Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

to law; and they tyrannize over the other catholics. As long as such a body remained in that country, he felt most forcibly that it would be absurd to expect tranquillity or contentment. There was nothing more remarkable, the noble lord said, than the difference between the catholics of England and Ireland. Having lived in a part of that part of the empire where there were many catholics, he was enabled to speak to this difference. In those parts of England where catholics are resident, if one saw a farmer distinguished for temperance, cleanliness, and industry, it generally turned out that he was a catholic; in Ireland it was directly the reverse. What could be the cause of this difference? He had asked an intelligent English catholic, and the reason stated was this, that catholic clergy in this country studied to promote peace ; but those of Ireland found their account in pursuing an opposite course. So much was he persuaded of the justice of the remirk, that the hierarchy was interested, and prone to excite disturbance, that he sincerely lamented that their abolition was necessary to secure peace. Nay more, he was thoroughly satisfied that such an' abolition would be highly grateful to the better informed part of the catholics themselves, as it would be for the interest of the whole body. This would be the more readily admitted when he stated that peacet and harmony was most to be found in the dioceses where there was no bishop, or where E the bishop did not much meddle with the parish priests. That bishops were not essential, or desired by the catholic parish priests, was apparent from the case of Canada. There the priests complained of a bishop's having been sent among them, alléging that harmony prevailed among them until such an authority was placed over them. Having had communication with some intelligent, conscientious parish priests in Ireland, he had reason'to know that the hierarchy in its present shape was not agreeable to the people, and was peculiarly disagreeable to the more informed part of the clergy. 11 From those parish priests he learnt that they were afraid to be known to hold any coinmunications with protestants, lest they should incur the censure of their bishops. 1 Indeed this statement was confirmed by a circumstance with respect to Dr. Hussey. ir A few catholic servants in a protestant family were in the habit of joining in a certain prayer

which involved no difference as li to any doctrinal point. The practice, how-t ever, being reported to Dr. Hussey, he instantly forbid it, stating as a reason that,

[ocr errors]

proceeded from the superior information of existed among the mass of the people of the men, and the refusal of it in the other Ireland, who were such catholics as he had from the superior influence of the bishops. stated, a general hatred against the English Dr. Hussey wrote a pamphlet against this name ; and an English government and oath, arguing, that it would be monstrous tyranny, or an Englishman and an heretic, to call on a catholic to swear, that he would were with them synonimous terms ; so that: not be faithful to a British sovereign, if that it was impossible, consistenuly with the sovereign should happen to be of the same safety of the protestants of Ireland, to grant religion with himself, and this argument the prayer of this petition. He would vensucceeded. The noble lord stated the means ture to say, that if the prayer of this petiby which, in his judgment, the changes de- tion were granted, the result would be, that sired might be produced in Ireland. If the except in part of the North of Ireland, and, bible were translated into Irish, he was per- perhaps the capital of that country, no prosuaded that very good effects would follow testant would dare to live in it. This he had,

- that many catholics would be converted from information which could not be doubtto the established church. The house would ed; for a reverend prelate had told him that

! ; recollect the consequences that arose from he could not keep one protestant servant, the translation of the bible into the Welsh and much of this came under his own view. language. The protestant service being He knew that none of the protestant inread in Ireland, in the English language, habitants of Dublin, who were parents, which numbers did not understand, was a could get their children into the service of great impediment to the conversion of ca- any considerable family, so that they were tholics. They understood the Latin liturgy obliged to apprentice them out to handicrafts. much better-having it from early educa- Such was was the disposition of the catholics, tion by note. The state of the church in for whom this extraordinary indulgence was Ireland was, besides, very bad. There now asked, that none of the protestant chilwere 2,400 parishes in Ireland, the bene- dren could find employment in the service fices of which were reduced to 1,100; of any considerable family in Dublin, and 500 of them only had fixed residences, the this was the case generally all over Ireland. remaining 600 had no fixed residences : out Nor was this all, for no day-labourer could of 2,400 parishes there were not many more find employment, unless he was a catholic, than 1,000 churches. In many parts of Ire- He considered this proposed measure of what land there were excellent livings, very much was called relief to the catholics, as a measought after, which had neither church nor. sure so far from being likely to conciliate the glebe-house. But if we were to set about people of Ireland, that it would have the ameliorating the condition of Ireland, the effect, if agreed to, of driving out of Ire.. only way to do so effectually was to take land all the protestants ; for until the present. proper means to propagate the doctrines of hierarchy of Ireland should be in possession the protestant church, and if this were done, of all the ecclesiastical revenues of Ireland, he had very little doubt that Ireland would it was not to be supposed that they would be. soon wear a different appearance ; provided contented, and having gone so far in asking, another thing was also done—that of pro- if they were successful, it was not to be supa: viding for the safety of such inhabitants as posed that they would not go further. In are protestants; for in a very large portion earlier days the catholic religion of Ireland of Ireland there could hardly be said to exist might have been put on the same foota such a person as a day labourer who was a ing as that of England, and then the haprotestant ; no one person of that persua- tred to the protestants would not have subsion could expect to be otherwise than sisted as now it does ; but they had proceedmiserably treated by all his neighbours who ed on a wrong foundation, and had erred were catholics.

