Page images

the decline, and that if a radical change be Tholics in foreign countries; • that every not soon adopted in one part of the empire, temptation was held forih to induce chemio its glory seems likely to be extinguished for abandon their religious principles, and shake ever. Whatever diversity of opinion may off every moral restraint; that sons were prevail on this part of the subject, it must even encouraged to forsake their religion,

' be acknowledged, that either by supineness, and in that case were authorized to drive imbecillity, or' the unfortunate train of hu their injured and persecuted parents from man events, we are brought to that crisis, the possession of their estates. All this and which must prompt every mind to conceive, more stands upon record ; and the effects of and every hand to execute the most effica- this barbarous and inhuman poricy are felt cious plass of defence. To protect this at this period. But, by the liberality of more country from the hostile designs of a dan enlightened times, by the wisdom of distingerous neighbour, and to secure its inde guished statesmen, and the beneficence of a pendence, are objects which have long en gracious sovereigo, these evils have been, in grossed your ailention. But your eitoris great measure, removed.-In order to form appear to me to liave been directed to means, a closer connexion with the sister kingdom, which are ill calculated to promote these and to promote the general interests of the desirable purposes. You certainly have not empire, by simplifying the

empire, by simplifying the operations of goto learn, that the cheapest and most effectual vernment, you were the minister who prodefence of a nation, must arise from the spi- | posed and carried the union. In this great tit and unanimity of its inhabitants ; and that struggle of parties, in which you succeeded opinion and sentiment are more powerful in in depriving Ireland of its independence, the this respect, than the strongest works of na Catholics gave you their interest, on a cona tureor of art. This principle is eternally true ; dition clearly understood that they should at. it is one to which any politician can scarcely tain, what they term, their complete emanrefuse an assent. Now, Sir, can you sup cipation. You appeared to espouse their pose that this desired unanimiry pervades the cause, after availing yourself of their cowhole empire? Can you have the assurance operation; you relinquished your situation to tell your sovereign and the people, that from an inability to realise their hopes, and, Ireland, one third of the United Kingdom, is as we may collect from the combined authoin a state of tranquillity? May not every rity of two important papers before the pube loyal subject there say, in the language of a lic, one of which was written by Lord Roman poet, that he is walking over fires, Cornwallis, the other by yourself, you stood concealed under treacherous embers,

pledged not to reiuro to obice, but on the Incedo per ignes

condition of carrying into effect the claims Suppositos cineri doloso. Hor.

of the Catholics. (See these two papers in Recent events have shewn, that the fire is Plowden's Historical Review, vol. 2, part 2, smothered, not extinguished; and that it p. 944.) So far your conduct was fair, ho. may shortly burst forth with irresistible vio. nourable, ond macly;- but, Sir, after this lence. The affairs of that country unques display of honour and disinterested patiotionably deinand the most prompt and deli rism, by what cornbination of circumstances cale inierposition of government; and, if a bas it happened, that you have been again semedy be not speedily applied, the proud-i placed at the head of attairs amidst a total est bulwark of defence will be converted and uninterrupted silence respecting the Cainto an engine of destruction. It has, for thoic clains? Six months have now elapsed centuries past, been the crooked and dark since your return to power, and no assurance policy of the English government, to treat has been given, that full and substantial jus, Ireland, pot as a part of the empire. but as tice will be done to so large' a part of his a conquered country. The future historiar Majesty's subjects. Honour, duty, a regard will hardly gain credit with posterity, when for your own reputation, and the good faith he relates, that the catholics of Ireland, com of your country, all possible motives which posing almost the whole of the natives, la can prompt human actions, call for your exboured for more than 200 years under a ertions in this business ; still, no indication state of persecution, for adhering to the re of your designs has been discovered. The ligion of their failers; and were harassed Catholics had surely no reason to expect with a penal code, which would disgrace

such treatment. You recurred to their 33the memory of a Decius or a Dioclesian ; sistance, as long as they contributed to for: that nothing was left unattempted to keep ward your designs; you raised their expectathem in a state of ignorance, by prohibiting tions by a temporary shew of friendship, and Catholic schools at home, and by prevent now you appear to have abandoned their ing, 23 far as possible, the education of Ca cause for ever. Resume, Sir, pour formes

