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he has said, in so many words, that an Irish Catholic never is, and never will be, faithful to a British Protestant king; he does not say every Catholic, for then he would include the English Catholics and those of Canada; nor does he say every Irishman must hate the king, for then he would include every
Protestant in Ireland: the cause of the hatred is not then in the religion nor in the soil; it must be then in the laws, in something which the Protestant does not experience in Ireland, nor the Catholics in any country but in Ireland, that is to say, in the penal code; that code then, according to him, has made the Catholics enemies to the king; thus has he acquitted the Catholics and convicted the laws. This is not extraordinary, it is the natural progress of a blind and a great polemic; such characters, they begin with a fatal candour, and then precipitate to a fatal extravagance: and are at once undermined by their candour and exposed by their extravagance: so with the member, he hurries on, he knows not where, utters, he cares not what, equally negligent of the grounds of his assertions and their necessary inferences; thus, when he thinks he is establishing his errors, unconsciously and unintentionally he promulgates truth, or rather, in the very tempest of his speech, Providence seems to govern his lips, so that they shall prove false to his purposes, and bear witness to his refutations; interpret the gentleman literally, what blasphemy bas he uttered? He has said, that the Catholic religion, abstracted as it is at present in Ireland from Popery, and reduced as it is to mere Catholicism, is so inconsistent with the duties of morality and allegiance, as to be a very great evil. Now, that religion is the Christianity of twothirds of all Christendom, it follows, then, according to the learned doctor, that the Christian religion is in general a curse: he has added, that his own countrymen are not only depraved by religion, but rendered perverse by nativity; that is to say, according to him, blasted by their Creator, and damned by their Redeemer. In order, therefore, to restore the member to the character of a Christian, we must renounce . him as an advocate, and acknowledge that he has acquitted the Catholics whom he meant to condemn, and convicted the laws which he meant to defend. But though the truth may be eviscerated from the whole of the member's statement, it is not to be discerned in the particular parts, and therefore it is not sufficient to refute his arguments ; 'tis necessary to controvert his positions — the Catholics of Ireland, he says, hate the Protestants, hate the English, and hate the king. I must protest against the truth of this position; the laws, violent as they were, mitigated as for the last seventeen years they have
been, the people, better than the laws, never could have produced that mischief: against such a position I appeal to the conscious persuasion of every Irishman. We will put it to an issue: the present chief governor of Ireland is both an Englishman and the representative of English Governmer I will ask the honourable gentleman whether the Irish hate him? If I could believe this position, what could I think of the Protestant ascendancy, and what must I think of the British connexion and Government, who have been for six hundred years in possession of the country, with no other effect, according to this logic, than to make its inhabitants abhor you and your generation; but this position contains something more than a departure from fact : it says, strike France, strike Spain, the great body of the Irish are with you; it does much more, it attempts to give the Irish a provocation, it teaches you to hate them, and them to think so, and thus falsehood takes its chance of generating into a fatal and treasonable truth. The honourable gentleman, having misrepresented the present generation, mis-states the conduct of their ancestors, and sets forth the past rebellions as proceeding entirely from religion. I will follow him to those rebellions, and show, beyond his power of contradiction, that religion was not, and that proscription was, the leading cause of those rebellions. The rebellion of 1741, or let me be controverted by any historian of authority, did not proceed from religion; it did proceed from the extermination of the inhabitants of eight counties in Ulster, and from the foreign and bigoted education of the Catholic clergy, and not from religion. The rebellion of the Pale, for it was totally distinct in period or cause from the other, did not proceed from religion: loss of the graces, (they resembled your petition of right, except that they embraced articles for the security of property,) disarmament of the Catholics, expulsion of them in that disarmed state from Dublin, many other causes, order for the execution of certain priests; you will not forget there was an order to banish their priests in James the First's time, and to shut up their chapels in Charles the First's; these were the causes: there was another cause you were in rebellion, Scotland was in rebellion; there was another cause, the Irish Government was in rebellion; they had taken their part with the republicans, and wished to draw into treason the Irish freeholders, that, with the forfeiture of another's rebellion, they might supply their own. I go back with concern to these times, I see much blood, no glory; but I have the consolation to find, that the causes were not lodged in the religion or the soil, and that all of them, but the proscriptive cause, have
vanished. I follow the member to another rebellion, which should properly be called a civil war, not a rebellion; it proceeded from a combination of causes which exist no longer, and one of those causes was the abdicating king at the head of the Catholics; and another cause was the violent proscription carried on against the Catholics by the opposite and then prevailing party: these causes are now no more, or will the member say there is now an abdicating prince, or now a popish plot, or now a pretender. There are causes most certainly sufficient to alarm you, but very different, and such as can only be combated by a conviction, that as your destinies are now disposed of, it is not the power of the Catholics which can destroy, or the exclusion of the Catholics that can save you. The conclusion I draw from the history above alluded to, is very different from that drawn by the member, and far more healing; conclusions to show the evils arising from foreign connexions on one side, and from domestic proscription on the other. If all the blood shed on those occasions, if the many fights in the first, and the signal battles in the second period, and the consequences of those battles to the defeated and the triumphant - to the slave that fled, and to the slave that followed — shall teach our country the wisdom of conciliation, I congratulate her on those deluges of blood; if not, I submit, and lament her fate, and deplore her understanding, which would render not only the blessings of Providence, but its visitations fruitless, and transmit what was the curse of our fathers as the inheritance of our children.
