« VorigeDoorgaan »
cordingly appointed a High Court of Justice to try assassins by due course of law. Miss Hickson recently discovered a portion of the records of this court among the Stearne MSS. in Trinity College, Dublin, which she has published in her present work, with the view of showing the complete fairness of the Cromwellian judges. In opposition to Sir Charles G. Duffy's statement that the maddest evidence' was received by the judges against the Irish, while no witness was heard on their behalf,' Miss Hickson very fairly shows that the Cromwellian Commissioners took care to collect ' evidence against all murderers-English, Irish, and Scotch -showing no favour or impartiality to any of them on ' account of his creed or nationality, or the worldly position or creed of his victims.' (Vol. ii. p. 206.) Carte, the Royalist historian, actually charged them with unduly favouring the Irish.
But a far more serious, because more enduring, retribution befell the Irish in the tremendous scheme of confiscation, by which Cromwell penned up the whole Catholic population within the single province of Connaught, and reserved the other three provinces for the purposes of English colonisation. The work failed as a substantive scheme, but it succeeded to a most fatal extent in alienating the lands of the Irish, for it was Cromwell, rather than Charles II., who fixed the disposition of property in Ireland nearly as it is at the present hour. For eight years the new settlement held its ground, changing everything, breaking up the old framework of Irish society, and replacing the Catholic nobility and gentry by a new Protestant proprietary of English blood. It is not wonderful that the name of Cromwell is still so hated in Ireland. What, then, had the Irish gained by their rebellion with its dreadful massacres? Instead of sweeping away the English settlers so as to recover the whole land for themselves, instead of exterminating Protestantism so as to make Ireland an exclusively Catholic country, the struggle ended in the loss of three-fourths of the land, in the firmer establishment of that Ulster plantation which has ever since rendered united political action among Irishmen impossible, and in the complete establishment of the Protestant religion. But the retribution did not end with the Cromwellian conquest. When an effort was made forty years later by the Irish to reverse these humiliating disasters on the field of battle, and to retaliate upon their enemies by an act of attainder passed in a Catholic Parliament, threatening nearly three thousand Protestant lives and
taking back the confiscated lands, the Williamite conquerors took steps to outlaw the whole nation by means of the Penal Laws. It was practically the last struggle of a proscribed creed and a conquered people. The old Celtic families were no more to hold their natural place among the ennobled houses of Great Britain. The Irish people, as a whole, sank down into listless penury. The victory of the Williamites was so complete that there might have been room for the adoption of a generous policy to heal the wounds of a bleeding nation. But a great opportunity was lost. The Penal Laws were allowed to hold the country in their grasp for eighty years, and even after the union with Great Britain the old historic prejudice, dating from the wars of the seventeenth century, still survived in the Protestant mind to bar for a whole generation the concession of political rights to the Roman Catholics.
Unhappily for the peace of Ireland, the fruits of the civil war are still vital for mischief even in the midst of all our modern progress. Mr. Lecky points to Cromwell's campaign as 'exercising a powerful and living influence in sustaining "the hatred both of England and of Protestantism' in the Irish mind; but he seems not to know that the events of 1641-2 have likewise had the effect of sustaining a most persistent hostility in the minds of a large class of Irish Protestants towards their Catholic countrymen. There is no parallel in any other country to the restraint upon social intercourse which exists between the two classes in Ulster. The existence of the Orange Society is, no doubt, an anachronism, but it is a significant proof of the vitality of the ill-will which makes it so difficult to maintain order in the most prosperous part of Ireland.* It would seem as if time which wears down the greatest monuments of human labour had but little effect in softening the bitterness of sectarian antipathy. There might be some hope of establishing better relations between Orangemen and Nationalists but for the persistency with which Catholic writers refuse to acknowledge the misdeeds of their fathers. There has been no similar reluctance on the part of Protestant writers to
It is a somewhat remarkable fact that the county Armagh, which was the scene of the bloodiest massacres of 1641, is now the most Orange county in Ulster. The Orange Society was founded in 1795 at one of its little villages named Loughgall, on the day after the battle of the 'Diamond,' in which thirty Catholics were left dead on the field. One of the depositions vividly describes the murder of a hundred Protestants at one time in the church of this village.
confess the crimes of the English Government, or on the part of Protestant statesmen to make amends for past injustice by the boldest schemes of legislation. There never can be an approach to a better understanding till there is a frank recognition on both sides of the true facts of history. Englishmen and Irishmen can only meet on a basis of truth. It is therefore the duty of public writers to expose those disgraceful travesties of history which suggest the thought that the same passions which caused the massacres of the seventeenth century now prompt the lie that would deny or disown them.
