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Remarks on a late Long
root and branch-work with the Papists, after a fashion consistent with the vigour of her character. There is a curious and interesting treatise still extant, known by the style and title of Hume's History of England, which, notwithstanding the more modern and shining lights, afforded by Doctors Lingard and Hallam, is still much read, and most potently believed by the major part of the reading popula tion of this kingdom. Now this Hume flatly affirms, that after the seminary of Rheims pronounced, in its wisdom, that the Pope's bull, excommunicating and deposing Elizabeth, was dictated by the immediate inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and after they had sent cargoes of ecclesiastics to her dominions to preach up sedition, and treason, and murder, the Queen found it expedient to hang up fifty Popish priests, and to banish a yet greater number, within a very few years, for the good of the nation, and the security of her Majesty's government. That this terrible woman, whom Sir Francis would impose on them for a wise and magnanimous confider in Papists, actually declared to her Parliament, that she considered the Romanists inveterate enemies to her person; and obtained their concurrence to a law by which the exercise of the Roman Catholic religion, was now at length totally suppressed. That the law for the capital punishment of priests, and of such as harboured them, was enacted and executed on account of the treasonable views and attempts of the Roman Catholic sect, and did not require any other overt act of treason to be proved against the individuals who suffered the penalty. So much for the love and regard which the good Queen Bess bore to the Papists.
It may, moreover, be found in the narrative of the same Hume, that up to the period of the Revolution, celebrating, or attending mass, was an indictable offence; that during the reign of Charles II., "the old persecuting laws of Elizabeth," as the liberal historian expresses it, "still subsisted in their full vigour," and that the immunities which the law now guarantees to Roman Catholics, in the exercise of their religion, are as much superior to the privileges they were entitled to, in Charles the II.'s reign, as the temporal power of the Pope was then superior to what it is now. VOL. XXIV.
branch of the argument of the Roman It is now time to come to the other Catholic advocates, as applied to the present state of Ireland. I am inte rested in the welfare of Ireland, and I know the country well. With that interest and that knowledge I do not tions of its present state, the most ashesitate to pronounce the late descriptoundingly audacious artifice to carry a measure by storm that ever was at tempted to be palmed upon the country. genius of the Times newspaper, which It was worthy of the ferocious boasts, I believe, the honour or the infamy of the device. If any English gentleman, who does not much confairs of Ireland, and there are many cern himself about the peculiar afof the worthiest to whom the descripbelieve one tittle of the representation will apply, could bring himself to tions he listened to on that debate, representations, too, made by men who judging of the truth, he must have had an opportunity of knowing and carried away with him an impression of the existing state of Ireland, so grossly exaggerated, as to lose all resemblance to a true picture, in the mis-shapen proportions of a hideous caricature.
It is very unfortunate for the repupleased to be oratorical tation of Ireland, that those who are litical and domestic condition, to upon her powhatever party they may belong, think they find their account in magnifying with all the force of their eloquence, that which is bad in the country, and lightly passing over the other parts of the picture. The Roman Catholic advocate says, "look at the dreadful can," or some say, "if you dare, restate of the country, and then if you fuse that emancipation, which is the tholic claims draws a similar picture only cure."-The opponent of the Cabut founds an opposite argument upof the dreadful state of the country, in the hands of wretches so wicked on it, and asks, "will you place power and ferocious?"-And these worthy people, irreverently ycleped saints, shocked at the Popish superstitions, describe Ireland as the very sink of all that is corrupt and abominable, and call upon their brethren to subscribe for Bibles and other good books, to send some of the light of religious knowledge into a place where the most horrible deeds are continually enacting under cover of the thick cloud of
spiritual darkness. Thus, on every hand, Ireland is assailed by exagge ration of her faults and her misfor tunes, and the already monstrous heap of her imputed misdeeds gradually increases, like those cairns upon spots where some horrid murder has been committed, upon which, by superstitious custom, every hand as it passes flings another stone. Again and again, I say, that there is nothing in Ireland to warrant these dark and terrifying descriptions. The country is still fertile, and beautiful beyond compare; the people are in general kind-hearted, hospitable, and good-natured, and though they are unsteady, passionate, and easily led into wrong, yet they are perfectly manageable by a union of kindness with firmness; and if the mass be turbulent, it is chiefly because a few men are allowed to exercise, without control or punishment, their foolish and wicked plans, for the disturbance of the people.
