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somewhere well described, who is bullied and laughed at by all his neighbors, but comforts himself at home by beating his wife.
I will say no more of Catholic emancipation than this,--that I am as sure that the thing will be done before long, as I am that Ireland will be lost if it be not done. I am at the same time from my soul convinced, that whatever difficulty there may be of tranquillising Ireland now, it will be multiplied in compound proportion every year that that act is delayed. At the Union, the act would have been easy, and its tranquillising effects complete. In 1807 less so, but more than now. In 1825 less so still, but more than now by the "wings,” the loss of which the very Orangemen now bewail. Year after year, as the difficulties increase and thë immediate advantages diminish, the necessity will become more and more urgent and indispensable. I will leave this part of the subject, only entreating gentlemen who still have opinions against granting the political relief, (and I respect conscientious opinions of every sort,) to consider this, and consider it deeply. Granting, for the sake of argument, all the dangers they now apprehend from concession, may the time not arrive when it will become a mere choice between two dangers, which may not only justify, but call on a prudent man to embrace the lesser in order to avoid a much greater and a much more imminent ? Imploring gentlemen to lay this question to their hearts, and to ponder it well before it be too late, let me ask in conclusion by what has Ireland been brought into the peril and distraction in which we all agree that she is now placed? Why, by this odious and unEnglish system of endeavoring to govern' by clubs. . The Irish Brunswick clubs, which are forined for, a practical purpose, that of exciting civil war in order to restore the waning ascendancy of an illegal faction, I view with alarm and detestation. Those of England, which are formed for no purpose at all, but that of inciting people to address to each other speeches and letters of dull detraction, and to mix up a little of their own acid humor in the composition of every society within their influence, I can only view with another feeling not less deep, but of a much less ardent sort, to which I will not give a name. These are they who talk in their weakness of fettering the government ; who, by dint of the proffer of some rotten-borough influence, which a government fit to rule this country ought sufficiently to feel its own popularity to be able to toss back to the profferers with disdain, think themselves strong enough to proclaim to the Duke of Wellington that he, whom they lately set up as their idol, must now be content to be moved as their puppet. These are they who, at the very moment when a lucky experience is demonstrating to them their own inability to stand
up as a party in the state, would throw the shield of their impotence before the insulted majesty of the English constitution and the Protestant faith. « Non tali auxilio,” indeed, “ nec defensoribus istis."
I would only ask my constituents to recollect that this very party is the same who unsuccessfully resisted the repeal of the disabilities of the Protestant Dissenters, and who are now proclaiming that glorious triumph of policy, justice, and Christian charity, to have been a “fatal stab" to the constitution of our country.
For certain of the members of this strange society, just formed, I have a sincere personal regard and respect, which nothing is ever likely to diminish. I know them to be men of honor and humanity. I would appeal to them, as individuals, by every feeling of their own hearts, against the flagitious passions and the bloody acts which they are now banding themselves unknowingly to countenance. On this point, when the excitement which now rages shall have been cooled, I am as sure that we shall hereafter and at no very distant period agree, as I am that they are at this moment innocent of all conception of the mischief of the work to which they are lending themselves. It has been proposed to me to assist in raising the standard of an opposite association here, to tally the friends of religious liberty. My answer is, that I will not propose, and will consider well before I join in, any such project; being quite content to leave the Brunswickers to profit, unopposed, by the mortifying lesson which I am persuaded they will receive. Should they ever face the public, in public I will meet them. But in the meanwhile it appears to me that I should ill perform my duties as a citizen, and still worse those of a magistrate, with which the King's commission has invested me, if, without strong necessity, I were to assist in any way in dividing this county into two factions, such as have distracted the unhappy country from which I have lately returned. I am, gentlemen, ever your faithful friend and servant,
GENTLEMEN, HAVING no official situation, or distinguished station in the county, which peculiarly called on me to address you yesterday, and perceiving that voices much more powerful than mine could reach only a very small part of the assembled multitude, and that, therefore, the sentiments of those who addressed you, though delivered on Penenden Heath, must substantially reach you through the medium of the press, I determined to remain a silent spectator of the proceedings. I also felt that some of the statements to which I wished to call your attention were of a nature which required more deliberate consideration than the excitement and agitation of such a scene rendered possible.
