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which could not be considered, under all the circumstances, as
“Fifthly—The isterial letter ich closed the King's visit,
and acrimonious defiance.
“On the part of the Catholics, the injunction of that letter has been most cheerfully and readily obeyed. They have not deviated from it in the slightest degree. We may say it, their conduct has been quite exemplary, and they have afforded a strong and striking earnest of what their Protestant brethreu may expect from the concession of civil rights. As we have shown such readiness to be reconciled, and to bury in oblivion every injury-and, what is more, every insult--and as we have shown this readiness merely for a few good words, and at the expense of a little civility, have we not a right to credit for the complete and perfect establishment of a private and public cordiality, if a solid and substantial act of justice be done us? Will any man believe that when we have been so thankful for a mere courtesy, we should hesitate to cement a lasting attachment in return for the great boon of civil liberty. If we have been grateful for mere civility, what shall we be for substantial favours ? Yes, every candid man will admit, that equalization of civil rights
to my ancip
would extinguish for ever religious dissension in Ireland, and the wisdom of the king is manifest in the results of his visit and of his paternal advice.
“ Under these circumstances, surely the Catholics ought once more to petition parliament. We have reason to expect Enan- nywa resentment are to be perpetuated. The king's letter would have been a mockery, and a cruel mockery, if it were not intended to follow it up by removing the sources of heats, jealousies, and animosities. We, therefore, have a right to expect Emancipation. The king's letter has prepared all parties for it. It would not be any victory or triumph on our part over our Protestant countrymen. It would now be the combined triumph of both Protestants and Catholics over bad passions, bad feelings, reciprocal animosities, and perpetual disquietude.
“Let us, then, my fellow-countrymen, petition. once more Ve ought now to succeed. But, should we now be defeated, who is it will presume to hope during the present system of parliamentary representation ? If we are now defeated, we must patiently abide the 'great march of events,' and wish for that great tide of National Reform, which, we are told, is, though repulsed for a moment, gaining ground with every breaker.
“ In these views, I believe, the Catholics are very generally agreed ; but there is one subject likely to engross much of our attention, in che event of a bill for our relief being again intro- to TZ duced. I mean the subject of what, in parliament, has been called 'sccurities, but what we have generally denominated the veto.'
“This is a subject which, I candidly acknowledge, fills my mind with the most serious alarm. Whilst I thought that the people were unanimous on the subject, and the clergy but little reda divided, I entertained no fears. But feeling it my duty to speak with perfect candour, I am bound to say that the conduct of the Catholics of Dublin, while the last bill was in discussion, strikes me to be excessively discreditable to them. I cannot express the anguish it gives me to make this accusation, because of its undoubted truth. If the matters were doubtful, I should refrain from reproach ; but, alas, it must be told, that there was either on apathy or an inconsistency in the conduct of the Catholics of Dublin upon this important topic, which does them no credit, ther as men or as Christians, and which must fill every honest Catholic, upon reflection, with astonishment and dismay.
" | Sutain my accusation thus; the word veto means a POTTE
vested in the servants of the crown, either by direct nomination, or by an unlimited right of exclusion, to appoint Catholic bishops in Ireland. The latter is its more strict meaning.
“The propriety of granting this power to the crown has been in agitation since the year 1805. It has been sought for sometimes with great anxiety, and at other times with more indifference, by many of those who supported, and by almost all those who opposed our claims. On the other hand, the Catholic people have unanimously, loudly, and warmly reprobated it. They have repeatedly expressed, even in terms of execration, their disapprobation of any barter of religious discipline for civil advantages. The language of our bishops was not less emphatic. They said that this power 'must not only essentially injure, but may eventually subvert the Catholic religion in Ireland.' The language, also, of the resolutions adopted at the aggregate meetings, was not only strong but violent. These meetings have been ridiculed, for taking the style of meetings of the Catholics of Ireland ; but at all events, they were meetings of the Catholics of Dublin, and thus beyond all doubt, the Catholics of Dublin had most solemnly and repeatedly pledged themselves to oppose any vetoistical measures.
“ Matters were thus circumstanced, when last year’s bill was introduced into the House. The ecclesiastical enactments in that bill gave the most direct and undisguised veto to the crown. There was no concealment~there was no mitigation. No priest could be a dean or bishop in Ireland, until his name had been transmitted to the secretary at the Castle ; nor if that secretary expressed his disapprobation of him. Such disapprobation was made final and conclusive. There was to be no trial, no investigation ; in short, it was the veto in terms, and in a more simple, powerful, and offensive form than had ever been imagined at any former period.