Nor is it to be wondered at that they persevere, since not only are they left unpunished, but their power and their importance is everywhere, even in the Houses of Parliament, spoken of so seriously, and yet so erroneously, that they must feel their vanity most exceedingly gratified, and they are invited to go on in a course which places them, according to the orators, not only on a level with, but above, the legitimate government of the country. "The people," says the Knight of Kerry, in his place in Parliament,
are organized, the country is organized." "He did not mean to say, that this organization was intended for bad purposes, but he did say that it existed, and that it was an awful circumstance, that a country in such a state of disaffection to the Government, from disappointed hope and protract ed expectations, could be wielded and directed as one man." Now this is said of all Ireland, and undoubtedly, if it were true, it would be a fact very frightful and alarming; but it is not true that the country could be wielded as one man; on the contrary, it is true, that whatever preponderance the Roman Catholics of Ireland may have in numerical force, yet-for I am forced to the painful comparison, by the way in which Mr Fitzgerald has thought fit to state the matter-it is more than balanced by the superior wealth, intelligence, and firmness of the opposite party; and if the affairs of Ireland
come to that dreadful state, (which God forbid they should come to,) and which there is in reality and truth no reason to apprehend, that it were necessary to withdraw the English troops, and leave the population of Ireland to fight for the sovereignty of it; I maintain, and the Catholics themselves know it to be true, that they would be conquered. What means this imposing word " organization?" If Mr Fitzgerald wishes the country to believe, that the respectable and wealthy part of the Roman Catholic body, are organized in such a way as to be wielded as one man, he wishes it to believe that which is not the fact. The Catholic Association, which those who have been on the spot, and have looked at the matter with their own eyes, know very well does not comprise the real strength of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, but is, with some dozen or two of exceptions, a crew of vulgar, illiterate, uninfluential brawlers-this Catho lic Association is no doubt in regular communication with the priests, and the priests have considerable influence over the very lowest of the people, whose ignorance they may take advantage of to lead them into error; but here is the whole machinery of this wonderful" organization." No doubt to certain Irish members this organization appears a very formidable affair, for by means of it the Association may keep them in, or turn them out of, their seats; but the reason it can do this, is because the law unfortunately places the elective. franchise in the hands of the very lowest of the people; and, if this law were amended as it ought to be, I have no doubt that the importance of this dreaded organization would sink very fast in Parliamentary estimation. But if it were true, that this organization and wonderful power did really exist, and, if it be also true, that the people are so extremely wicked as they are described to be, what are we to think of the persons who wield this power, and yet who take no steps to prevent the frequent commission of dreadful crimes ?
If the Popish leaders have not the power ascribed to them, then the ar gument for emancipation, grounded upon it, falls to the ground; if, on the other hand, they have the power, and will not exercise it for the pre-. vention of crime in the country, then
they are undeserving of emancipation, and ought not to obtain it. It will perhaps be said, and with some appearance of truth too, that they do not prevent, but encourage crime, for the sake of making the aspect of the country more terrifying to the English; but, if this were true, what politician could advise that to people capable of thus acting, additional political power should be given? I say given, for as to the Irish Catholics taking it by force, it is, as I said before, ridiculous. They have no notion of any such thing. It is possible, but it is not at all likely, that the mass of the population who have nothing to lose, might be led into insurrection, and a dreadful scene of slaughter would then ensue; but who would be their leaders? The Roman Catholics of Ireland who possess property, know too well the value of what they have, to risk it by any such desperate measure. They must know, that unless they take delight in slaughter, they would obtain no good from the attempt, but that confiscation of proper ty, banishment, and death in the field, or on the scaffold, would be to themselves the final and dreadful conse quences. But I do them wrong in supposing for a moment, that it is fear of the consequences which restrains them. It is a calumny to impute "disaffection" to them; and, whatever the forty-shilling freeholders, lay or ecclesiastical, might be disposed to do, I am sure the Roman Catholic gentlemen of Ireland would, if an insurrection broke out to-morrow, instead of supporting it, give it their zealous opposition.
