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PREFACE. - William Molyneux, The Case of Ireland being bound by Acts of Parliament in England, Stated 
The Case of Ireland being bound by Acts of Parliament in England, Stated, with a new Preface (London: J. Almon, 1770).
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THE following Case of the Kingdom of Ireland, was published at a Time, when our Constitution had recently felt the healing Effects of the happy Revolution; the Sister Kingdom had been most miserably distressed amidst that Confusion, which the Biggotry of the deluded Followers of James had introduced, and great Occasion she had, for every Act of Friendship, which this Nation could shew; the Protestant Families had been stripped of their Properties, and forced to seek Refuge in this Country; they were received with Humanity, by many particular Persons, and Money was raised by private Subscription for their Relief; their Lands had been wasted, their Houses burned, and the whole Island thrown back, as to matter of Improvement, at least a Century; all this did the Irish Suffer in the Cause of Liberty, for it is beyond a Doubt, to those who have any Knowledge of that History, of the Advantages in Number, Intelligence, and other respects, derived to the English Army from the Irish Protestants; thatif they had joined their Forces with those of the Catholicks, the Kingdom might have been easily delivered up either to James or to Lewis; they had taken a different Resolution: Descended from Ancestors, who brought with them the Manners, Customs, Laws, and Constitution of England, and communicated them to the wild ferocious Natives of Ireland, they were determined to support them.
At a Time when England was diffusing the Blessings of Liberty, to a prodigious national Expence, amongst the most remote People of the Continent, it must be matter of just Surprize to the Irish, that far from receiving Assistance from English Legislature, towards repairing the Damages they had sustained, they saw their Independence as a Kingdom, unjustly violated, their Trade wantonly restrained, and Mr. Molineux’s modest dispassionate irrefragable Proof of the Rights and Liberties of his native Country, profanely burned by the Hands of the common Hangman.
We live in an Age, where in one Particular, the Revolution continues still to operate, for the Crown of these Realms remains as yet under parliamentary Establishment, in a Family, which, although not so near in Blood as other Families to the abdicated Race, was nevertheless preferred, because they were Protestants, because they were of small continental Importance, of known Moderation, and therefore more likely to be contented with the reasonable Share of Power allow’d byour Laws; Ireland, from the very same Motives with England, recognized the present Family by solemn Act, totally distinct from that of England, and had Reason to hope for a pure uninterrupted Enjoyment of civil Liberty, under such worthy Patrons.
That it has not been the general Sense of the People of England to oppress Ireland, is most certain; the English breathe a Spirit of Freedom, they are naturally brave, generous, and just; they would endeavour to make all Mankind free; and who from the workings of English Administrations, shall conclude to the whole People of England, will conclude unjustly; for excepting a Part of Queen Anne’s Reign, and that Part of the late War which was conducted by the Earl of Chatham, shew me who can, with all the boasted Liberty of England, when did the national Sense and that of Administration, in any Respect coincide; was it the English Nation that betrayed the Catalans? Cut us off from any future cordial Friendship with the Dutch? Endured the outragious Insults of Spain for a Number of Years? gave Hostages at the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle? and bartered to private Avarice all the Advantages of the last gorious War? would they Sacrifice, would they proscribe as Rebels, the brave unfortunate Corsicans? would the English Nation oppress the Irish? It is to the weak or wicked Councils of English Ministers that these Articles must be charged, together with that churlishPolicy, which will not permit Ireland to carry on Part of a Trade, the whole of which, England is confessedly unable to maintain.
An English Minister would move Heaven and Earth to corrupt a Majority in the House of Commons, and contrary to that Golden Rule of Politicks, which prefers the greater Part to the smaller, he would, in order to secure a single Member, the Circumstances of whose Estate may render it convenient to destroy the entire Trade of Ireland, readily Sacrifice so respectable a Part of the British Empire: To cut off the left Arm, in order to save a little Finger of the Right Hand from Amputation, would be strange in Surgery. Ireland has many unhappy Peculiarities in her political Situation, the chief of which seems to be, that she is a Kingdom without a King, for the Minister with an obsequious British Privy Council, has assumed the Power of putting a Negative upon the most salutary Laws; the Man who is not well acquainted with the Interest of Ireland, must surely be incapable of advising his Majesty concerning such Interest, as it stands in relation to that of the Commonweal; for it is unjust to say, that the Interest of England or of Scotland, requires that Ireland shall be treated in this or in that manner; the honest Enquiry must be, which is the Manner from whence Advantage to the Inhabitants of that Kingdom, in common with those of our own, will arise; none are so likely to be furnished with a Knowledge adequate to such Enquiryas the Irish; the honest and sensible Part of their Gentry, are scarce ever seen at the British Court, those who reside here, having not only relinquished every Concern for the Liberties of their own Country, but stand foremost in the List of those, who Labour in the Destruction of our Liberties; his Majesty therefore with regard to the true State of Ireland, is totally uninformed, which in Effect is not to be a King.
