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all Irishmen! Whether it results from accident or from merit, can there be a more cutting sarcasm on the policy of England ! Is it not directly saying to her, “ here is a country from one fifth of whose people you depute the agents of your most august delegation, the remaining four fifths of which by your odious bigotry, you incapacitate from any station of office or of trust!" It is adding all that is weak in impolicy to all that is wicked in ingratitude. What is her apology? Will she pretend that the Deity imitates her injustice, and incapacitates the intellect as she has done the creed? After making Providence a pretence for her code, will she also make it a party to her crime, and arraign the universal spirit of partiality in his dispensations? Is she not content with Him as a Protestant God, unless He also consents to become a Catholic demon? But, if the charge were true; if the Irish Catholic were imbruted and debased, Ireland's conviction would be England's crime, and your answer to the bigot's charge should be the bigot's conduct. What, then ! is this the result of six centuries of your government? Is this the connection which you called a benefit to Ireland ? Have your protecting laws so debased them, that the very privilege of reason is worthless in their possession? Shame! oh, shame! to the government where the people are barbarous ? The day is not distant when they made the education of a Catholic a crime ; and yet they arraign the Catholic for ignorance! The day is not distant when they proclaimed the celebration of the Catholic worship a felony, and yet they complain that the Catholic is not moral! What folly! Is it to be expected that the people are to emerge in a moment from the stupor of a protracted degradation? There is not perhaps to be traced upon the map of national misfortune, a spot so truly and so tediously deplorable as Ireland. Other lands, no doubt, have had their calamities. To the horrors of revolution, the miseries of despotism, the scourges of anarchy, they have in their turns been subject. But it has been only in their turns; the visitations of wo, though severe, have not been eternal; the hour of probation, or of punishment, has passed away; and the tempest, after having emptied the vial of its wrath, has given place to the serenity of the calm and of the sunshine.-Has this been the case with respect to our miserable country? Is there, save in the visionary world of tradition—is there in the progress, either of record or recollection, one verdant spot in the desert of our
annals, where patriotism can find repose, or philanthropy refreshment ? Oh, indeed, posterity will pause with wonder on the melancholy page which shall portray the story of a people amongst whom the policy of man, has waged an eternal warfare with the providence of God, blighting into deformity all that was beauteous, and into famine all that was abundant. I repeat, however, the charge to be false. The Catholic mind in Ireland has made advances scarcely to be hoped in the short interval of its partial emancipation. But what encouragement has the Catholic parent to educate his offspring ? Suppose he sends his son, the hope of his pride, and the wealth of his heart, into the army; the child justifies his parental anticipation ; he is moral in his habits, he is strict in his discipline, he is daring in the field, and temperate at the board, and patient in the camp; the first in the charge, and the last in the retreat ; with a hand to achieve, and a head to guide, and temper to conciliate ; he combines the skill of Wellington with the clemency of Cæsar and the courage of Turenneyet he can never rise—he is a Catholic !—Take another instance. Suppose him at the bar. He has spent his nights at the lamp, and his days in the forum; the rose has withered from his cheek mid the drudgery of form; the spirit has fainted in his heart mid the analysis of crime; he has foregone the pleasures of his youth and the associates of his heart, and all the fairy enchantments in which fancy may have wrapped him. Alas! for what? Though genius flashed from his eye, and eloquence rolled from his lips; though he spoke with the tongue of Tully, and argued with the learning of Coke, and thought with the purity of Fletcher, he can never rise he is a Catholic! Merciful God! what a state of society is this, in which thy worship is interposed as a disqualification upon thy Providence! Behold, in a word, the effects of the code against which you petition ; it disheartens exertion, it disqualifies merit, it debilitates the state, it degrades the Godhead, it disobeys Christianity, it makes religion an article of traffic, and its founder a monopoly ; and for ages it has reduced a country, blessed with every beauty of nature, and every bounty of Providence, to a state unparalleled under any constitution professing to be free, or any government pretending to be civilized. To justify this enormity, there is now po argument. Now is the time to concede with dignity that which was never denied without injustice. Who can tell how soon we may require all the
