Letter from JAMES BARRY to ARTHUR YOUNG, written July 1783, at Adelphi, London

Source: MS Add 35126, f. 250, British Library. Cover: Arthur Young Esqr [img] [img]

Arthur Young (1741-1820), English agriculturalist and writer, whose farm at Bradfield in Suffolk was the centre of his improvements and research; he was a member of the Society of Arts and had won two gold medals in 1769 for papers on hogs and coleseed. Barry included Young in the picture The Distribution of Premiums in the Great Room of the Society of Arts, [img] describing him as 'the very knowing and ingenious author of the Farmer's Tours, &c.' (Account of a Series of Pictures, Fryer, Works of Barry, ii. 339). Barry and Young were mutual friends of the Burkes and the Burneys.

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Adelphi July 1783 -

Dear Sir

I am delighted with your account of Ireland,1 ‘tis wise, candid, bold, exceedingly humane & just what the nature of the case required. I have long been sick at heart of the timid, trimming, mistakenly prudent and palliating conduct of those writers who have been hitherto quacking and dabling dabbling inwithwith the sores and miseries of that Country2 and was without the least hope of ever seeing this matter undertaken by any man of such sufficient courage, philanthropy or Charity ( wch which are indeed but different points of view of the same virtue) as might obtain for us a fair, open & entire exposition of this unexampled & very melancholy case. Judge then what a pleasure I am receiving in the perusal of your Book. You have I findI find probed the evil to the bottom & have left me without a wish3 […] [gap in transcription (illegible), words: 6]. The Men of Ireland are surely much indebted to you and will I trust one day acknowledge it: But it: but for the present you must have patience and ought to bear with them, as the illiberality or meanness you may justly complain of, may fairly be ascribed to an unhappy combination of circumstances owing principally to the tyrannical, monopolizing disposition & rascally interference of your own forefathers4 who had with the most abominable and diabolical policy employed their whole skill & power utterly to erase from the minds of Irishmen all those noble & generous feelings which were incompatible with a servile an enslaved condition and which ultimately estranged them from the exercise of even the ordinary, vulgar virtues.5 In situations where men are divided into large bodies of Tyrants & Slaves little good is to be expected, their vices may differ, but they are all equally remote from virtue, truth, justice, gratitude, the love of excellence or any other of those qualities which constitute the real dignity of Human Nature. Those who are attached to no Country or description of men but for the ends & furtherance of humanity by equal justice and happiness will with me rejoice and give God Almighty thanks for the dissolution of whatever has hitherto obstructed the growth and spreading of Virtue, and for that just sense of the Human dignity which is now diffusing itself so extensively in Ireland6 and gives fair prospect of a plentiful harvest (in due season) of those other virtues, which tho though but thinly scattered in England are at present I fear in vain to be sought for any where else.

Yours most affectionately

Jam.es Barry

To Arthur Young Esqr