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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Remove the Cause

"I think they begin at the wrong end. They should have commenced the measure of redress to Ireland at the cottage instead of the park and the mansion. To have gone first to the higher orders of Catholics, to have sought to make them judges, peers, and commoners, I do not know that such a proceeding, had it taken place, would not rather have served to aggrevate discontent, as it might have been construed into a design to divide the interests of the Catholics. Sure I am that without a view to serve or to conciliate the Catholic population, I mean the poor, the peasantry, its effect would be nothing. It would be like dressing or decorating the topmasts of a ship when there were ten feet of water in the hold, or putting a laced hat on a man who had not a shoe to his foot. The place to set out to in Ireland for the relief of the people is the cottage. . . .If you want the attachment of the Irish, begin by giving them some reason to love you. You ask Ireland for bravery and take away the motives for it; for loyalty, and deprive them of the benefits of the Constitution. By the hapless Bill proposed but defeated, at least a Catholic officer might have been enabled to make a career, and need no longer rise to his own degradation. Charles the First asked Selden what was the best way to put down rebellion; to which Selden answered, "Remove the cause." Remove the cause of disaffection in Ireland, and disaffection will end."
Richard Brinsley Sheridan

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