Sayfadaki görseller
[ocr errors]

quite sufficient for the purpose with the old materials ; but 10, for in the following year another levy of £300 was made; there was then in hands £1520, and by way of managing that sum with prudence, instead of building the church by contract, they very economically engaged to erect it by the day's work, and appoint an inspector of labourers at the salary of £200 per annum out of the pockets of the parishioners.

Finding the taxing trade went on so well, in the following year, 1817, another assessment of ls. 6d. per acro was ordered. From this was received a sum of £740; but still they were not satisfied ; for in 1818, the sum of £740 more was levied. Well,

1 one would have thought that by this time there was no decent pretence for any further levy; but no such thing. In the year 1819, another sum of £740 was levied, and they had theu au amount of £3,740. Still rapacity kept pace with the successful levies, and in 1820 a further sum of £1,800 was demanded, being an assessment of 3s. 11d. per acre. The clergyman, it was alleged, lost £400 in speculating on timber; and poor Dibbs, the parish clerk, having a shell of a cabin that stood in the way of the new church, it was found necessary to induce him to submit to its removal by presenting him with £200 in lieu.

The frequency and amount of those levies became at length 80 alarming, that a gentleman having a few acres of land found himself, in 1820, called upon, in addition to all the former levies, to pay the sum of £10. He refused ; and, under the 45th of the late King, he was immediately distrained for his audacity. He was not, however, 80 passively inclined, and he issued a replevin. An application was made to the King's Bench, and afterwards to the Chancellor, to quash the replevin. The matrer was decided for the traverser by the King's Bench, and the Chancellor refused the application of the minister with costs. Then the party got rid of the grievance, because he was spirited, and in circumstances enabling him to contend with extortion. But how many similar exactions took place every day, and nothing was heard of it, because of the poverty and ignorance of the sufferers. In the county of Louth, there was a case of still more flagrant injustice than the one already mentioned.

The people of England might well be astonished (and who was there but should be so ?) at the enormous offences committed in this ill-fated country : but their astonishment would be still greater, if they knew all the causes of irritation and to which he (Mr. O'Connell) rejoiced they were strangers-producing those offences. However, he congratulated the country that a decline of crime had already taken place, within these few weeks, since the establishment of the Catholic Association; and he trusted that, in a few weeks more, the advice and good counsel oj the Association, in holding out the expectation that there is yet a chance of constitutional liberty, and that as heretofore, no flattering voice of consolation had reached the desponding peasantry they should now learn that there are men resolved to expose their yrievances ; to exhibit to the feeling and generous hearts of the British people their long sufferings and accumulated wrongs ; and that a paternal and gracious monarch, with a patriotic and benign viceroy, sympathised in their misfortunes, and were anxious to alleviate them.

Such were the means by which, he trusted, the Association would succeed in subduing outrage, and proving their genuine loyalty to the constitution, and their admiration of the Marquis of Wellesley's government.

The eloquent gentleman then went into detail of the erroneous remedies that had been applied by the legislature for the suppression of disturbances in this country. He instanced the absurdity and inconsistency, at a time when the national distress was at its height, of affording additional facilities to landlords to distress their tenantry, as in the Ejectment Act of 1811, enabling him to seize upon the growing crops;—and when there were several landlords between the occupier and the owner of the estate, who, if they quarrelled among themselves, had no other mode of revenge than oppressing the innocent renant, by seizing upon him, in order to vex his immediate landlord. Then there was the Police Magistrate's Act, enabling him to issue his warrant for church-rate and tithe, and the power of summary ejectment for non-payment of rent.

He cited several other hardships, and observed that the national distress appeared to have had an unnatural and inconsistent effect upon the reasoning faculties of legislators ; for as distress increased, their principle was to augment the arbitrary, irritating, and oppressive enactments, and the consequence was such as we had the misfortune to witness.

Mr. O'Connell moved that a committee of eleven be appointed to prepare a petition to parliament on churoh-rates.

“ This was agreed to.

“MR. SHIEL then brought forward a petition relative to the administration of justice in Ireland, which was read and adopted. After which

MR. O'Connell took the opportunity of impressing upon the Catholics of Dublin that their supiveness was inexcusable, in net glecting to preserve the rights to which they are by law entitled, By a culpable passiveness, they sacrificed their own and their brethren's privileges to the freedom of the city of Dublin, to which they were eligible for the last thirty years.