spirited and manly conduct, extend to four Catholies of your willingness to promote millions of his Majesty's subjects a full par their cause ; you consequently received their ticipation of the benefits of the constitution, support on a critical occasion; and if you and the peace of Ireland will be secured on should neglect to pay the just and natural the firmest basis. The union, wbich you equivalent for their services, the good faith were so successful in promoting, will ever of the country will stand impeached. At be, without this measure, ao airy phantom, the time that I am writing this lefser, a delusive advantage. It will belie its the enemy is hunting oor agents from the name, it will not be an union of sentiments, neutral states on the continent, and employ. dispositions, and interests, but a perpetual ing the most insidious arts to blacken and source of uneasiness, diisention, and dis vilify the British name and British fajib cord. The great mass of the people of Ire throughout Europe. Your conduct towards land will be, in some measure, strangers in Ireland will afford an excellent topic for the their own country; obliged, indeed, to con malicious oratory of an insidious foe. They tribule largely to the support of the state by will tell the people of Ireland, they have the profits of their industry, but rendered probably said already in very forcible lap. incapable of enjoying the smallest advantage guage : “ How can you repose any farther resulting from offices and employments. « confidence in a mercenary government by Such a situation is a species of political ser 6 whom you have been so often deceived? vitude; and to suffer one foarıh of the ioba “ Ar the union, they promised you a full bitants of ihe United Kingdom to remain in “ participation of the privileges of the Brisuch a state of degradation, after raising their “ tish constitution; a British minister then hopes 10 fairer prospects, is an action incon " succeeded to the highest offices of the sistent with justice, honour, and good faith. state, on the express condition of debar. - Your friends have recourse to a singular “ ring you from all that had been promised; method of justifying your conduct. They to complete the farce, a Lord High Chan. insinuate, that difficulties arise from the in " cellor of Ireland, in a series of letters to a flexible resolution of a certain personage, of “ Catholic peer, declared your religion iowhom it is not possible to speak but with the compatible with your civil allegiance. utmost affection and respect. This, Sir; is “ This language has vever been disavowed à mode of defence at once ungenerous and “ by the British government, and the noonconstituiional. You cannot but know “ bleman, who used it, still retains his staand feel, in a peculiar manner, ibat the « lion. Criminc ab uno disce omner."-Such treatment experienced by the Irish Catho has unquestionably been the language of lics, is a transaction of the most odious na French agents in Ireland; and may ibe nom. ture, and consequently that all responsibi ber of those, whom they liave perverted lity, in this particular, must rest with your. from their indispensable duty of allegiance, self. It is a ministerial proceeding; and, be comparatively small ! But, Sir, I solemnly as you are minister, you must bear the whole intreat and beseech you to remove, as speeweight of disgrace annexed to it. In fact, dily as possible, every occasion by which so this defence of your friends stands refused by foul an imputation can, with any appearance your own conduct,' unless you should be of truth, be produced. --A very small dewilling to suffer the imputation of the gree of reflexion, will enable a man of yodt grossest inconsistency. After certain unsur political sagacity and experience, to see ihat mountable obstacles had prevented you from the benefit accruing to the Catholics from carrying the Catholic question, and had in the measure in question, is net so consider. duced you, under that inability, to relin able as the advantages of security which will quish your situation, the continued exis

be reaped by the whole British empire. As ience of the same difficulties, should have long as Ireland continues in its present disprevented your return to power. But, as you tracted state, it will be perpetually the ihea. are again in possession of ihe first dignities of tre of bustile intrigues and macbinations

. the siate, what conclusion are we to draw, Of this, no doubt can be entertained, as but that honour and good faith should lead every event which bas yet taken place in you, without delay, to comply with your that courry, fully demonstrates the multi. engagements to the Catholics.

