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But even if intrusted with the censorship, we should never think of placing such works as Shandy. M'Guire on the Index. We are, indeed, far from regarding it as faultless, either in style or matter, but we recognize in its author a robust and healthy mind, true manliness of thought and feeling, and genius of a high order. It is brilliant, full of wit and humor, and genuine tenderness and pathos. It is evidently the production of a scholar, a Catholic, and a patriot, and we trust is but the harbinger of many more works like it, which are to be welcomed from the same source. With his rare genins, uncommon abilities, rich cultivation, brilliant yet chaste imagination, warinth of heart, mirthfulness, poetic fancy, artistic skill, and drainatic power, the author cannot fail, if he chooses, to attain to the highest excellence in the species of literature he has selected.
Shandy M'Guire is the production of an Irishman, and a genuine Irish story. None but an Irishman, and a Catholic Irishnan, could have written it. It is a tale, or rather a gallery of pictures, of the North of Ireland, in which the Irisliman is presented to us as he is and as he ought to be. It gives us a lively and correct view of the actnal state of things in that part of the island, -of the actually existing relations between the Catholics and Protestants, the landlords and their tenantry,--the tyranny and intrigues practised by the former and their cold blooded agents, and the oppressions, wrongs, and insults endured by the latter. It enables us to see all for ourselves, and to take nothing on mere hearsay. It sets us down in the county Donegal, and perinits us to judge for ourselves. It makes us feel the insults heaped upon the unoffending and powerless people. We grow indignant at slandered innocence, as we see the poor and the virtuons oppressed, driven ont to perislı of famine in the fields and lighways, and we inwardly swear we will strike for Ireland, and never desist till the tyrant is humbled and Irishmen have their rights again. This, no doubt, is the effect which the author has wished to produce on his readers. His work is full of fun and frolic, but it has been written with a serious and a lofty purpose. The anthor has wished to arouse his countrymen to the assertion of their rights and their national freedom. We honor him for this, and we are pleased to find that he aims to do it chiefly by appeals to their reverence for their religion, and to their sense of their rights and dignity as men. In a few
instances he is on the point of forgetting—perhaps does forget—the Christian and the man in the Irish-man; but, in general, he appeals to his countrymen as men and Christians, and places their cause on the broad ground of justice and humanity, on which men not Irishmen may take it up and defend it as their own. He is a true patriot, but he repels us by no morbid nationality of his own, and demands justice to his countrymen without demanding injustice to others. He does not merely excite pity for Ireland, but he makes us respect the Irish character; and we are sorry to add, that his is almost the only work of a recent Irish patriot that we have seen of which we can say this—almost the only work it will do to read, if one would think better of Ireland and the Irish. It is well adapted to place the Irish in a true light, and will go far to redeem their character with our countrymen from the ridicule and contempt thrown upon it by the injudicious attempts of ignorant and conceited editors, lecturers, and historians to exalt it.
Unhappily for Ireland, it has long been her fate to find her worst enemies in her own children, and to suffer more from those who would defend than from those who would traduce her. She has rarely, if ever, spoken for herself. Her best and soundest men have remained silent. Her character has been left to the mercy of her Protestant enemies, or, what is even worse, to her own conceited and moonstruck patriots. The work before us leads us to hope that a new era in her history is about to dawn ; that the time has come when we may hear the genuine Irish voice,not the melodious wail of Moore, exciting compassion, but killing respect,—not the voice of bombastic orators and ignorant editors, turning even Irish virtue and nobility into ridicule,—but the voice of enlightened patriotism, of manly feeling, sound sense, and practical judgment. Now that the ill-judged attempt of Smith O'Brien and his Young Irelanders to get up an insurrection, which could only involve the country in all the horrors of civil war without gaining any thing for national freedom, has failed, men who are true Irishmen, who represent the sober sense, the enlightened judgment, the faith and piety, the reasonable hopes and practical tendencies of the Irish nation, may come forward and speak without having their voices drowned in the vociferations of a maddened crowd, wrought up to the verge of insanity by unprincipled demagogues and fiery agitators; and the moment they do come forward, the moment they are able to command attention and place themselves at the head of affairs, the world will change its judgment of Ireland, the nation will respond to them with heart and soul, and the more serious of her grievances will be speedily redressed. Ireland has such men,-large numbers of them,—but they have hitherto stood back, and the world has judged her only by the forth-putting youths, or inflated patriots, whom they saw on every occasion taking the lead. What wonder, then, that the world, while it has pitied her misfortunes, and wept over the tale of her sufferings, has refused to respect her national character, or to believe her deserving any thing better than subjection to England ?
