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fided to their care; and in the last place, to their determination, in the late Synod of Kilkenny, to be conveyed to parliament by petition in the approaching session, never to submit to it however modified. Where, in this Babel of rescripts and responses from Rome, and of Irish synodical decrees, are we to look for that religion which we must not violate?
But perhaps the Catholic Laity may throw a more steady light on the subject. In their acts, and their speeches, and their avowed intentions, recorded in the proceedings of their Board, we may perhaps find more consistency and stability than in the inspiration of their venerable Prelates-More stability and consistency we certainly shall find, but it is a stability and consistency subversive of all Sir John Hippesley's confidence, and Mr. Horner's anticipations.
In which of their aggregate or chapel meetings? In what vote or resolution? In what speech or publication, have they ever consented to any change in the nomination of their Bishops? Have they ever let an opportunity pass of pledging themselves to their prelacy that they would "spurn at the offer of all the privileges and immunities of the constitution, if the condition was to be their consent to such a change." Perish the constitution, but live our Holy Mother the Church!-So late as the 17th of December last, they resolved in a general meeting in the Clarendon Street Chapel, to renew their most earnest petition to the legislature for total and unqualified Emancipation. "They deemed it a duty they owed to themselves and to their country, solemnly to declare, that they will at all times, and under all circumstances, deprecate and oppose, by all means left them by the law, any influence direct or indirect on the part of the crown of Great Britain (leaving out Ireland, as I have so often observed, the Board and the Divine Hierarchy always do) " in the appointment of Bishops for the Roman Catholics of Ireland."
But these are the violent agitators, the demagogues, whom all the advocates for a modified Emancipation, as well in the Cabinet as in Parliament, disown and reprobate. Their principal nobility and gentry speak a different language. To their Petition it is that Parliament should attend. But I have already shown that this Petition comes precisely to the same point, with all the manifestoes from the aggregate meetings from which the framers of it have seceded. The securities they are willing to consent to, must be consistent with their religious principles, and these principles, they tell you themselves, are to be ascertained by Doctor Troy, who, with the whole Divine Hierarchy, has made common cause with these reprobated agitators and demagogues, who has agreed with them in petitioning parliament, against all arrangements that would require securities of any kind.
A notable expedient, it is said, has been suggested for putting an end to all these difficulties. Take the question in the abstract. Let it be disembarrassed of all the clogs and encumbrances with which the different contending parties have so long labored to check its progress. Let the Legislature look only to what is right for it to grant on a consideration of the different interests concerned in the discussion; let Emancipation be granted to the Catholic under conditions and securities that will allay the fears of the Protestants, and then leave the Roman Catholics of Ireland to receive or reject the boon as they shall think fit.
To take any pains to show the folly of this expedient, would be folly equal to its own. The great object of the advocates for Emancipation with Securities, is to satisfy the people of Ireland. It is said that Lord Castlereagh in some late communications with persons of weight in Ireland, has declared that to be his great actuating principle in taking the line he has done, and in which he means to persevere-"Something must be done to satisfy the people."
But I would take leave to ask his Lordship if the gratification of the people, considered numerally, was the principle on which the lamented Statesman who, happily for his country, first distinguished his Lordship's talents and brought them into action, directed our public councils when contending against the storm raised by the French Revolution? if that was the principle on which he planted his foot, and shook the world? Will any member of the Prince Regent's Cabinet act upon that principle when the tables of both Houses will groan, as they are certain to do in the ensuing session, under the weight of Petitions said to be the Petitions of the people, clamoring for Parliamentary Reform, the disbanding of the army, and the abolition of all Sinecure Places? will they, in submission to the clamors and the menaces of an O' Connell, an O'Gorman, a Drumgool, and who knows what other obscure names, consent to make an experiment on the Constitution committed to their trust, by a measure most abhorrent to the principles and feelings of the fathers of its present perfect state, while they despise the same clamors, and set at defiance the same menaces from a Cochrane, a Cartwright, a Hunt, and a Cobbett, on a question which, wild and distempered, and inadmissible as it is in other respects, is certainly not hostile to any of the bases on which the Constitution rests?-Are the Protestants of Ireland to have the mortification to think that any member of that Cabinet has become a convert to the doctrines of the faction that considers the Roman Catholics of Ireland as exclusively composing its people; denaturalizing, as well the Dissenters as the members of the estaVOL. ÍX.
blished Church, and consulting neither their principles nor their feelings.
It is possible that Lord Castlereagh may count the Dissenters, with whom his family is principally connected, as friends to the Roman Catholic Claims, and when he made the declaration imputed to him he might not have had that numerous and powerful body in his contemplation.
But if the Dissenters of this day favor the cause of the Roman Catholics, it must be in the same expectations as those with which the bigotted James, who lost three kingdoms for a mass, endeavored to cajole them to second his projects in their favor. They may look forward to the removal of all tests, and to the free admission of all Sectaries to all the privileges of the Constitution, and all places in the Church and State, in every part of the United Kingdom, if the most obnoxious of these Sectaries are to be so favored by the legislature. But judging of the Roman Catholics 'merely as such, and unbiassed by any interested views of the moment, it is not possible that the Irish Dissenters could ever flatter themselves that they would cordially coalesce with them. They hate a Protestant, but they abhor a Presbyterian. Neither the settlers from Scotland, nor Cromwell and his Debenturers have they ever forgotten, nor can they ever forget. This is thoroughly understood by the Dissenters of the North; and it was to their natural suspicions, whenever the Roman Catholics make any advances to gain their confidence, that Ireland owed its safety in the last rebellion. They soon perceived that it was a Popish faction, leagued to destroy the order of things, to the establishment and security of which their ancestors had so principally contributed during the Revolution. They, therefore, abandoned the faction and the country was saved.
