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of a mercantile community, and the advancement of more enlightened legislation. "Alteration" cannot in any sense be construed "abolition;" nor can the "regulation" of our Courts of Law be taken to include their "removal" from Dublin to Westminster.

If Acts of Parliament are so perverted from the manifest sense and intention with which they are passed-if treaties agreed to on the faith of the contracting parties, are broken through and violated, the science of legislation becomes a trickery, national honour becomes degraded, and confidence destroyed.

The following passage from Vattel's "Law of Nations" clearly points out the rights and duties of parties to such contracts:—

"It is a settled point in national law, that he who has made a promise to any one, confers upon him a real right to require the thing promised, and consequently, that the breach of a perfect promise is a violation of another person's right, and as evidently an act of injustice, as it would be to rob a man of his property. The tranquillity, the happiness, the security of the human race, wholly depends on justice, on the obligation of paying a regard to the rights of others; the respect which others pay to our rights of domain and property, constitutes the security of our actual possession; the faith of promises is our security for things that cannot be delivered or executed on the spot. There would no longer be any security, no longer any commerce between mankind, if they did not think themselves obliged to keep faith with each other, and to perform their promises; this obligation is then as necessary as it is natural and indubitable, between nations that live together in a state of nature, and acknowledge no superior upon earth to maintain order and peace in their society. Nations, therefore, and their conductors, ought inviolably to observe their promises and their treaties. This great truth, though too often neglected in practice, is generally acknowledged by all nations."

He adds further—

"As the engagements of a treaty impose on the one hand a perfect obligation, they produce on the other a perfect right: the breach of a treaty is therefore a violation of the perfect right of the party with whom we have contracted, and this is an act of injustice against him."

It has been said that an Act of Parliament can do everything but make a man a woman, or a woman a man. An Act of Parliament can no doubt effect most important changes, but it can never alter or affect the nature of right and wrong. The principles of right and wrong are situated far beyond the limits of legislative interference, or those to which an Act of Parliament can extend; justice will

remain justice, national right will remain national right, notwithstanding all the laws that have been passed or will ever be passed to the contrary. Upon what principles of justice can it be then contended, that a Parliament constituted with respect to the contracting parties, in the proportion of five to one, has the jurisdiction to adjudicate upon one of those very conditions to which it owes its existence? Upon what principle of justice can it be contended that a treaty, which declares that certain conditions shall for ever form the ground of union between two countries, may be altered except by mutual consent? Mutual consent is a necessary antecedent to any such change; and in order that that consent might be fairly ascertained, both parties should be placed in the same independent position in which they were, previously to the contract having been entered into, to enable them to exercise their choice, free and uncontrolled.

That such a mode of ascertaining the national sense and wishes of the Irish people will be adopted, we do not expect; but if some plan be not devised for this purpose, we do not hestitate to state our opinion, that a measure having for its object the removal of the Law Courts from Dublin to Westminster, would be a breach of the Act of Union, would absolve the Irish people from the obligation of that Act, would be a violation of the laws of nations, and unconstitutional in the extreme.

Nations, like individuals, have distinctive traits of character. The soil, the climate, and physical condition of the various portions of the earth's surface differ from each other in productiveness, temperature, and geographical position. It would appear that Providence in like manner, and no doubt for a wise purpose, had implanted in the minds of those by whom each portion was peopled, inclinations and sentiments differing as widely from each other as the physical conditions of their respective countries. The vast extent of the plains of Asia has stamped and impressed on the Tartar tribes their pastoral habits; and so likewise in the manners and institutions of each individual nation, we may trace the peculiarities of their character to causes intimately connected with and depending on the physical and natural capacity of their country.

Of course, in proportion to the rapidity with which civilization advanced, and the means of communication between nations increased,

those distinctive impressions of nature gradually became fainter and fainter. Conquest too, along with other causes, lent its assistance to destroy, or at all events to blend them together; and hence those broad distinctions and peculiarities of character which in the earlier ages of the world distinguished nations from each other, have now as it were become confused; and the traces of a custom which formerly was peculiar to one nation alone, may now be discovered in many. We cannot forbear laying before our readers the following passage from one of Mr. Justice Story's works:

"The earth has long since been divided into distinct nations, inhabiting different regions, speaking different languages, engaged in different pursuits, and attached to different forms of government. It is natural that under such circumstances there should be many variances in their institutions, customs, laws, and polity, and that these variances should result sometimes from accident and sometimes from design, sometimes from superior skill and knowledge of local interests, and sometimes from a choice founded in ignorance and supported by the prejudices of imperfect civilization. Climate and geographical position, and the physical adaptations springing from them, must at all times have had a powerful influence in the organization of each society, and have given a peculiar complexion and character to many of its arrangements. The bold, intrepid, and hardy nations of the North of Europe, whether civilized or barbarous, would scarcely desire or tolerate the indolent inactivity and luxurious indulgences of the Asiatics. Nations inhabiting the borders of the ocean, and accustomed to maritime intercourse with other nations, would naturally require institutions and laws adapted to their pursuits and enterprizes, which would be wholly unfit for those who should be placed in the interior of a continent, and should maintain very different relations with their neighbours, both in peace and war. Accordingly, we find that from the earliest records of authentic history, there has been (as far at least as we can trace them) little uniformity in the laws, usages, polity, and institutions either of contiguous or of distant nations. The Egyptians, the Medes, the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans, differed not more in their characters and employments from each other, than in their institutions and laws; they had little desire to learn or to borrow from each other, and indifference, if not contempt, was the habitual state of almost every ancient nation in regard to the internal polity of all nations."

The national character and feelings of the English and Irish people are totally dissimilar. We might perhaps, if we were not treating of a subject of such grave importance as the present, take a pleasure in tracing what influence the peculiar characteristics, even of scenery, have had upon the mind of man; in inquiring into the different feel

ings and sentiments which are developed in those who have been placed, from early childhood, in communion with nature, who have been educated under her care, and become imbued with the spirit of truth, freedom, and patriotism; but however agreeable such a digression would be, our limits forbid us to wander through the fertile fields of speculation, and we must return.

The thoughts, the feelings, and natural propensities of the Irish and English people are then widely different; and yet the institutions, as at present established in both countries, are similar in principle. This may at first sight appear to be a contradiction in terms, but the origin of this similarity is easily explained.

In Mr. Cathcart's translation of Savigney's History of the Roman Law in the Middle Ages,* the fall of the Western Roman Empire into the arms of its northern invaders is thus described

"When the Goths, Burgundians, Franks, and Lombards, founded kingdoms in the countries formerly subject to the power of the Romans, there were two different modes of treating the conquered race: they might be extirpated by destroying or enslaving the freemen, or the conquering nation, for the sake of increasing their own numbers, might transform the Romans into Germans, by forcing on them their manners, constitutions, and laws. Neither mode was however followed, for although many Romans were slain, expatriated, or enslaved, this was the lot of individuals, and not the systematic treatment of the nations; both races, on the contrary, lived together, and preserved their separate manners and laws."

But the conduct of the English in their treatment of the Irish race, from the time in which they first acquired a position in this country, was almost quite the reverse: they sought to transform the Irish into English, by forcing on them their manners, constitution, and laws; the particular mode of dress then in use among the Irish was prohibited, and heavy penalties were imposed on the intermarriages of the two races. But there is this difference between the compulsory change of the manners of a nation and the change of their constitution and laws: it is easy enough for a victorious party in a conquered country to establish any constitution and enact any laws they may think fit, but the manners of a people are not so easily transformed; the constitution and laws of a country may depend on a fortuitous

* Vol. I. chap. iii, pp. 99-104.

combination of circumstances; the latter may change, and the former may therefore be at times altered without evil consequences, but the manners of a people take their complexion from nature itself, which is immutable; penal laws may be enacted, but persecution ever strengthens those habits against which it is directed; and though in seeking redress and demanding justice, the inhabitants would be compelled to avail themselves of the laws as administered by their conquerors, yet means for the evasion of laws imposing restraints on established customs, are seldom wanting. The consequence of such treatment is manifest: the institutions of the country were no doubt changed, but such is the tenacity with which a nation adheres to its peculiar habits and characteristics, that not even the lapse of years from that period to the present day, has been able thoroughly to extinguish them.

The constitution and common law of Ireland being thus at that early period abolished, and the English constitution and English common law substituted in its place, it is plain that the principles of the latter, when applied to the process of legislating for different subject matters, through a long course of years, produced different results both in the practice and administration of the law. Now, though it is not our object in the present instance to point out minutely the differences which exist between the laws of the two countries, we may allude to one or two matters which manifestly required different treatment; thus, for instance, the customs and habits relating to the occupation of land in Ireland are almost peculiar to this country, and consequently the provisions of the statute law affecting this subject (though founded on the commonlaw principles which we enjoy equally with England) must, of necessity, be also peculiar in its provisions. Differences also exist in many other branches of our respective laws; while that species of property known only to Ireland, that of lease for lives renewable for ever, has also given rise to peculiar equities and a peculiar jurisdiction. We might refer to other examples, but such we imagine to be unnecessary. A careful comparison of the statute books of both countries will show this; and that the fact is so, must be evident to all, who are in any way acquainted with the internal condition of Ireland, or who have studied her peculiar characteristics and habits.

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