"Ireland united as one man!" Alas! for Ireland's national honour, never did she exhibit such a union; never did a foreign foe plant his foot on the Irish shore, that he did not find some of her own people ready to join him, for the sake of revenging their intestine quarrels. What is the disgraceful legend of Irish history-is Dermod forgotten, who, for the sake of avenging himself upon Roderic, brought the English invaders into the heart of his native country? Shall we not remember, that when Henry the Second marched through the land as a conqueror, instead of meeting with opposition, and " a country united as one man," disunion and private hatred laid the country prostrate at his feet? "O'
Brien of Thomond," says the historian, "having submitted to King Henry, Donchad of Ossory, dreading the advantages which his rival might acquire by his forward zeal, hastened to the King, and submitted to become his tributary and vassal." The conduct of the other Irish chiefs was similar. The manners, customs, and language of nations may alter and improve; but there are certain great national characteristics which, however modified, remain in their leading features the same. England, as long as we know her, has been sturdy, inflexible England. She never would be bullied or driven into anything, nor will she yet. Scotland would never abide the stranger to dwell within her quarters; but whether he came with bow and spear, or with surplice and prayer book, she drove him forth; and still she stands, maintaining her own laws and her own religion. Ireland-wild Ireland, the land of quick feeling and unsettled principles, never was constant or unanimous in any purpose, nor is she now. Leave her to herself, and treachery and disunion would continue to tear her in pieces. "United as one man!" changed indeed must she be, before that can be truly said of her.
Still the insecurity of life and property in Ireland is dreadfully, shamefully exaggerated by the orators.
In some districts, particularly the county of Tipperary, there certainly does prevail a dreadful recklessness of human life, of which the consequences are too horrible to be described; but even this is the result of feuds amongst themselves. They have a wild notion, that their own people should submit to the lawless regulations which they lay down amongst themselves; and, while it is a shocking truth that, in the county of Tipperary, an Irishman who takes a farm from which another has been ejected, may be murdered in the daylight, without his neighbours interfering to prevent the crime, or to secure the criminal, an Englishman who had taken the same farm would probably escape; they would consider him without the pale of their revenge, which is truly with them, as Lord Ba con defines it, a kind of wild jus tice." But the horrid state of Tipperary is by no means general over the whole country; and I myself know of instances in the county Limeric, where
gentlemen's houses-Protestant gentlemen, I mean, with their houses full of valuable property, are left, even in the middle of the night, al most without bolt or bar, and certainly much more insecure against invasion from without than would be safe in any part of England.
It is melancholy to contemplate the enormous mischief which is done by these continual exaggerations of the lawless, and wicked, and wretched state of Ireland. People are quite frightened at the name of the place. Men who have capital to lay out in agriculture and manufactures sooner think of going to Van Diemen's Land, than to a country of which they hear such dreadful descriptions. They transport themselves to the Antipodes, rather than go three days' journey to a country, which they are not allowed to think of, without thinking at the same time of murder. This is the evil which the orators bring upon their country; and while they take credit to themselves for boundless patriotism, they ruin their native land.
As to a general rebellion, there is no idea of any such thing at present in Ireland, and if there were, there is no place in the world where it would be sooner known. The Irish are so completely abandoned to the influence of feeling and passion, that keeping a se cret is with them quite out of the question. The gathering storm, too, would manifest itself in a variety of ways-the people would not work, they would abandon their fields, well knowing that in a time of disturbance, they would be masters, and no rent would have to be paid. Letters would be sent to particular individuals occasioned by gratitude for some individual act of kindness, and warning them of their danger. Disclosures would be made by some, fearing like Donchad of Ossory, that others would get before them, and be exclusive sharers of the reward, and many other indications would infallibly appear.
Mr Grant is so well pleased with the opportunity for making a fine speech, which Mr Fitzgerald's statement furnishes, that although he knows it is not correct, yet " he will not inquire to what degree, in some respects, the picture may be overcharged." And
why will he not inquire? Is it his business, or his duty, as a statesman, to make a glowing powerful speech, (I did not think, by the by, that Charlie Grant had it in him to make such a speech,) founded upon statements which he well knew to be " overchar ged?" "Overcharged," indeed! What a delicate word! False-false is the word, good St Charlie-but let us have your own flourish. "There ex ists in Ireland, a power, compact, well organized, not recognized by the constitution, disavowed and condemned by Parliament, usurping the functions of the executive, exercising even final authority, extending its dominion over every part of the country, and able at its will to command and direct the movements of the whole people." Very fine indeed. The first part of the de scription, however, has this advantage over the latter, that it is true, which the other is not. But it being true that a power exists, not recognized by the constitution, and disavowed and condemned by Parliament, why is it suffered to exist? Oh! for one year's wise and vigorous decision in the Government of Ireland!