It was true he had the on the system of intolerance in their princisanction of the law for his profession, but ples much further than the catholics of in Ireland the laws were not enforced as England had ever done; they could not they ought to be; there were many and de- now, at least ou the sudden, be brought plorable defects in Ireland in that particular; back from those errors into which their hieand they were chiefly owing to the power rarchy had led them. We must consider the and influence of the catholic hierarchy. It Roman Catholics of Ireland as persons who was the interest of that hierarchy (and they refused to submit to those laws and principles pursued that interest) to create a spirit of of reformation which had transformed this animosity in the people of Ireland against the country from a catholic to a protestant protestants; the consequence was that there country. They were now disposed in Ireland to resist the laws in that particular, and sufficiently early to go through with the would continue to do every thing in their whole before twelve at night, or decency power to do so. They must, therefore, be would require another adjournment. dealt with accordingly, and under such cir- Lord Hawkesbury declared, that unless cumstances it would be the greatest mad- the motion for adjournment specified the ness to put into their hands more political hour at which the debate was to be repower than they possessed already. He sumed, instead of leaving that point inadmitted that this was holding out a melan- definite, he should be under the necessity of choly prospect, but that he could not help, opposing the adjournment. for it was truth exacted it of him; and al- The Duke of Norfolk thought that the though there was much force in the expres- regular way would be to put the question sion, that we ought to pay attention to the of adjournment generally in the first infeelings of the great body of the people stance ; if that was carried, it would be of Ireland who were catholics, yet it did competent to any noble lord to move that it not follow that we were to abandon the in-be resumed at any hour he might think fit. terest, and indeed the safety, of the pro- | -(A great cry of gò on! go on! go on!) testants of Ireland, at least until the Ro

-The question was put by the lord Chanman catholics of Ireland shall put them cellor for the adjouriiment, and from the selves in a different situation from that in vcices, the non-contents were declared to which they are at present: until they should have it, and the house was about to proknow how, like the catholics of England, ceed to a division, but did not divide. The to ask their priests and teachers, will you debate was then resumed, and permit us to take the same oath as the ca- The Earl of Limerick rose and spoke as tholics of England, they could not fairly or follows:-My lords, exhausted by the excessafely be trusted with that which the catho- sive heat of the house, and by the very

late lics of England enjoyed.—When they should hour to which the debate has been protractbe permitted by their priests to take the ed, I own I regret that the proposed adoaths in like manner as the catholics of journment did not take place. Your lordEngland did, they might be put in the same ships, however, will derive one advantage state of independence, they might then be from my wearied state of mind and body, worthy of the benefits they now seek ; but that I am totally unable to trespass for any as long as they remain slaves to the power length of time on your patience. to which they are at present slaves, his lord-test, with the utmost sincerity, that I ship said, he was of opinion they are not was desirous to reconcile it to my feelings worthy of what is now asked in their behalf. to give my vote on the present question, He had a great deal more to say to their without addressing your lordships. The Jordships upon this subject, but he felt that subject under consideration is one, to a perhe had already trespassed too much upon son who thinks as I do, highly unpleasant their time, and he old, therefore,' say to discuss, and to an Irishman, for many no more upon this occasion.

reasons not necessary to allude to now, it is The Duke of Norfolk rose to propose an one of peculiar awkwardness ; I could not, adjournment.