The Mind of every Monarch is not capable of comprehending the extensive Duties of his high Office, nor can the Heart of every Monarch resolve upon executing them; William the Third was indeed born an Hero, and where Liberty was in Danger, the Rights not only of his own Subjects, but of the human Species to be asserted, no Hazard was too great, no Climate unlovely, no insolent Combination of his Subjects appeared terrible; and had he outlived that tyrannical Leviathan, Lewis the 14th, Ireland might have reaped, some Part of the Harvest of his Leisure; he probably would have given that Kingdom other Marks of being a Sovereign, than quartering upon her a Band of lazy, voracious, pensionary Sycophants.
Another Peculiarity in the Affairs of Ireland is, that they have an House of Peers, without a dernier judicial Power; judicial Power, wherever placed must give Consequence, from thence may Prerogative draw at all Times sufficient Force without calling in Corruption to her Aid; when Gracchus had deprived the Patrician Order of this Power, he looked upon it as sufficiently humbled, no wonderthe Irish should sensibly feel so unnatural a Change in their Government; the Right of construing their own Laws, is founded upon the Principles of common Sense, because Vicinity and Intercourse carry the strongest Presumption of being acquainted with the Matter in Dispute, the Characters nay with the Right of the Disputants: I have seen as much Interest made by the Friends of the Appellant and Respondent, upon an Irish Appeal, as in the Lobby of the House of Commons, upon a contested Election; and in one Party, when his Adversary has been familiarly received in Public, by any Court Lord of notorious Influence, the lowest Dejection of Countenance; and yet when we consider, that Determinations in Law or Equity, depend not upon a Skill in Horse-racing, or a critical Knowledge of the Inns upon the Roads to Paris, Turin, or Rome; an indifferent Person, will be at a Loss to discover any Superiority in a British over an Irish House of Peers, as to Capacity of judging in Matters of Property. Judex bonus juxta Leges & Jura pronunciat, and we cannot suppose that British Peers, admitting them perfectly acquainted with their own Laws, can be so conversant with those of Ireland, where from particular national Circumstances, they, must differ from those of England, as the Peers of Ireland are, therefore not so competent Judges: but if it should be asserted, which seems not without Colour of Justice, that the Lords have no concern with the judicial Powerfurther than the Formality of voting, and that the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice of the King’s-Bench, have the Direction both of their Consciences and Opinions, the Officers correspondent to these at the other Side, having received the same Education, in the learned Profession with their Brothers in England, ought to be, and probably are as capable of giving Judgment in the last Instance; so that there can be no sufficient Cause for drawing such great Sums of Money from Ireland for the Prosecution of Appeals, unless the Affair is considered in a commercial Light, Justice, as a Material of Trade, and that the Ballance against Ireland must be preserved in this as in every other Article.
