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of opulence. But since this expedient has been fallen upon, a mine is opened, from which an inexhaustible supply of currency may be derived ; and when an extension of commerce requires an accession to the circulating medium, it is obvious that the cheaper will be preferred to the more expensive species of curréncy. Not only, however, has no addition been made to the quantity of specie actually circulating in Europe, but, in some countries, it seems to have been almost wholly supplanted by the use of paper. In Britain, the gold currency was supposed, in 1774, the time when it was called in and recoined, to amount to twenty-seven millions; and at present it would be estimatedmuch too high at three millions. By the extension of paper currency, therefore, in Britain, twenty-four millions of guineas must have been thrown into the general market of Europe ; and if we can suppose that any thing like a similar change has taken place in other countries, a vast quantity of specie must have been thrown out of circulation, into which it will not be received except at a diminished value. The effect must be the same as if the currency of Europe had been increased, without any corresponding increase in the demands of its commerce. ,
The general argument on this subject is considerably strengthened by a reference to the prices of grain, which have evidently risen considerably during the course of the last century. The year 1740 is represented as a year of extraordinary scarcity. The price of the quarter of wheat did not however rise higher than 21.- 10s. 8d., which would now be considered as a low price. At present, indeed, when the market is overstocked with grain, and prices have fallen very low, 21. 75. seems to be the lowest price of the quarter of wheat in the London market; and in the two scarce years of 1799 and 1800, it was sometimes as high as 71. This evident rise in the money price of corn, does not geem easily accounted for, except on the supposition that the value of gold and silver is fallen in the European market. And if this is the case, we imagine it can only be ascribed to the preponderance of paper in the currencies of Europe.
But whatever may be our opinion upon these points, we are decidedly against all those violent remedies which Mr Wheatley proposes ; and we are convinced, that the more fully the internal economy of society is explained and understood, it will always appear to stand less in need of external aid for the accomplishment of all its necessary ends. The injurious consequences which arise from all variations in the value of gold and silver, are too obvious to require explanation. But the evil must be left to cure itself; and the apprehensions of Mr Wheatley, that
there is no limit to the degradation of the value of the precious metals, are completely chimerical. By requiring a smaller quantity for coin, a smaller quantity will indeed be annually consumed; the produce will thus be superior to the consumption; and the mass of gold and silver will be annually increasing. But the diminution of their value, which will be the consequence of their gradual increase, will lead to a less sparing use of them for other purposes : and the consumption and the produce will thus be gradually equalized ; their further increase will be stopped ; and their price will consequently be prevented from falling lower. If the preceding reasonings be well-founded, the produce of the American mines must have been for some time superior to the general rate of consumption throughout the world. When ther this is the case at present, it would no doubt be very difficult to determine. But we cannot doubt that the rate of produce and consumption will ultimately be very accurately adjusted. On considering the process, however, by which this must be brought about, it appears to us, that the value of gold and silver will alternately fluctuate for some time, both above and below that point at which it will finally remain fixed.
On the whole, we think Mr Wheatley's quarto considerably worse than his octavo. The wisest thing he could do, perhaps, would be to forswear the subject altogether ; but if he be smitten with an indestructible love of economical speculations, we would exhort him to spend a little more time in learning, before he sets up for a teacher; and to make one vigorous attempt to understand the reasonings of his predecessors, before he gives himself the trouble of pointing out their mistakes.
ART. IV. Historical Apology for the Irish Catholics. By Wilm
liam Parnell, Esquire. 8vo. pp. 147. Fitzpatrick, Dublin.
1807. If ever a nation exhibited symptoms of downright madness, or
utter stupidity, we conceive these symptoms may be easily recognized in the conduct of this country upon the Catholic question. A man has a wound in his great toe, and a violent and perilous fever at the same time, and he refuses to take the media cines for the fever, because it will disconcert his toe! The mournful and folly-stricken blockhead forgets that his foe cannot survive him ; that if he dies, there can be no digital life apart from him; yet he lingers and fondles over this last part of his body, soothing it madly with little plasters, and anile fomentations, while the neglected fever rages in his entrails, and burns U2
away his whole life. If the comparatively little questions of Establishment are all that this country is capable of discussing or regarding, for God's sake let us remember, that the foreign conquest, which destroys all, destroys this beloved toe also. Pass over freedom, industry and science--and look upon this great empire, by which we are about to be swallowed up, only as it affects the manner of collecting tithes, and of reading the liturgy still, if all goes, these must go too; and even, for their interests, it is worth while to conciliate Ireland, to avert the hostility, and to employ the strength of the Catholic population. We plead the question as the sincerest friends to the Establishment ;-as wishing to it all the prosperity and duration its warmest advocates can desire-but remembering always, what these advocates seem to forget, that the Establishment cannot be threatened by any danger so great as the perdition of the kingdom in which it is established.
We are truly glad to agree so entirely with Mr Parnell upon this great question; we admire his way of thinking; and most cordially recommend his work to the attention of the public. The general conclusion which he attempts to prove is this, that religious sentiment, however perverted by bigotry or fanaticism, has always a tendency to moderation ; that it seldom assumes any great portion of activity or enthusiasm, except from novelty of opinion, or from opposition, contumely and persecution when novelty ceases ; that a government has little to fear from any religious sect, except while that sect is new. Give a government only time, and, provided it has the good sense to treat folly with forbearance, it must ultimately prevail. When, therefore, a sect is found, after a lapse of years, to be ill-disposed to the government, we may be certain that government has widened its separation by marked distinctions, roused its resentment by contumely, or supported its enthusiasm by persecution.
