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connection that refuses them a community of benefits while it imposes a community of privations—men who, sooner than see this land polluted by the footsteps of a slave, would wish the ocean-wave became its sepulchre, and that the orb of heaven forgot where it existed. It has been said too, (and when we were to be calumniated, what has not been said ?) that Irishmen are neither fit for freedom or grateful for favours. In the first place, I deny that to be a favour which is a right; and in the next place, I utterly deny that a system of conciliation has ever been adopted with respect to Ireland. Try them, and, my life on it, they will be found grateful. I think I know my countrymen; they cannot help being grateful for a benefit; and there is no country on the earth where one would be conferred with more characteristic benevolence. They are, emphatically, the school-boys of the heart-a people of sympathy; their acts spring instinctively from their passions ; by nature ardent, by instinct brave, by inheritance generous. The children of impulse, they cannot avoid their virtues; and to be other than noble, they must not only be unnatural but unnational. Put my panegyric to the test. Enter the hovel of the Irish peasant. I do not say you will find the frugality of the Scotch, the comfort of the English, or the fantastic decorations of the French cottager; but I do say, within those wretched bazaars of mud and misery, you will find sensibility the most affecting, politeness the most natural, hospitality the most grateful, merit the most unconscious; their look is eloquence, their smile is love, their retort is wit, their remark is wisdomnot a wisdom borrowed from the dead, but that with which nature herself has inspired them; an acute observance of the passing scene, and a deep insight into the motives of its agent. Try to deceive them, and see with what shrewdness they will detect; try to outwit them, and see with what humour they will elude ; attack them with argument, and you will stand amazed at the strength of their expression, the rapidity of their ideas, and the energy of their gesture. In short, God seems to have formed our country like our people; he has thrown round the one its wild, magnificent, decorated rudeness; he has infused into the other the simplicity of genius and the seeds of virtue: he says audibly to us, “Give them cultivation."
This is the way, Gentlemen, in which I have always looked upon your question—not as a party, or a sectarian, or a Catholic,
but as an Irish question. Is it possible that any man can seriously believe the paralyzing five millions of such a people as I have been describing, can be a benefit to the empire ! Is there any man who deserves the name not of a statesman but of a rational being, who can think it politic to rob such a multitude of all the energies of an honourable ambition! Look to Protestant Ireland, shooting over the empire those rays of genius, and those thunderbolts of war, that have at once embellished and preserved it. I speak not of a former era. I refer not for my example to the day just passed, when our Burks, our Barrys, and our Goldsmiths, exiled by this system from their native shore, wreathed the “ immortal shamrock” round the brow of painting, poetry, and eloquence! But now, even while I speak, who leads the British senate? A Protestant Irishman! Who guides the British arms? A Protestant Irishman! And why, why is Catholic Ireland, with her quintuple population, stationary and silent? Have physical causes neutralized its energies ? Has the religion of Christ stupefied its intellect? Has the God of mankind become the partizan of a monopoly,and put an interdict on its advancement ? Stranger, do not ask the bigotted and pampered renegade who has an interest in deceiving you; but open the penal statutes, and weep tears of blood over the reason. Come—come yourself, and see this unhappy people ; see the Irishman, the only alien in Ireland, in rags and wretchedness, staining the sweetest scenery ever eye reposed on, persecuted by the extorting middleman of some absentee landlord, plundered by the lay-proctor of some rapacious and unsympathizing incumbent, bearing through life but insults and injustice, and bereaved even of any hope in death by the heart-rending reflection that he leaves his children to bear, like their father, an abominable bondage? Is it the fact ? Let any who doubts it walk out into your streets, and see the consequences of such a system; see it rearing up crowds in a kind of apprenticeship to the prison, absolutely permitted by their parents, from utter despair, to lisp the alphabet and learn the rudiments of profligacy? For my part, never did I meet one of these youthful assemblages without feeling within me a melancholy emotion. How often have I thought, within that little circle of neglected triflers who seem to have been born in caprice and bred in orphanage, there may exist some mind formed of the finest mould, and wrought for immortality; a soul swelling with
the energies and stamped with the patent of the Deity, which, under proper culture might perhaps bless, adorn, immortalize, or ennoble empires; some CINCINNATUS, in whose breast the destinies of a nation may lie dormant; some Milton, “pregnant with celestial fire;" some CURRAN, who, when thrones were crumbled and dynasties forgotten, might stand the landmark of his country's genius, rearing himself amid regal ruins and national dissolution, a mental pyramid in the solitude of time, beneath whose shade things might moulder, and round whose summit eternity must play. Even in such a circle the young DemosTHENES might have once been found, and Homer, the disgrace and glory of his age, have sung neglected! Have not other nations witnessed those things, and who shall say that nature has peculiarly degraded the intellect of Ireland ? Oh, my countrymen, let us hope that under better auspices and a sounder policy, the ig. norance that thinks so may mcet its refutation. Let us turn from the blight and ruin of this wintry day to the fond anticipation of a happier period, when our prostrate land shall stand erect among the nations, fearless and unfettered; her brow bloom. ing with the wreath of science, and her path strewed with the offerings of art; the breath of heaven blessing her flag, the extremities of earth acknowledging her name, her fields waving with the fruits of agriculture, her ports alive with the contributions of commerce, and her temples vocal with unrestricted piety. Such is the ambition of the true patriot; such are the views for which we are calumniated! Oh, divine ambition ! Oh, delightful calumny ! Happy he who shall see thee accomplished ! Happy he who through every peril toils for thy attainment ! Proceed, friend of Ireland and partaker of her wrongs, proceed undaunted to this glorious consummation. Fortune will not gild, power will not ennoble thee: but thou shalt be rich in the love and titled by the blessings of thy country; thy path shall be illumined by the public eye, thy labours enlightened by the public gratitude; and oh, remember-amid the impediments with which corruption will oppose, and the dejection with which disappointments may depress you-remember you are acquiring a name to be cherished by the future generations of earth, long after it has been enrolled amongst the inheritors of heaven.