The fact is plied effecis of French ivfluence. But, once certain, the inference is inevitable.—But, Sir, admit ail to the fullest benefits of the con. suffer me lo observe, that not only your own stitution, and you will completely annihihonour, but the c edit and reputation of late the hopes of the enemy by removing the your country are intimately concerned in cause of dissension and discord: you will this transaction. As minister of a great and diffuse a general alacrity and vigour through honourable nation, you assured the Irish the whole mass of the people, for all

[ocr errors]

The poel,

will be upited by one common bond of wark against the ferocious enemy, with interest; you will permanently secure whom we have to contend, than by fortifyHie attachment of Ireland to a form of go ing ibę metropolis, or raising batieries on vernment, perhaps the most perfect yet de the coast. You will possess, not that prevised by the accumulated wisdom of ages. carious security, which arises from the That we have greater dangers to encounter mouldering and perishable works of art, but than this country ever experienced in former that which results from the invincible spi. ages, is a fact which admits of no doubt. A sit of a free and united people. Confidence military nation, established in the heart of would thus be infused into all classes of the Europe, composing a population of more community, and the hopes of the enemy than thirty millions, and commanding al would in the same proportion decrease, and most an equal number of enslaved depen- | be finally extinguished. We might then, dents in the surrounding countries; a nation notwithstanding many unfavourable sympeither actually, or equivalently, possessing a toms of decline at home, and the general deline of coast, of which history has given no gradation of surrounding nations, cherish example since the flourishing periods of the the fond hope of transmitting our indepen. Roman empire ; a nation at once daring, dence unimpaired to our posterity, and of adventurous, insidious and warlike, ruled verifying the beautiful and patriotic lines of by a tyrant in the flower of youth, who knows no law but that of force, who ap

The nations not so blest as thee, pears determined to enslave every country

Shall, in their turns, to tyrants fall, to which he can carry the terror of his arms: Whilst Thou shalt flourish great and free, such a nation presents to our astonished view

The dread and envy of them all. a spectacle which our ancestors never beheld.

The British OBSERVER.* The distinguished statesmen in the days of King William, and many eminent men since STATE OF IRELAND. LEtter IV. that period, always considered the security SIR,Having shewn in my two last of the country as depending on three great letters, that the admission of the Irish Capoints; the independence of Holland; a Tholics into Parliament, is not inconsistent close union wiih Continental Allies ; and the with the principles or safety of the constitue maintenance of the Liberty of Europe.These" tion; I now shall endeavour to prove it to says Mr. Burke, speaking of the sentiments be consistent with the establishment of the entertained in the reign of King William, Church of England. As the measures of these were tbe three immoveable pillars of the Catholic body which might endanger " tbe safety and greatness of England, as tbey this establishment, must, as in the case of the

are now, and as obey must ever be, to the constitution, be measures which ihey will be “ end of time." (Mr. Burke's Letters on the able to carry in Parliament, it is very evident Regicide Peace, p 87.)-But wbat measures that the arguments which have already deare to be now adopted for the safety of the monstrated the impracticability of their empire, when Holland is but a province forming such a party in either the House of wholly dependent on France, when we Commons, or House of Lords, as to be able have no ally on ihe continent capable of to injure the constitution, are applicable to checking the ambition of the common ene my present purpose. The Church of Eng. my, and, when the liberty of Europe is no land is always described, as by law estamore? Let us provide for our security by “ blished.” This is the term made use of composing all differences at home ; let us all in the coronation oath ; it is therefore, mahave but one common interest : let us be no nifest that the establishment cannot be almore a divided people, and we may still re tered, except by the repeal of certain law's. tain our liberty and independence. The If then, the admission of the Catholics joto chains of the Catholics have been loosened Parliament does not give them the means of by the humanity of his Majesty's govern effecting this repeal, the conclusion is selfment; let them be broken, and thrown evident, that their admission is not incon. aside. Let us present to astonished and dis sistent with the established religion. Thongh mayed Europe, the noble spectacle of six my argument is very short, it loses nothing teen millions of people, united in one com of its force. by being so. Arguments are mon interest, and animated by a generous sound in proportion as the several deductions resolution of maintaining their liberties and are the result of premises, which are themindependence, against ihe most execrable tyraony that was ever suffered to infest * For the other communications of this mankind. If this can be effected, I think, writer, see Register, Vol. V. pp. 385, 463, Sir, you will provide a niore powerful bul- 662, 737, 859, 894.