however, satisfy myself to remain behind Lord Hawkesbury said, he had no objec- the shield of silence, lest my doing so should tion, provided it was understood the house be construed into timidity or want of should meet again the next day time enough decision. From much of what has falto dispose of this question in the course of len from several noble lords who have spothe evening ; but if the adjournment was not ken in this debate, I am almost led to imaproposed on these terms, he should feel it gine that I have passed the greater part of his duty to oppose it.

my life in a dream ; that Ireland, where I

; The Duke of Norfolk again submitted to was born, and where I resided so many the house the propriety of adjourning, with years, was not the kind of country I had out coming to any terms of compromise as considered it to be, and that all that had to the time the subject should take up in there passed before my eyes was merely a future discussion, or the time when that vision. The noble baron who opened the discussion should be renewed. (Here there debate was pleased, in the beginning of his was a great cry of go on! go on! go on!) speech, to state, that the petitioners had : The Lord Chancellor said, that if the ad- suffered from party violence and party prejournment was carried, their lordships would judice. I own I am at a loss to understand understand that they should meet at an hour what the noble lord nieans ; does he mean

I pro

[ocr errors]

that the petitioners have suffered such vio- had, I should have been one of the first to lence and prejudice from their own parlia- contradict it. In truth, my lords, I cannot ment, now no more? If he does, Ī, ha- help thinking, with great respect be it said ving been a member of that parliament for to the noble lord, that much of his lordmany years, cannot help stating that the ship's speech was consumed in conjuring up noble lord has so far been grossly misinform- pliantomis for himself to buffet.--I will not ed : I am persuaded, from his known can- enter into the abstract question whether it dour, that he would not have made such an be safe to remove at once all those guards assertion, had he not been strongly assured and barriers which our ancestors thought of its truth. What, my lords, do the Irish essentially necessary for the preservation of catholics mean to say that they have suffered our constitution in church and state. I do from party violence and party prejudice not think it necessary to declare an opinion, from their own parliament? Túrn over the that the enlightened catholics of the present volumes of the ac's of that parliament since day do not entertain those principles of perthe year 1782, and you will in them find secution of persons of a different faith, and one continued chain of indulgences, re- of want of regard to oaths inade to heretics, Jaxations, grants of privileges, and admis- which had formerly made them objects of sion of political rights, till at last little in- distrust and apprehension to protestant deed was left to bestow. This assertion of states; it would be idle to do so ; nobody suffering from party, however, explains a now entertains any such opinions. -- I am circumstance in the late transactions, which, well acquainted with many of the subscriI acknowledge, has considerably puzzled bers to the catholic petition, and I assert me. I was at a loss to conceive why Eng- with confidence, that they are not excelled lishmen, almost unacquainted with Ireland, in character, in loyalty to their prince, and were selected by the Irish catholics to pre- in attachment to the constitution, by any sent their petition, passing by all their coun- the most distinguished of the protestants: trymen in both houses of parliament. Were The noble lord (the earl of Fingall) whose there no two of them on whom they could name stands second on the list, is one of rely, or from whose party prejudice and the best and most distinguished characters violence they had not suffered? --- With the united kingdom can boast of. I mean great respect to the noble lords who have to confine myself merely to this part of the spoken, I cannot help thinking that much subject, namely, whether this be the fittest of what has fallen from them might well time to bring the petition before parliament? have been omitted. What was the necessity The noble baron asserts it is, and at the of painting the wretched and degraded state same time declares, that he esteems the of Ireland during the long and gloomy period moments he presented it and argued on it suffered under the lash of the penal and its merits as the happiest of his life. I difrestricting statutes ? That time, thank God, fer here from the noble lord ; our opinions has long passed away, and I think it would are far as the poles asunder. What, my lords, be more consonant to that temper and mo- this the fittest time to agitate a question deration which the noble baron who opened which rouses every passion, and calls into the debate made a profession of, and which action every civil and religious prejudice; the noble lord who sits near him appeared to this the fittest time, when the united kingme somewhat to depart from, had this part dom is assailed on all sides by the most of the subject not been brought forward. -- formidable enemies, and when, at the moI will not follow the noble lord through the ment that I am speaking, French emissaries different objections he stated as likely to be are traversing Ireland in every direction, made to his measure, because, I have not announcing an immediate invasion of that heard them made by any noble lord on this island, and promising to those who shall side of the house. Who has stated the principles join them the establishment of their reli. of modern enlightened catholics to be those gion, and the property of those lands which entertained in the times of the first councils, they now hold as farmers ?-But the noble or in the dark and corrupt ages of the Ro- lord says, that any evils that may arise will man church? - Who has stated the Irish be ascribable to those who reject the pecatholics to be irreclaimable traitors, and tition, not to those who bring it forward ; therefore unfit to participate in the privi- that greater evils would have arisen from leges and distinctions of the constitution - refusing to present the petition than any I have not heard any thing of the kind fall that can flow from agitating the subject; from the lips of any noble lord; if there that the catholics called eagerly for its Vol. IV.