If history has any lessons for our guidance or warning, it teaches that the Irish people, whose destinies have been so long inextricably linked with our own, have always lost by every resort to force, while all they have ever gained has been by the course of legitimate constitutional agitation. They have been very slow to learn this lesson, if even yet they have learned it effectually. They boast with truth of their tenacity of character, as manifest especially in their persistent Nationalism, but what after all is the worth of a quality which fails to translate itself into solid fact? Their great fault is that they do not look realities in the face, that they shut their eyes to all views of the situation but their own, and therefore they have no firm hold upon the present. England is not ashamed to say that she has learned much from experience. She has learned that no nation acts wisely which stands upon injustice in reliance on its strength. She has revolutionised all the conditions of Irish society, but the very success that has crowned her efforts seems only to provoke a certain class of Irishmen into a more irreconcilable attitude of hostility toward Great Britain. She has been strong enough to destroy injustice, but she cannot change the nature of men. Irishmen must learn once for all that there is nothing in our marked amelioration of feeling towards themselves, in our increased tolerance of insult and injury, even in our increasing effort to understand Irish wishes on all subjects whatsoever, to justify the expectation that we will ever consent to make concessions to Nationalism which would only exasperate all the evils under which their country has suffered for centuries.
ART. VIII.—History of China. By DEMETRIUS CHARLES BOULGER. Three Volumes. London: 1881-1884.
AT T the moment when hostilities have broken out between France and China, the recent publication of the third and concluding volume of Mr. Boulger's valuable History of China' could not be better timed. The two preceding volumes of this important book, which have been for some time before the public, deal at length with the long, but little known, annals of Chinese history and the Mogul conquest, but as they are of secondary interest at the present time, we shall confine ourselves on this occasion to the latest portion of the work. This third volume takes up the story at the close of the last century and brings it down to the year 1881, when for the first time a Chinese Ambassador signed a Treaty with a European sovereign in his capital. The close is well chosen, for it marks the final triumph of the doctrine of international equality, which it was the object of ambassadors and commissioners, of consuls and merchant princes, of admirals and generals, to impress or enforce upon the unwilling mind of the emperor and his court at Peking. Mr. Boulger shows a clear judgement in selecting this as the motive-power and chief aim of the long series of negotiations and wars he describes in this thick volume of over 800 pages. The grand incompatibility of Chinese preten'sions with universal right' was the real ground of all our contentions with the Celestial Empire. If there is one characteristic that strikes one more than any other in the Chinese people, and especially in their official class, it is their supreme self-complacency. Even the really lofty moral and philosophical tone of their manifestos and decrees is marred by the innate conceit of the sentiments. They all seem to breathe the monotonous refrain, There is no people so 'wise, so good, or so powerful as ourselves.' The Chinese official documents, with their assumption of universal philanthropy and far-reaching philosophic principles, which are too seldom carried into the sphere of action, appear to us the very apotheosis of cant. With all their magnificent platitudes, these Chinese philosophers were the narrowest and most ignorant people on the face of the earth. They knew their own classics, and understood how to oppress their own subjects, but there the limitless wisdom of which they boasted stopped. They knew nothing outside China, they had no imagination, and they did not wish to learn. The empire
of the Son of Heaven was enough and more than enough for their highest aspirations. As for the Fan-kwei, the 'foreign devils,' what they did or thought could not signify one iota to the mind of the Celestial, wrapped in the contemplation of his own perfection. A manifesto in 1842 described the humble people of this country in the following
'There is that English nation, whose ruler is now a woman and then a man; its people at one time like birds and then like beasts; with dispositions more fierce and furious than the tiger or wolf, and hearts more greedy than the snake or hog, . . . like the demon of the night they suddenly exalt themselves. . . . Now these English rebels are barbarians dwelling in a petty island beyond our domains, yet their coming throws myriads of miles of country into turmoil, while their numbers do not exceed a few myriads. What could be easier than for our celestial dynasty to exert its fulness of power and exterminate these contemptible sea-going imps, just as the blast bends the pliant bamboo? We have heard that the English intend to come into Pearl river and make a settlement; this will not, however, stop at Chinese and foreigners merely dwelling together, for men and beasts cannot endure each other; it will be like opening the door and bowing in the thief, or setting the gate ajar and letting the wolf in. . . . If we do not permit them to dwell with us under the same heaven, our spirits will feel no shame; but if we willingly consent to live with them, may in truth be deemed insensate.'
This is the spirit that animated the Chinese resistance to foreign intercourse. Everyone but a Chinaman was a mere 'beast,' and to associate with him was a degradation. The 'barbarians' said the Government, are like beasts, and not 'to be ruled on the same principles as citizens. Were anyone to attempt controlling them by the great maxims of 'reason, it would tend to nothing but confusion. The ancient kings well understood this, and accordingly ruled barba'rians by misrule; therefore to rule barbarians by misrule is the true and best way of ruling them.' This is very much like some of our Anglo-Indian maxims about Asiatic nations, but it reads absurdly when turned against ourselves. The position was untenable. Unless we were prepared to cancel all the obligations of international relations, 'to deny the claims of a common humanity,' as Mr. Boulger rather grandiloquently puts it, to maintain that the deficiencies of one region are not to be supplied by the abundance of another, and to hand down to future genera'tions a legacy of closed frontiers, public suspicion, and interminable strife,' this arrogant pretension of China to superb isolation must be rejected and broken down. The