TORIES AND TEAGUES AND DRIVERS OF NEGROES by Donal Kennedy


 “I happened indeed by a perfect accident to be born here, my mother being left here from returning to her house in Leicester……and thus I am a Teague ,or an Irishman, or what people please” declared Jonathan Swift, born in Dublin in 1657.

In politics Swift rejoiced in the description “Tory” or Toraidhe, an insult flung at them by the Whig beneficiaries of the 1688 coup which toppled James II and placed William of Orange on the thrones of Britain and Ireland. The Tories or Rapparees in Ireland were hunted for robbing those who had confiscated Irish land. In today’s English or West British lexicon they’d probably be catalogued as “Shinners.”

  Swift has a high reputation in English Literature and in Ireland’s pantheon of nationalist heroes. The focus of his ambition was London and he regarded the Deanship of  St Patrick’s Cathedrlal in Dublin as relegation to a backwater. He affected to despise mankind in the mass but to love Tom, Dick and Harry. He may not have been as crazy as he is often depicted.

  Rascals and demagogues professing love of country, mankind, the working class, or a loving Creator have been known to have scant consideration for Tom, Dick, Harry, Teague or their sisters.

Anyhow Swift’s  “Drapier’s  Letters”   aborted the issuing of Wood’s Halfpence in Ireland, an English project which might have been a template for the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. The letters made Swift a hero to every Tom, Dick and Harry amongst the colonists in Ireland, together with the Teagues. His advice to burn everything English but Coal was good for his time.

Another Tory whose memory deserves our regard is Samuel Johnson (1709-1784). In 1775 when American Colonists protested at being subjected to Taxation without Representation he asked –

How is it we hear the loudest yelps for liberty from the drivers of Negroes?”

I can imagine how Johnson, were he about today, would regard the “Leader of the Free World” , its collaborators and sycophants.

Johnson also famously said that patriotism was the last refuge of a scoundrel, but my father reckoned that religion was. In this part of the world I think that anti-Communism is the FIRST refuge. In places where Communists or professed Communists have ruled the roost scoundrels will have found berths.

Anyhow I rarely find myself applauding Tories. But while I would not be so dogmatic as to claim that the only good Tory is a dead one, I might concede that the best of them have been dead for centuries.

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