As to the House of Commons of Ireland, not one Essential of Independency of Legislature, remains to it, except that of raising Money; it is the last Privilege a People will give up, and a Minister ought to feel an uncontroulable Energy in himself, before he attempts an Injustice of such Poignancy. A Grant of the Supplies for a long Term, was very near passing during the Lieutenancy of Lord Carteret, which would have destroyed this precious Relique of Irish Constitution; in general until very lately the English Ministry, has carried almost every Question in the Irish House of Commons, and why Opposition has been more frequent than formerly, may I think be thus accounted for.—We plainly see thearistocratic Part of our Constitution gathering Strength every Day, the Consequence of which has been, that the Dignity of national Representation is sinking apace; the Lower House is disgraced by an Admission of obscure indigent Dependants upon the Nobility, who, before their Introduction to Parliament, owed perhaps the Dinner they consumed, and the Cloaths they wore, to the Bounty of their Patrons; the scandalous illusory Evasions of the Qualification Laws, we all know, and the Retainers in old Times to the great Lords, supported at the Expence of these Lords but having no Voice in the Senate, were less noxious Animals, than the modern Friends (as they are pleased to call them) of our Grandees, who are fed upon the Vitals of the People, and hired to Vote away their Liberties: Legislature has been further debased, by an Admission, not of Merchants, for that respectable Character is at present scarce known amongst us, but of a Set of illiberal Wretches, who by Fraud, Contracts, Stock-jobbing, or a sordid Parsimony, have wrought themselves into Wealth; these purchase Seats in the House, under Protection of the Minister, and are prepared to do his dirty Work at half Price; before Representation had been consigned to such mean Hands, the Employments in Ireland, except a few very considerable ones, were unworthy the Acceptance of an English Member of Parliament, they were distributed amongst the Gentlemen of that Kingdom, and scarce any Thingwas refused to Administration; but so great the Demand for them now at this Side the Water, such granting of Places and of Pensions, in Possession and Reversion, that the Natives seeing no Prospect of being gratified, are easily inclined to oppose our Lord Lieutenants, and Points are daily contested; the Cause here assigned is no great Compliment to Irish Patriotism, but it is something very like human Nature, depraved if you please, nor let it be forgotten, that whilst the Example of England is so near, it is scarce possible it shall be otherwise; if a Right to be bribed can exist at all, the Irish have a Right to be bribed by the Materials, which their own Country furnishes, prior to that of the English; and much more for the real Interest of England would it be, that Irish Pensions and Places were left as before, to the Members of their own House, their Effects were then but of small Extent, only to a Vote of Credit for the Crown, or to silence the Hue and Cry after some petty Larcener of the Treasury; but by the dark Minister of this Day, they are employed to a more dangerous Purpose, to support a mercenary Majority in the British Parliament, and under Cover of this Battery of Corruption, to sap the very Foundation of our Constitution; that this is his Scheme, is apparent from the cruel Treatment of the Americans; careless of the good Opinion of the collateral Branches of the British Empire, their Governments,Revenues, Offices, are all employed to poison the Fountain of Legislature; this End once attained, how easy is it to vote the Irish, Americans, East-India Company, &c. to be Horses, Asses, and Slaves at his Pleasure.
There is another Cause, why for the future, more frequent Opposition is to be expected from the Irish to the unreasonable Requisitions of their Governors; the Rigour of Popish Biggotry is softening very fast, the Protestants are losing all bitter Remembrance of those Evils which their Ancestors suffered, and the two Sects are insensibly gliding into the same common Interest: The Protestants, through Apprehension from the superior Numbers of the Catholicks, were eager to secure themselves in the powerful Protection of an English Minister, and to gain this, were ready to comply with his most exorbitant Demands; the Catholicks were alike willing to embarrass the Protestants, as their natural Foes; but awakened from this Delusion, they begin to condemn their past Follies, reflect with Shame on having so long played the Game of an artful Enemy, and are convinced, that without Unanimity, they never can obtain such Consideration, as may entitle them to demand with any Prospect of Success, the just and common Rights of Mankind.
Religious Biggotry is losing its Force every where, commercial, and not religious Interestsare the Objects of almost every Nation in Europe; Ireland, to France or Spain, would be a grand commercial Object, and I wish these Powers may never have an Opportunity to avail themselves of the united Discontents of the Inhabitants of that Island; if they should, I may venture to say, that no religious Scruples would hinder them from guaranteeing to the present Possessors of its Lands all their Estates, without the odious Distinction of new and old Rights; and the Irish combined under the Protection of a fair equitable Alliance, with some powerful State, would give much uneasiness to any who should attempt to molest them.—For let Fancy present us but for a Moment, this Island we speak of, not inhabited by the Descendants of Britain, nor those who are blended with these Descendants, by every natural and civil Intercourse, not by Men who have or wish to have the same Interest, at worst no opposite Interest to that of Britain, ready to bring Increase to her Trade, and add Terror to her Arms; but let that Island be filled with a Race of ancient Irish, fierce, active, robust, patient of Hunger and of Toil, proud in being the Posterity of these Heroes who chaced the prowling Danes from their Country, plumed as they were at that Time with repeated Victories over the prostrate Saxons; with a People whom nothing but intestine Broils, could have forcedinto an unequal Compact with any Nation whatsoever; we may go farther, and admti them to be strengthened by a Policy proportionably improved with that of their Neighbours, connected by Treaties with some great Power upon the Continent, as Scotland was with France, and adverse to this Kingdom, as are their Seas and Shores; tell me from what Part of the Globe could this Island be so much annoyed? Instead of being so rich a Jewel in our Crown, what a Thorn would Ireland be in our Side? Tacitus has, many Ages since, delivered it as the Opinion of Agricola, that Ireland might have been conquered by one Legion and some Auxiliaries, and he adds it as the farther Opinion of his favorite Commander, that such a Conquest would be instrumental to the entire Reduction of Britain, because says be, the Britons beholding the Arms of Rome on all Sides, every Prospect of Liberty must vanish—idque adversus Britanniam profuturum, si romana ubique arma & velute Conspectu Libertas tolleretur.—If the Conquest of Ireland in that rude State, was of so much Importance to an Enemy, who was intent upon subduing Britain, much more convenient must it be now, abounding as she is in the Necessaries of Life, her numerous and commodious Harbours well known to all Nations, and rich in a Breed of Men whose worth is approved and acknowledged by every State in Europe, except that of Great-Britain.