You know, Mr North, I hate a long argument, when the pith of it begins to decline, so I shall not detain you much longer. The state of Ireland at present, is certainly not an enviable one, for party feeling rankles with an excessive soreness, of which previous times, bad as they have sometimes been, scarcely afford an example. But let Parliament men, newsmen, or Catholic Association men, say what they please, I say, much might be done for Ireland, without Catholic Emancipation-and the first thing is, to let the truth be known, for it is quite incredible the quantity of falsehood that is abroad, concerning that country. I wish a Society were established, to send some of its members regularly into Ireland, for the sake of actually beholding what was going on there. I will ensure the safety of the lives of the travellers at a small premium. What a "refreshing" thing an unprejudiced report would be! I am, with great respect, Mr NORTH, Yours,
P.S.-I annex a note of the proceedings and divisions in Parliament on the
Catholic Question, which may be interesting to some of your readers.
1805. Mr Fox moved for a Committee to take into consideration the Catholic claims. Ayes, 124; Noes, 336.-Majority against the Catholics, 212.
1806. Question not brought forward.
1807. Question not brought forward.
1808. Motion for a Committee to take into consideration the Catholic claims. Ayes, 128; Noes, 281.-Majority against the Catholics, 153.
1809. Question not brought forward.
1810. Motion for a Committee to take into consideration the Catholic claims. Ayes, 109; Noes, 213.—Majority against the Catholics, 104.
1811. Motion for a Committee. Ayes, 83; Noes, 146.—Majority against the Catholics, 63.
1812. April 24. Mr Grattan's motion for a Committee. Ayes, 215; Noes, 300.-Majority against the Catholics, 85.
June. Mr Canning's motion for a Committee early in the next Session, to take into consideration the Catholic claims. Ayes, 235; Noes, 106.-Majority for the Catholics, 129.
June. A similar motion in the Lords by Lord Wellesley.The order of the day being moved in opposition to Lord W.'s motion-Contents, 126; Non-contents, 125. Majority against the Catholics, 1.
1813. Feb. 3. Debated for three nights.
Mr Grattan's motion for a Committee to take into serious consideration the Ca-
May 11. Motion by Sir J. C. Hippesley to inquire into the state of the laws af-
May 13. Second reading.
On the motion that it should be read that day three months-Ayes, 203; Noes, 245. Majority for the Catholics, 42.
May 24. Bill in Committee. On the motion to omit the clause enabling Catho lics to sit in Parliament-Ayes, 251; Noes, 247.-Majority against the Catholics, 4; and the Bill withdrawn.
1814. Question not brought forward.
1815. May 31. Sir Henry Parnell's motion for a Committee. Ayes, 147; Noes, 228. -Majority against the Catholics, 81.
1816. May 21. Mr Grattan's motion for a Committee early in the next Session. Ayes, 141; noes, 172.-Majority against the Catholics, 31.
1817. May 9. Mr Grattan's motion for a Committee. Ayes, 221; Noes, 245.-Ma jority against the Catholics, 24.
1818. Question not brought forward.
1819. May 4. Mr Grattan's motion for a Committee. Ayes, 241; Noes, 243.-Majority against the Catholics, 2.
1820. Question not brought forward.
1821. Feb. 28. Mr Plunkett's motion for a Committee. Ayes, 227; Noes, 221.
Majority for the Catholics, 6.
March 16. Second reading of the Bill. Ayes, 254; Noes, 243.-Majority in favour of the Catholics, 11.
March 23. Division on first clause of the Bill. Ayes, 230; Noes, 216.—Ma-
March 26. Mr Bankes' amendment to exclude Catholics from Parliament.
April 2. Third reading. Ayes, 216; Noes, 197.-Majority for the Catholics,
House of Lords. Second reading of the Bill. Contents, 120; Non-contents, 159-Majority against the Catholics, 39.-Bill thrown out.
1822. April 30. Mr Canning's motion for a Bill to enable Catholic Peers to sit in the Upper House. Ayes, 249; Noes, 244.-Majority for the Catholics, 5.
May 13. Second reading of the Bill. Ayes, 235; Noes, 223.-Majority for the
May 17. Bill passed without a division.
June 21. House of Lords.Second reading of the Bill. Contents, 129; Noncontents, 171.Majority against the Bill, 42.Bill thrown out.