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be supported in profound peace only by a war taxation. In the meantime, the resources of corruption are mightily diminished. Ministerial influence is necessarily diminished by one-half of the effective force of indirect bribery ; full two-thirds must be dishanded. Peculation and corruption must be put upon half-pay, and no allowances. The ministry lose not only all those active partizans; those outrageous loyalists, who fattened on the public plunder during the seasons of immense expenditure; but those very men will themselves swell the ranks of the malcontents, and probably be the most violent in their opposition. They have no sweet consciousness to reward them in their present privations ; and therefore they are likely to exhaust'the bitterness of their souls on their late employers. Every cause conspires to render this the period in which the ministry should have least inclination, least interest, least power, to oppose the restoration of our rights and liberties.
I speak not from mere theory. There exist at this moment practical illustrations of the truth of my assertions. Instances have occurred which demonstrate, as well the inability of the ministry to resist the popular voice, as the utility of re-echoing that voice, until it is heard and understood in all its strength and force. The ministers had determined to continue the property tax; they announced that determination to their partizans at Liverpool and in Bristol. Well, the people of England met; they petitioned; they repeated—they reiterated their petitions, until the ministry felt they could no longer resist ; and they ungraciously, but totally, abandoned their determination; and the property tax now expires.
Another instance is also now before us. It relates to the Corn Laws. The success of the repetition of petitions in that instance is the more remarkable, because such success has been obtained in defiance of the first principles of political economy, and in violation of the plainest rules of political justice.
This is not the place to discuss the merits of the Corn Laws ; but I cannot avoid, as the subject lies in my way, to put upon public record my conviction of THE INUTILITY AS WELL AS THE IMPROPRIETY OF THE PROPOSED MEASURE RESPECTING THOSE LAWS.
I expect that it will be believed in Ireland that I would not volunteer thuis an opposition of sentiment to any measure, if I was not most disinterestedly, and in my conscience, convinced that SUCH MEASURE WOULD NOT BE OF ANY SUBSTANTIAL OR PERMANENT UTILITY TO IRELAND,
As far as I am personally concernod, my interest plainly is to keep up the price of lands; but I am quite convinced that the measure in question will have an effect PERMANENTLY AND FATALLY INJURIOUS TO IRELAND. The clamour respecting the Corn Laws has been fomented by parsons who were afraid that they would not get money enough for their tithes, and absentee landlords, who apprehended a diminution of their rack rents ; and if you
observed the names of those who have taken an active part in favour of the measure, you will find amongst them many, if not all, the persons who have most distinguished themselves against the liberty and religion of the people. There have been, I know, many
, good men misled, and many clever men deceived, on this subject; but the great majority are of the class of oppressors.
There was formed, some time ago, an association of a singular nature in Dublin and the adjacent counties. Mr. Luke White was, as I remember, at the head of it. It contained some of our stoutest and most stubborn seceders : it published the causes of its institution; it recited that, whereas butcher's meat was dearer in Cork, and in Limerick, and in Belfast than in Dublin, it was therefore expedient to associate, in order that the people of Dublin should not eat meat too cheap. Large sums were subscribed to carry the patriotic design into effect, but public indignation broke up the ostensible confederacy ; it was too plain and too glaring to bear public inspection. The indignant sense of the people of Dublin forced them to dissolve their open association; and if the present enormous increase of the price of meat in Dublin beyond the rest of Ireland be the result of secret combination of any individuals, there is at least this cumfort, that they do not presume to beard the public with the open avowal of their design to increase the difficulties of the poor
in procuring food.
Such a scheme as that, with respect to meat in Dublinsuch a scheme, precisely, is the sought-for corn law. The only difference consists in the extent of the operation of both plans. The corn plan is only more extensive, not more unjust in principle, but it is more unreasonable in its operation, because its necessary tendency must be to destroy that very market of which it seeks the exclusive possession. The corn-law men want, they say, to have the exclusive fecding of the manufacturers ; but at present, our manafacturers, loaded as they are with taxation, are scarcely able to meet the goods of foreigners in the markets of the world. The English are already undersold in foreign markets; but, if to this dearness produced by taxation, there shall be added the dearness produced by dear food, is it not plain that it will be impossible
to enter into a competition with foreign manufacturers, who havo no taxes and cheap bread ? Thus the corn laws will destroy our manufactures, and compel our manufacturers to emigrate, in -spite of penalties ; and the corn law supporters will have injured themselves and destroyed others.
I beg pardon for dwelling on this subject. If I were at liberty to pursue it here, I would not leave it until I had satisfied every dispassionate man, that the proposed measure is both USELESS AND UNJUST ; but this is not the place for doing so, and I only beg to record at least the honest dictates of my judgment on this interesting topic. My argument, of the efficacy of petitioning, is strengthened by the impolicy of the measure in question ; because, if petitions, by their number and perseverance, succeed in establishing a proposition impolitic in principle, and oppressive to thousands in operation, what encouragement does it not afford to us to repeat our petitions for that which has justice for its basis, and policy as its support!
The great advantages of discussion being thus apparent, the efficacy of repeating, and repeating, and repeating again our petitions being thus demonstrated by notorious facts, the Catholics of Ireland must be sunk in criminal apathy, if they neglect the use of an instrument so efficacious for their emancipation.
