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I THINK, Sir, you will agree with me, that the
most experienced speaker might justly tremble in addressing you after the display you have just witnessed. What, then, must I feel, who never before addressed a public audience? However, it would be but an unworthy affectation in me were I to conceal from you the emotions with which I -am agitated by this kindness. The exaggerated estimate which other countries have made of the few services so young a man could render, has, I hope, inspired me with the sentiments it ought; but here, I do confess to you, I feel no ordinary sensation--here, where every object springs some new association, and the loveliest objects, mellowed as they are by time, rise painted on the eye
was, and the
of memory-here, where the light of heaven first blessed
my infant view, and nature breathed into my infant heart that ardo&r for my country which nothing but death can chill-here, where the scenes of my childhood remind me, how innocent I
fathers admonish me, how pure
I should continue--here, standing as I do amongst my fairest, fondest, earliest sympathies,—such a welcome, operating, not merely as an affectionate tribute, but as a moral testimony, does indeed quite oppress and overwhelm me.
Oh! believe me, warm is the heart that feels, and willing is the tongue that speaks; and still, I cannot, by shaping it to my rudely inexpressive phrase, shock the sensibility of a gratitude too full to be suppressed, and yet (how far!) too eloquent for language.
If any circumstance could add to the pleasure of this day, it is that which I feel in introducing to the friends of my youth the friend of my adoption, though perhaps I am committing one of our imputed blunders when I speak of introducing one whose patriotism has already rendered him familiar to every heart in Ireland; a man, who, conquering every disadvantage, and spurning every difficulty, has poured around our misfortunes the splendour of an intellect that at once irradiates and consumes them. For the services he has rendered to his country, from my heart I thank him, and, for myself, I offer him a personal, it may be a selfish, tribute for saving me, by his presence this night, from an impotent attempt at his pane
gyric. Indeed, gentlemen, you can have little idea of what he has to endure, who, in these times, advocates your cause.
Every calumny which the venal and the vulgar, and the vile are lavishing upon you is visited with exaggeration upon us. We are called traitors, because we would rally round the crown an unanimous people.
We are called apostates, because we will not persecute Christianity. We are branded as separatists, because of our endeavours to annihilate the fetters that, instead of binding, clog the connexion. To these may
be added, the frowns of power, the envy of dulness, the mean malice of exposed selfinterest, and, it may be, in despite of all natural affection, even the discountenance of kindred! Well, be it so,
For thee, fair freedom, welcome all the past,
I am not ashamed to confess to you, that there was a day, when I was bigoted as the blackest; but I thank the Being who gifted me with a mind not quite impervious to conviction, and I thank you, who afforded such convincing testimonies of my error. I saw you enduring with patience the most unmerited assaults, bowing before the insults of revived anniversaries; in private life, exemplary; in public, unoffending; in the hour of peace, asserting your loyalty ; in the hour of danger proving it.
Even when an invading enemy victoriously penetrated into the very heart of our county, I saw the banner of your allegiance beam
ing refutation on your slanderers ; was it a wondere then, that I seized my prejudices, and with a blush burned them on the altar of my country!
The great question of Catholic, shall I not rather
say, of Irish emancipation, has now assumed that national aspect which imperiously challenges the scrutiny of every one. While it was shrouded in the mantle of religious mystery, with the temple for its sanctuary, and the pontiff for its sentinel, the vulgar.eye might shrink and the vulgar spirit shudder. But now it has come forth, visible and tangible, for the inspection of the laity; and I solemnly protest, dressed as it has been in the double haberdashery of the English minister and the Italian prelate, I know not whether to laugh at its appearance, or to loathe its pretensions—to shudder at the deformity of its original creation, or smile at the grotesqueness of its foreign decorations. Only just adınire this far-famed security bill,--this motly compound of oaths and penalties, which, under the name of emancipation, would drag your prelates with a halter about their necks to the vulgar scrutiny of every village-tyrant, in order to enrich a few political traders, and distil through some state alembic the miserable rinsings of an ignorant, a decaying, and degenerate aristocraoy! Only just admire it! Originally engendered by our friends the opposition, with a cuckoo insidiousness, they swindled it into the nest of the treasury ravens, and when it had been fairly hatched with the beak of the one, and the nakedness of the other, they sent it for its feathers to Mon
SEIGNEUR QUARANTOTTI, who has obligingly transmitted it with the hunger of its parent, the rapacity of its nurse, and the coxcombry of its plumassier, to be baptized by the bishops, and received æquo gratoque animo by the people of Ireland!! Oh, thou sublimely ridiculous Quarantotti! Oh, thou superlative coxcomb of the conclave! what an estimate hast thou formed of the mind of Ireland! Yet why should I blame this wretched scribe of the Propaganda! He had every right to speculate as he did; all the chances of the calculation were in his favour. Uncommon must be the people over whom centuries of oppression have revolved in vain! Strange must be the mind which is not subdued by suffering! Sublime the spirit which is not debased by servitude! God, I give thee thanks! -he knew not IRELAND. Bentbroken--manacled as she has been, she will not how to the mandate of an Italian slave, transmitted through an English vicar. For my own part, as an Irish Protestant, I trample to the earth this audacious and desperate experiment of authority; and for you, as Catholics, the time is come to give that calumny the lie which represents you as subservient to a foreign influence. That influence, indeed, seems not quite so unbending as it suited the purposes of bigotry to represent it, and appears now not to have conceded more, only because more was not demanded. The theology of the question is not for me to argue; it cannot be in better hands than in those of your bishops ; and I can have no doubt that when they bring their