19 DECEMBER 1840, Page 10



nulun Hill, Droracre. 3t1 December 1840.

Stn—If you will permit me, I propose to make a few observations on some topics lately handled by you. There is one of them which, beyond all the rest, is interesting to the well-disposed and right-minded portion elfin. community. But I do not intend to discuss it. I tvish to express the heartfelt svtisfaction derived from witnessing your exertions in the cause of peace, and touvztrds the promotion of that mutual usual-will on which depend the permanent happiness and ultimate advancement of the human race. When I read the first of your late series of articles on the subject, I felt as if relieved from an oppressive weight ; and your earnest perseverance has no less become the harbiuger of brighter prospects, forcing me to hope against Lope anrl although surrounded by chilling apathetic indifference. In this country there is no such thing. as public-spirit, taken in its most ex- tensive sense. We have never yet considered ourselves thoroughly incorporated into the empire. The voice of the Irish nation seldom constitutes the smallest ingredient in the formation of public opinion. The several sections into which we are divided are at present sufficiently occupied with matters that more im- mediately concern them. In the North, the aspirations of the Liberals (setting aside all interested motives, if any such exist) seem to be absorbed by the grati- fication springiog from occasional contact with the noblesse at their dinners and meetings of committees, as well as by the grand object of keeping out the Tories at the expense of adopting their worst measures and principles. Sectarian ad- vancement has supplied the place of more eularged views and sentiments with the men of the South. Repeal engrosses all their cares. The reinsining faction has the spirit of war and conquest for the very essence of its existence. What wonder, then, if an unbroken silence is preserved, though our own coasts, us is far front improbable, should become the first objects of attack, mid a rising manufacture be cramped or ruined ? In Belfast and its neigh- bourhood, a considerable amount of capital is invested and a great num- ber of people are employed in the manufacture of linen vuiuu, for Width a demand exists in the French market. Even if war &mid he staved off without the aid of the inhabitants of this part of the 'United King- dom, with what face can they hereafter demand a modification of the tariff of a people with whom they at least expressed no unwillingness to engage in hostilities for reasons the most trivial and preposterous that can well he conceived, and about an object with which neither party had any con- cern ? I am far, however, from wishing to insinuate that more generous mo- tives than those of self-interest, which are good as far as they go, would not operate here as elsewhere if there were any one to stimulate them into activity. But where is such a man to be found? Perhaps your voice, Sir, if specially addressed to us, would resell across the Channel and awaken the echoes in our deserted town-halls. It is to be hoped that any immediate &tiger of collision is blown over. Yet it cannot be amiss at mu)' time to give the sanetion of pub- lic opinion to the principle of non-interfbrence, when the spirit of interference, to which there is a continual temptation, incurs the risk of involving us in such hideous calamities. - On whatever side we torn to there is war in fact or in prospect. It is the favourite game of our riders, whatever may be their professions. Even schemes of philanthropy are projected, having conquest for their basis ; aiming at the extension of civilization by means which have hitherto been found destructive of it, and at the introduction ef blessings amongst barbarous tribes, through the instrumentality of man's greatest curse. It is perhaps worth while to compare the reasonings, or, more properly speaking, the assertions respecting analogous subjects, of the men who, by. the employment of such means, pro- mote their ends. To endeavour to relieve the labourer or artisan, or the great mass of society in our own country, front the virtual slavery in which they are held by poverty and ignorance, by the establishment of laws fitted to restrain the corrupt tendencies of our nature wherever they. may show themselves, is wild and visionary, and little if at all short of madness. But with :Moslem- like zeal to couquer the Black races for their good—to degrade them as societies in order to elevate them as individuals—to promote peace by the sword, and, in search of a spurious sentimentality, to exhibit it total disregard of consistency in adapting the means to the end—strivims, if possible, to push back the limits which the Cod of Nature appears to have imposed on the unquenchable ambi- tion of man—is to be esteemed wise and reasonable, and worthy of all honour ! It might he uhiilicuult to discover wherein coosists the force of their declama- tions, if there diut not appear underneath a In rkitig appeal to the passions. Shallow reasons avail much when any thing is to he gained or lost by an un- dertaking. A practical argument of this kind is sufficient to cover a world of sophistry ill abstraction ; and men are hut too prone to disregard principle when int, rest has any sway. The some motives which hurry into Quixotic extravagance at one time, may at another restraiu us from performing an ordi- nary act of justice.

Yet evil never comes unmixed with good. The weak and timid, though afraid to exercise their sym putt des at home, send them forth abroad. Thus benevolence, even when misdirected in its efforts, grows into a habit. Gradually contracting its circumference, it will at length return upou its source ; and -White men shall eventually become free men in reality its in name, if for no

titer reason, because they have willed that Black men should cease to be slaves.

But Whence aris,,s the want of interest generally manifested in matters of practical utility, whilst a great question so intimately connected with the public weal is weighed in tie balance ? Within'. has flown the energy, nearly amount- ing to violence, which carried the Reform Bill ? Has the sluggish mass, after having received form and substance, returned to its chaotic state ? Are we now making a retrograde movement ? I think not. The real elements of Social improvement are increased, although their direction is underg,oing some alteration. But in order to exhibit my reasons flir coming to this conclusion, it becomes necessary to trace the progress of public opinion, and its relation to party politics, fbr the last twelve or fifteen years. With your permissiom Sir,

I will endeavour to do this in another letter. BA:8.mo us.

[It will give us much pleasure to receive the promised communication. From the general terms in which .14sTtcus states his subject, we are not cer- tain that lie contemplates especial reference to the growth of Trish public opinion, or the partisan rally ing-cries which bear that name. That, however, ma subject upon which infbrination is much needed on this side of the water ; and we should like to see it handled by so judicious nod dispassionate a reasoner as our correspondent.—lin.]