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apprehension, half ashamed of our inertness, and ready to applaud the first adventurous spirit who shall explore the penetralia of the dreaded region, and bring back truth either to confirm or dispel our fears, and at all events to relieve us from suspense. Nor were there wanting men of sufficient nerve to accomplish that desirable aim, if firmness and perseverance were the only requisites; but Ireland is not a country to be explored by a mere stranger; and he who, on making the attempt, had to depend only on the common and obvious means of information, would return, very little the wiser from his expedition. It is only by a native, that such a country can be worthily described, and that native must devest himself of many cherished and deep-rooted partialities, before he ventures upon the task.
To the credit of possessing these qualifications, the present writer, if we may judge from his own avowal, which is corroborated by circumstantial evidence, has a fair and just title. Ireland is his birth place, and the abode of his youth; but he has passed a season of his maturer years in other countries, and has thus enabled himself to appreciate her condition, by comparing it with theirs. He returns with his amor patriæ undiminished, though regulated by a wider survey of the world; he reviews the scenes of his early days with the calm eye of experience, and he observes changes which (setting aside all the sanguine anticipations of juvenile enthusiasm,) indicate retrogradation rather than improvement, and mournfully disappoint the hopes which he had formed. He records his observations in a series of letters to a friend, and this mode of communication, while it relieves him from the restraint which might have been imposed upon him by the idea that he was delivering his testimony at the bar of the public, is perfect. ly consistent with the design of his work. He identifies himself with his countrymen, and concludes that he cannot better describe them, than by a frank and unreserved display of his own feelings.
The following is a portion of the letter which he writes, after having taken up his residence in his native town.
'I have now been better than a week in Strabane, and it is time, therefore, that I should write. Yet little have I to tell, except that I have seen a few old acquaintances, visited my old walks, and that I have found every thing changed, and changed for the worse. Since I was last here, this town and neighbourhood have been visited by two almost of the heaviest calamities which can befal human beings. Fever and famine have been let loose, and it is hard to say which has destroyed the most.
It would be too much to assert that the latter caused the former; but it undoubtedly was the cause of its wide diffusion. Hordes of wandering beggars, impelled by the cravings of hunger, carried the distemper from door to door; and, from their wretched habiliments, wafted contagion far and wide. Almost the entire mountain population, literally speaking, took up their beds and walked; and, with their diseased blankets wrapped round them, sought, in the low lands, the succour which charity could not give, but at the hazard of life.
'Irish usages have always opened a ready way to the beggar. The most holy men, says one of their laws, were remarkable for hospitality; and the gospel commands us to receive the sojourner, to entertain him, and to relieve his wants. Even in ordinary times, the poor claim charity as a matter less of favour than of right; and approach the rich man's door, almost with the freedom of an inmate; but they now, in frightful numbers, besieged every house, and forced their way into kitchens, parlours, and even rooms the most remote.
'Those who condemn the English system of poor laws, would have here found reason to change their opinion; and have beheld the evils inseparable from leaving our fellow men to seek in infirmity and old age, that bread, which, were society constructed as it ought to be, should be wanting to none. The immediate evil was the rapid propagation of the fever, which, almost at the same instant, showed itself in the town and country, the hill and val. ley,—the lord's castle,—the tradesman's house,-and the poor man's cabin. I do not understand, however, that its malignity was much greater than on former occasions; though its diffusion so out-baffled all calculation, and could only be paralleled in those bar. barous times, when battle and murder spread havoc over the land, and pestilence gathered the gleanings of those whom they had spared.'
He gives an alarming account of the state of things in the North of Ireland, a district which he declares to be so much changed in the course of ten years, than he can scarcely recognize it to be the same land.
• The late war, while it aided party and increased taxes, increased wealth; and the natural consequences of wealth, refinement in manner of living, improvement in dressing, and a taste for luxuries followed. Of a social disposition as the people are, and captivated by unaccustomed enjoyment, it is possible that even then this prosperity was more apparent than real, and though something was gained, that little was saved. Besides, unconnected as landlords and tenants unfortunately now are, by those ties which bound them together formerly so closely, rents were raised to an enormous pitch, and even in those days paid with difficulty and murmuring, are now scarcely paid at all. With the stoppage of the war, trade seemed likewise to stop, and like a bow too forcibly bent, society, with hideous recoil, flew back to the opposite extreme; for, as if prosperity, which is not very natural to any land, should be particularly unnatural to Ireland, the terrible harvest of the year before last, succeeded to the peace, heaped misery on misery, disease on poverty, and generated the fever and famine of which I have already spoken.
• The northern farmer, who in general cultivates only a few acres of land, scarcely able to feed his family, and totally unable to relieve the hundredth part of the misery which daily and hourly knocked at his door, fell unavoidably into arrears. Humane landlords spared their tenants, and though the motives which dictated such conduct were in the highest degree praiseworthy, there were occasions in which it rather did harm than good; for from the supineness incident to our nature, many, because they could not pay all, relaxed in their efforts, and paid none at all.
• But there is little danger that humanity in the excess should ever be very injurious to mankind, and the great suffering sprung from the opposite cause. Selfish landlords and agents, filled the pounds with cattle, seized and auctioned grain, household furni-' ture, beds, bedding, and whatever else they could lay hands on; and by this cruel, as well as foolish policy, while they gained transient payment, incalculably added to the aggregate of suffering, and irreparably injured their struggling, and to their further shame, I must add, meritorious tenantry. The linen-trade felt the general depression; money became so scarce, that numbers could not purchase even the fax-seed that was necessary to sow their ground, and thousands of hogsheads, after being in vain offered for sale here, were shipped for England and Scotland, and sold at an immense loss, to make oil of.
