I write to you more seldom than I am disposed to do, from having nothing positive to tell you, and from being unwilling to say and unsay every minute something that is reported positively. The confident assertions of the victory over D’Estaing are totally vanished-and they who invented them, now declaim as bitterly against Byron, as if he had deceived them-and as they did against Keppel. This day se’nnight there was a great alarm about Ireland-which was far from being all invention, though not an absolute insurrection, as it was said.” The case, I believe, was this:-The court, in order to break the volunteer army established by the Irish themselves, endeavoured to persuade a body in Lady Blayney’s county of Monaghan to enlist in the militia—which they took indignantly. They said, they had great regard for Lady Blayney and Lord Clermont; but to act under them, would be acting under the King, and that was by no means their intention. There have since been motions for inquiries what steps the ministers have taken to satisfy the Irish-and these they have imprudently rejected-which will not tend to pacification. The ministers have been pushed too on the article of Spain, and could not deny that all negotiation is at an end—though they will not own farther. However, the Spanish ambassador is much out of humour. From Paris they write confidently of the approaching declaration;(360) and Lord Sandwich, I hear, has said in a very mixed company, that it was folly not to expect it. There is another million asked, and given on a vote of credit; and Lord North has boasted of such mines for next year,,that one would think he believed next year would never Come.
The Inquiry(361) goes on, and Lord Harrington did honour himself and Burgoyne. Barr`e and Governor Johnstone have had warm words,(362) and Burke has been as frantic for the Roman Catholics as Lord George Gordon against them. The Parliament, it is said, is to rise on the 21st.
You Will not collect from all this that our prospect clears up. I fear there is not more discretion in the treatment of Ireland than of America. The court seems to-be infatuated and to think that nothing is of any consequence but a majority in Parliament-though they have totally lost all power but that of provoking. Fortunate it had been for the- King and kingdom, had the court had no majority for these six years! America had still been ours -and all the lives and all the millions we have squandered! A majority that has lost thirteen provinces by bullying and vapouring, and the most childish menaces, will be a brave countermatch for France and Spain, and a rebellion in Ireland! In short, it is plain that there is nothing a majority in Parliament can do, but outvote a minority; and by their own accounts one would think they could not even do that. I saw a paper t’other day that began with this Iriscism, “As the minority have lost us thirteen provinces,” etc. I know nothing the minority have done, or been suffered to do, but restore the Roman Catholic religion-and that too was by the desire of the court.