The Irish patriots, even those whom under many relations we love and honor, seem to us to have studied to make a favorable impression on their own countrymen rather than on Englishmen or Americans. The speeches of O'Connell, the political letters of several eminent prelates, and the bold and daring editorials of The Nation, as well fitted to operate upon the Irish mind, and really able and eloquent, as they unquestionably are, do not always move our Anglo-Saxon mind in the direction intended. They do not win our confidence, convince our reason, or enlist our feelings. We see their effect on the Irish mind and heart, and ask, why is it that they have so little effect on Englishmen and Anglo-Americans? Is it that Irish human nature is essentially diverse from Anglo-Saxon human nature? It cannot be ; for God has made of one blood all the nations of the earth. Is it that Anglo-Saxons have no human feelings, no sense of justice, no generosity, no chivalric sentiments? We scorn the insinuation. Is it that we have so long listened to the calumniators of Ireland that we cannot hear without prejudice any thing in her favor? It is false, for the calumnies of her enemies often do more to awaken our sympathies for her than the eulogiums of her friends. There is nothing in Anglo-Americans, and we do not believe even in the great body of the English themselves, of that deep and inveterate prejudice against the Irish which soine Irishmen imagine. Burke was an Irishman, an Irish patriot, and yet we cannot read a page of his writings on Irish affairs without surrendering to him at discretion. He instantly enlists all our sympathies in favor of his countrymen, and we feel sure, as we read on, that the wrongs which England has inflicted on Ireland have not yet been told, and that the sufferings of the Irish people are greater than
have been represented, greater than language can represent. Here is a proof, that, Anglo-Saxon as we are, we are not prejudiced against the Irish, and that it is not true that we credit only her enemies.
Why is it that we so readily yield to Burke what we refuse to these speeches, letters, and editorials? Is it not that Burke writes for the Anglo-Saxon mind, while these are written for the Irish mind? Burke appeals to the broad sense of justice and humanity common to all men; these appeal to Irish nationality, which only Irishmen can feel in its full force. To respond to them heartily, we must not only recognize the justice of the compiaints of the Irish, but we must, in some sort, abjure our own race, our own nation, our own identity, and make ourselves Irishmen; he keeps the distinction of races out of sight, and offends us neither by his mistimed praise of the Celt, nor by his mistimed denunciation of the Saxon. He places before us the tyrant and his victim, and arins us in defence of his victim against the tyrant, without exciting any pride or prejudice of race; they keep before us always the fact, that the tyrant is a Saxon and the victim a Celt, and even when their authors have no intention, and are actually unconscious, of doing it. They strike us as the outponrings of the hoarded wrath of centuries, sinking us and our race to hell. Even their Catholicity has occasionally a Celtic accent, and we half feel, as we read, that hatred of the Saxon and desire of vengeance upon his guilty head are all but essential to one's Christian character.
Now all this is very well, if the aim is simply to operate on the Celtic population, to fire their patriotism, and to rouse thein to efforts for their country's liberation ; but very unwise, if the authors wish to enlist the sympathies and energies of Englishmen and Anglo-Americans in the cause of Ireland. It provokes the wrath or contempt of these, wrath, if they regard the Irish as strong, -contempt, if they look
upon them as weak, and only giving utterance to mortitied national vanity or wounded sensibility. It tends to isolate the Irish, and to make them enemies where they might easily gain friends. It tends to convert what should be a war against oppression for common justice into a war of races, in which the Irish must lose more than they can gain. The Celtic may be the nobler, the more deserving race, but it cannot be denied that the Anglo-Saxon is, at present, the more powerful. It would seein, therefore, to be the trne policy of Irish patriots to keep, as far as possible, the distinction of races out of the question, and to be careful not to bring the pride of the one race into conflict with the pride of the other. In a struggle for Irish liberty on the simple ground for justice, half of England would remain neutral or side with Ireland ; in a war of races, all England to a man would arm against her. In the former case, Ireland could command the moral influence of the world, and the physical force of as many chivalric lances as she would need; in the latter, she would be thrown entirely on her own resources, and left to struggle single-handed. We love and honor the Irish people, and hold their rights as dear as our own,-not, however, because they are Irish, the descendants of Mileg or Milesius, of whom we know nothing, but because they share our common humanity,are our neighbours and our brethren, whom we are commanded to love as ourselves. They have fallen into the hands of robbers, who have stripped and wounded them, and left them half dead. We would pour the oil and wine into their wounds, and restore them to their health and possessions. But if they should insist, that, before doing this, we must abjure our Änglo-Saxon blood, and make ourselves Celts, we shonld feel ourselves free to leave them as we found them, with simple pity for their weakness or intolerant nationality. We are willing to leave them their identity, but they must leave us ours, if they expect us to work with them or for them.
We are well aware that many of the Irish patriots really seek to avoid the contest of races, and labor to effect in Ireland a union of all Irishmen, without distinction of race or creed, for the liberty of their common country. But we like this no better than the cry of “Death to the Saxon," for the nnion is practicable only on conditions which would extinguish the old Celtic race and civilization, which we are anxious to preserve. The Anglo-Saxons in Ireland—those, we mean, who retain their distinctive character, and have not become absorbed in the original Celtic population—are the party which oppresses Ireland, and renders an effort for freedoin necessary. It is not England ont of Ireland, but England in Ireland, that canses the mischief. To call upon England in Ireland to make common cause with the patriots for the freedom of Ireland is only to call upon the tyrant to make common cause with his victim.
The fact, that the union of parties has to be sought, to be