Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/216

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


gladiators for attempting to escape from the most odious and degrading of all kinds of servitude. None of those Virginian patriots, who vindicated their separation from the British empire by proclaiming it to be a selfevident truth that all men were endowed by the Creator with an unalienable right to liberty, would have had the smallest scruple about shooting any negro slave who had laid claim to that unalienable right.

And, in the same manner, the Protestant masters of Ireland, while ostentatiously professing the political doctrines of Locke and Sidney, held that a people who spoke the Celtic tongue and heard mass could have no concern in those doctrines. Molyneux questioned the supremacy of the English legislature. Swift assailed, with the keenest ridicule and invective, every part of the system of government. Lucas disquieted the administration of Lord Harrington. Boyle overthrew the administration of the Duke of Dorset. But neither Molyneux nor Swift, neither Lucas nor Boyle, ever thought of appealing to the native population. They would as soon have thought of appealing to the swine.[1] At a later period Henry Flood excited the dominant class to demand a Parliamentary reform, and to use even revolutionary means for the purpose of obtaining that reform. But neither he, nor those who looked up to him as their chief, and who went close to the verge of treason at his bidding, would consent to admit the subject class to the smallest share of political power. The virtuous and accomplished Charlemont, a Whig of the Whigs, passed a long life in contending for what he called the freedom of his country. But he voted against the law which gave the elective franchise to Roman Catholic freeholders; and he died fixed in the opinion that the Parliament House ought to be kept pure from Roman Catholic members. Indeed, during the century which followed the Revolution, the inclination of an English Protestant to trample on the Irishry was generally

  1. In 1749 Lucas was the idol of the democracy of his own caste. It is curious to see what was thought of him by those who were not of his own caste. One of the chief Pariah, Charles O'Connor, wrote thus: "I am by no means interested, nor is any of our unfortunate population, in this affair of Lucas. A true patriot would not have betrayed such malice to such unfortunate slaves as we." He adds, with too much truth, that those boasters the Whigs wished to have liberty all to themselves.