• By the combination of these causes, and many others, this country, a short while ago, presented not so much a melancholy, as a frightful spectacle; the abode once of comfort, it seemed now a huge arena of misery; and law-suits, ejectments, distresses, im-' prisonments, assailed those whom the fever had spared.
* But violence has, in its own nature, a period at which it must cease, and the disease, in a measure, has wrought its own cure. There are few law-suits; for of what avail to go to law, where there are so little means of payment and besides, many to whom large sums are owing, actually cannot command the trifle necessary to go to law. In many places, society is transported back to the practice of the ruder ages, and payments in kind, are becoming the commonest of any. A few weeks ago, a relation of mine, disposed of a field of corn, which was ready for cutting, for which, according to the valuation of two men who viewed it, she is, in December, to get an equivalent quantity of oatmeal. A poor man who has a few acres of land from her, and is now nearly three years in arrears, expects, as the harvest is so favourable a one, shortly to pay a part of it, but not in money, but by giving her potatoes and turf. Í know not that this has ever occurred to lawyers on circuit, as has been reported, but I am sure that surgeons and apothecaries, (physicians are here pretty much out of the question,) have oftentimes been paid in a similar manner.'
Continuing his enumeration of these distresses, he adds,
It is sad to contemplate this fertile land, deserted or neglected by its gentry, its natural guardians and protectors, and leaving their
poor tenantry to the mercy of servile and rapacious agents, who shear the flocks which they were appointed to tend, and turn them out in shivering and unshapen nakedness, to meet the storms of these pitiless times. To the absence of those people, much of the misery of Ireland is attributable, and heavy, in all probability, will be its re-action on themselves, for their shameful negligence of those to whom they owe their means of living, and their cruel and thoughtless abandonment of them. “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise,” saith the Lord, “ I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.”
express myself more warmly than I am wont, but I cannot forbear; for the history of Ireland is a melancholy one, and melancholy is it to think, that Time, which gives relief to the sufferings of others, seems only to give increase to hers. That in this enlightened age, and under a British government, she should endure as great evils as in the rudest times, and under the most barbarous one; that whatever was of good in her cup, should, by a wretched fatality, be converted into evil, and that all kinds of causes have combined in plunging her into wretchedness; that moral as well as natural ones, have aggregated to blight her happiness; that the storms of Europe are concentrated in louder tempests on her for. lorn head; and that, situated in the waste of the carth, as of the Atlantic, she should meet the first, and feel the most and the longest, the howling blast and gathering wintry wave of climate, situation, fortune, and time. Even that Atlantic which bore to the New World the crimes of the Old, bore back to Ireland, who was in no degree their participator, a full portion of the punishment of them; for it is my decided opinion, that much of the actual misery, of this province at least, is owing to the undue cultivation of the potatoe, which a few years back, confined as it ought to be to the garden, like the bramble, has now overrun every spot almost to the mountain-top.
* The multiplication of human beings, by this means, is far beyond what the earth can properly nourish, and these bleak and misty hills, fit habitations alone for shepherds and their flocks, are now thickly swarming with men. Far better not to be, than to be for purposes of misery, and to be trodden on and oppressed; and trodden on and oppressed, man ever will be, when he is too abundant, and, like every other object, to be valued, he must be rare.
• The superabundant population of Ireland is not the parent evil, but it aggravates every other. Partial emigration has only fed the fiame, and besides, that emigration is almost exclusively Presbyterian,-the sturdy, though decaying oak of this forlorn wilderness of man. Keared with high ideas of himself, and with the remembrance full in his mind, of those days when his ancestors, bearing the favoured name of protestants, like Roman citizens in a remote province, living on a footing of equality almost with the highest, he cannot accommodate himself to the degration wrought in his once lofty condition, and he takes refuge in America from unac
customed misery, where his perseverance and industry soon procure him independence and affluence.'
This is an appalling picture; but who, that contemplates the condition of some districts in England, can suppose that it is exaggerated or over-wrought? It was not for the writer's interest to deal in' misrepresentation. His sympathy, in so much misery, may have biassed him towards certain popular and impracticable theories, but it does not appear to have induced him, in the slightest degree, to swerve from the truth. In describing the wretchedness of his countrymen, he has honestly endeavoured to trace it to its true cause, and, without recommending any rash innovation, he has pleaded for the speedy adoption of those measures, which, as far as human wisdom can avail, may tend to a radical and perma.
ART. V.-On the Trade of the United States of North America
[From the New Monthly Magazine.) MR. EDITOR, 0
F all the phenomena which occur in the history of commerce,
from its earliest period to the present time, the most extraordinary, perhaps, is the intercourse between Europe and the East, chiefly through the medium of the English East India Company. This intercourse, as far as we are concerned, may be divided into two grand branches, the first with our own empire in Hindoostan, the second with the great Chinese empire, and the latter chiefly for the sake of obtaining a single article, the use of which has become so habitual to all ranks of society, that it has long ceased to be a luxury, and may be now fairly classed among the chief necessaries of life. The immense importance of both these branches of our Asiatic commerce is universally acknowledged, and therefore, you may, probably, not be indisposed to admit into your valuable miscellany some observations on the danger with which one of them—the trade with China, appears to be threatened. induced to communicate them to you, because they are chiefly collected from conversation with intelligent. Americans, and though they may be thought in some respects exaggerated, show us at least the sentiments and views of our rivals in a point of such great importance. We all know the enterprising spirit of the merchants of the United States, the boldness and intrepidity of their seamen, the astonishing and rapid increase of their maritime power, and the peculiar local advantages of that great continent. The American government beholds with pleasure the increasing commerce of its subjects with China, which promises to become more and more important to the republic, and has undoubtedly been much encouraged and promoted by numerous articles in American