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Some men quarrel with the Catholics, because their language was violent in the Association; but a groan or two, Sir, after two hundred years of incessant tyranny, may surely be forgiven. A few warm phrases to compensate the legal massacre of a million of Irishmen are not unworthy of our pardon. All this hardly deserves the eternal incapacity of holding civil offices. Then they quarrel with the Bible Society; in other words, they vindicate that ancient tenet of their Church, that the Scriptures are not to be left to the unguided judgment of the laity. The objection to Catholics is, that they did what Catholics ought to do—and do not many prelates of our Church object to the Bible Society, and contend that the Scriptures ought not to be circulated without the comment of the Prayer Book and the Articles? If they are right, the Catholics are not wrong; and if the Catholics are wrong, they are in such good company, that we ought to respect their €I’I'OI’S.
Why not pay their clergy 2 the Presbyterian clergy in the north of Ireland are paid by the state: the Catholic clergy of Canada are provided for: the priests of the Hindoos are, I believe, in some of their temples, paid by the Company. You must surely admit, that the Catholic religion (the religion of two thirds of Europe) is better than no religion. I do not regret that the Irish are under the dominion of the priests. I am glad that so savage a people as the lower orders of Irish are under the dominion of their priests; for it is a step gained to place such beings under any influence, and the clergy are always the first civilizers of mankind. The Irish are deserted by their natural aristocracy, and I should wish to make their priesthood respectable in their appearance, and easy in their circumstances. A government provision has produced the most important changes in the opinions of the Presbyterian clergy of the north of Ireland, and has changed them from levellers and Jacobins into reasonable men; it would not fail to improve most materially the political opinions of the Catholic priests. This cannot, however, be done, without the emancipation of the laity. No priest would dare to accept a salary from Government, unless this preliminary were settled. I am aware it would give to Government a tremendous power in that country; but I must choose the least of two evils. The great point, as the physicians say, in some diseases, is to resist the tendency to death. The great object of our day is to prevent the loss of Ireland, and the consequent ruin of England; to obviate the tendency to death; we will first keep the patient alive, and then dispute about his diet and his medicine. Suppose a law were passed, that no clergyman, who had ever held a living in the East Riding, could be made a bishop. Many gentlemen here (who have no hopes of ever being removed from their parishes) would feel the restriction of the law as a considerable degradation. We should soon be pointed at as a lower order of clergymen. It would not be long before the common people would find some fortunate epithet for us, and it would not be long either before we should observe in our brethren of the north and west an air of superiority, which would aggravate not a little the justice of the privation. Every man feels the insults thrown upon his caste; the insulted party falls lower, every body else becomes higher. There are heart-burnings and recollections. Peace flies from that land. The volume of Parliamentary evidence I have brought here is loaded with the testimony of witnesses of all ranks and occupations, stating to the House of Commons the undoubted effects produced upon the lower order of Catholics by these disqualifying laws, and the lively interest they take in their removal. I have seventeen quotations, Sir, from this evidence, and am ready to give any gentleman my references; but I forbear to read them, from compassion to my reverend brethren, who have trotted many miles to vote against the Pope, and who will trot back in the dark, if I attempt to throw additional light upon the subject. I have, also, Sir, a high-spirited class of gentlemen to deal with, who will do nothing from fear, who admit the danger, but think it disgraceful to act as if they feared it. There is a degree of fear, which destroys a man's faculties, renders him incapable of acting, and makes him ridiculous. There is another sort of fear, which enables a man to foresee a coming evil, to measure it, to examine his powers of resistance, to balance the evil of submission against the evils of opposition or defeat, and if he thinks he must be ultimately overpowered, leads him to find a good escape in a good time. I can see no possible disgrace in feeling this sort of fear, and in listening to its suggestions. But it is mere cant to say, that men will not be actuated by fear in such questions as these. Those who pretend not to fear now, would be the first to fear upon the approach of danger; it is always the case with this distant valour. Most of the concessions which have been given to the Irish have been given to fear. Ireland would have been lost to this country, if the British Legislature had not, with all the rapidity and precipitation of the truest panic, passed those acts which Ireland did not ask, but