Commerce, as I said before, and the Desire of thereby procuring the Comforts of Life, are the ruling Principles of the present Age; Portugal, which as a State, owes its Existence to England, will not reconcile themselves to a Trade with us on Terms of Disadvantage; Luxury and bad Policy, which has raised the English Manufactures to an uncommercial Price, furnish no Argument why Portugal should be a loser; nothing should give a Superiority to one People over another in Trade, but superior Honesty, Industry and Skill; no Treaty can bind to the utter Ruin of either Party, for that would defeat the End of all Treaties, mutual Convenience and common Good: It is otherwise in Contracts between private Persons, these must be observed, although an Individual may be affected, because private Interest should give Way to that of a Community, which requires, that Contracts should be strictly performed; but in a Contract between two Communities, this Reason cannot hold, for there are Cases, when by a strict Performance, either one or the other will be reduced to beggary; nor is it impossible that Portugal, for that Reason is more cordially disposed towards France than England at this Time; and that England may soon look upon the Conquest of that Kingdom by the Spaniards, with the same Indifference as they lately have done upon that of Corsica by the French. I can affirm that Ireland, in the Year 1760, in themidst of a bloody War, had not 5000 effective Men to defend her; there are Seasons, when our Ministers seem to be fast asleep; and I am persuaded, that the Encomiums of Montesquieu, upon the Wisdom of this Nation, was intended only as an Alarm to his own Countrymen; he would make us more considerable than we really are, that they may become proportionably more attentive.
Hanover has cost England more Money in a Summer, than Ireland has done since the Reign of Henry the Second; for in truth the English Adventurers, who bore the Expences of the Irish Wars, were fully reimbursed by fair Estates in that Kingdom; there were Companies formed to carry on Conquests in them Days, as to carry on Trade at present: suppose them Hanover, which has the Happiness to be under the same gracious Sovereign with Britain and Ireland, suppose her, I say, to be neglected by her Elector, her ancient and fundamental Laws trampled upon, her Revenues idly dissipated, by a weak assuming oppressive Privy Council of this Kingdom; would she bear it patiently? or would she not seek Redress in the Friendship and Justice of other Powers? Exterminations of an entire People, or a total Reduction to slavery, upon raising the Arm to resistance against Injuries, is not the Doctrine of this Day; the Powers of Europe think themselves bound in Honour and in Interest to prevent it; Interest, to the Disgrace ofMonarchs, I must acknowledge to be concerned, and it is well that even that is left to be a Counterpoise to lawless Force; if Corsica had presented an immediate Prospect of Advantage, equal to the Cost of defending it, the French would not be at this Time in peaceable Possession of the whole Island; but in Possession they are, which shews, that a People may change their Sovereign, and yet enjoy their Properties, Customs and Laws.
Blind Prejudice may dart her random Invectives against the Scottish Nation, but in my Opinion Scotland is the Soil of the Decii, more Self-Devotees to the Independency of Country has it produced, than any other whatsoever; an Enumeration would he tedious and useless, the Instances are recent; when ever the Gentry of that Kingdom have thought themselves neglected, their great Services suffered to go unrewarded, there never was wanting a Band of Heroes, who turned out for Redress; they have scorned the dull and unavailing Method of Petition, and of Remonstrance; the Apprehension of their crossing the Tweed in Arms, has generally proved a forcible Argument, with an indolent luxurious Neighbour; few indeed of their Nobles have been engaged, these stand sensibly aloof, but far from endeavouring to suppress the generous ardour of their Countrymen, they silently approve: What though some Thousands of these daring Vassals may be cutoff, yet are Honours and Wealth hereby secured to their surviving Friends for an ensuing Century; and I make no Doubt, if the Scotch should at any Time hereafter live under a Prince, less discerning than his present Majesty, less sensible of their extraordinary Merit, when they may be unjustly brought down to a Level with their fellow Subjects, and treated upon the same equal footing, but we shall find that the Breed of Self-Devotees is not extinct, and see their Demands gallantly made with Andrew Ferrara in Hand.
