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nestness, and the strongest evidence that he has no wish to impose upon the reader, is the positive certainty that he has been imposed upon himself. The fallacies whether of fact or of opinion with which the works of Alison abound, are some of them so extravagant and we may add, so unmeaning, as to repel at once any presumption of culpability on the part of the author. It is their merit to reduce him from the bad eminence of a falsifier to the obscure, but safe level of a simpleton; to change at a touch his guile into innocence, and while withdrawing him from the class of those that are supposed to have more especial need of good memory, to confound him with those when memory is notoriously not good, or if good, ill furnished, though perhaps overstocked. Nor are the peculiarities of his style of the precise kind to create or strengthen impressions unfavourable to his candour. He has unquestionably a certain amplitude of manner, a stately roll of phrase, a full and regulated cadence, and above all a quiet self possession that might be used and with effect to disarm suspicion. He certainly does disguise the base metal of his logic in an endless coil of glittering sentence, but we do not say that concealment is his object,-dishonest writers have a rather different style of tactics. They usually attempt a skilful adjustment of difficulties, some historical sleight of hand, and a little delicate dressing of facts. A few venial infirmities of memory, and a few ornamental touches of invention, are always a resource. Their manner is elaborately negligent and cautiously off hand, their opinions bold and direct, but of a composed assurance. They play off at the right moment, the various little artifices that go to make up the sharp practice of rhetoric. Sometimes they affect the style coupé," and pull up their paradoxes so sharply, as almost to throw them on their haunches; their paragraphs bristle with epigram, antithesis nods to antithesis, dogmatism and sophistry kiss; at other times their progress is slow and circumspect, they try no dangerous experiments with facts or dates, but rely upon the effected of an undistributed middle, a suppressed premise or an "ignoratio elenchi" slipped in with the most unwitting simplicity. Sir Archibald Alison, we must do him the justice to say, is the reverse of all this. He has written as many crudities in his own particular province, as perhaps any man living; but with a vigorous and unquestioning faith in his facts and theories such as we have rarely witnessed. His pictures are often ani

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mated and life like, but we can never affirm they represent a real occurrence; his events are well told, and his inferences are cleverly deduced, but we are painfully conscious that we have to do with the tattle of clubs, with the round numbers and loose facts that float upon old port, when old fellows discuss it in easy chairs indicative of light labours, with none to enlighten because there are none to contradict.

It will be found quite impossible to relieve Sir Archibald Alison from all imputation on the score of honesty, without some prejudice to his character for judgment, information or capacity perhaps it would be more correct to say, that all three are compromised, and that from the peculiar mould of his ideas, they never conld shape a judgment according to the very right of the subject; while even were his capability unquestioned, his industry or his indolence, take it as you please, have left him without materials for the formation of an opinion. For some facts, no doubt, he produces a formidable, not to say a bewildering array of authorities, but we cannot help thinking he has devolved a good deal of his reading upon assistants and compiled from their notes with less discretion than simplicity. It would otherwise be difficult to account for the quantity of unauthentic small-talk, he has had the gravity to adopt and circulate as facts-His errors are not casual lapses, still less are they studied misrepresentation to make up for, as well as to disguise which, we might have a studied accuracy elsewhere; they are blunders of the broadest description, indicating a desultory habit of study, and slovenly course of enquiry, such as a designing writer cannot afford, and few honest writers will allow themselves-Sir Archibald Alison certainly has a charm of style which it would be equally unfair and hopeless to deny him, and we are far from saying that all his facts are fictions, or at best distortions. We cannot withhold from him the praise of some noble, and in our humble judg ment, far-secing conclusions. He carries our sympathies with him more than once, but we are too modest to claim that for him as a merit anywhere outside our private jurisdiction; especially when in the eyes of many, it would constitute his peculiar perhaps his sole defect and it certainly is to our regret, as it must be to that of many more, that a writer so well qualified to please, should have so ill qualified himself to instruct. You cannot read history with any degree of satisfaction, unless you can venture to put faith in the industry, sagacity and accuracy of the historian, without of course

exacting or expecting that faithfulness in every minute particular that would make him absolutely infallible. Alison's "History of Europe" is a field pleasant to look upon, and soft to tread; carpeted with young green, and overarched with smiling blue; fenced in by sheltry hedgerows, gay with spring flowers, and glittering with dew,but what if beset with man-traps and spring-guns? You have an abiding sense of insecurity in reading this work of Sir Archibald, that very much diminishes your pleasure, and altogether destroys your faith. You can afford nothing better than a provisional credit to whatever you do not know already, you are obliged to question every authority and ascertain every fact from independent sources, you must take your soundings from minute to minute-else if you escape the Grattan sands, you are sure to be caught in the O'Connell breakers, or impinge on the "infames scopuli" of Reform. A troublesome navigation certainly until the first explorers shall have drawn the chart, and the rocks and shoals get catalogued.

After all, in respect of Ireland at least, the fault lies more in the quantity then in the quality of the blunderingIgnorance of Irish history and Irish politics, would expose Sir Archibald Alison to no particular censure: in fact it is rather questionable, whether a more intimate acquaintance with these matters, than he exhibits, would be in good taste, or shew anything like thorough breeding in a British statesman or historian. But why knowing so little has he said so much ?-It is conceivable that Ireland, obscure, provincial, out of the way, anomalous, enigmatical, ragged, fainine-stricken, should be little known or studied, but Sir Archibald by devoting so large a space to the discussion of Irish history, rightly or wrongly affirmed the importance of its bearing upon the history of the Empire, and thus placed his own ignorance in a point of view entirely of his own choosing. The mis-statements and contradictions to which we shall require to refer, have like every other Irish question, a religious as well as a political aspect, and of course we shall find it difficult to escape the imputation of a leaning one way or the other; but it certainly is our wish to take position upon neutral ground, and, divesting ourselves so far as possible of our opinions which are of average strength, and our prejudices from which it may be supposed we are not exempt, to examine the dry question of fact with becoming dryness; and if a theory, however painfully or ingeniously contrived, fail, as it often must by the withdrawal

of the least important looking fragment of the structure, the fault lies assuredly not with us, but with the architect who had his choice of materials, and chose ill or allowed others to choose for him, as we have ventured to insinuate has been done by our author.

Before touching on any of his theories of Irish distress, or Irish prosperity, it might be as well to examine first a couple of the facts on which he founds his reasoning, and we fix upon two in particular, as unusually easy of ascertainment, both from date and character. The supposed facts ranging between the years 1846 and 1855, have reference to figures merely, and to figures where there can be no excuse for bulking, or approximative calculations. As a Protestant, Sir Archibald Alison has naturally a preference for whatever he understands by Protestantism, for its purifying, elevating, and generally for its civilizing influences; as a Briton he has an equally natural preference for his only blood; and an equally exalted opinion of the indefinite perfectibility of the Anglo-Saxon, and more especially of the Scottish race. He might perhaps, as a matter of private opinion, incline to the adoption of some such comprehensive measure in dealing with the Irish as was resorted to against the Acadians, and avail himself of the facilities afforded by steam transport for shipping the entire Celtic race to Cape Horn, Sierra Leone, or some equally genial and inviting region. Failing that however, he cannot but rejoice in the somewhat more gradual, but equally certain and less odious, because to some extent voluntary extermination of the Celts and their religion. He is not of course master of his likings, nor is he responsible to us for his opinions, however extreme; but we think it would be, hardly respectful towards any other than an English public to ask it to believe the table-talk contained in the following paragraphs.

"Immense beyond all precedent have been the consequences of these changes, but upon none have they fallen with such force and severity as upon the agitators and Catholics of Ireland. From a statistical paper recently published by the Census Commissioners of Dublin, it appears that the population of the island, which in 1846 -the year of the famine, and when Free Trade was introduced_ had been 8,386,940, had sunk in 1851 to 6,551,970; and as the emigration from the island has been about 250,000 a-year, it cannot now (1854) exceed 6,000,000.* At least two millions and a half of

*A return has been issued from the Census Office in Dublin, showing the population of Ireland from the year 1805 to 1851, both

persons have disappeared from Ireland during ten years, and of these above two millions are Roman Catholics. The consequence is, that the disproportion between the Protestants and Catholics has disappeared; already it is doubtful whether they are not equal in number; at the next census they certainly will be so. The priests in the country have already sunk to one-half their former numberthey have declined from nearly 5000 to 2600. At the same time the embarrassments of the landed proprietors, arising from the depression of agriculture, consequent upon Free Trade and the fall in the value of rural produce, have come to such a climax that a rigorous measure became indispensable. The land was in great part wrested from the old insolvent proprietors, and the sales of the Encumbered Estates Commission have transferred it to Saxon wealth nearly as generally as the Celtic exodus has consigned its cultivation to the direction of Saxon hands.

These changes, which have come on so suddenly that we are scarcely able even now to appreciate their full effects, have already produced a visible and most salutary change on the condition of the whole empire. Ireland has ceased to be, what for about a century past it had been, a thorn in the side of England, a source of weakness instead of strength to the United Kingdom. It is no longer necessary to retain thirty thousand soldiers in the country to keep down its inhabitants. The barracks are empty, or tenanted only by the police-monster meetings are unknown-the undiminished

inclusive, as far as the same could be ascertained from various The result is thus set forth :

sources.

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