zeal of our united population to secure our very existence? Who can argue upon the continuance of this calm ? Have we not seen the labour of ages overthrown, and the whim of a day erected on its ruins; establishments the most solid, withering at a word, and visions the most whimsical realized at a wish? crowns crumbled, discords confederated, kings become vagabonds, and vagabonds made kings at the capricious phrenzy of a village adventurer ? Have we not seen the whole political and moral world shaking as with an earthquake, and shapes the most fantastic and formidable and frightful, heaved into life by the quiverings of the convulsion? The storm has passed over us; England has survived it; if she is wise, her present prosperity will be but the handmaid to her justice ; if she is pious, the peril she has escaped will be but the herald of her expiation. Thus much have I said in the way of argument to the enemies of your question. Let me offer an humble opinion to its friends. The first and almost the sole request which an advocate would make to you is, to remain united ; rely on it, a divided assault can never overcome a consolidated resistance. I allow that an educated aristocracy, are as a head to the people, without which they cannot think: but then the people are as hands to the aristocracy, without which it cannot act. Concede, then, a little to even each other's prejudices; recollect that individual sacrifice is universal strength ; and can there be a nobler altar than the altar of your country ? This same spirit of conciliation should be extended even to your enemies. If England will not consider that a brow of suspicion is but a bad accompaniment to an act of grace ; if she will not allow that kindness may make those friends whom even oppression could not make foes; if she will not confess that the best security she can have from Ireland is by giving Ireland an interest in her constitution; still, since her power is the shield of her prejudices, you should concede where you cannot conquer; it is wisdom to yield, when it has become hopeless to combat.
There is but one concession which I would never advise, and which, were I a Catholic, I would never make. You will perceive that I allude to any interference with your clergy. That was the crime of Mr. Grattan's security bill. It made the patronage of your religion the ransom for your liberties, and bought the favour of the crown by the surrender of the church.
It is a vicious principle; it is the cause of all your sorrows. If there had not been a state-establishment, there would not have
a been a Catholic bondage. By that incestuous conspiracy between the altar and the throne, infidelity has achieved a more extended dominion than by all the sophisms of her philosophy, or all the terrors of her persecution. It makes God's apostle a court-appendage, and God himself a court-purveyor; it carves the cross into a chair of state, where, with grace on his brow, and gold in his hand, the little perishable puppet of this world's vanity makes Omnipotence a menial to its power, and Eternity a pander to its profits. Be not a party to it. As you have spurned the temporal interference of the Pope, resist the spiritual jurisdiction of the crown. As I do not think that you, on the one hand, could surrender the patronage of your religion to the King without the most unconscientious compromise, so, on the other hand, I do not think the King could ever conscientiously receive it. Suppose he receives it; if he exercises it for the advantage of your church, he directly violates the coronation-oath, which binds him to the exclusive interest of the Church of England; and if he does not intend to exercise it for your advantage, to what purpose does he require from you its surrender? But what pretence has England for this interference with your religion? It was the religion of her most glorious era ; it was the religion of her most ennobled patriots; it was the religion of the wisdom that framed her constitution ; it was the religion of the valour that achieved it; it would have been to this day the religion of her empire, had it not been for the lawless lust of a murderous adulterer. What right has she to suspect your church? When her thousand sects were brandishing the fragments of their faith against each other, and Christ saw his garment without a seam, a piece of patch-work for every mountebank who figured in the pantomime; when her Babel temple rocked at every breath of her Priestleys and her Paynes, Ireland, proof against the menace of her power, was proof also against the perilous impiety of her example. But if as Catholics you should guard it, the palladium of your creed, not less as Irishmen should you prize it, the relic of your country. Deluge after deluge has desolated her provinces. The monuments of art which escaped the barbarism of one invader, fell beneath the still more savage civilization of another. Alone, amid the solitude, your temple stood like some majestic monument amid the desert of antiquity, just in its proportions, sublime in its associations, rich in the virtue of its saints, cemented by the blood of its martyrs, pouring forth for ages the unbroken series of its venerable hierarchy, and only the more magnificent from the ruins by which it was surrounded. Oh! do not for any temporal boon betray the great principles which are to purchase you an eternity! Here, from your very sanctuary,-here, with my hand on the endangered altars of your faith, in the name of that God, for the freedom of whose worship we are so nobly struggling—I conjure you, let no unholy hand profane the sacred ark of your religion; preserve it inviolate ; its light is “ light from heaven;" follow it through all the perils of your journey ; and, like the fiery pillar of