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He could get no assistance, and he undertook the affair himself. He applied to the Court of King's Bench for a mandamus to admit Cole to the freedom of the city. It was granted; bút before it could be acted upon, the poor man died. But he (Mr. O'Connell) could assure their honours there were many persons
who were equally well entitled to their freedom, and, with the blessing of God, next term they should have it in defiance of the intrigues of the Orange corporation,
The learned gentleman in conclusion said : These are the sentiments of an humble, but ardent and faithful Irishman, who, after twenty-three years' exertions in his country's cause, finds her worse thar when he commenced his labours; but who, loving new-born freedom with more ardour than lover ever doated upon his mistress, still clings to the hope of seeing his country great, contented, and free ! (Loud and long-continued cheering.)
“Sir Thomas EsMONDE seconded Mr. O'Connell's resolution, which was unanimously agreed to.
“MR. SHIEL supported the resolution for the establishment of a Catholic association. He differed with Mr. O'Connell relative to the conduct of Sir Francis Burdett on the occasion referred to ; approving of that conduct, and declaring that he did not think the Catholic cause had suffered by the conduct of that distinguished person and his friends.
“ The resolution for the appointment of a
was ther, put, and carried unanimously.
A story has appeared in some publications touching on events of the popular agitation in Ireland, which we are bound here to notice, in order to correct a mistake.
It has been stated that the first idea of a Catholic Association arose in a conversation between O'Connell and Shiel, at the house of a mutual friend, in the county Wicklow, ia the spring of 1823.
The idea, however, had originated long before the rencontre in question, and originated in Mr. O'Connell's mind. He had been for some time revolving it and maturing it in his thoughts, ere that event; and the story had its rise from the simple circumstance of his having first mentioned his plan of a popular association at a dinner party at Glencullen, the seat of C. Fitzsimon, Esq., the then residence of the late well-known and respected T. O'Mara, Esq., where Mr. Shiel was also present.
Mr. O'Connell then stated that his plan contemplated two classes of members, the one Paying a pound, the other one shilling a year the working committee of the body to be chosen from the former class.
This, it is necdless to say, was the constitution of the late Repeal Association, and has been that of all the various bodies which have tenanted the Corn Exchange Rooms from 1829 to this day.
Mr. Shiel expressed doubts; he feared the plan would not work, and that the time was Dot very suitable for such an effort as the getting up a new association. Mr. O'Connell vaid he considered the time come, and that the plan would work-that, in fact, he would make it work.
He kept his word.
The first meeting of the “ CATHOLIC ASSOCIATIUN" is thus introduced in the newspaper 1ccounts:
• Yesterday (Monday, May 12th, 1823), a number of most respectable Catholić gentlemen assembled at Dempsey's, in Sackville-street, for the purpose of forining an association to conduct the Catholic affairs. ** LORD VISCOUNT KILLEEN was called to the chair.
Sir E. BULLER and Mr. O'REILLY complained of a moring paper having published an incorrect and unauthorised copy of an address agreed to at the aggregate meeting, to be presented to his Majesty.
“Mr. O'CONNELL defended the publication. The supposition that there was any irregularity in printing such documents before they were presented to those for whom they were destined, was quite erroneous. The rule applied only to petitions to parliament, because the legislature would not receive printed peri
At length the gentlemen who started and supported this captious crotchet liaring talled Hemselves out, Mr. O'Connell was at last permitted to take his great step.
“MR. O'CONNELL proposed that an Association should then be formed of such gentlemen as wished voluntarily to come forward, for the purpose of conducting the affairs of the Irish Catholics, relative to their political disabilities, ind the means of having their grievances brought before parliament; and that he qualifications necessary for becoming a member should be the annual subscription of one guinea.
“MR. Hugh O'CONNOR conceived it would be more advantageous that the subscription should be two guineas.
"That being, however, objected to, Mr. O'Connor consented to the origina. motion, which passed unanimously, and above fifty gentlemen subscribed their names, and paid instanter.
“Upon the motion of Mr. O'Coxxeli., it was agreed to hold the future meetings of the Association at Mr. Coyne's, No. 4, Capel-street. " It was then resolved that it should be styled
“TIIE IRISH CATHOLIC ASSOCIATION. After which an adjournment took place to this day, Tuesday.”
The details of his plan, with regard to associated members, he did not at that time bring forward, seeing the difficulties that met him with even the first and plainest steps We giall presently have to show under what circumstances of opposition and difficulty he jid at last disclose and establish it.
Upon Tuesday, the 13th of May, the newly-organised body re-assembled; meeting this day and thenceforzard at Coyne's, the Catholic bookseller, No. 4, Capel-street - Lord Kii. leen in the chair.
A committee of regulation was appointed, to report upon 'Thursday.
A deputation was also appointed to wait upon his majesty, with the address agreed to at the aggregate meeting. It was arranged to consist of the Earl of Fingal, Catholic peers, sons of peers, two gentlemen from each county, and as many others as chose to attend.
The adjournment this day was to the folłowing Saturday, when several new inembers were admitted, and some other minor business transacted.
Tuesday the 20th was the first day that anything of a regular debate occurred. On that duy the Association met by a special requisition-Joseph M'Donnell, Esq., in the chair.
Mr O'CONNELL rose and stated, that as he was the principal person who procured the requisition for calling this meeting, he
thought it incumbent on him to state the object of the requisitionists.
