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CATHOLICS. (E. Review, 1827.)
1. A Plain Statement in support of the Political Claims of the Roman Catholics ; in a Letter to the Rev. Sir George Lee, Bart. By Lord Nugent, Member of Parliament for Aylesbury. London, Hookham. 1826.
2. A Letter to Wiscount Milton, M. P. By One of his Constituents. London, Ridgway. 1827.
3. Charge by the Archbishop of Cashel. Dublin, Milliken.
IF a poor man were to accept a guinea upon the condition that he spoke all the evil he could of another whom he believed to be innocent, and whose imprisonment he knew he should prolong, and whose privations he knew he should increase by his false testimony, would not the person so hired be one of the worst and basest of human beings? And would not his guilt be aggravated, if up to the moment of receiving his aceldama, he had spoken in terms of high praise of the person whom he subsequently accused? Would not the latter feature of the case prove him to be as much without shame as the former evinced him to be without principle * Would the guilt be less, if the person so hired were a man of education ? Would it be less, if he were above want 2 Would it be less, if the profession and occupation of his life were to decide men's rights, or to teach them morals and religion ? Would it be less by the splendour of the bribe P Does a bribe of 3000l. leave a man innocent, whom a bribe of 30l. would cover with infamy 2 You are of a mature period of life, when the opinions of an honest man ought to be, and are fixed. On Monday you were a barrister or a country clergyman, a serious and temperate friend to religious liberty and Catholic emancipation. In a few weeks from this time you are a bishop, or a dean, or a judge—publishing and speaking charges and sermons against the poor Catholics, and ex
plaining away this sale of your soul by every species of falsehood, shabbiness, and equivocation. You may carry a bit of ermine on your shoulder, or hide the lower
moiety of the body in a silken petticoat–and men may
call you Mr. Dean, or My Lord; but you have sold your
honour and your conscience for money; and, though better paid, you are as base as the witness who stands at
the door of the judgment-hall, to swear whatever the suborner will put into his mouth, and to receive whatever he will put in his pocket.*
When soldiers exercise, there stands a goodly portly person out of the ranks, upon whom all eyes are directed, and whose signs and motions, in the performance of the manual exercise, all the soldiers follow. The Germans, we believe, call him a Flugelman. We propose Lord Nugent as a political flugelman;–he is always consistent, plain, and honest, steadily and straightly pursuing his object without hope or fear, under the influence of good feelings and high principle. The House of Commons does not contain within its walls a more honest, upright man.
We seize upon the opportunity which this able
pamphlet of his Lordship's affords us, to renew our attention to the Catholic question. There is little new to be said; but we must not be silent, or, in these days of baseness and tergiversation, we shall be supposed to have deserted our friend the Pope; and they will say of us, Prostant venales apud Lambeth et Whitehall. God forbid it should ever be said of us with justice—it is pleasant to loll and roll, and to accumulate — to be a purple and fine linen man, and to be called by some of those nicknames which frail and ephemeral beings are so fond of accumulating upon each other; – but the best thing of all is to live like honest men, and to add something to the cause of liberality, justice, and truth.
* It is very far from our intention to say that all who were for the Catholics, and are now against them, have made this change from base motives; it is equally far from our intention not to say that many men of both professions have subjected themselves to this shocking imputation.
