Trivial matters occupy the public attention in Ireland,—trivial in themselves,
but important as symptoms of the chronic disease. Nothing appears to do well in that unlucky land. If it were at a distance from England, its weaknesses and tribulations would be of as little moment to us as-those of any other country less advanced than our own—such as Portugal. But, with our close contiguity, the contrast in the condition of the two countries seems like an invidious distinction ; England becomes more than justly respon- sible for the shortcomings of the ruder people, and the mere pro- pinquity makes England partake of evils originating in the sister island. Ireland manages ill in its affairs of landlord and tenant, and England must set all right; yet to satisfy the unsuccessful na- tion were a hopeless task. A Commission of inquiry has been ap- ppm led; but, cf course, it is the subject of instant coMplai it
might have been improved by having upon it some English 1-
turist ; but then, what a howl would have been set up against "the Saxon." A practical Scotch farmer would have strengthened its power of judgmeut ; but a Scotch farmer, engaged to improve some estates in Ireland, was recently driven with threats from the country. Some Whigs of higher standing might have been included : such were invited, and they are, perhaps, somewhat blameable for refusing to serve. The grand complaint is, that the Commissioners are all of the landlord class,—which un- doubtedly should have been avoided : but it is most unlikely that anything would have satisfied the Repealers, except a majority of Re- peaters on the Commission and the dead Certainty that the report would recommend " fixity of tenure." As it is, with due diligence, intelligence, and candour, the Commissioners may effect a great deal of public good, by collecting useful and authentic evidence, and properly digesting.it. The Repealers so far aid, that a Com- mittee of the Association is getting up evidence; which must be regarded as their " case," and as such may be profitably used by the Commissioners. It seems that the Commissioners have the choice of adding one more to the long list of Irish failures, or of adding one to the short list of real benefits accomplished for Ire- land.
Another topic is a yet smaller matter in its immediate bearing, but not less pregnant with instruction. The Arms Bill empowers the Magistrates in general sessions to grant licences to possess arms, or to withhold licences at their discretion. A beach of Magistrates have becn using that privilege of discretion in a truly Irish fashion,—that is, they have displayed nothing but indiscre- tion. They have avowedly and in a barefaced manner refused arms simply because the applicants for registration arc Repeaters. Thus they have substantiated the very prognostication which, in the de- bates in Parliament last session, was made a reproach to the bill. It has been used to disarm the Repealers. That bad distinction on political grounds was enforced with much intemperate, not to say insolent language : and among the persons thus using their in- discretion, was a gentleman who had lately been fined for cruelly beating a little boy, under a mistaken notion that the child had been amusing itself with a [fun to the annoyance of the Justice, who was absorbed in the business of hunting : and being fined, the Justice, as he resumed his seat on the bench, insulted his brother Judges with reproaches of partiality against himself. Of such materials is that party made that complains to England, as to a schoolmaster, of the folly and violence of the Repealers, and as- sumes the right to deprive them of arms. The beating of the boy, the abuse of those who administered the law, the violent party stretching of the law, appear to be substantially the same vices that fructify in Riband conspiracies, in beatings of agents, and in terri- fying witnesses at trials : it all resolves itself into the national vice, the reckless sacrifice of every consideration to partisanship. Cot- tiers beat land-agents ; magistrates beat little boys. With great labour, Mr. O'CoNNst.i, has brought the pacific Repealers to be a stage in advance of the Riband ontragers and the Macroom Ma- gistrates.