demanded in the time of her armed associations. I should not think a man brave, but mad, who did not fear the treasons and rebellions of Ireland in time of war. I should think him not dastardly, but consummately wise, who provided against them in time of peace. The Catholic question has made a greater progress since the opening of this Parliament than I ever remember it to have made, and it has made that progress from fear alone. The House of Commons were astonished by the union of the Irish Catholics. They saw that Catholic Ireland had discovered her strength, and stretched out her limbs, and felt manly powers, and called for manly treatment; and the House of Commons wisely and practically yielded to the innovations of time, and the shifting attitude of human affairs. I admit the Church, Sir, to be in great danger. I am sure the State is so also. My remedy for these evils is, to enter into an alliance with the Irish people — to conciliate the clergy, by giving them pensions—to loyalise the laity, by putting them on a footing with the Protestant. My remedy is the old one, approved of from the beginning of the world, to lessen dangers, by in creasing friends, and appeasing enemies. I think it most probable that under this system of Crown patronage the clergy will be quiet. A Catholic layman, who finds all the honours of the state open to him, will not, I think, run into treason and rebellion — will not live with a rope about his neck, in order to turn our bishops out, and put his own in; he may not, too, be of opinion that the utility of his bishop will be four times as great, because his income is four times as large; but whether he is or not, he will never endanger his sweet acres (large measure) for such questions as these. AntiTrinitarian Dissenters sit in the House of Commons, whom we believe to be condemned to the punishments of another world. There is no limit to the introduction of Dissenters into both Houses — Dissenting Lords or Dissenting Commons. What mischief have Dissenters for this last century and a half plotted against the Church of England 2 The Catholic lord and the Catholic gentleman (restored to their fair rights) will never join with levellers and Iconoclasts. You will find them defending you hereafter against your Protestant enemies. The crosier in any hand, the mitre on any head, are more tolerable in the eyes of a Catholic than doxological Barebones and tonsured Cromwell. We preach to our congregations, Sir, that a tree is known by its fruits. By the fruits it produces I will judge your system. What has it done for Ireland 2 New Zealand is emerging — Otaheite is emerging — Ireland is not emerging—she is still veiled in darkness – her children, safe under no law, live in the very shadow of death. Has your system of exclusion made Ireland rich 2 Has it made Ireland loyal? Has it made Ireland free ? Has it made Ireland happy? How is the wealth of Ireland proved 2 Is it by the naked, idle, suffering savages, who are slumbering on the mud floor of their cabins 2 In what does the loyalty of Ireland consist 2 Is it in the eagerness with which they would range themselves under the hostile banner of any invader, for your destruction and for your distress? Is it liberty when men breathe and move among the bayonets of English soldiers ? Is their happiness and their history any thing but such a tissue of murders, burnings, hanging, famine, and disease, as never existed before in the annals of the world 2 This is the system, which, I am sure, with very different intentions, and different views of its effects, you are met this day to uphold. These are the dreadful consequences, which those laws your petition prays may be continued, have produced upon Ireland. From the principles of that system, from the cruelty of those laws, I turn, and turn with the homage of my whole heart, to that memorable proclamation which the Head of our church — the present monarch of these realms – has lately made to his hereditary dominions of Hanover— That no man should be subjected to civil incapacities on account of religious opinions. Sir, there have been many memorable things done in this reign. Hostile armies have been destroyed; fleets have been captured; formidable combinations have been broken to pieces—but this sentiment in the mouth of a King deserves more than all glories and victories the notice of that historian who is destined to tell to future ages the deeds of the English people. I hope he will lavish upon it every gem which glitters in the cabinet of genius, and so uphold it to the world that it will be remembered when Waterloo is forgotten, and when the fall of Paris is blotted out from the memory of man. Great as it is, Sir, this is not the only pleasure I have received in these latter days. I have seen within these few weeks a degree of wisdom in our mercantile law, such superiority to vulgar prejudice, views so just and so profound, that it seemed to me as if I was reading the works of a speculative economist, rather than the improvement of a practical politician, agreed to by a legislative assembly, and upon the eve of being carried into execution, for the benefit of a great people. Let who will be their master, I honour and praise the ministers who have learnt such a lesson. I rejoice that I have lived to see such an improvement in English