There is further encouragement at this particular crisis. Dissension has ceased in the Catholic body. Those who paralysed our efforts, and gave our conduct the appearance and reality of weakness, and wavering, and inconsistency, have all retired. Those who were ready to place the entire of the Catholic feelings and dignity, and some of the Catholic religion too, under the feet of every man who pleased to call himself our friend, and to prove
himself our friend, by praising on every occasion, and upon no occasion, the oppressors of the Catholics, and by abusing the Catholics themselves; the men who would link the Catholic cause to this patron and to that, and sacrifice it at one time to the niinister, and at another to the opposition, and make it this day the tool of one party, and the next the instrument of another party, themen, in fine, who hoped to traffic upon our country and our religion—who would buy honours, and titles, and places,
and pensions, at the price of the purity, and dignity, and safety of the Catholic Church in Ireland; all those men have, thank God, quitted us, I hope for ever. They have returned into silence and secession, or have frankly or covertly gone over to our enemies. I regret deeply and bitterly that they have carried with them some few, who, like my Lord Fingal, entertain no other motivès than those of
purity and integrity, and who, like that noble lord, are merely mistaken.
But I rejoice at this separation-I rejoice that they have left the single-hearted, and the disinterested, and the indefatigable, and the independent, and the numerous, and the sincere Catho. lics to work out their emancipation unclogged, unshackled, and undismayed. They have bestowed on us another bounty also... they have proclaimed the causes of their secession—they have placed out of doubt the cause of the divisions. It is not intemperance, for that we abandoned ; it is not the introduction of extraneous topics, for those we disclaimed; it is simply and purely, veto or no veto-restriction or no restriction-no other words ; it is religion and principle that have divided us ; thanks, many thanks to the tardy and remote candour of the seceders; that has at length written in large letters the cause of their secession—it is the Catholic Church of Ireland—it is whether that Church shall continue independent of a Protestant ministry or not. We are for its independence—the seceders are for its dependence.
Whatever shall be the fate of our emancipation question, thank God we are divided for ever from those who would wish that our Church should crouch to the partizans of the Orange system. Thank God, secession has displayed its cloven foot, and avowed itself to be synonymous with vetoism.
Those are our present prospects of success. First, man is elevated from slavery almost every where, and human nature has become more dignified, and, I may say, more valuable. Secondly, England wants our cordial support, and knows that she has inly to concede to us justice in order to obtain our affectionate assistance. Thirdly, this is the season of successful petition, and the very fashion of the times entitles our petition to succeed. Fourthly, the Catholic cause is disencumbered of hollow friends, and interested speculators. Add to all these the native and inherent strength of the principle of religious freedom, and the inert and accumulating weight of our wealth, our religion, and our numbers, and where is the sluggard that shall dare to doubt: our approaching success?
Besides, even our enemies must concede to us, that we act from principle, and from principle only. We prove our sincerity when we refuse to make our emancipation a subject of traffic and barter, and ask for relief only upon those grounds which, if once 3stablished, would give to every other sect the right to the same political immunity. All we ask is “a clear stage and no favour." We think the Catholic religion the most rationally consistent
Wirhe divine scheme of Christianity, and therefore, all we ask is, that everybody should be left to his unbiassed reason and judgment. If Protestants are equally sincere, why do they call the law, and the bribe, and the place, and the pension, in support of their doctrines? Why do they fortify themselves behind pains, and penalties, and exclusions, and forfeitures ? Ought not our opponents to feel that they degrade the sanctity of their religion, when they call in the profane aid of temporal rewards and punishments, and that they proclaim the superiority of our creed, when they thus admit themselves unable to contend against it upon terms of equality, and by the weapons of reason and argument, and persevere in refusing us all we ask —" a clear
stage and no favour.”
Yes, Mr. Chairman, our enemies in words and by actions, admit and proclaim our superiority. It remains to our friends alone, and to that misguided and ill-advised portion of the Catholics who have shrunk into secession—it remains for those friends and seceders alone to undervalue our exertions, and underrate our conscientious opinions.
Great and good God, in what a cruel situation are the Catholics of Ireland placed! If they have the manliness to talk of their oppressors as the paltry bigots deserve--if they have the honesty to express, even in measured language, a small portion of the sentiments of abborrence which peculating bigotry ought naturally to inspire—if they condemn the principle which established the inquisition in Spain, and Orange lodges in Ireland, they are assailed by the combined clamour of those parliamentary friends, and title-seeking, place-hunting seceders. The war-whoop of “ intemperance” is sounded, and a persecution is instituted by our advocates and our secedersmagainst the Catholic who dares to be honest, and fearless, and independent !
But I tell you what they easily forgive-nay, what our friends, sweet souls, would vindicate to-morrow in parliament, if the subject arose there. Here it is—here is The Dublin Journal of the 21st of February, printed just two days ago. In the administration of Lord Whitworth, and the secretaryship of Mr. Peel, there is a government newspaper—a paper supported solely by the money of the people ; for its circulation is little, and its private advertisements less. Here is a paper continued in existence like a wounded reptile, only whilst in the rays of the sun, by the beat and warmth communicated to it by the Irish administration. Let me read two passages for you.
The first calls “ Popery the deadly enemy of pure religion and rational liberty." Such is