Before I enter on the general subject, I wish to correct a misstatement, relative to myself, which has appeared in the public papers, and which, as it might be calculated to injure me in your good opinion, after the part which I took in signing the requisition for the meeting, in some degree imposes on me the obligation of addressing you. It has been asserted that it was my intention either to make or support a motion of adjournment. That I voted against the motion when made by Mr. Hodges is known to those who were near me, and it is so far from ever having been my intention to take such a course, that in the answer I made to the very first communication I received on the subject of any proceedings in the county relative to the Catholic question, I expressed a distinct opinion that nothing short of the declared sense of the freeholders taken at a county meeting regularly convened could produce that effect on public opinion, which it was the object of my noble friend who addressed me to bring about.
Having disposed of this personal point, I wish next to declare that it was neither my object, nor, as far as I know, that of others who joined in convening the meeting, to express a premature opinion on any measures the government may think it right to submit to parliament, or to dictate to the legislature the course which it should pursue.
We have great confidence that those ministers who have long been the able and successful advocates of the Protestant cause, will continue to give it effectual support; and we are so far from a wish to intimidate the legislature, as has been calumniously imputed to us, in so many forms and in so public a manner, that it is our desire to rescue the two Houses of Parliament from the intimidation under which it is attempted to compel them to sanction measures which their deliberative judgment has repeatedly rejected.
It is attempted, under the dread of the consequences of longer resisting the claims of the Roman Catholics, to compel the legislature to assent to their pretensions, not from a sense of their justice or expediency, not with due deliberation and a full view of the future consequences of concession, but for the purposes of averting the immediate evils of rebellion and civil war. Has not the Catholic Association usurped the privileges of parliament and the prerogatives of the crown? Does it not impose taxes? Has it not marshalled the people in military array ? Has it not created an order-the Order of Liberators ? A
ominous name! and one which too plainly indicates very alarming designs !
Under such circumstances, while the most unbounded latitude is given to the advocates of the Roman Catholic cause to urge their pretensions by every mode of threat and intimidation, shall the men of Kent be told that they will incur the guilt of provoking civil war, if in a peaceful and legal manner they declare their resolution to support the authority of the laws and the constitution of their country?
The main argument on which the Roman Catholic advocates rely is, that however dangerous the principles of the Roman Catholic church in former
have been to the cause of civil and religious liberty, and the Protestant constitution established in these realms, those dangers are now passed by, and the apprehension of them become ridiculous—that the sentiments of the Roman Catholics are now enlightened and liberal, and that the charges of bigotry and intolerance are now only imputable to the Protestants.
Gentlemen, the alliance between popery and liberalism is no new event. Every one of the measures which cost James the Second his crown, were measures taken in the names of liberty of conscience, and the removal of political distinctions on account of religious differences; but our ancestors knew that, while he talked of toleration, his ultimate aim was really persecution; and,
at their utmost risk, and with a profuse expenditure of their blood and treasure, they achieved the Revolution, and established that system of Protestant laws and constitution, under which, for nearly a century and a half, this country has enjoyed a degree of religious toleration and civil freedom unknown in any other age or country.
It is true that, for the security of that constitution, laws of severe restriction were imposed on the Roman Catholics. That they were more necessary in Ireland especially) than some are willing to allow, appeared from a circumstance which, for the first time, was brought to light, by the examinations of the committees of parliament in the year 1825; namely, that from the Revolution until the extinction of the house of Stuart, the Roman Catholic bishops of Ireland continued to be nominated by the representatives of that family—a circumstance which at once proves the great influence which they must have continued to retain in Ireland, and the dark and impenetrable secrecy with which the affairs of the Roman Catholic church have been managed in that country. During the reign of his late Majesty, the legislature judged (and in my opinion judged wisely 'as well as humanely) that circumstances were so much altered as to admit of the removal of such of those restrictions as either affected in any degree the observance of religious worship, the enjoyment of property, or the exercise of professions, except in a very few. cases connected with political influence. The question is nowwhether the sentiments of the Roman Catholics are so far changed as to allow of their complete admission to the exercise of all political rights equally with Protestant subjects.
It is always difficult to judge of the sentiments of bodies of men, because among individuals so many shades of difference are to be found ; and there are, and always have been among persons of the Roman Catholic persuasion, many men of genuine piety and eminent virtue, and others in whom a sense of honor, or an inherent feeling of moral principle, has corrected the pernicious doctrines of a corrupt church ; but the bulk of the people must be supposed to act on the tenets avowed by the principal ecclesiastical authorities, and on the subject a mass of authentic information has been laid before parliament, which has hitherto not attracted so much attention as it deserves.
Besides the important examinations which took place in 1825, a large body of information was collected by the Commissioners of Irish Education Inquiry; and I wish particularly to call your attention to their eighth report, which was printed by order of the House of Commons in June 1827.'
There is an able review of this report in the 74th number of the Quarterly Review, (published in March, 1828,) Article VII. p. 459.