learn to national uses; nothing is lost, nothing is
adverse; neutrality is help, and all power is converted into power for Ireland.
Ireland is changing the loose tradition of her
history and ballad; and though justice, repentance, or retribution may
cease to need vengeance, she will immortally remember her bondage, her
struggles, her glories, and her disasters. Till her suffering ceases
remembrance will rouse her passions and nerve her arm. May she not
she is no longer oppressed; and when she forgives, may she never
the tale of present wretchedness? Seven millions and a half of us are
Presbyterians and Catholics, and our whole ecclesiastical funds go to
gorgeous support of the Clergy of the remaining 800,000, who are
Where else on earth does a similar injury and dishonour
Nowhere; 'twas confessed it existed nowhere. Would it weaken the empire
abolish this? Confessedly not, but would give it some chance of holding
together. Would it injure Protestantism? You say not. Idle wealth is
fatal to a
Church, and supremacy bars out every proud and generous convert. Why is
maintained? The answer is directly given—‘England (that is, the English aristocracy) is
no Ministry dare give you redress. These are the very words of Captain
the Tory member for Westminster, and the whole House assented to the fact.
cannot redress—if you will not go into inquiry, lest this redress, so
us, should be fatal to your selfish power, then loose your hold of us,
will redress ourselves; and we will do so with less injury to any class
you possibly could, for a free nation may be generous—a struggling one
and ought not to be so.
dishonestly taxed for your debts; the fact was not denied—an
silence declared that not a halfpenny of that mighty mortgage would be
off our shoulders.
millions a year from us, and you spend it on English commissioners,
dockyards, English museums, English ambition, and English pleasures.
enormous taxation, our public offices have been removed to London, and you threaten to remove our
Justice, and our Lord Lieutenancy, the poor trapping of old nationhood.
no arsenals, no public employment here; our literary, scientific, and
charitable institutions, so bountifully endowed by a Native
have forced away, till, out of that enormous surplus revenue raised
£10,000 a year comes back for such purposes, while you have heaped
hundred thousand into the lap of every English institution. For
Education you dribble out £50,000 a year—not enough for our smallest
Will you redress these things? No, but you boast of your liberality in
not overtaxed,’ says Peel; ‘see, your Post-office produces nothing to
revenue.’ Ay, Sir, our Post-office, which levies the same rates as the
Post-office, produces nothing; Ireland is too poor to make even a penny-postage
pay its own
cost. No stronger mark of a stagnant trade could be adduced. ‘And then
lowered your spirit duty.’ Yes you did, because it brought in less than
lower duty. What single tax did you take off, except when it had been
high, or the country had declined so low, that it ceased to be
increased our taxation up to the end of the war two and a half times
rapidly than you did your own, and you diminished our taxation after
thirty times less rapidly.
of steamers now—you had none in 1817, says some pattern of English
whose constituents are bound to subscribe a few school-books for him if
mean to continue him as their delegate.
says our exports and imports have increased. We wish your Lordship
separate accounts kept that we might know how much. But they have increased—ay,
they have; and they are provisions. And our population has increased
we had one half the number of People to feed we sent out a tenth of the
provisions we send away now. This is ruin, not prosperity. We had
iron-workers, glass-makers, and fifty other flourishing trades. They
goods to Irishmen in exchange for beef and mutton, and bread, and
potatoes. The Irish provisions were not exported—they were eaten in Ireland. They are exported now—for Irish artisans,
work, must live on the refuse of the soil, and Irish peasants must eat
or starve. Part of the exports go to buy rags and farming tools, which
went for clothes and all other goods to Irish operatives, and the rest
raise money to pay absentee rents and imperial taxes. Will you tax our
absentees? Will you employ our artisans? Will you abate your taxes, or
them among us? No; you refuse redress—you refuse inquiry.
confiscations have given us land tenures alien to the country and
deadly to the
peasant. Will you interfere in property to save him, as you interfered
oppress him? You hint that you might inquire, but you only offered
an Arms' Bill—to prostrate the poor man, to violate the sanctity of his
to brand him, and leave him at the mercy of his local tyrant.
the franchise, and admit us, in proportion to our numbers, into your
and let us try there for redress? You may inquire, perhaps, some other
much pressed, you may consider some increase of the franchise—you
open the representation.
And if England will do none of these things, will she
allow us, for
good or ill, to govern ourselves, and see if we cannot redress our own
‘No, never, never,’ he says, ‘though all Ireland cried for it—never! Her fields shall be
the shattered limbs of her sons, and her hearths
quenched in their blood; but never, while England has a ship or a soldier, shall Ireland be free.’
answer? We shall see—we shall see!
Englishmen, listen to us! Though you were to-morrow to give us the best
on earth—though you were to equalise Presbyterian, Catholic, and
Episcopalian—though you were to give us the amplest representation in
Senate—though you were to restore our absentees, disencumber us of your
and redress every one of our fiscal wrongs—and though, in addition to
you plundered the treasuries of the world to lay gold at our feet, and
exhausted the resources of your genius to do us worship and
tell you— we tell you, in the names of liberty and country—we tell you,
name of enthusiastic hearts, thoughtful souls, and fearless spirits—we
you, by the past, the present and the future, we would spurn your
gifts, if the
condition were that Ireland should remain a province. We tell you, and
it may concern, come what may—bribery or deceit, justice, policy, or
tell you, in the name of Ireland, that Ireland shall be a Nation!