Page images
PDF
EPUB

while in doing so, it had deprived itself consoling-already they have been of support in every quarter. It aban- robbed of their influence over their doned its functions, and became a das- tenantry- already they are become tardly passive instrument in the hands but mere ciphers on their estates, nay, of the Catholics. The latter obtained in many places they are worse than the principal part of the physical, ciphers—they have been forced to bemoral, political, and official power in come the tools of their domineering Ireland, and they rendered the remain- masters, the Catholic priesthood; and der neutral and motionless.

it depends upon a single breath, a The fruits of the system have reach- single resolution of the Catholic Assoed maturity, and we must now show ciation, whether the landlords are to what they are. We present, in the be robbed of their rents or not. So first place, the description of the state perfect a system of organization was of Ireland given by Mr G. R. Dawson, never yet achieved by any other body, in the speech which has attracted so not possessing the legitimate powers much notice. Mr Dawson gave it in of Government. It is powerful, it is the character of a friend to the gene arrogant, it derides, and it has triral body of the Catholics.

umphed over the enactments of the “ The state of Ireland is an ano- legislature, and is filling its coffers maly in the history of civilized na- from the voluntary contributions of tions—it has no parallel in ancient or the people. modern history, and being contrary to “The Catholic Association, by see the character of all civil institutions, curing the voluntary contributions of it must terminate in general anarchy the people, consolidates to itself a and confusion. It is true, that we power, from which it may supply the have a Government, to which an outo sinews of war, or undermine, by ende ward obedience is shown, which is re- less litigation and persecution, the ese sponsible to Parliament, and answer. tablished institutions of the country. able to God, for the manner of admi- Such is the power of this new phenonistering its functions; but it is equal- menon, and, I will ask any man, has ly true, that an immense majority of it been slow to exercise its influence ? the people look up, not to the legiti- In every place where the Catholic pomate Government, but to an irrespon- pulation predominates, it is all-power. sible, and to a self-constituted Associa. ful and irresistible. It has subdued tion, for the administration of the af- two-thirds of Ireland by its denunciafairs of the country. The peace of tions, more completely than Oliver Ireland depends not upon the Govern- Cromwell or King William ever subment of the King, but upon the dice dued the country by the sword. The tation of the Catholic Association. It aristocracy, the clergy, and the genhas defied the Government, and tram- try, are all prostrate before it. In those pled upon the law of the land ; and it devoted regions a perfect abandonment is beyond contradiction, that the same of all the dignity and influence bem power which banished a Cabinet Mi- longing to station and rank, seems to nister from the representation of his have taken place; or if a struggle be country, because he was a Minister of made, as in Clare, it is only to insure the King, can maintain or disturb the the triumph of this daring autocrat. peace of the country, just as it suits In those parts of Ireland where the its caprice or ambition. The same Protestant and Catholic population is danger impends over every institution pretty equally divided, the same inestablished by law. The Church en. Auence is felt, if not in so aggravated joys its dignity, and the clergy enjoy a degree, at least so mischievously, their revenues by the law of the land; that comfort and security are alike but we know not how soon it may uncertain. Amongst the two classes please the Catholic Association to issue we see distrust and suspicion-a perits anathemas against the payment of fect alienation from each other in sene tithes, and what man is hardy enough timent and habit, and an ill-surto say, that the Catholic people will pressed desire to measure each other's disobey its mandates ? It depends up- strength by open warfare. The instion the Catholic Association, no man tutions of society are reviled, the precan deny it, whether the clergy are to dominance of authority is lost, the receive their incomes or not. The con- confidence of the people in the impardition of the landlords is not more tiality of the courts of justice is im

paired, the magistracy is condemned from that part of the country to which, or supported, according as it is suppo- as public men, they owe every thing. sed to lean to the Orangeman or the On such Ministers, overwhelming Roman Catholic, and even trade and proofs like this, supplied by the Irish barter are regulated by the same une Protestants, that the country will not happy distinctions of religious feel- be led by them, and that when they ing.

abandon the paths of honour and con* The result will be a state of so- sistency, they must sink into their ori. ciety far worse than rebellion—it will ginal insignificance, will have very bebe a revolution; a revolution not ef- neficial effects. No public men at prefected by the sword, but by undermi. sent are to be blindly trusted. Nothing ning the institutions of the country, but such proofs can save the Constiand involving every establishment, ci. tution and the Empire. vil, political, and religious.”

