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The petition referred to was as follows: • To the Right Honourable and Honourable the Knights,
Citizens, and Burgesses of the United Kingdom in Par
liament assembled. “ The Petition of the undersigned Vice-Presidents and Cop
mittee of the Irish National Society for promoting the
Education of the Poor. “We, the Vice-Presidents and Committee of the Irish Na. tional Society for promoting the Education of the Poor, beg leave respectfully to represent to your Right Honourable House, that although large sums have been annually voted by Parliament for the general purposes of education, those sums have not been made available for the education of the Roman Catholic poor, who are the most numerous of that class of society, and who stand most in need of legislative assistance.
“ Your Petitioners further respectfully state their conviction that no beneficial aid can be rendered to the poor by way of education in Ireland, if it be regulated in a manner adverse to the religious opinions, or calculated to excite the apprehensions or distrust of the parents or pastors of the children.
“ Your Petitioners further state, that the system of education which they have adopted is unanimously and alone sanctioned by the concurrence and co-operation of the Catholic prelates and pastors of Ireland. . “Your Petitioners earnestly and respectfully implore such legislative assistance in aid of their object as may seem good to the wisdom of your Right Honourable House.
Petitioners will ever pray."
“IRISH NATIONAL SOCIETY,
" VICE-PRESIDENTS. Lord Cloncurry.
Right Rev. Dr. Doyle. Most Rev. Dr. Murray. Lord Gormanstown. Lord Killeen.
Right Rev. Dr. Marone. Most Rev. Dr. Troy. The Earl of Fingal.
Sir Thos. Esmonde, Bart. Most Rev. Dr. O'Kelly. Most Rev. Dr. Curtis.
COMMITTEE, Alderman M'Kenny. Joseph Huband, Esq.
James Charles Baron, 24Sir Charles Morgan. James J. Cullanan, Esq. Daniel O'Connell, Esq. Very Rev. Dr. Blake. Robert Cassidy, Esq. Thomas Dillon, Esq. Colonel Nelly. Doctor Cullanan.
Francis Mac Donnell, Esq.
Edward Moore, Esq.
T. Mac Donnell, Esq.
Nicholas Mahon, Esq. P. Costello, Esq.
Michael Sweetman, Esq. Bernard Mullins, Esq." Very different such a Board of Presidency would have been from that proposed by this Lyfidel Colleges' Act of 1815!
DISTRESS OF THE POOR IN THE SOUTH AND
WEST OF IRELAND,
That anid all the minor business of his life, engrossing and multifarious as they were, Mr. O'Connell still steadily kept his eye far a-head, to his glorious and all-transcending object-the regeneration of Ireland by the Repeal of the Union- will be again recognised from the expressions in the following short speech of his at a meeting held at the Mansion House, in Dawson street, on Thursday, the 16th of May, “ on behalf," as the advertisement stated it, "of the distressed labouring poor of the South and West of Ireland." The distress alluded to was the great famine of the year 1822.
MR. O'CONNELL begged leave to offer a few observations, before the resolution for the committee was put from the chair. He rejoiced at seeing the present meeting ; perhaps he might have wished to see it convened before ; but as it had been stated that there were reasons for not calling it at an earlier day, he was disposed to believe that those reasons (although he did not hear them) were satisfactory. It was, however, in no small degree mortifying to national vanity, that they should have heard of subscriptions for the relief of the distressed peasantry of Ireland, in London, Liverpool, and other places, not only before a meeting was convened, but before they were told an official account had reached Dublin of the extent of the distress. However, as the meeting did now take place, their first and only object should be the relief of their suffering fellow-countrymen.
As to the appointment of a committee, it would be desirable that it should be postponed until to-morrow. For his part, he had no reluctance to attend the meeting—his presence there evinced that he had not. There were, however, he knew, many most respectable merchants, principally Catholic, who would gladly attend at the Exchange, but were not equally disposed to attend at the Mansion House. Indeed (said Mr. O'Connell), as to myself, I should feel proud on the occasion, as I received an invitation to come here-an invitation which it is not usual for me to receive. (Laughter.) The feelings of others, he thought, should in some degree be deferred to. The subscription would not be diminished, and would in all probability be increased, by ensuring the cordial co-operation of all. There should be no rivalry in the present case, except a generous rivalry and emulation to excel each other in cheerfully contributing to the relief of their suffering fellow-countrymen. (Cheers.)