[ocr errors]

selves sound. But, as it may be said, that I just policy which had always been acted upon notwithstanding the power of the Catholics in respect to Ireland, had roused the people in Parliament, may be unequal to i he task of of America to action, and obliged the 'minis. rendering their owo religion the religion of ter to draw all the British forces out of Ire these realms, this power will certainly in land. At the Union, I assert it, and I do so crease, because the Catholics will never without fear of coniradiction, they supported cease to gain converts, and avgment their the measure when all the Protestants with pariy, or,' even if they should tail in pur the exception of some few, who were suffisuing that course, that they will adopt other cient to form a corrupt majority in Parliaplans, and resist the authority of Parliament, ment, were infuriate against the meastire, promoting a republican form of government. and the success of it was depending on the fr is requisite to say something in anticipa- line of conduct which the Catholics would fon of these objections. They appear to me adopt. Is there any man living so great a to be the only objections that the most cloud bigot, or so great a knave, as to deny that ed imaginations could suggest, aid, as there their refu al to join iheir Protestant brethreni, will not be wanting the activity of every de. and their decision to promote the Union, are scription of opposition to the claims of the positive proofs of the loyalty of the Catholics Catholics, a detailed description of them may of Ireland to the King, and the connexion be of service; and, I hope, will not be found witli Great Britain. I do not impote disuninteresting As to the powers of the loyalty to ibe Protestants for adopting anoCathohcs, for the sake of argument, we will ther line of conduct, such an inputation admit their success in passing a bill to repeal could have no foundation, because they were the laws which establish the Church of Eng- loyal to their constitution. Nor, when I Jand. Could it pass into a law? No, the mention the Catholics, do I speak of the laws of the realm provide against a possible wretched ignorani, avd semibarbarians of cujuncture of a prince sitting on the throne,

that body

Not that part of them which are who professes the Catholic religion; and ihe led by their passions to express their senticoronation oath biods every prince, who is, ments by the use of pikes; but that part or may become our King, to refuse his con which possess sound and liberalunderstanding, sent to any law which has for its object the and express their sentiments by their deci. repeal of those statutes by which the Church sions on all public questions. The facts of of England is established. But to return to The rebellions of the Pretender, tbe Poluaour subject, it is manifest ibat as long as our teers, and the Union, stand recorded in the King must be a Protestant, and the corona page of our history, and atford the most em. tion oath a qualification of admission to thie phatic illustration of the ab urdity of those ibrone; so lóng it is utterly impossible for blind politicians, who ruminate io ibe darke che Catholics to carry any measure that can ness of past ages, or in the illumed aberra. repeat tbe laws for establishing our religion; tions of the present, to asperse with odium and, consequently, that can endanger its the character and the claims of their Catbo. existence. To those who argue that the Ca lic fellow subjects. But, even if we again, tholics are jacobins and repobricans, and only for the sake of argument, admit that the wish to gain admittance into Parliament, or Catholics onder the circumstances of being only make the exclusion from it a topic of excluded from the constitution, and of their complaint, in order to promote their level religion being insulted, are the republicans Jing projects, and the empite of tbe ir churchi, which some persons represent them to be, for such must be the inconstancy of those and so bigoted as lo require nothing short of reasoners, that these jacobins in politics must the re-establishment of ihtir Church, would be tyrants in religion; it must be replied, not the very boon of free admission into the That ihe condnet of the Catholics belies the possession of equal rights with tbeir Proles: supposition that they approve of republican tant bretbren, compleiely alter their political doctrines. They are as a body, noterious for sentinents, and teach them the policy of to. their loyalty to ibe dynasty of the House of lerating the religious establishments of long Hanover. Facts ihai every one knows, and standing, and held in great veneration. Will rio one can object to prove this assertion. lo it not remove those feelings of jealousy voltb Ireland they adopred ihe cause of the Pro which, if they have any feelings, they must testant ascendency in Church and State, in contrast the pomp and the wealth of the Protwo rebellionis against the House of Hano. testant Episcopacy with the porerty of their ver, which pr mied them the ascendency of own. As it is not consistent with como:on the Caibabe fith. In other merican war sense to couclude that the rebef from polititiey armed to preserve Narrot their cal disabilities will encourage the support, Counliy to Great Brita

e un and repress the oppugoancy of this body, to


[ocr errors]