DELIVERED AT AN AGGREGATE MEETING OF THE ROMAN
CATHOLICS OF CORK.
It is with no small degree of self-congratulation that I at length find myself in a province which every glance of the eye, and every throb of the heart, tells me is truly Irish ; and that congratulation is not a little enhanced by finding that you receive me not quite as a stranger. Indeed, if to respect the Christian without regard to his creed, if to love the country but the more for its calamities, if to hate oppression though it be robed in power, if to venerate integrity though it pine under persecution, gives a man any claim to your recognition, then, indeed, I am not a stranger amongst you. There is a bond of union between brethren, however distant; there is a sympathy between the virtuous, however separated; there is a heaven-born instinct by which the associates of the heart become at once acquainted, and kindred natures, as it were by magic, see in the face of a stranger, the features of a friend. Thus it is, that, though we never met, you hail in me the sweet association, and I feel myself amongst you even as if I were in the home of my nativity. But this my knowledge of you was not left to chance; nor was it left to the records of your charity, the memorials of your patriotism, your municipal magnificence, or your commercial splendour; it came to me hallowed by the accents of that tongue on which Ireland has so often hung with ecstacy, heightened by the eloquence and endeared by the sincerity of, I hope, our mutual friend. Let me congratulate him on having become in some degree naturalized in a province, where the spirit of the elder day seems to have lingered; and let me congratulate you on the acquisition of a man who is at once the zealous advocate of your cause, and a practical instance of the injustice of your oppressions. Surely, surely if merit had fair play, if splendid talents, if indefatigable industry, if great research, if unsullied principle,
if a heart full of the finest affections, if a mind matured in every manly accomplishment, in short, if every noble, public quality, mellowed and reflected in the pure mirror of domestic virtue, could entitle a subject to distinction in a state, Mr. O'Connel should be distinguished; but, it is his crime to be a Catholic, and his curse to be an Irishman. Simpleton ! he prefers his conscience to a place, and the love of his country to a participation in her plunder! Indeed he will never rise. If he joined the bigots of my sect, he might be a sergeant; if he joined theinfidels of your sect, he might enjoy a pension, and there is no knowing whether some Orange-corporator, at an Orange-anniversary, might not modestly yield him the precedence of giving "the glorious and immortal memory." Oh, yes; he might be privileged to get drunk in gratitude to the man who colonized ignorance in his native land, and left to his creed the legacy of legalized persecution. Nor would he stand alone, no matter what might be the measure of his disgrace, or the degree of his dereliction. You will know there are many of your own community who would leave him at the distance-post. In contemplating their recreancy, I should be almost tempted to smile at the exhibition of their pretensions, if there was not a kind of moral melancholy intermingled, that changed satire into pity, and ridicule into contempt. For my part, I behold them in the apathy of their servitude, as I would some miserable maniac in the contentment of his captivity. Poor creature! when all that raised him from the brute is levelled, and his glorious intellect is mouldering in ruins, you may see him with his song of triumph, and his crown of straw, a fancied freeman amid the clanking of his chains, and an imaginary monarch beneath the inflictions of his keeper! Merciful God! is it not almost an argument for the sceptic and the disbeliever, when we see the human shape almost without an aspiration of the human soul, separated by no boundary from the beasts that perish—beholding with indifference the captivity of their country, the persecution of their creed, and the helpless, hopeless destiny of their children? But they have nor creed nor consciences, nor country; their god is gold, their gospel is a contract, their church a counting-house, their characters a commodity; they never pray but for the opportunities of corruption, and hold their consciences, as they do their government-debentures, at a price proportioned to the misfortunes of their country. But let us turn from these men