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Catholic Association-Mr. Goulburn's Notice of Motion-Lord Lans
down's Motion-Motion for leave to bring in a Bill to amend the Acts relating to unlawful Societies in Ireland-First Night's Debate ; Speeches of Mr. Goulburn, Sir Henry Parnell, Mr. Peel, and Mr. Denman-Second Night's Debate; Speeches of Mr. Plunkett and Mr. Tierney-Third Night's Debate; Mr. North's Speech-Fourth Night's Debate; Mr. Canning's Speech--Proceedings of the English Catholics-Deputation from the Catholic Association-Petition of the Catholic Association-- Motion that the Association should be heard by their Witnesses and Counsel-Progress of the Bill in the House of Commons-- The Bill passes through the various stages in the House of Lords - Provisions of the Bill - Subsequent Proceedings of the
Catholics-Plan of a new Catholic Association. FROM TROM the tenor of the dise consequences. Lord Liverpool an
cussion on the address, it was swered, that if it were intended apparent that the restraints in- that the measure about to be tended to be imposed on the brought forward should rest on ofRoman Catholic Association, would ficial information, or upon any be the first object of contention principle of confidence in his mabetween the two parties. No time jesty's government, there would be was lost in commencing the strug- fair ground for calling for inquiry gle. On the second day of the or information. But the measure session Mr. Goulburn gave notice, would not be founded on any oflithat he would, on the 10th of cial information, nor on any prinFebruary, move for leave to bring ciple of confidence in government, in a bill to amend certain acts re nor, indeed, upon any circumlating to unlawful societies in Ire- stances which might not be equally land. Mr. Brougham pressed for as well known to any one of their a fortnight's delay; and, this not lordships as to his majesty's minisbeing conceded to him, he moved ters. It was the boast of the Cathat the House should be called tholic Association, that all their over on that day fortnight. proceedings were public, and that
On the 8th of February, a pre- every thing they did, was done in liminary discussion on the subjcct the face of day. If their lordships of the Roman Catholic Association should think fit to adopt any meawas excited by a motion of lord sure affecting the Association, Lansdown for the production of they would adopt it on facts which any despatches which had been were admitted by the Association, received from the lord-lieutenant and which no member of it would of Ireland, relating to political and deny. Besides, the motion was religious societies existing in that unprecedented, and had reference country, their origin, progress, and to a measure of which the House VOL. LXVII.
at present knew nothing. Lord patible with good government. The Grosvenor, lord Holland, and lord Association, though a public body, Caernarvon supported lord Lans- had this peculiarity--that all the down. Lord Bathurst spoke on members were of one mind. There the other side.
was no competition of opinion: no The motion was rejected by a opposing voice was heard. Every majority of 42 to 20.
speech was previously arranged, On Thursday the 10th of Feb- and every decision was unanimous, ruary, Mi. Goulburn, pursuant Under different circumstances the to his notice, moved for leave to fickleness of the multitude might bring in a bill to amend the acts operate as a check to the probable relating to unlawful societies in evil results of such an association; Ireland. There were two subsist- but this self-elected body was under ing acts directed against these as no control, and continued to act sociations: the first enacted by the without resorting elsewhere for Irish parliament in the year 1793, extraneous advice, or receiving any commonly called the Convention fresh accession of authority from act; and the other was that which the people. Unfortunately, those had been passed in 1823 against whose duty it was to impart reliOrange societies, and Orange pro- gious consolation, not only encessions. The act of 1793 pro- couraged, but assumed a part of its hibited all assemblies for the ap- powers. Next, in upholding that pointment or election of deputies, Association were to be found men or which assumed in any manner the of disappointed ambition and conright of representing the people of siderable talents, who exerted that country. The Catholic Ase themselves in exciting the public sociation contrived to evade both feeling against the government;and laws; and the object of the pro- in inflaming the population against posed enactments was, to put a stop the laws, and against what they to the mischievous operations of described to be a prodigal and corthat body. To shew the necessity rupt administration of them. The of the interference of parliament, surviving members of the commitMr. Goulburn entered into an 'ex tee of 1793—that very
committee amination of the character, consti- against which the Convention act tution, and conduct of the Associa was passed, were now enlisted with tion. The Catholic Association the Associaiion; and there were began to act in 1823; and in its found also in its ranks men, who first report declared, that its ob- had been the familiar friends of ject was confined to the furtherance those traitors of old times--the of the question of the Roman Ca- Tones, Russells, and Emmetts, tholic claims. Whether its object who had been put down only by was still limited to that question, military force. It was no doubt or whether, as was avowed in their true that, in the Association, were debates, it embraced reform in par- to be found also a great proportion liament, and eventual separation of the Roman Catholic gentry and from England, was for the present aristocracy : but such a connection a question of no importance ; for it was not altogether voluntary on mattered not that the object was in- their part; and a great number of offensive, if the means of carrying that class were as much alarmed at that object into effect were incom- the proceedings of the Association
as its most determined opponents to use every means in his power to in that House ; though either from produce a large contribution. Besides a want of firmness of character, or furnishing him with the necessary a reluctance to lose the confidence instructions for this purpose, he of the people, they had been led' was supplied with books to enrol to swell its triumph. The Asso- the various contributions; and his ciation condescended most strictly ready acquiescence was secured, to imitate the forms of parliament. not only by the political ascenThey appointed their committees dancy which the Association would of grievances, of education, and of naturally have over him, but by finance. They had almost copied the subordination which, as a miverbatim the sessional orders of nister, he owed to his bishop. On that House. In one point, indeed, the receipt of this mandate, the they , abstained from imitation- priest announced its contents from they had not appointed a speaker; the altar of his chapel, as well as probably because in an assembly, in the names of the individuals on which there existed such an uni- whom he fixed for payment; which versal ardour for speech-making, individuals were, according to the no candidate could be found who duty imposed upon him, to have no would pledge himself to be per- option on the subject. Cases howpetually silent. It had been also ever were not rare, in which, the the practice of the Association, mandate of the Association having from time to time, to convene ag- been issued, and some hesitation in gregate meetings, as they were its execution having been manifested called, of the Roman Catholic on the part of the priest, he received body of Ireland; and these meet a censure from the Association ; ings were convoked in such a man- and others had occurred, in which, ner as to seem contra-distinguished having forborne to execute the to the Catholic Association, though orders sent to him, he had been held in truth they were composed prin- up to the congregation of his chapel cipally of the very persons who as unworthy of their confidence belonged to that body.
and attachment. The instructions After considering the constitu- to the priest went still further : tion of the Association, Mr. Goul- he was directed to enter, in the burn next directed his attention books which were sent him, the to specific parts of its proceedings. names of the individuals who conBy virtue of an order emanating tributed to the fund: there was from the Association, large sums of another book in which the refusals money were collected from the peo- to contribute were also to be reple under the name of the Catholic corded. Every man who dared to rent. The particular amount to be refuse, whether Roman Catholic raised was not stated : that was or not, whatever might be the left to depend on the liberality of wants or necessities which prethe contributors, and on the exer vented him, was comprehended in tions of those by whom the sub- this register. But the Association scription was to be collected. The went a step further. As the mandate of the Catholic Associa- gentry were of different persuation was, however, issued to the sions, it was obvious that some of priest of every parish in Ireland, them would consider themselves calling upon him, in distinct terms, bound to oppose the collection
, the Catholic rent, and to advise viction that the murder had been the peasantry, who were in penury, committed, and that the individual and unable to provide for their fa so charged ought to be prosecuted milies, against this unnecessary ex- by the Association. But, let the pense. What was the consequence proceeding be pursued further. of this ? The Catholic Association When the trial came on, a host of actually wrote letters to the priests evidence swore to the infliction of of the parishes, holding up the in- a great many wounds on the dedividuals who thus acted, to repro- ceased, and to the manifestation of bation and scorn.
the most horrid cruelty. Witness In showing to what uses the after witness declared upon oath, money thus collected was applied, that the prisoner jumped on the Mr. Goulburn expatiated chiefly throat of the deceased, kicked him on the interference of the Associa- in the spine, broke his ribs, &c. tion with the course of justice; What was the fact ? and, without dwelling on the evils geons who had examined the body, which arose in minor courts from and who were brought forward by this cause, he called the attention the prosecution, proved to the saof the House to what had taken tisfaction of the court, that there place before the higher tribunals. was not a word of truth in all this About the end of last July, a state- previous evidence, and that the ment was made that a most brutal body had suffered no such violence. and wanton murder had been per It appeared, that the deceased perpetrated by a Protestant on a
son died in
consequence Roman Catholic; and a letter was accidental fall over a short post, published in some of the Irish pa- which broke one of the small verpers, calling on the Catholic Asso- tebræ of the back; and eventually ciation to interfere. The subject the prisoner was acquitted. When having been brought before the the verdict of not guilty was proAssociation, Mr. I. D. Mullen nounced, the judge even considered moved for the appointment of a it his duty to address the prisoner committee to investigate the cir- to the following effect :-“I do cumstances of the case; with au not think it would be right to disthority to adopt such measures as charge you without expressing my circumstances might require. On entire satisfaction at your conduct. Saturday, the 31st of July, the It is in evidence that you endeareport of the committee was read, voured to
from detailing the supposed circumstan- being disturbed, and your efforts ccs, and stating that those circum- entitle you to great approbation.” stances called for the interfer Yet this individual, not only innoence of the Association ! Mr. Ca- cent, but meritorious, had been vanagh was in consequence ap- denounced a fortnight before by pointed by the Association to con the Association as having, he being duct the prosecution. Here, then, an Orangeman, murdered a Rowas a man charged with murder man Catholic. going to trial with a declaration In January last, it wasannounced from the body representing the to the Catholic Association, by one whole Catholic population, that of their agents, that a private in they had investigated the facts, the 25th regiment had been disand that the result was, their con- covered in the act of seducing se
veral Catholics to take an oath, the sage: “In the name, then, of obligation of which was, to kill all common sense, which forbids you the Protestants, all the soldiers, to seek foolish resources ; by the and all the Orangemen; his object hate you bear the Orangemen, being, of course, to lay informa- who are your natural enemies; by tions against them after having the confidence you repose in the thus inveigled them. The Asso- Catholic Association, who are your ciation issued a declaration, that natural and zealous friends; by the soldier was evidently a ruffian, the respect and affection you enwho deserved the punishment of tertain for your clergy, who alone transportation, but that, unless the visit with comfort your beds of Association sent down an agent, sickness and desolation : by all the fellow might escape ; and this these powerful motives, and still declaration was read by the priests more by the affectionate reverence in all the chapels. The Catholic you bear for the gracious monarch, Association accordingly employed who deigns to think of your sufferan agent to prosecute the soldier: ings with a view to your relief ; and in the meantime, search was and, above all, and infinitely beactually made for his wife, and for yond all, in the name of religion, other branches of his family, in and of the living God, we conjure order to compel them to leave the you to abstain from all secret and country. The case came on be- illegal societies, and Whiteboyfore a bench of magistrates con
disturbances and outrages." sisting of no fewer than forty-three This address, so anti-christian individuals. The evidence, how- in its language and sentiments, ever, adduced on the part of the was ordered to be sent into the prosecution, developed so much in different parishes in the country, consistency and contradiction, that and read by each priest from the the forty-three magistrates decided altar. This was very generally unanimously, that there was no done ; and, if any argument were foundation for the charge. The wanted to prove the extent and Association engaged in a similar power of the Association, it was transaction with reference to a furnished by the fact, that they member of the police, the object found a ready acquiescence on the of which was to render that body parts of a great proportion of the odious. In short, the whole ten Roman Catholic clergy in thus dency of their proceedings was to denouncing their Protestant brethexcite, in any case in which Ca In this way, the declaration tholics and Protestants were con was given to the Catholic people, cerned, all the acrimony of party and it was left to produceits natural feeling.
effects on the minds of the ignoMr. Goulburn proceeded next rant and illiterate. Was it to be to consider the conduct and exer wondered at, that a society so tions of the Catholic Association formed, and so acting, should create in the month of December last. anxiety and alarm? Was it posIn that month, they put forth a sible that his majesty's government document entitled " Address of could avoid calling upon parliathe Catholic Association to the ment to prevent the danger likely People of Ireland,” which con- to arise from such proceedings ? cluded with this memorable pasa
With reference to other societies