How Mr Dawson, as a member of Such is the picture drawn by Mr the Ministry, could have the hardia Dawson, an Irish member of Parlia“ hood to give such a picture to the ment, a member of the Ministry, and world, we cannot conjecture. It forms the brother-in-law of Mr Peel of the most grave and appalling charge the conduct displayed by this gentle against the Ministry that could be conman, which has been so severely and ceived. Ireland was in this state, and powerfully animadverted on in many yet the Government, of which he forms quarters, we will say nothing; if it be a part, suffered the last session of Para true that the offender has seen the liament to pass away, without making evil of his ways, we will not embitter any attempt to provide a remedy. If his hour of repentance. The follow any man wish for decisive matter of ing fact, however, we must notice. Mr impeachment against both past Cabia Dawson was understood to declare nets and the present one, he will find himself in favour of the Catholics, and it in the speech of Mr Dawson. Well from hisconnexions and official station, was the wormwood question put by his declaration was at the moment Mr Schoales—“Will the honourable looked on as evidence that even the gentleman permit me to ask him, why Duke of Wellington and Mr Peel had is it that the Catholic Association is resolved on apostacy. Nevertheless, the governing power of the country?” it was met not only by the independe The assertion, that the subscriptions ent, but by those of a different cha. of the people were voluntary ones, was racter-by the humble and the exalt- loudly dissented from by Mr Dawson's ed—by all who were, by friendship, auditors. Mr Barre Beresford, in reinterest, patronage, and family-con- futation of it, said, “So far is the tax nexions, bound to the Ministry—with which is now levied upon the people a unanimous and glorious burst of de- from being a voluntary contribution, termined dissent and virtuous indig- that it is extorted from them by force; pation. It could not call into being and I have it from the mouths of the a single turncoat, or soften the tone of people themselves, that they have been: a single opponent of the Catholics. compelled to pay the rent, whilst the Thisconduct, so honourable to the Irish bludgeons of three or four ruffians. Protestants, and more especially to the were flourishing over their heads. exalted and powerful part of them, has Many of my own tenantry have been given us unspeakable pleasure. Such ordered out of the chapel for not paya revelation of inflexible principle and ing it.” That the subscriptions are intrepid independence will, we are to a very great extent compulsory ones, sure, have the most wholesome opera- is unquestionable. tion in high places. Every man who, With this exception, Mr Dawson's since the present Ministry was form- description agrees generally with that ed, has carefully read the speeches de which all sides give of the state of Irelivered in the House of Commons by land. That the Catholics possess the the Anti-Catholic members of it, must power which be ascribes to them have remarked, that more than one of that they abuse it as he states—that those members have, on different oc- they have stripped the Aristocracy of casions, with much ostentation, and its influence-that they trample upon when it was wholly uncalled for, la- the laws, and place themselves above boured to identify themselves with the the Government-and that they will Liberals, and to separate themselves speedily involve Ireland in horrors,

are matters of which they boast, and norantly and foolishly of the rights" which they have proved to be truth of the Catholics, as even O'Connell by conclusive evidence. We need add himself. It is greatly to be regretted but little to his statements. At the late that members of the Cabinet and the Clare election, a member of the Cabi- Irish Government will not either make net who votes in favour of the Catho- themselves acquainted with political lies, and who carries his notions touch- rights, or be silent respecting them. ing what they call their rights, quite It is not necessary for us to plead as far as they can desire, was deprived the stale truism, that in society the inof his seat by them solely because dividual must surrender so much of he was a member of the Ministry; his abstract rights, as may be called and one of their own body, even the for by the weal of the whole. How notorious O'Connell, was elected. They far this is acted on, is before the eyes now declare that no candidate shall be of all. The owner of building-ground elected by them, no matter how an- is compelled in many cases to build xious he may be for the removal of the on it according to prescribed rules disabilities, if he will not pledge him the publican is prohibited from doing self to oppose constantly the present business after a certain hour of the Ministry. The Catholic Association, night—the maltster is probibited from through the priesthood, monopolizes making malt in any other than a certhe elective franchise, dictates to the tain manner. In these, and imumeIrish Members, arrays the tenants rable similar cases, the abstract rights against the landlord, prohibits the of the individual are sacrificed to the Catholic from dealing in trade with community, though it is often produce the Protestants, taxes the people, in- tive of great injury to himself. The volves law and right in ruinous liti- sacrifice is not made equally by all; gation, derides and usurps the func- but while it presses very heavily on tions of the Government, destroys all some individuals, it scarcely touches security of life and property, perse- others. It is demonstrable, that withcutes and oppresses the Protestants in out such sacrifice, neither social and the most grievous manner, and fills constitutional right, nor society itself, Ireland with sedition, convulsion, dis- could exist. cord, and frenzy, and keeps it in hour. On this point, Catholic and Protestly danger of rebellion. It has wholly ant are on an equality. The sacrifice suspended the operation of the Consti- of abstract right is the same to both. tution, practically annulled all laws, In so far as regards what are in rem save such as do not interfere with its ality rights, the Catholics have now proceedings, and deposed the Govern- thing to claim; they possess all that ment to the farthest point called for is possessed by Protestants. The whole by its guilty interests.