The duties which the committees had to discharge required that it should be formed on a broad and extensive basis. They
had to regulate the subscriptions, to correspond with various other committees, and he hoped, also, to inquire into the cause of the present distress; for, without such inquiry, the peasantry might continue one half of the year in insurrection, and the other half in starvation. His friend, Mr. Leader, had eloquentiy enumerated many of the causes. It was now vain, however, he feared, to speak of absenteeism. The period for that was now gone by. When the government of this country, with its peers and commoners, was transported to another country, it was idle to speak of absentees, for the great proprietors were obliged by law to be absent from their native land. (Hear, hear.)
To alleviate the distress, extraordinary exertions were made in England, and a munificent subscription made up from various parts of that country. The warmest praise and highest credit, were, of course, no more than what was due, and were duly and abundantly given to our English neighbours, for their munificent charity on this occasion—a charity, that, during the late seven years of renewed and terrible distress, we have seen also renewed ir a considerable degree. Not detracting in the least from the merit of these contributions it is still fair to express a deep feeling of regret that the English people have not long age profited by the frequent experience of our economic weakness and ever-recurring necessities, to put in practice the larger and nobler, and in every point of view, the wiser charity by far, of restoring to us the means of promoting and maintaining our own prosperity, without having to undergo the humiliation of soliciting alms.
The larger work from which we are compiling the present selected collection of Mr. O'Connell's speeches, pursues this train of reflections throughout several pages of its second volume. The latter was published in 1846, when we were but as at the commencement of the fearful period of famine and distress from which we are only now beginning to emerge. Those reflections were apposite then, and their soundness will be acknowledged by any one who shall calmly and without prejudice, test them by the sad experience gained during the period in question. They are apposite and applicable at present not merely in anticipation of recurring evils of a similar kind, but actually to our present condition; which no one can pretend to consider such as it ought to be, or as giving promise of any rea! and enduring prosperity. We therefore will copy from the work in question a portion of what is there said on the subject:
“The best and truest charity is that which tends to put its object in a position to depend thenceforward upon self-exertion. If that be true as regards the poor labourer that begs at your door for employment, it is, if possible, more eminently and stringently true in its application to the case of the people of Ireland. Considerations of restitution and atonement should mix up with those of charity in dealing with their case. England has forcibly deprived them of that which is the key-stone of the prosperity of a country--a home-parliament, acquainted with home affairs and interests, and able to devote its time exclusively to them. The key-stone gone, the rest of the arch has come tumbling down in hideous ruin. The rich proprietary had no inducement to remain in a provincialized country, when tempted by the metropolitan gaieties and splendours of the seat of imperial legislation. Their rents, as we have seen, went with them; and the decrease in the circulation of money, and decrease of rich consumers, made our home market too weak to sustain our struggling manufactures against the competition of English capitalists.
“What custom remained for manufactures being thus laid hold of by England, the money, paid for them became, of course, an addition to the pecuniary drain. With the impoverish. ment of the country, her foreign trade naturally fell away; and for what foreign goods there yet remained any Irish consumption, we have had to look to Ergland also; and thus again the drain was increased, in this case in & twofola manner first, by the profits of the carrying
trode, and again by the amount of the duties on such goods; these datics being paid in England, and credited by the English revenues return, and repaid to the English merchant in the price paid by the Irish consumer
When all was distress around, the Irish landowner did not, of course, escape. His own improvidence is a favourite theme with English writers; but provident or improvident, the landowner, in a country running to bankruptcy, must suffer with the rest. The loans un mortgage which have so deeply incumbered estates in our four provinces, were made in Eng.end, or through English sources; and the heavy annual interest has thus become ag adaitional item of money drain.
* As the blood to the human body, so is the money of a country to the body politic. Lxlaustion of blood weakens and destroys the One; exhaustion of money the other. True it is that Ireland is not entirely robbed of her money-that sums collectively of considerable amount, are in the Irish funds and savings banks, and other such investments of limited profit, but these are the unhealthy deposits of a deranged and impeded circulation --of a circulation deranged by diminution of a needful sustenance, and by an abstraction of at least a large portion of the vital Auid itself.