Well, what was the conduct of the Catholics of Dublin at that crisis? We have seen how deeply pledged they were against the veto. With regard to the clergy, I shall say nothing ; I am not sufficiently master of the details of their meeting; and of that meeting I think it most respectful and safe to be silent ; but I acknowledge that a sigh bursts from my bosom when I recollect the approbation they published of some of the oaths in the ecclesiastical bill.
“ But I return to the conduct of the laity. We have, i repeat it, seen how deeply they were pledged against the veto. What was their conduct? I know some very worthy men who aro
angry if it is insinuated that they are not strong anti-vetoists,
Did they meet to instruct Mr. Plunket and the parliament of their sentiments ? Did they exclaim against this tremendous innovation on Catholic discipline expressly contained in the ecclesiastical clauses ? No; they were silent—they were acquiescent. If they had changed their minds, they ought to have met and manfully stated that change. If they had not changed their minds was not their acquiescence, inexcusable, and in every point of view criminal ?
“ There was, it is true, one meeting : a meeting got together hy some persons who had manliness enough not to put their names to the advertisement; a meeting brought together with such perfect fair play and universal notice, that the anonymous on inima advertisement calling it actually appeared in the morning, and the meeting itself took place early in the afternoon of the same
“ This anonymous, and I must say, indecent proceeding, was quite an anomaly in Catholic affairs. The excuse was that time nolana pressed, and that it was necessary to have their resolutions in in London on the day then fixed for the second reading of the bill in the House of Lords. This flimsy excuse is valuable, because it shows the real intentions of those who arranged that meeting.
“ The resolutions which passed at such meeting, were not, it is said, approbatory of the veto, and I acknowledge that it was not approved of in express terms.
The want of such express meno terms was used to delude some honest and well-meaning persons to sanction that meeting. But was not its very silence a direct approbation. Was it not, at least, a plain and distinct acquies cence in the fatal measure of the veto. Indeed the vetoists boasted of this meeting, with justice, as their first triumph ; and the very excuse for its rapid formation proved that its promoters knew that its vote would convey something more intelligible to the House of Lords than mere barren praise of the individuals who advocated the bill in parliament. It was accordingly received as an approval of the bill in its worse shape, by all the peers to whom the resolutions were transmitted. The thing could not be misunderstood by any indifferent person.
“ Thus, by dexterity, and a species of side-wind, the Catholics of Dublin are at this moment committed to an approval of that measure, which they often so unanimously and so loudly core depined ; and that which I still do fondly believe no man coni bave audacity enough openly to propose, has been effected by
management and trick, which I must say deserve anything but applause.
is Catholic fellow-countrymen, excuse me for this plain speaking. I suppress all feelings of anger towards the persons engaged in the machinery of that meeting. I will not name one of them -and I would consent to bury the recollection of that transaction in perpetual oblivion : but that, alas ! it may, and, I think, must, in some degree, influence the great question which must arise upon the preservation of the independence and purity or the Catholic Church in Ireland, both of which I am, in my cuno science, convinced, would be lost if the bill of last year had passed into a law. “With these impressions, I thought it my duty, before the
I parliament could again meet, to make an effort to obviate the mischief of a vetoistical bill. The grounds upon which a vetu has been required were stated to be apprehensions, that as the nomination of our bishops rested with the Pope, who is, of necessity, a foreigner, he might, either by mistake, or at the instance of foreign, and perhaps of hostile powers, appoint to Catholic sees in Ireland persons inimical to the king or constitution. It must be admitted that there is something theoretically plausible, if not forcible, in this objection. It is one which may strike and convince a fair and candid man; especially if he was not minutely acquainted with the Catholic priesthood of Ireland. Those who know that priesthood best entertain no fear on the subject.
“But as this argument existed ; as these fears prevailed, or were said to prevail in parliament, it was right to meet them. We answered the objection, by referring to the laws against sedition and treason, which were sufficient to coerce our bishops, as well as our laity. We appealed to the oaths of allegiance which our bishops most cheerfully took ; and, finally, we appealed to the experience of a century of unblemished loyalty on the part of our clergy, althouglr it was a century of degradation, insult, contumely, and even of persecution ; we asked with confidence, were they not loyal, even when you persecuted them ? Is it in human nature that they should be less so if they have your pro tection and countenance ?
“I must say that if we were treated with the deference an:l respect we deserve, the answers to these two questions would have decided the subject. But the misfortune is that even our friends are apt to treat us with something of a contemptuous Fie city which can be justifieri only by the miserable jealousies