The particular conclusion Mr Parnell attempts to prove is, that the Catholic religion in Ireland had sunk into torpor and in : activity, till Government roused it with the lash: that even then, from the respect and attachinent which men are always inclined to show towards government, there still remained a large body of loyal Catholics : that these only decreased in number from the rapid increase of persecution ; and that, after all, the effects which the resentment of the Roman Catholics had in creating rebellions, has been very much exaggerated.
In support of these two conclusions, Mr Parnell takes a survey of the history of Ireland, from the conquest under Henry, to the rebellion under Charles the First, passing very rapidly over the period which preceded the Reformation, and dwelling principally
upon the various rebellions which broke out in Ireland between the Reformation, and the grand rebellion in the reign of Charles the First. The celebrated conquest of Ireland by Henry the Second, extended only to a very few counties in Leinster; nine tenths of the whole kingdom were left, as he found them, under the dominion of their native princes. The influence of example was as strong in this, as in most other instances; and great numbers of the English settlers who came over under various adventurers, resigned their pretensions to superior Givilization, cast off their lower garments, and lapsed into the nudity and barbarism of the Irish. The limit which divided the possessions of the English settler from those of the native Irish, was called the pale; and the expressions of inhabitants within the pale, and without the pale, were the terms by which the two nations were distinguished. It is almost superfluous to state, that the most bloody and pernicious warfare was carried on upon the borders--sometimes for something-sometimes for nothing ; most commonly for cows. The Irish, over whom the sovereigns of England affected a sort of nominal dominion, were entirely governed by their own laws; and so very little connexion had they with the justice of the invading country, that it was as lawful to kill an Irishman, as it was to kill a badger or a fox. The instances are innumerable, where the defendant has pleaded that the deceased was an Irishman, and that therefore defendant had a right to kill him ;-and, upon the proof of Hibernicism, acquittal followed of course.
When the English army mustered in any great strength, the Irish chieftains would do exterior homage to the English Crown ; and they very frequently, by this artifice, averted from their country the niseries of invasion ; but they remained completely unsubdued, till the rebellion which took place in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, of which that politic woman availed herself to the complete subjugation of Ireland. In speaking of the Irish about the reign of Elizabeth, or James the First, we must not draw our comparisons from England, but from New Zealand; they were not civilized men, but savages ; and, if we reason about their conduct, we must reason of them as savages.
After reading every account of Irish history,' (says Mr Parnell) * one great perplexity appears to remain : How does it happen, that from the first invasion of the English till the reign of James I., Ireland seems not to have made the smallett progress in civilization or wealth ?
6 That it was divided into a number of small principalities, which waged constant war on each other; or that the appointment of the chieftains was elective, do not appear sufficient reasons, although thefe are the only ones assigned by thofe who have been at i he trouble of considering the subject: neither are the confiscations of property quite fufficient to account for the effect. There have been great confiscations
in other countries, and still they have flourished: the petty ftates of Greece were quite analogous to the chiefries (as they were called) in Ireland ; and yet they seemed to flourish almost in proportion to their dissensions. Poland felt the bad effects of an elective monarchy more than any other country; and yet, in point of civilization, it maintained a very respectable rank among the nations of Europe; but Ireland never, for an instant, made any progress in improvement till the reign of James I.
It is scarcely credible, that in a climate like that of Ireland, and at a period so far advanced in civilization as the end of Elizabeth's reign, the greater part of the natives should go naked. Yet this is rendered certain by the testimony of an eye-witness, Fynes Moryson, “ In the remote parts, he fays, where the English laws and manners are unknown, the very chief of the Irish, as well men as women, go naked in the winter time, only having their privy parts covered with a rag of linen, and their bodies with a loose mantle. This I speak of my own experience ; yet remember that a Bohemian Baron, coming out of Scotland to us by the north parts of the wild Irish, told me in great earnestnefs, that 'he, coming to the house of O'Kane, a great lord amongst them, was met at the door by fixteen women all naked, excepting their loose mantles, whereof eight or ten were very fair ; with which strange fight his eyes being dazzled, they led him into the house, and then fitting down by the fire with crossed legs, like tailors, and so low as could not but offend chaite eyes, defired him to sit down with them. Soon after O’Kane, the lord of the country, came in all naked, except a loose mantle and shoes, which he put off as soon as he came in ; and entertaining the Baron after his best manner in the Latin tongue, desired him to put off his apparel, which he thought to be a burden to him, and to fit naked,
“ To conclude, men and women at night going to seep, lye thus naked in a round circle about the fire, with their feet towards it. They fold their heads and their upper parts in woollen mantles, first steeped in water to keep them warm ; for they say, that woollen cloth, wetted, preserves heat, (as linen, wetted, preserves cold), when the smoke of their bodies has warmed the woollen cloth."
The cause of this extreme poverty, and of its long continuance, we must conclude, arose from the peculiar laws of property, which were in force under the Irish dynasties. These laws have been described by most writers as fimilar to the Kentish custom of gavel-kind ; and indeed so little attention was paid to the subject, that were it not for the researches of Sir J. Davis, the knowledge of this fingular usage would have been entirely lost.
- The Brehon law of property, he tells us, was similar to the custom (as the English lawyers term it) of hodge podge. When any one of the sept died, his lands did not descend to his sons, but were divided among the whole sept ; and, for this purpose, the chief of the sept made a new division of the whole landş belonging to the sepi, and gave every