Previous to the passing of the act providing for the appointment of a Catholic chaplain to the gaol of Newgate, the duty of that office had been performed gratuitously for a century, and there was no complaint of the want of spiritual assistance for the instruction or consolation of the prisoners. In former times the Catholic clergyman visited the gaol with the concurrence of the grand jury, because he had nothing to receive for his trouble ; but latterly, when the public were to be at the expense of a Catholic chaplain, none would be tolerated but those whu grounded their claim to the appointment from want of capacity, moral character, or a renunciation of the principles of the Ca. tholic religion.
The first appointment made by the grand jury was that of the late respectable and learned Dr. Murphy, because they knew he would not serve the office. The next was that of a Spanish priest, totally unacquainted with the English or Irish languages. After him a madman was nominated. Then Mr. Crotty was appointed -a parish priest residing in Limerick, who, the late Mr. Giffard said, could attend to his duty by coming up in the mail, when a wretched convict required his assistance to prepare for meeting his Maker. Had the grand jury appointed a blind man to teach the prisoners to read, or a fiddler for a physician, they would not be more ludicrous than those he had already mentioned.
Their last appointment evinced an equal anxiety for the religion and morals of the prisoners, by nominating a person named Morrissy, as a reward for his permitting his name to appear to a couple of pamphlets which he never wrote, abusing, in terms peculiarly gross, the Catholic religion.
But the mischief is not confined to forcing upon the prisoners improper clerical characters, or in the misapplication of the salary intended by government and the public as a reward for the pious exertions of a properly qualified chaplain, but the inmates of Newgate are actually deprived of the services of worthy and correct clergymen, who are either denied admittance in the gaol, or quite excluded from the room where divine service is performed. Now for such a monstrous abuke of grand jury functions, the Catholics had no remedy. The Court of King's Bench had been applied to repeatedly, but the judges were of opinion they could not interfere, as the appointment was, by the act of 1811, vesteri in the term grand jury.
The only redress they could expect must come from parliament, and at this moment he (Mr. O'Connell) thought it would be advisable to lay before the legislature a petition from the prisoners of Newgate, who complained of the want of spiritual instruction, representing to the House of Commons the gross misconduct of the grand jury, and their bigoted and shameless interference to defeat the kind and benevolent intention of the legislature. This circumstance alone would speak volumos as to the spirit in which the laws, wherever the Catholics are concerned, are administered by the Corporation of Dublin, and their officers, who studiously exclude from term grand juries, Catholic gentlemen, though eligible for the last thirty years.
It is (said the learned gentleman) a melancholy and sickening refection, that men filling respectable stations in society, can be so filled with the spirit of bigotry, intolerance, and injus tice, as to appropriate the public money to the purpose of encouraging, prolonging, and gratifying malignant party feeling.
Mr. O'Connell concluded by moving-That a committee be appointed to prepare separate petitions to parliament, for the prisoners in Newgate and the Sheriff's Prison, who felt aggrieved by the appointment of the present Catholic chaplain.
“Eneas MÓDON ELL objected to the point of form as to the shortness of notice of the meeting--and also objected that the association was yet not sufficiently organized to occupy itself with a matter of such deep importance.
“NICHOLAS Mahon supported him.
Mr. O'Connell saw no reason why the consideration of the question should be adjourned, when there were so many inducements, and such cause for an immediate application to parliament.
The present was a moment, when for the first time the attention of the legislature was called to those tangible facts that would enable it to form a judgment of the ABUSE and CORRUPTion of the Dublin jury system, under which the public money is misapplied, and the Catholic people deprived even of the rights given them by the existing laws. The object of the association was not to force on parliament the annual farce, or more properly, a triennial interlude of a debate on the Catholic claims.
Their purpose was with practical and not abstract questions, to shame the advocates of an unwise system, and, by exposing its corruption in all its branches, show that it worked badly and in.practicably for the country; and he trusted they should have the assistance of men of every religious creed in melting down sectarian acrimony into a community of Irish feeling. There
were many grievances under which the pour and unprotected Catholic peasant smarted, that would not admit of waiting for redress until the day of emancipation arrived, and which might be made the subject of separate applications to parliament and the laws.
Such were the objects of the association, and he thought the particular subject now under their consideration was legiti. mately within this province.
The many serious and grinding impositions to which the Catholics were subject, and among others, that of Church-rates -this was a grievance that would come within the objects of the association : for it was not to be expected that the poor
and illiterate men would have recourse to traversing a presentment, however well grounded their objections might be, as in the case of a parish in the county of Westmeath, where £700 was granted for building a church, and, afterwards, £200 levied upon the parish for the same purpose, and no church yet built, although another levy of £200 is about to be made. He should, therefore, persevere in pressing the original resolution.
“MP.. FLANAGAN supported Mr. O'Connell's motion, and observed, that the duty of the association was not only to obtain the rights that were withheld from the Catholics by the penal laws, but to preserve those which they actually possessed.
“Some other gentlemen having supported Mr. O'Connell's motion, it was a: last put, and carried with unanimity.
“ SATURDAY, 24TH MAY
“ SIR EDWARD BELLEW in the Chair
“MR. SCANLAN reported from the committee of regulation, and read to the meeting so far as the committee had gone in preparing the rules for their proceedings.
• Those of importance were—That the association be formed for the purpo... of procuring, by every legal means, Catholic Emancipation; that the society consist of such individuals as pay the annual subscription of one guinea, and that the association will not exercise nor accept of any delegated authority or quality whatsoever; that no Catholic be permitted as a spectator of the proceedings at the meetings of the association, unless he become a subscriber. That persons of every other religious persuasion shall have permission to be present during the proceedings, but not to vote or speak upon any question, unless he be a subxriber. That every accommodation be afforded to the press.
“ Mr. Eneas M.DONNELL and Mr. O'REILLY were of opinion that Catban lics should have the same right of being present as spectators with those of their dissenting brethren.