But supposing that Lord Castlereagh really limited his description of the people of Ireland to its Popish population, can he think that this foolish expedient will satisfy that people? Are not their leaders who guide them, are not their priests, who have still greater influence over them than their leaders, to be believed when they warn you that it will not satisfy them? Or supposing a middle party to arrive, willing to come into terms with the government, and to accept the proffered boon, can any thing be conceived more likely to create disorder, and confusion, and daily multiplying cabals; to madden the populace and split them into different factions? Will the Cabinet; will his Lordship, whose consummate prudence, whose cool, manly, unwearied steadiness gave effect to their councils, rest satisfied with this miserable half measure, in an impatience to get rid of an embarrassing question and a pettinacious opposition? Or can he in any confidence in the efficacy of
this expedient assist in pulling down the barriers raised by the great men who perfected our constitution, and open a breach in the system in which the destinies of the British empire were then placed, and on which it has risen to such a height of power and glory, as to have enabled him, in the character of its representative, to be amongst the most distinguished instruments in giving peace to the world!
It is the taking out of the first brick that is difficult," observes a deeply thinking writer. This once accomplished, the work of demolition goes on rapidly. But "See you yond' coin o' th' capitol, yond' corner stone?" It is this that all who behold the glorious fabrick with an envious and malignant eye require to be displaced for them, and there are those to whom it hath been entrusted, some short-sighted, some treacherous, who countenance and assist them in the unhallowed attempt. Lord Castlereagh is too well read in the History of the Revolution, and in its great charter, The Bill of Rights, to subscribe to the doctrine that has been lately propagated, that the exclusion of Popery formed no part of the stipulations of that charter-that the dread of Popery and the danger with which our laws and our liberties were then threatened, from plans and attempts in its favor, precisely similar to those that are now proposed to parliament, although distinctly stated in the preamble of the Bill to be the prime moving principle with the great men to whom we are indebted for that charter, had no inAuence on their councils.
Sir John Cox Hippesley very gravely quotes Lord Bacon to prove to the House, that the admission of a Catholic Prelacy subject to the influence of the Pope, cannot be said to be contrary to the fundamental laws of the realm. That great luminary, he says, laid down, that our laws were as mixed as our language, and that the whole of our jurisprudence was formed on laws introduced by the Danes, and Saxons, and Normans, and Popes.
Lord Bacon wrote in the very first days of the Stuarts. On his authority, Sir John would have us believe, that under the reign of a descendant of the Princess Sophia of Brunswick, and more than a century since the Revolution, and the Act of Settlement, we still have laws in force introduced by Popes: that our jurisprudence still remains tinged by a Popish mixture, and that it is no innovation on the spirit or the letter of the Constitution as settled at the above mentioned periods, to admit and publicly acknowledge a Prelacy exercising under the influence of the Pope, functions to which the great mass of the people in one part of the United Kingdom pay the most implicit, uninquiring obedience.There is not a constitutional Lawyer in the United Kingdom who will not tell Sir John, that England never did, at any period of
her History, admit or give currency to laws introduced into the realm by Popes. There is not a constitutional Lawyer who will not tell him that whatever remains of Danish, or Saxon, or Norman usages, may be found in our Municipal Law, nothing is to be discovered in that, or in our statutes, that could countenance the usurpations of the See of Rome, on the civil power.
If this half Roman, half Briton, this half papist, half protestant will, in the course of his reading, consult works of such solidity, as Lord Bacon's, I would advise him to read and digest what that great man recommends to all who meditate any material change in the fundamental laws of their country; any deviation from what the wisest men of their day had provided against dangers of which they had the experience, and from which their descendants have been secured by their enlightened foresight.
This may deter him from pressing forward like another Uzza: and in the vain conceit of supporting it, laying a rash hand on the ark in which is deposited the most assured pledge of the protection of heaven to these realms.
The same advice I would venture to offer, although with far other sentiments and other impressions, to those of the Prince Regent's Ministers, who support this question of ill omen, and particularly to the distinguished Member of the Cabinet, from whose declarations in favor of Emancipation, his country, as I have already observed, feels the greatest alarm. I cannot but again express a hope that he will maturely reconsider the whole of this question. That he will take a view of it in all its present bearings, and as it now comes before him, and not as he conceived of it before the difficulties under the presure of which the country laboured, and by which her enemies predicted that she must be overwhelmed, encourraged the leaders of the aggregate meetings and their associates of the popish hierarchy to discover the full extent of their designs."
In a meeting at the Globe Tavern, in which it was resolved to assemble the last general meeting in the Clarendon Chapel, Mr. O'Connell's language was all temperate, and conciliatory. He observed that by adopting some parts of Lord Fingal's Petition, all disagreement in the great Catholic body might be done away. Can any one doubt why his language was changed on the day of the meeting in the Chapel? why he returned to his usual intemperance, why the violent resolutions proposed on that day, passed without the most distant reference to Lord Fingal's petition? The popular disturbances in London broke out in the interval of the two meetings, and with the Leaders and fomenters of those disturbances, his fraternization, and that of the great Catholic body, has been publicly announced at the late meeting of the clamorers for Parliamentary Reform, at Harold's Cross. Annual parliaments, universal suffrage, exclusion of all placemen from the House of Commons, disbanding the army, abolishing the national debt, are now identified with the Catholic claims.