On the contrary, if the common People of Ireland, stung by all the Miseries of Want and Oppression, do but murmur a Complaint, if they assemble with the smallest Mark of Dissatisfaction in their Countenances, the loyal Gentry of the Kingdom are straight-way up in Arms; these dangerous Insurgents are suddenly crush’d; and within an Assizes or two, their Leaders, a wretched Priest perhaps with some other drunken Profligates, are either hanged or transported; the one People would secure every Advantage to themselves, by impressing upon their opulent Neighbour, a fear of being invaded and plundered; the other would conciliate our Friendship, by a fulsome obtrusive surfeiting Affection for us, and an enthusiastic Loyalty for our King; which Method has been most successful, the many Blessings showered upon the Scotch, and the numberless Calamities of the Irish sufficiently declare.
The honest People of England, must think it unjust to deprive the Irish of those Advantages which Nature has given, nay it is impious, for it is in Effect rising in opposition to the Awards of Providence; they must think it cruel to obstruct the Trade of Ireland, without which, its common People must starve; they must think it bad Policy to rob the Sons of the Gentlemen of Ireland of the Provisions they are intitled to, in Army Church and Revenue, because they are forced by such Usage into foreign Countries, of which they have often given this Kingdom cause of painful Remembrance, to say we will do this or that, because Superiority of Number enables us to do so, is the Language of a Bravo without Honour or Reason on his Side: Nothing can be a stronger Mark of declining Liberty than a Desire to enslave; Rome in her Days of Virtue, conquered but to civilize and make free; when Liberty was but a Name, then did she wish to extend her Vassalage over all Nations of the World; and if that should be the present design of England, very pleasing must it be to Ireland and the Colonies to see our Monarchs become absolute, and all his Majestys Subjects in the same equal Condition, then will the following Lines, which Corneille has put into the Mouth of Ptolemy, in the Tragedy of Pompey, be most apposite to the Times.
But the Supposition is disagreeable, it should not be indulged; the gloomy and desponding State-Physician, upon discovering some dangerous but common Symptoms, is too forward to give over his Patient;—Sævior armis Luxuria, is ever in his Mouth, and Liberty is no more; I cannot esteem thus meanly of our Constitution, her pristine Vigour, may not indeed be restored, but untimely Death may be prevented; and the most enfeebled State of Freedom, is better than Despotism; Wealth produces Luxury; the Poison of Wealth if diffused amongst the Individuals of a State, is so weakened by being divided, as to work its Effects slowly; but if the acquired Wealth of a Nation, instead of being thus scattered, falls by artful Management into the Hands of a wicked Administration, the collected Force of such Poison becomes irresistable, it produces untimely Death, Dissolution is hereby præcipitated—all the English Places of Powerand Profit, in the Disposal of Ministry, could not procure such a Majority in the Houses of Parliament, as to make the Cause of Liberty quite desperate; new Resources of Corruption were therefore to be found out, they were sought for in Ireland and the Colonies; the Governments, the Employments, both Civil and Military, of these Countries, their Places and Pensions, were all brought in as auxiliary Funds of Corruption to those which Britain had hitherto in vain supplied; and by this additional Force, has the Minister gained such a Superiority, that coming to a Division now, upon the most interesting Question in either House, is a mere Mockery; in this manner the poor increase of Irish Wealth, the wretched Gleanings after the English Trader, is snatched from the unhappy People of that Kingdom, and converted by the chymical Operation of severe Revenue-Laws into those Pensions, with which the English Minister comes forth armed at all Points against Law Justice and Reason.
Yet why should we despair? a generous and disinterested King, may give up these Adjuncts of Prerogative, which are now such a Curse to the People; or by directing an Application of the Pension and Concordatum Money of Ireland to public Works, instead of pampering the unworthy, may relieve the distressed; such a King, would have no Occasion for the Means of Corruption, because he will have nothing illegalor unreasonable to demand; but as this would be a most extraordinary and uncommon Blessing, who knows but the good People of England may, one Day or other, insist that no Placeman shall be intrusted with the Management of their Concerns in the great Council of the Nation, perhaps make it one of the Conditions of their Allegiance; and when there shall be no Occasion for the Service of Pensioners, a Court may then look upon Pensions as useless, if a Nation will submit to the Incumbrance of purveying the Superfluities of a wasteful and luxurious Court, through superstitious Veneration for an ancient Form, the smallest Return they can expect is, that their Liberties may escape, without being either forcibly invaded, or insidiously undermined.