Lord Clarendon and the Orangemen - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel
Author’s Edition (undated)

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colours of Aughrim and the Boyne. But can you divine any cause for the sudden change of late? Do you understand why the Whig Lord Clarendon calls you so many names of endearment, and the Earl of Enniskillen tenderly entreats you as a father his only child? Can these men want anything from you?

"Let us see what the drift of their addresses generally is. Lord Clarendon, the English governor, congratulates you on your 'loyalty,' and your 'attachment to the Constitution,' and seems to calculate, though I know not why, upon a continuance of those exalted sentiments in the North. Lord Enniskillen, the Irish nobleman, for his part, cautions you earnestly against Popery and Papists, and points out how completely you would be overborne and swamped by Catholic majorities in all public affairs.

"My Lord Enniskillen does not say a word to you about what is, after all, the main concern, the tenure of your farms; not one word. It is about your Protestant interest he is uneasy. He is apprehensive, not lest you should be evicted by landlords, and sent to the poor-house, but lest Purgatory and Seven Sacraments should be thrust down your throats. This is simply a Protestant pious fraud of his lordship's; merely a right worshipful humbug. Lord Enniskillen, and every other commonly informed man, knows that there is now no Protestant interest at all; that there is absolutely nothing left for Protestant and Catholic to quarrel for; even the Church Establishment is not a Catholic and Protestant question, inasmuch as all Dissenters, and all plebeian churchmen, are as much concerned to put an end to that nuisance as Catholics are. Lord Enniskillen knows, too, (or if he do not, he is the very stupidest Grand Master in Ulster), that an ascendancy of one sect over another is from henceforth impossible: the fierce religious zeal that animated our fathers on both sides is utterly dead and gone. I do not know whether this is for our advantage or not: but, at any rate, it is gone; nobody in all Europe would now so much as understand it; and if any man talks to you now of religious sects, when the matter in hand relates to civil and political rights, to administration of government, or distribution of property,—depend on it, though he wear a coronet on his head, he means to cheat you.

"In fact, religious hatred has been kept alive in Ireland longer than anywhere else in Christendom, just for the simple reason that Irish landlords and British statesmen found their own account in it; and so soon as Irish landlordism and British dominion are finally rooted out of the country, it will be heard of no longer in Ireland, any more than it is in France or Belgium now.

"If you have any doubt whether Lord Enniskillen means to cheat you, I only ask you to remember: first, that he has written you a long and parental letter, upon the state of the country, and has not once alluded to your Tenant-right; and, second, that he belongs to that class of persons from whom alone can come any danger to your Tenant-right,—which is your life and property.

"As for Lord Clarendon and his friendly addresses, exhorting to 'loyalty' and attachment to the institutions of the country, I need ...continue reading »

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