“The first and most obvious remedy is, to stop the drains. Do so by looking to their source. Restore the rich proprietors to their country, by giving her a parliament, which will require the personal attendance of many, and the vigilance of all; at once from six tv seven millions of the drains in question cease to go from us—a sum, be it recollected, very cousiderably exceeding the amount of the public revenue in Ireland. So much capital restcred will revivify and compensate enterprise, manufacturing and cominercial; the home market of Ireland will fiqurish, and the increasing wealth of the country will have its influence on every class and every interest throughout the community, restoring all to that prosperity which it is so evidently in the designs of Almighty Providence that poor Ireland shall enjoy.
“England would have eminently her advantage, too, were the Union repealed, and Irish prosperity thus restored-an advantage all-surpassing in the friendship, fast alliance, and undeviating support of the re-invigorated and regenerated Irish nation; but an immediate, directly tangible, and most practical advantage in the increased ability of Ireland to share the burdens of the empire. Her revenue is small now; not because of great inferiority of taxation--for her taxation is higher than as three to four in comparison with that of England--but because of the poverty of her consumers of taxed articles. With the increase of their means, their consumption of such articles would, of course, increase; and thus, within not many months of the stoppage of the drains of Ireland by Repeal, Engiand would be rewarded by a large increase (without any new taxation) to the funds, out of which the general expenditure of these reaims is defrayed."
WALLACE v. STAUNTON.LIBEL.
The next speech of Mr. O'Connell's that we have to put on record, was delivered in a 'egal case. Michael Staunton, Esq., the present respected Collector-General of Metropolitan Rates, was at that time (1821), as for many years afterwards, proprietor and editor of the Dublin Morning Register, a journal which long, ably, and most perseveringly advocated, under his direction, the cause of Ireland.
Mr. Staunton, then a very young man, at the outset of his honourable and useful career, was arraigned in the King's Bench, upon the 25th of May, in the year mentioned, for an Alleged libel upon Thomas Wallace, 'Queen's Counsel (the late Master in Chancery), in ar article which had appeared in the Register scme time before. The following as the report of Mr. O'Connell's speecb.
Mr. O'CONNELL then arose on behalf of Mr. Staunton. Amongst the peculiarities of the present case there was one which aston ished him—the prosecutor did not appear.
For the first time, he believea, in the history of the jurisprudence of this country, the prosecutor in a private prosecution did not come forward to state and prove the grounds of his complaint. In the present instance it was the more to be wondered at, as the prosecutor was within hearing, or at least within the hall. It would not be difficult to discern why his friends deemed it prudent not to examine him. In advising him not to show himself in the witness's box, they proved themselves as discreet as they are learned. They knew that he should admit the truth of the statements contained in these publications; and this admis
; sion it was not their object or interest to procure.
This was a disadvantage to the defendant, which in the history of the persecutions of the press, was unparalleled. He hoped, however, although his non-appearance had all the merit of novelty, it would not have the advantage of success. His absence from the witness's box, he (Mr. O'C.) would place in the front of his defence, and more earnestly call the attention of the jury to it, as a bad precedent was always imitated with the readiest alacrity, and speedily passed into a law.
The prosecutor and his client were strongly contrasted on the present occasion. The prosecutor was a barrister, and a king's counsel of high and respectable station in his profession. He had raised himself to rank, to fortune, and to fame, with as little support from patronage as any man in any profession, and without any aid but what he drew
from the resources of a vigorous mind and industrious habits. The artificer of his own fortune, he was a proud living example of the result produced by a combination of superior talent and honourable exertion. This testimony he readily bore to the character of the prosecutor, and he was satisfied he could do so without infringing in the slightest degree on the interests of his client.
The defendant, on the contrary, was unknown to them. He was the son of a gentleman who gave what he only could give his son—a good education; and whose only legacy to him was an unprovided mother and an unportioned sister: a legacy which he did not renounce, but which he accepted and cherished with the most devoted attachment. The verdict of the jury was to determine whether he was to be now torn from those relations to to be sent into a dungeon, for having expressed his opinions in the exercise of his duty as an editor of a Dewspaper upon a sub