The learned gentleman proceeds to mis-state a period of one hundred years; namely, the century that followed the revolutions; and this he makes a period of open or concealed rebellions; the sources of his darkness and misinformation are to be found in history and revelation : of his charges against that period he brings no proof; none of those on the same side with him can bring any: they heard from such a one who heard from such a one: I neither believe them nor such a one, and I desire so many generations may not be convicted on evidence that would not be admitted against the vilest caitiff, and that in opposition to evidence by which that vilest caitiff would be acquitted, in opposition to the authority of four acts of parliament; the act of 1778, which declares their loyalty for a long series of years, that of 1782, that of 1793, and further, against the declared sense of government, who in the year 1762, proposed to raise four Catholic regiments, because the Catholics had proved their allegiance against the authority of the then Irish Primate who supported that measure; and in his speech on that subject assigns, as his reason, that after his perusal of Mr. Murray's papers, nothing appeared against the Irish Catholics of any connection whatsoever with the rebellion of that period. The member, he proceeds to the rebellion of 1798, and this he charges to the Catholics; and against his charge I appeal to the report of the committee of the Irish House of Commons in 1797, in which is set forth the rebel muster, containing 99,000 northerns enrolled in rebellion, and all the northern counties organized: at the time in which the committee of the House of Commons states the rebellion of the north, the dispatches of government acknowledged the allegiance of the south; to those dispatches I appeal, written at the time of Hoche's projected invasion, and applauding the attachment and loyalty of the southern counties, and their exertions to assist the army on its march to Cork, to oppose the landing of the French, If you ask how the rebellion spread and involved the Catholics, I will answer, and tell you, that as long as the proscriptive system continues, there will be in our country a staminal weakness, rendering the distempers to which society is obnoxious, not only dangerous, but deadly; every epidemic disease will bring the chronic distemper into action; it is the grape-stone in the hand of death which strikes with the force of a thunderbolt. If you have any apprehension on this account, the error is to be found in yourselves, in human policy, not in religion ; the fallibility of man, not of God. If you wish to strip rebellion of its hopes, France of her expectations, reform that policy; you will gain a victory over the enemy, when you gain a conquest over yourselves. But I will for a moment accede to the member's statement against facts and history : what is his inference? during one hundred years of the proscriptive system, the state has been in imminent danger; therefore, adds he, continue the system, here is the regimen under which you have declined persevere : but the member proceeds to observe, that you cannot hope to reconcile whom you cannot hope to satisfy, and he instances the repeal of the penal code. I deny the instances: the repeal in 1778 and 1782 did reconcile and did satisfy; accordingly you will find, that the Irish Catholics in 1779 and 1780, 1781 and 1782, were active and unanimous to repel the invasion threatened at that time, when the French rode in the channel, and Ireland was left to the care of 6000 regulars, and was only defended from invasion by the spirit and loyalty of the Catholics, in harmony and in arms with their Protestant brethren. The repeal of a principal part of the penal code in 1793 did not reconcile, and did not satisfy; it was, because the Irish government of that time was an enemy to the repeal and to the Catholics, and pre
vented the good effects of that measure. That government, in the summer of 1792, had sent instructions (I know the fact to be so) to the grand juries to enter into resolutions against the claims of the Catholics. Their leading minister appeared himself at one of the county meetings, and took a memorable part of hostility and publicity. When the petition of the Catholics was recommended in the King's speech in 1793, the Irish minister answered the king, and with unmeasured severity attacked the petitioners. When the bill, introduced in consequence of His Majesty's recommendation, was in progress, the same minister, with as unmeasured severity, attacked the bill, and repeated his severity against the persons of the Catholics. When the same bill of reconciliation, in consequence of the recommendation and reference of the petition, was in its passage, the Irish government attempted to hang the leading men among the petitioners, and accordingly Mr. Bird and Mr. Hamilton were, by their orders, indicted for a capital offence, I think it was Defenderism; and so little ground was there for the charge, that those men were triumphantly acquitted, and the witnesses of the crown so flagrantly perjured, that the judge, I have heard, recommended a prosecution. These were the causes why the repeal of 1793 did not satisfy; and in addition to these, because the Irish administration took care that the Catholics should receive no benefit therefrom, opposing them with their known partizans and dependants, seldom giving them any office, (there are very few instances in which they got any,) and manifesting in the government a more active enemy than before the Catholic had experienced in the law. I refer to the speeches delivered and published at the time by the ministers and servants of the Irish government, and persisted in, and delivered since; read them, and there you will see an attack on all the proceedings of the Irish people; from the time of their address for free. trade, all their proceedings, such as were glorious, as well as those that were intemperate, without discrimination, moderation, or principle; there you will see the Irish ministry engaged in a wretched squabble with the Catholic committee, and that Catholic committee replying on that ministry, and degrading that ministry more than it had degraded itself; and you will further perceive the members of that ministry urging their charges against the members of that committee, to disqualify other Catholics who were not of the committee, but opposed it; so that by their measures against the one part of the Catholics, and their invective against the other, they take care to alienate, as far as in them lay, the whole body. The fact is, the project of conciliation in 1793, recommended in the