which they can complain of is, they are We must now examine the reasons excluded from certain public trusts; which the Catholics plead in justifi. they are restricted from becoming cation of their conduct. They say, public functionaries of certain de that they act as they are acting only scriptions. Nothing could be more to obtain their rights, and that their preposterous than to confound eligiclaims involve nothing beyond what bility to fill a public office, with indi. they have a right to. This is very na. vidual right. Public functionaries have tural. Men who display such conduct to act, not for the individual, but for are capable of asserting any thing. If the society; therefore it is clear, on O'Connell and his gang were openly every principle of right, that it belabouring to possess themselves of both longs exclusively to the society to dethe possessions of the Church and the cide who shall, and who shall not, act estate of every Irish Protestant, they as its functionaries. It is essential, on would, with equal effrontery, declare the score of every thing which can be that they had a right to do so. If this called right, that the society should doctrine of right were advanced by have the ability to exclude all men none but themselves, we should deem from its offices, who, in its judgment, it unworthy of refutation; but it is would, from incompetency or dangera advanced by other people, whose as- ous principle, pervert official power sertions are entitled to somewhat more into the means of working its own innotice. Passing by other Protestants jury. A footman out of place may, of rank and respectability, there are with the same justice, complain that come high in office, who speak as ige he is robbed of his rights, because a master whom he wishes to serve, will This exclusion is ralled against, be. not employ him; as O'Connell may, cause it is made on the ground of rebecause the society will not employligion. It is argued in some quarters, him. The doctrine, that the Catho- that there ought to be no religious lics have a right to fill high public of tests in the admission to public offi. fices, independently of the will of the ees. If this be true, it must of necescommunity, is utterly subversive of sity be true, that religion is a mere the rights of the community. It is matter of abstract belief, having no flatly opposed to the constitution and effect on the political conduct of men ; all free government. It practically and that the members of one relia maintains that the nation at large has gion must be as faithful and valuable no right to regulate its form of govern- public servants, as those of another. ment, make its laws, and select its The fallacy of the doctrine is unwor. rulers. This is the real character of thy farther illustration. If the memthis doctrine, even though it be pro- bers of any religion would be likely mulgated by Cabinet Ministers and to subvert the constitution and liberLord Lieutenants of Ireland.

ties of the country, or to use official In conformity with what we have power as the means of filling it with stated, the society which the popula. convulsion and evil, common reason ţion of this country, forms, excludes prescribes that they ought to be strictvery many individuals from its offices. ly excluded from office. The Catho. Its leading grounds of exclusion are lics were not excluded from the throne, incompetency and dangerous princi- the cabinet, and the legislature, from ple. On account of incompetency, speculative fears; they were excluit excludes a vast number of Protesta ded, because, when they were suffered ants from the office of elector, and an to hold these offices, they did, on acinfinitely greater number from that of count of their religion, labour to subMember of Parliament. Exclusion runs vert the constitution, and fill the counthrough the whole of its offices, from try with calamities. By this fact the highest to the lowest. The Pro- alone, the principle of exclusion on testants are, in a greater or smaller the score of religion, is rendered whole degree, and in some cases almost whol. ly unassailable. Even in days of frenly, excluded from filling the offices of zied ignorance and folly like these, it the King, the Member of the House is matter of amazement that the mon of Lords, the Member of the House strous doctrine-men ought to be sufof Commons, the Magistrate, the Ju- fered to abuse public trusts into the ryman, the Parish Officer, &c. That instruments of bringing every conthe society should both possess and ceivable evil upon the community, exercise this right of exclusion, is when they do it for the sake of their above question. Without such right, religion-can find any to utter or bethere could be no qualification; and lieve it. public offices would only exist to What we have said is a sufficient scourge both the society and the indis reply to the preposterous plea, that vidual. It would be as wise to argue exclusion on account of religion is that the individual should select ser, persecution. If the Catholics are pervants and agents without any regard secuted on account of their religion, to qualification, as that the society the millions of Protestants who are should.

