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Ireland has no party. Such are the reasons, if reasons they can be called, which Mr. Grattan has given for the postponement of your question ; and I sincerely say, if they had come from
other man, I would not have condescended to have given them an answer. He is indeed reported to have said that he had others in reserve, which he did not think it necessary to detail. If those which he reserved were like those which he delivered, I do not dispute the prudence of his keeping them to himself; but as we have not the gift of prophecy, it is not easy for us to answer them, until he shall deign to give them to his constituents.
Having dealt thus freely with the alleged reasons for the postponement, it is quite natural that you should require what my reasons are for urging the discussion. I shall give them candidly. They are at once so simple and explicit, it is quite impossible that the meanest capacity amongst you should not comprehend them. I would urge the instant discussion, because discussion has always been of use to you; because, upon every discussion
you have gained converts out of doors; and because, upon every discussion within the doors of Parliament, your enemies have diminished, and your friends have increased. Now, is not that a strong reason for. continuing your discussions ? This may be assertion. Aye, but I will prova it. In order to convince you of the argument as referring to the country, I need but point to the state of the public mind now upon the subject, and that which existed in the memory of the youngest. I myself remember the blackest and
the basest universal denunciations against your creed, and the vilest anathemas against any man who would grant you an iota. Now, every man affects to be liberal, and the only question with some is the time of the concessions; with others, the extent of the concessions; with many, the nature of the securities you should afford; whilst a great multitude, in which I am proud to class myself, think that your emancipation should be immediate, universal, and unrestricted. Such has been the progress of the human mind out of doors, in consequence of the powerful eloquence, argument, and policy elicited by those discussions which your friends now have, for the first time, found out to be precipitate. Now let us see what has been the effect produced within the doors of Parliament. For twenty years you were silent, and of course you were neglected. The consequence was most natural. Why should Parliament grant privileges to men who did not think those privileges worth the solicitation ?
Then rose your agitators, as they are called by those bigots who are trembling at the effect of their arguments on the community, and who, as a matter of course, take every opportunity of calumniating them. Ever since that period your cause has been advancing. Take the numerical proportions in the House of Commons on each subsequent discussion. In 1805, the first time it was brought forward in the Imperial legislature, and it was then aided by the powerful eloquence of Fox, there was a majority against even taking your claims into consideration, of no less a number than 212. It was an appalling
omen. In 1808, however, on the next discussion, that majority was diminished to 163. In 1810 it decreased to 104. In 1811 it dwindled to 64, and at length in 1812, on the motion of Mr. Canning, and it is not a little remarkable that the first successful exertion in your favour was made by an English member, your enemies fled the field, and you had the triumphant majority to support you of 129! Now, is not this demonstration? What becomes now of those who say discussion has not been of use to you? But I need not have resorted to arithmetical calculation. Men become ashamed of combating with axioms. Truth is omnipotent, and must prevail; it forces its way with the fire and the precision of the morning sun-beam. Vapours may impede the infancy of its progress; but the very resistance that would check only condenses and concentrates it, until at length it goes forth in the fulness of its meridian, all life and light and lustre—the minutest objects visible in its refulgence. You lived for centuries on the vegetable diet and eloquent silence of this Pythagorean policy; and the consequence was, when
you thought yourselves mightily dignified, and mightily interesting, the whole world was laughing at your philosophy, and sending its aliens to take possession of your birth-right. I have given you a good reason for urging your discussion, by having shown you that discussion has always gained you proselytes. But is it the time? says Mr. Grattan. Yes, Sir, it is the time, peculiarly the time, unless indeed the great question of Irish liberty is to be reserved as a weapon in the hands of a party to wield
against the weakness of the British minister. But why should I delude you by talking about time ! Oh! there will never be a time with BIGOTRI ! She has no head, and cannot think'; she has no heart, and cannot feel; when she moves, it is in wrath; when she pauses, it is amid ruin; her. prayers are curses, her communion is death, her vengeance is eternity, her decalogue is written in the blood of her victims; and if she stoops for a moment from her infernal flight, it is upon some kindred rock to whet her vulture fang for keener rapine, and replume her wing for a more sanguinary desolation ! I appeal from this infernal, grave-stalled fury, I appeal to the good sense, to the policy, to the gratitude of England; and I make my appeal peculiarly at this moment, when all the illustrious potentates of Europe are assembled together in the British capital, to hold the great festival of universal peace and universal emancipation. Perhaps when France, flushed with success, fired by ambition, and infuriated by enmity; her avowed aim an universal conquest, her means the confederated resources of the Continent, her guide the greatest military genius a nation fertile in prodigies has produced a man who seemed born to invest what had been regular, to defile what had been venerable, to crush what had been established, and to create, as if by a magic impulse, a fairy world, peopled by the paupers he had commanded into kings, and based by the thrones he had crumbled in his caprices perhaps when such a power, so led, so organized,
and so incited, was in its noon of triumph, the timid might tremble even at the charge that would save, or the concession that would strengthen. But now,-her allies faithless, her conquests despoiled, her territory dismembered, her legions defeated, her leader dethroned, and her reigning prince our ally by treaty, our debtor by gratitude, and our alienable friend by every solemn obligation of civilized society,—the objection is our strength, and the obstacle our battlement. Perhaps when the Pope was in the power of our enemy, however slender the pretext, bigotry might haye rested on it. The inference was false as to Iroland, and it was ungenerous as to Rome. The Irish Catholic, firm in his faith, bows to the pontiff's spiritual supremacy, but he would
pontiff's temporal interference. If, with the spirit of an earthly domination, he were to issue to-morrow bis despotic mandate, Catholic Ireland with one voice would answer him : “ Sire, we bow with
to your spiritual mission : the descendant of Saint Peter, we freely acknowledge you the head of our church, and the organ of our creed: but, Sire, if we have a church, we cannot forget that we also have a country; and when you attempt to convert your mitre into a crown, and your crozier into a sceptre, you degrade the majesty of your high delegation, and grossly miscalculate upon our acquiescence. No foreign power shall regulate the allegiance which we owe to our sovereign; it was the fault of our fathers that one Pope forged our fetters; it will be our