3 A

presentation. I lament I must again of this measure ; that indeed the govern: differ from the noble baron; I have ment made them no promises, but that some knowledge of that conntry, and, from all of us who supported the union, led every information I have been able to obtain, them to entertain such hopes. I acknowI decidedly assert, that the catholics were ledge that I did say to my catholic friends, not anxious to agitate the subject now; that that they would have a better chance of they did not think the time opportune, or success hereafter from an imperial than that they were now likely to obtain their from an Irish parliament; that an Irish objects. If my information is accurate, I parliament could never grant with safety believe it will be found that all the eager- what the upited parliament might hereness to agitate the subject was on this side of after bestow. But I certainly held out to the water, and that the catholics were them no expectation of an early attaingoaded on by representations from hence to ment of their wislies. I am not, iny lords, bring forward their petition. I do not ac- one of those who think that in no time, cuse the noble lord of being the person that under no change of circumstances, this spurred on the catholics. I know his public measure ought to be granted; that the spirit and character too well to suspect, for settlement of 1793 should be our 22 plus. an instant, that he would lend his great and ultra, that bere we ought to make our distinguished name to so mischievous a stand. I profess not to understand what measure. He knows that country too well, a ne plus ultra in politics means. Sure I from his former high station, to hazard am that no such principle is countenanced such a measure at this moment. I have in the practice of our constitutions; ita pot, however, the same good cpinion of principle is to change as circumstances and others: I do believe that there are men times demand alteration. I trust and hope so desperate as to value at nought a gene- that a time may arrive when distrusts and ral convulsion, if they can worry a minister animosities may die away, when the two by bringing forward a subject, in the parties may meet half way, and when rediscussion of which they conceive he may ligious distinctions may no longer disturb be embarrassed by former declarations. the state.-But, says the noble lord, grant Why is our country to be made the arena the prayer of this petition and you will at on which contending parties are to wage once do away, all pretext for disturbance, war against each other? Oh my unfor- and you will at once, become an united and tunate country! are you never to be at a. happy people. I have the misfortune rest?. I conjure the agitators of this mea- again to differ from the noble lord. I da sure to reflect ere it be too late : stir not solemnly declare, that I do not think a fire that is smothered, but not extin- that, by granting the prayer of this petition guished; the slightest spark may kindle to its fullest extent, you will advance, one into a blaze. Is it not sufficient that, in single step towards the tranquillisation of the short space of nine years, my poor. Ireland. His lordship will not, I am sure, country has been racked by conspiracies, contend that it is necessary to bribe the disgraced by every crime contained in the catholic 'noblemen and gentlemen into loya roll of human wickedness, affrighted by alty, and as to the common people, I am invasions, and shaken to the very centre persuaded it would not gain over a singlş by civil and religious distractions? Is it peașant now. tainted with disloyalty, and not enough that we have sacrificed our ready, at a moment, to join a French invapride as an independent nation, and our der. No, my lords, seats, in parliament importance and influence as individuals, to and admission, to the highest offices in procure, if possible, for our distracted the state form no part of the wishes

, of land, the blessings of peace and security ? the Irish peasantry; were you to talk to We enabraced an union to

us from them on the subject, they would not underourselves ; make not what we considered stand you. If you wish to conciliate those and hoped would prove. a, measure of now inclined to join the French, I will tell safety, make it not, I say, a measure of you what you must do; you are the best mischief and disquiet.-But the noble baron judges, whether you are willing to pay. so says, that the union is no union without high a price for their allegiance. Are you this measure; that without it we shall ready to sacrifice the national church by break faith with the catholics, who were giving up the means by which it is sube induced to sụpport the union by the ex- sisted? Are you ready to sink your pectations held out to them of the success revenue, by giving wx all taxes upon spie

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »