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not changed; but, as far as they could be strengthened, they are strengthened. That question must now be left to work its own way with the English people, who are given to reflection, and fond of justice, wherever they do not allow prejudice and passion to guard the averiues of the public mind equally against reflection and justice. I would only lay before you fairly the alternative in which the government and people of this empire have been placed with reference to that question, by the operation of that very system of club-law, which it is attempted, now for the first time here, to graft on the good old stock of public opinion.
A short visit to Ireland, in the course of which I have endea. vored, with as much impartiality as is compatible with strong preconceived opinions, to correct by observation any inaccurate notions into which I may have fallen, gives me more right than I should otherwise have had to state to you the effects which have been produced and matured there by that system. The body called the Catholic Association, but, in fact, containing a great number of Protestant members, derived its origin from the club spirit which had been cultivated by the Orange faction. The Orange faction was the cause of the Catholic Association, which, though late, caught the spirit, and the result is, that four-fifths of Ireland now look to no other government but that of the Association. It now governs four-fifths of Ireland, without the power of rewards or punishments, but simply and solely by impression. It has not only the power of excitement and organisation ; for that is easily obtained with a people laboring under a serise of injury. It has not only the power, if its leaders were wild and wieked enough now to exert it, of raising four-fifths of Ireland in forty-eight hours to any act of combined violence; but it has shown that it possesses also the much greater power of controlling, quelling, and dissolving meetings of thousands by a word of advice. Is this a state of things that should continue ? Is this a fit power to subsist under any well-regulated government ? Certainly quite the reverse. But the government of Ireland is not a well-regulated government; for it has for many years been in the hands of clubs. The Orangemen had long monopolised all that the government could give to corruption to enjoy, or could permit to violence to extort. Of late the government has been in wiser and juster hands; never, I think, as far as one may judge from a very short experience, in wiser or juster than those of Lord Anglesey. But this abridgment of their power is not tolerated by the Orange clubs. In all ways; and in all places, and, I lament to say it, from under every garb, even the sacred and peaceful one of the Christian ministry, the Orangemen are now crying out for blood, and avowing their wish to see it flow. The Association has been successful in showing to the Catholics that to do acts of violence would be to play the game of their adversaries. It has succeeded in putting the Catholics on their guard against the Orange spies, who are all over the south of Ireland in the guise of friends and Catholics, endeavoring to excite them to acts which would justify the calling in the troops. This triumph will not be given by the Catholics to the Orangemen. Meetings of a very dangerous sort (if not illegal, which I am not lawyer enough to determine), but meetings of many thousands of Catholics were held, a few weeks ago, in different parts of the south ;--not for purposes of violence, but for purposes out of which, however peaceable, violence might, by the arts of the Orangemen, at any moment have been made to arise. The Association saw this, and in forty-eight hours, by a mere address, every assembly of this sort in Ireland was dispersed, and its recurrence prevented. A week after followed the proclamation of the government. A mild and wise one, to the same effect as that of the Association by which the work of tranquillisation had been already done. Then what must I conclude? Do I approve of every act of the Association ? No. Do I think it a fit form of government for Ireland ? Far from it. But I think that it has arisen out of the club spirit of its adversaries. I think that it is now maintaining the public peace in Ireland, which no other power could effectually do. I think that, when justice shall have been done to Ireland, it should and would be dissolved instantly ; but that, till then, it neither can effectually, nor ought.
From the remotest times of our occupation of Ireland to the present, we have not discovered the secret of governing that island; nor have we approached nearer to that desirable discovery by applying the club system. We have labored to bring Ireland to our established faith ;---we have not adapted our means well to that end. We began by dismantling their ancient churches. The consequence is, that Ireland is beset with monuments of her ancient religion, which form an appeal as melancholy and as exciting as can be imagined. Small open ruins, some with the marks of violence still on their walls, and all bearing tokens of systematic persecution, surrounded by burying-grounds also in decay, overgrown with rank grass, and open to the country. Yet these contain the tombs of some of the noblest names of Ireland -of men who have clung, and whose sons are still clinging, to the desire of laying their remains close by the insulted and violated graves of their forefathers. Records of a strange error in a proselyting government! But, to complete the picture, the eye of the Catholic, while surveying these sad memorials of what his faith and his family have suffered from the Protestant, is met, at almost the same glance, by the neighboring new Protestant spire, every
where rendering them more striking by the contrast. And this is one of the subjects of feeling which it is proposed to subdue by the generalising of Orange clubs.
The tithes, very unequal and severe as they are, are generally collected, in Catholic parishes, by proctors, to be transmitted to the Protestant clergyman, often residing in London or Bath: and non-residence is often the better ministry of the two, in this respect, that at least the Catholic is not further irritated by the view of an incumbent having no duties assigned to him, but the receiving his sinecure wages from persons who have already contributed largely, out of their poverty, to support their own pastor in the duties of their religion. I do not say this in disparagement of the persons of the Irish Protestant clergy, but of the system under which they are provided for: and this is another of the subjects of feeling, which it is proposed to subdue by inviting this very clergy to be partners in Orange clubs !
There are two classes of opinions which I have heard offered as to the state of public feeling in Ireland. One, that the lower orders of Irish feel no interest in what is called emancipation the other, that they are led blindly by their priests. Now of these propositions the first is quite untrue, and the second is not true in the sense or to the extent in which it is generally stated. To the first of these notions the result of some of the late elections surely seems a sufficient answer. That many an Irish Catholic who shouts for emancipation knows as little what the term means as does many an English Protestant who shouts against it, is quite true ; but they all understand that it is to relieve them from the intolerable usurpation of Orange ascendancy. They understand that it is something that will prevent their being hereafter daily told, in ways that make their blood boil, that they are a subordinate caste ; and they understand that it is something that will limit the Orangeman in the enjoyment of his ancient monopoly of personal insolence. Will the lower orders, it is asked, gain any solid advantage by Catholic emancipation ? None that I know of, but this. But this I should feel, if I were a Catholic, to be a very solid advantage. Are the lower orders substantially sufferers under the Catholic disabilities? The infliction by regimen of a kick per diem would not, I dare say, be productive of any serious bodily injury; and yet there is an opinion prevalent among gentlemen, that it is a regimen which one ought rather to risk one's life than submit to the first dose of. I think some gentleman, not long ago, said, in some public assembly, that he believed that if you were to go through Ireland with a pound sterling in one hand, and emancipation in the other, the Catholic would prefer the pound. Surely this was tried by the landlords at the late election, who offered, not a pound only, but all that could keep the poor forty-shilling freeholder from beggary for the rest of his life, if he would but abstain from supporting the candidate who supported Catholic emancipation. And the choice was made by the Catholic voter instantly, and almost universally, for emancipation. This was a great triumph over corruption. Enthusiasm, if you will—fanaticism, if you will; but it was too strong for corruption. But it is said they are led blindly by their priests.
Not quite so blindly as some imagine. I grant that the power of the priests, through auricular confession, and through many of what we Protestants hold to be the abuses of their church, is very great. But I am convinced that the priests are now, politically, only instru: ments in the hands of the Association, and subordinate to their power. Powerful instruments themselves, but instruments still. And here is the proof of it. At the great contested elections of Waterford and Clare, there were several instances of priests who canvassed their flocks for the landlords and against the popular candidates. The parishioners, in spite of the spiritual in fluence, stood fast for the political question. They told their priests to begone with their advice; and in some instances the influence of those priests has, in consequence, so decreased, that they have been obliged to abandon their cures. If any thing could bring the priests and the Association generally into conflict with each other, while this great question is pending, I am convinced that the Association would prevail. Now they are united, and the Association works generally through the influence of the priests.
What then confirms the power of the priests, of which we are complaining? The Orange-club system, which has given power to the Association, and identifies its interests with those of the priests.
Now it is most important to look soberly at the following question, and not to deceive ourselves. What is the price at which we are content to purchase the delaying for a few years longer to give to the Catholics of Ireland not political power, as is falsely represented, (for that they already have entire in the elective franchise,) but the incitement to use their political power in friendship, instead of in conflict, with the mother state ? I wish, as I said at the beginning, to avoid arguing the Catholic question. I wish merely to put before you the terms of the alternative. It will not be a struggle of a day or a year, in which a great national effort will be made against the pope and all his works; and after Mr. Lawless shall have been sabred, and Mr. O'Connell gagged, and Dr. Doyle converted, the work will be done, and our heroes VOL. XXIX. Pam. NO. LVIII.
return with all the glory that will belong to such an achievement. Oh, no ;-it will be a dogged, endless, hopeless disaffection in Ireland, and an agreeable garrison-duty for England, during the joint lives of the
two parties ; throughout which period Irish property will not be very secure, and the rents of Irish landlords, and the tithes of the Church of Ireland, will have less of regularity and more of adventure in the collection than will be pleasant to the collectors. It is said here by sundry members of Brunswick associations, (as far as one may collect of their lucubrations from what is allowed to meet the public ear,) “We will not be bullied." Who bullies them? Ask yourselves fairly what demand would be made on their personal valor if all Ireland were to be in flames to-morrow. None. It requires no effort of courage to read at one's breakfast-table of the progress of a massacre in another island. And therefore, though the talking here of wading up to our own proper knees in blood be to some tastes a very affecting figure of speech, it is nevertheless one which, when well considered, is neither evidence of accurate calculation nor of heroic self-devotion. Nothing is more certain than this that there is a salutary fear of states which it is a vulgar fallacy to confound with personal pusillanimity, as there is a thirst for requiring martial renown by proxy which does not necessarily argue an overflowing of personal courage. No man ought to fear danger for himself
, but every man ought to fear danger for his country. The inconvenience which we shall all suffer till the great question shall be set at rest is simply this—we shall have to bleed in a very different and more metaphorical way. So long as we are at peace with all foreign states, and wish to torment Ireland, we must be content to pay the tax-gatberer pretty highly twice a year for that gratification. We shall find Orange ascendancy a luxury charged high to us all in the schedule; and, in return for these regular payments, we shall hear of thousands of additional troops being sent to keep our victims quiet under an operation performed for the recreation of others, which we shall not even have the amusement of witnessing. We must also make up our minds to be at peace for all time to come with all the rest of the world, and to be bullied with impunity by second and third-rate powers, who, when they look at Ireland, do not fail to see why it is that we dare not hold to them the tone which we once held, and which we ought to hold now. The first shot that is fired between us and any foreign power, in good serious warfare, will be the signal for the emancipation of many millions of our subjects either by an act of our own, which will be then thankless, or by an act of theirs, which will be their final separation from our empire. Meanwhile we must continue to resemble the man, as I saw it