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has attracted the attention of the whole world.
And yet we call it God's famine! No! no! God's famine is known by the general scarcity--there has been no general scarcity of food in Ireland either the present year or the past year, excepting in one species of vegetable. The soil has produced its usual tribute for the support of those by whom it was cultivated; but political economy found the Irish people too poor to pay for the harvest of their own labor, and has exported it to a better market, leaving thein to die of famine, or to live on alms.
6. It is manifest that the causes of Ireland's present sufferings have been multitudinous, remote, and I might almost say, perpetual. Nearly the whole land of the country is in the ownership of persons having no sympathy with its population except that of self-interest; her people are broken down in their physical condition by the previous calamities to which I have directed your attention. Since her union with England, commerce has followed capital, or found it in that country, and bas forsaken the sister island. Nothing remains but the produce of the soil. That produce is sent to England to find a better market, for the rent must be paid; but neither the produce nor the rent ever returns.
7. It has been estimated that the average export of capital from this source has been equal to some twenty-five or perhaps thirty millions of dollars annually, for the last seven and forty years; and it is at the close of the last period, by the failure of the potato, that Ireland, without trade, without manufactures, without any returns for her agricultural exports, sinks beneath the last feather, not that the feather was so weighty, but that the burden previously imposed was far above her strength to bear.
8. If it be true that the darkest hour of the night is that which immediately precedes the dawn, may we not indulge the hope that there are better days yet in store for this unfortunate people? They have been crushed and ruined in all the primary elements of their material happiness, but yet they have never forfeited any of the higher attributes of a noble, generous nature.
After the present famine shall have been forgotten, the high testimony which the Irish people have borne to the holiness of conviction within their souls, at all risks, and through all sacrifices, will be considered an honor to humanity itself.
9. They have believed, whether rightly or not is not now the question, but right or wrong, they have believed that to profess a religion which had no hold on their conviction, would offend God, and would involve them in the double guilt of falsehood and hypocrisy—that it would degrade them in their own minds—that it would entitle them to the contempt of the world—and sooner than do this, they have submitted to every thing besides. There was this one sovereignty which they never relinquished—the sovereignty of conscience and the privilege of self-respect. Their soul has never been conquered; and if it was said in Pagan tinies that the noblest spectacle which this world could present to the eye of the immortal gods, was that of a virtuous man bravely struggling with adversity, what might not be said of a nation of such men who have so struggled through entire centuries ?
10. Neither can it be said that her spirit is yet broken Intellect, sentiment, fancy, wit, eloquence, music, and poetry, are, I might say, natural and hereditary attributes of the Irish mind and the Irish heart; and if no adversity of ages was sufficient to crush these capacities and powers, who will say. that such a people have not, under happier circumstances, within themselves a principle of self-regeneration and improvement, which will secure to them at least an ordinary portion of the happiness of which they have been so long deprived ! The charity of other countries, and among them preëminently of England herself, the sympathy of distant and free States, on this occasion, will themselves have an effect. They will show Ireland that she is cared for; they will inspire her with the pleasing hope that she is not to be always the down-trodden and neglected province, the outcast nation among the dations of the earth.
1. I will not trespass much longer upon the time of the committee; but I trust I shall be indulged with some few reflections upon the danger of permitting the conduct on which it has been my painful duty to animadvert, to pass without a solemn expression of the disapprobation of this House. Recall to your mind the free nations which have gone before us.
Where are they now? “Gone glimmering through the dream of things that were,
A school-boy's tale, the wonder of an hour.” And how have they lost their liberties? If we could transport ourselves back to the ages when Greece and Rome flourished in their greatest prosperity, and, mingling in the throng, should ask a Grecian whether he did not fear that some daring military chieftain, covered with glory, some Philip or Alexander, would one day overthrow the liberties of his country the confident and indignant Grecian would exclaim, No! no ! we have nothing to fear from our heroes; our liberties shall be eternal.
2. If a Roman citizen had been asked whether he did not fear that the conqueror of Gaul might establish a throne upon the ruins of public liberty, he would have instantly repelled the unjust insinuation. Yet Greece fell; Casar passed the Rubicon, and the patriotic arm even of Brutus could not pre serve the liberties of his devoted country! The celebrated Madame de Staël, in her last and perhaps her best work, has said, that in the very year, almost the very month, when the president of the directory declared that monarchy would never show its frightful head in France, Bonaparte with his grenadiers entered the palace of St. Cloud, and, dispersing with the bayonet the deputies of the people, deliberating on the affairs of the state, laid the foundation of that vast fabric of despotism which overshadowed all Europe.
3. I hope not to be misunderstood; I am far from intimating that General Jackson cherishes any designs inimical to the liberties of the country.
I believe his intentions to be pure and patriotic. I thank God that he would not, but I thank Him still more that he could not if he would, overturn the liberties of the Republic. But precedents, if bad, are fraught with the most dangerous consequences.
Man has been described, by some of those who have treated of his nature, as a bundle of habits. The definition is much truer when applied to governments. Precedents are their habits. There is one important difference between the formation of habits by an individual and by governments. He contracts it only after frequent repetition. A single instance fixes the habit and determines the direction of governments.
4. Against the alarming doctrine of unlimited discretion in our military commanders, when applied even to prisoners of war I must enter my protest. It begins upon them; it will end on us.
I hope our happy form of government is to be perpetual. But if it is to be preserved, it must be by the practice of virtue, by justice, by moderation, by magnanimity, by greatness of soul, by keeping a watchful and steady eye on the executive; and, above all, by holding to a strict accountability the military branch of the public force.
5. We are fighting a great moral battle, for the benefit not only of our country, but of all mankind. The eyes of the whole world are in fixed attention upon us.
One, and the largest portion of it, is gazing with contempt, with jealousy, and with envy; the other portion, with hope, with confidence, and with affection. Everywhere the black cloud of legitimacy is suspended over the world, save only one bright spot, which breaks out from the political hemisphere of the west, to enlighten and animate and gladden the human heart. Obscure that, by the downfall of liberty here, and all mankind are enshrouded in a pall of universal darkness.
6. To you, Mr. Chairman, belongs the high privilege of transmitting unimpaired to posterity, the fair character and liberty of our country. Do you expect to execute this high trust, by trampling or suffering to be trampled down, law, justice, the constitution, and the rights of the people? by exhibiting examples of inhumanity and cruelty and ambition? When the minions of despotism heard, in Europe, of the seizure of Pensacola, how did they chuckle, and chide the admirers of our institutions, tauntingiy pointing to the demonstration of a spirit of injustice and agrrandizement made by our country, in the midst of an amicable negotiation! Behold, said they, the conduct of those who are constantly reproaching kings! You saw how those admirers were astounded and hung their heads. You saw, too, when that illustrious man who presides over us, adopted his pacific, moderate, and just course, how they once more lifted up
their heads, with exultation and delight beaming in their counte
And you saw how those minions themselves were finally compelled to unite in the general praises bestowed upon our government. Beware how you forfeit this exalted character. Beware how you give a fatal sanction, in this infant period of our republic, scarcely yet two-score years old,