Such was the Ireland
of the Irish;--a conquered
people, whom the victors delighted to trample upon, and did not fear to provoke.1
Their industry within the kingdom was prohibited or repressed by law, and then they were calumniated as naturally idle.
Their savings could not be invested on equal terms in trade, manufactures, or real property; and they were called improvident.
The gates of learning were shut on them, and they were derided as ignorant.
In the midst of privations they were cheerful.
Suffering for generations under acts which offered bribes to treachery, their integrity was not debauched; no son rose against his father, no friend betrayed his friend.
Fidelity to their religion, to which afflictions made them cling more closely, chastity, and respect for the ties of family, remained characteristics of the downtrodden race.
America as yet offered it no inviting asylum, though her influence was soon to mitigate its sorrows and relax its bonds.
Relief was to come through the conflicts of the North American
colonies with Great Britain
, in so far as both were oppressed by the commercial monopoly of England
, had a common cause; and while the penal laws against the Catholics did not affect the Anglo-Irish
, they suffered equally with the native Irish
from the mercantile system.
The restrictions of the acts of trade2
extended not to America
only, but to the sister kingdom.
It had harbors, but it could not send a sail across the Atlantic
, nor ship directly to the colonies, even in English vessels, any thing but ‘servants, and horses, and ’