the views and happiness of the Protestants in | King's abdication, to frame an oath to preregard to religious matters. Having, as I vent any future abuse of the royal preroga. trust, fully supported my position, that the tive. This view alone of the question would admission of the Catbolics into Parliament, be sufficient to remove all doubts, in regard is not inconsistent with the Protestant re to the difficulties attending the constitution formed religion as by law established, I of the oath, and affords a pro f that the obcannot quit ihe subject without animadvert. ject of our ancestors was to control the ing on the rumours which have prevailed re King in his executive, not in his legislative lalive to the objection which the coronation authority. But, supposing this explanation oath has suggested. From the circumstances not to be correct, which, Mr. Cobbelt, I which have occurred, either the reasons for am induced to think so, that it could enter Mr Pitr's resignation in 1801, were'unfound into the mind of Parliament to impose a ne. ed, or the objection was certainly made, forcessity on the part of the King to obstruct Mr. Pitt was 100 powerful both in Parlia the will of Parliament, by refusing his assent ment and in jhe Cabinet, * to have found rea to the bills which they might pass; in what sons 10 postpone bis favourile measure upon cases, and under what circunstances, was any other grounds than the objection above the King to do that which was in every rementioned. If then, we may be induced to spect inconsistent with the principles though infer hai such an objection was made, not the letter of the constitution? It was coming from the quarter il does, and origi- only in those cases in which the laws for' nating in the conscientious consideration of establishing the Protestant religion were the sacredness of an oath, it demands respect concerned, and under those circumstances and admiration, however unfounded or inju in which an attempt was apprehended of rious it may prove in the result." The the Catholics to restore their hierarchy.« Protestant reformed religion as by law es Would then, the assent of his Majesty to a “ blished.” In discussing the nature of this bill for admitting the Catholics to sit in oath, there must be kept in view, first the Parliament, either be a repeal directly of circumstances under which it was framed; indirectly of those laws or any of them by and, secondly, the expectation that may be which the Church of England is establisirsaid to have been formed of the conduct of | ed. Or do there exist' avy reasons for his Majesty, as one of ihe contracting parties suspecting in times like these, when the by Parlianient as the other. For certainly, Pope like a beggar in a pass-cart, is transthe object of the oath can best be explained | ferred from St. Peter's to Notre Dame, to by the circumstances that occasioned it; anoint an Atheistical Mahommetan Catholic and bis Majesty will act according to it, if Usurper, that any attempt is likely to be he fulfils the expectations, which on taking made, or could be successful on the part of it he encouraged those to entertain who re the Catholics lo establish their religion? ceived it of him. In regard to the time

Whether, therefore, the oath is considered when the present coronation oath was first as it binds the King as to his executive or demanded of an English Prince, it would ap- legislative character, it is equally manifest pear that it was founded upon two considera that his act of assenting to the admission of tions; first, the conduct of James in at the Catholic clainis would not be in the tempting to establish the Catholic religion least degree derogatory with the interest, in defiance of Parliament; and, secondly, or even the letter of it. Let us now exathe preventing of the repeal of the laws for mine this oath according to the established establishing the Protestant religion, should principles of moral philosophy. It is laid even Parliament require it. It is unneces down, that in cases of promise between two sary to bring forward the several facts parties, the person who promises fulfils which proved the intention of James by his duty, if he does every thing that is reforce of his prerogative to establish the Ca quisile to meet the expectati ns which his tholic Church. He did, in truth, actually engagement has excited. The parties to do so in Ireland, and his public conduct in the coronation oath are the King and the favour of the Catholics in that country, was

Parliament. Did then the Parliament exmade a charge of accusation against him as pect that the King in taking the oath, to his intentions in this. How reasonable, bound bimself not to grant to his Catholic therefore, was it for the Parliament on this subjects the franchise of sitting in Parlia.

Or, did the King himself feel that * Mr. Pitt, Duke of Poriland, Lord Chat his engagements were to this extent? It is ham, Lord Spencer, Lord Grenville, and very evident, that neither the King intend. Mr. Dundas, the Cabinet is composed of 11 ed to keep them excluded, nor that the Parpersons

liament expected that he had undertaken to


« PreviousContinue »