denied the elective franchise, are per. Some of these exclusions affect both secuted on account of their poverty, and Protestants and Catholics alike; others the millions more who are prohibited favour the Catholics ; the Irish ones from entering Parliament for want of enioy privileges in regard to the elec- estates. Exclusion on the score of retive franchise, which are denied to ligion is no more persecution, than British Protestants: a few affect the exclusion on any other ground. The Catholics more than the Protestants: charge of injustice and persecution while the former are admissible to a might be brought with exactly as considerable number of public offices much truth against the laws which on the same qualifications as the late prohibit robbery and murder, as ter, they are excluded, on account of against those which restrict the memtheir religion, from a small number, bers of any religion from plunging the which properly qualified Protestants empire into convulsion and ruin. are perinitied io till.

Having shewn that the State has a clear right to exclude the Catholics clared object a vital political change in from its offices, if it cannot admit the constitution,-this combination is them without danger to itself, we will likely to involve Ireland in civil war, now inquire how far they are justified and it at present fills it with convulin declaiming against the exclusion. sion and evil,—the bishops and priests

If the difference between Protestant- form its essence, they tax their flocks ism and Catholicism were, in so far to supply it with funds, and compel as concerns civil government, merely them, by tyranny which cannot be rea nominal one, their declamations sisted, to become its members, they might be thought reasonable. They openly enable it to monopolize the have only to prove that it is so, to ob- elective franchise, and to exclude every tain what they profess to claim; for candidate from the House of Commons the State avows itself to be willing to who will not pledge himself to oppose grant the same privileges to all on the the King's government, and they desame conditions. They are charged stroy the freedom of election, the powith dividing their allegiance; what litical influence of the Aristocracy, and is their reply? It is they are at, all other legitimate political influence. tached to his Majesty and his Royal In addition to the change we have menHouse ; and though they acknowledge tioned, this combination openly conforeign jurisdiction, it reaches only templates other great political changes. matters of religion.

It advocates the spoliation and overThis leaves the charge wholly un- throw of the Church, the repeal of the answered. It is, not that they are dis- Union, Parliamentary Reform, &c. As affected to his Majesty personally, or we have intimated, it is through the that they wish to change the dynasty, bishops and priests that it possesses but that they deny the right of the money, numbers, union, power, and Crown to that sovereign authority existence. with which the constitution has investe Are we to be told that the conduct ed it—that while they acknowledge and objects of this combination are themselves to be in some things the things purely religious, and having subjects of the King, they in others nothing to do with politics and civil refuse obedience to him, and avow government? Will the Whigs, after themselves to be the subjects of a fo- they have again and again declared to reign power-and that they deny some the Protestant clergy, that the adof the fundamental principles of the mission of the Catholics to power is a constitution, and withhold allegiance political question, now eat in their on vital points from the government, words, and pronounce it a religious which it has appointed. In reply to one? Are the practical destruction of this, professions of attachment to the popular election, the binding down of King's person and family, are not of members of the legislature to oppose the smallest value. The confession the Government in all things, and the of the Catholics that they are bound inciting of the population to violate the to obey the Pope in matters of reli- law, matters strictly spiritual, and gion, is a confession that they divide with which the sovereign authority their allegiance.

has no right to interfere? The Whigs But then they maintain, that it does and other Emancipationists are so far not reach civil government. As they sunk in factious falsehood and promerely assert this, without attempting fligacy, that they will probably reply to prove it, we must examine the mate in the affirmative; but such will not ter.

be the reply of the country. The appointment of the Heads of If the Government possessed the the Catholic Church rests exclusively right of appointment, and the authoin the Pope of Rome, and by these in- rity in the Catholic Church, which it struments of his own selecting, the possesses in the Established one; or, inferior clergy are selected. Practical- in other words, if the Catholic would ly, the whole priesthood is appointed render that allegiance to the Governby the Pope. By the baleful discip- ment which the Protestant

renders, all line of the Catholic religion, the lay- this could not take place. The Cathoman is made almost throughout the lic clergy would not be suffered to ex. slave of the priest. At this moment ercise the despotism which they now the Catholics of Ireland form a gigan. exercise ; neither would they abuse tie combination, which has for its dea their influence, as they now abuse it.

« PreviousContinue »