The Letter to Lord Milton is very well and very pleasantly written. We are delighted with the liberality and candour of the Archbishop of Cashel. The charge is in the highest degree creditable to him. He must lay his account for the furious hatred of bigots, and the incessant gnawing of rats. There are many men who (thoroughly aware that the Catholic question must be ultimately carried) delay their acquiescence till the last moment, and wait till the moment of peril and civil war before they yield. That this moment is not quite so remote as was supposed a twelvemonth since, the events now passing in the world seem to afford the strongest proof. The truth is, that the disaffected state of Ireland is a standing premium for war with every cabinet in Europe which has the most distant intention of quarrelling with this country for any other cause. “If we are to go to war, let us do so when the discontents of Ireland are at their greatest height, before any spirit of concession has been shown by the British Cabinet.’ Does any man imagine that so plain and obvious a principle has not been repeatedly urged on the French Cabinet 2—that the eyes of the Americans are shut upon the state of Ireland—and that that great and ambitious Republic will not, in case of war, aim a deadly blow at this most sensitive part of the British empire 2 We should really say, that England has fully as much to fear from Irish fraternisation with America as with France. The language is the same; the Americans have preceded them in the struggle; the number of emigrant and rebel Irish is very great in America; and all parties are sure of perfect toleration under the protection of America. We are astonished at the madness and folly of Englishmen, who do not perceive that both France and America are only waiting for a convenient opportunity to go to war with this country; and that one of the first blows aimed at our independence would be the invasion of Ireland. We should like to argue this matter with a regular Tory Lord, whose members vote steadily against the Catholic question. “I wonder that mere fear does not make you give up the Catholic question Do you mean to put this fine place in danger—the venison—the pictures—the pheasants—the cellars—the hot-house and the grapery Should you like to see six or seven thousand French or Americans landed in Ireland, and aided by a universal insurrection of the Catholics? Is it worth your while to run the risk of their success? What evil from the possible encroachment of Catholics, by civil exertions, can equal the danger of such a position as this 2 How can a man of your carriages, and horses, and hounds, think of putting your high fortune in such a predicament, and crying out, like a schoolboy or a chaplain, “Oh, we shall beat them we shall put the rascals down!” No Popery, I admit to your Lordship, is a very convenient cry at an election, and has answered your end; but do not push the matter too far: to bring on a civil war, for No Popery, is a very foolish proceeding in a man who has two courses and a remove As you value your side-board of plate, your broad riband, your pier glasses—if obsequious domestics and large rooms are dear to you—if you love ease and flattery, titles and coats of arms—if the labour of the French cook, the dedication of the expecting poet, can move you —if you hope for a long life of side-dishes—if you are not insensible to the periodical arrival of the turtle fleets—emancipate the Catholics! Do it for your ease, do it for your indolence, do it for your safety—emancipate and eat, emancipate and drink—emancipate, and preserve the rent-roll and the family estate!’ The most common excuse of the Great Shabby is, that the Catholics are their own enemies—that the violence of Mr. O'Connell and Mr. Shiel have ruined their cause —that, but for these boisterous courses, the question would have been carried before this time. The answer to this nonsense and baseness is, that the very reverse is the fact. The mild and the long-suffering may suffer for ever in this world. If the Catholics had stood with their hands before them simpering at the Earls of Liverpool and the Lords Bathurst of the moment, they would not have been emancipated till the year of our Lord four thousand. As long as the patient will suffer, the cruel will kick. No treason—no rebellion—but as much stubbornness and stoutness as the law permits—a thorough intimation that you know what is your due, and that you are determined to have it if you can laufully get it. This is the conduct we recommend to the Irish. If they go on withholding, and forbearing, and hesitating whether this is the time for the discussion or that is the time, they will be laughed at for another century as fools— and kicked for another century as slaves. “I must have my bill paid (says the sturdy and irritated tradesman); your master has put me off twenty times under different pretences. I know he is at home, and I will not quit the premises till I get the money.” Many a tradesman gets paid in this manner, who would soon smirk and smile himself into the Gazette, if he trusted to the promises of the great. Can any thing be so utterly childish and foolish as to talk of the bad taste of the Catholic leaders ?—as if, in a question of conferring on, or withholding important civil rights from seven millions of human beings, any thing could arrest the attention of a wise man but the good or evil consequences of so great a measure. Suppose Mr. S. does smell slightly of tobacco–admit Mr. L. to be occasionally stimulated by rum and water— allow that Mr. F. was unfeeling in speaking of the Duke of York—what has all this nonsense to do with the extinction of religious hatred and the pacification of Ireland 2 Give it if it is right, refuse it if it is wrong. How it is asked, or how it is given or refused, are less than the dust of the balance. What is thé real reason why a good honest Tory, living at ease on his possessions, is an enemy to Catholic Emancipation? He admits the Catholic of his own rank to be a gentleman, and not a bad subject—and about theological disputes an excellent Tory never troubles his head. Of what importance is it to him whether an Irish Catholic or an Irish Protestant is a Judge in the King's Bench at Dublin? None; but I am afraid for the Church of Ireland, says our alarmist. Why do you