Some few years since, he (Mr. O'Connell) undertook, at his own expense, to obtain for a man named Cole the civic rights to which he was entitled, as having served his time to a freeman, but when he had gone through all the forms, and completely. succeeded, the poor man died; and the Hibernian Journal announced the event by stating that GOD had miraculously saved the CORPORATION FROM THE CONTAMINATION of a PAPIST !

He had, however, since found another Catholic entitled to his freedom ; and as he was not in circumstances sufficient to enable him to contend for it, he conceived the Association should come forward and give their assistance. The Catholics should not neglect to enrol their indentures, as doing so saved a considerable expense.

“ Upon the 19th of June, MR. LAWLESS moved in the Association, for appointment of a committee to prepare a petition to the Lord Lieutenant, praying he would intcrpose his authority to prevent, on the 12th of July next, public processions of political associations in the country parts of Ireland.

Mr. O'CONNELL, in seconding the motion, was anxious to have it understood that not the slightest notion prevailed of his Excellency being unmindful of his own duty with regard to what was necessary to be done for preserving the public peace, or that any want of confidence existed in his Excellency's desire or intention to prevent the sanguinary waste of human life which usually follows the illegal processions of Orange societies.

If the Marquis Wellesley were the only Lord Lieutenant whom they addressed upon the subject, it was because they had no hope from any other. It was an act of the plainest justice to the Catholics to acquaint the government how Orange irritation was met by Catholic conciliation ; how the public peace was endangered, and innocent blood shed by the processions of licentious and infuriated rabble. No disturbance was ever occasioned by the Catholics.

Here Mr. O'Connell instanced the readiness of the Catholics to promote peace, by stating that in the north the Ribbonmen were accustomed to have a procession on Patrick's dıy, by way of a set-off against other displays; but in consequence of an able and patriotic address from one who exercised his talents with true Irish feeling (Mr. Lawless), calling upon them to forege their procession, they unanimously desisted from the annual

procession on the last celebration of St. Patrick's day. In return, their enemies are making every exertion to promote the offensive display on the approaching anniversary, not only where they have heretofore existed, but in places yet free from them. He had heard it was intended to have Orange processions in Tipperary, Youghal; and the city of Cork; and he therefore thought it would be quite right to show the Lord Lieutenant that Orangemen would follow no advice nor example for the peace of the country; but could only be controlled by the inte! ference of government.

The meeting of Saturday, the 5th of July, afforded a very fair specimen of the increasing usiness of the new hssociation. A number of members spoke on various subjects; and Mr. O'Connell, in particular, had to speak three times—the weight of the work, as usual, falling upon his willing shoulders.

Mr. ;'Gorman made a loug speech, complaining of misrepresentation in parliament of furmer declarations of his. Several gentlemen spoke to the same subject, after which

MR. O'Connell inquired if the secretary had received any communication from Earl Grey, respecting their petition to the House of Lords on the administration of justice in Ireland. Shouid his lordship determine on presenting it, he would take care the same objections should not apply to it as were made in the other House ; for he would supply abundance of facts to prove the undue administration of justice, as regarded the Catholics.

There was, he regretted, a great misapprehension as to the petition not having been signed by men of large properties, or of weight and influence ; and he could state, for the information of the honourable gentlemen who so remarked upon the petition as was reported in the newspapers, that there were many, very many men signed to that petition, of greater landed property than either of the honourable members, Mr. James Daly and Mr. Richard Martin ; and, still more, that they had themselves the sole control over their own estates.

As to men of other descriptions of property, there were the signatures of some of the most respectable merchants attached to the petition'; men worth from £80,000 and upwards, that in Ireland was considered a respectable property. It is true the petition was signed and sent off in so great a hurry that it was not possible to obtain more signatures; but he doubted if there was a petition ever sent from Dublin that, for the number of signatures, contained a greater portion of respectability-not even the petitions of tl:e corporation. (Laughter.)

It was remarkable that the two Galway mem! grs, who objected

[ocr errors]

to the petition, aro returned by electors two-thirds of whom are Catholics, and several of them members of the Catholic Association. But he (Mr. O'Connell) had since learned, and was in: formed by several of them, that thirteen of the present members are not likely to have the opportunity of objecting to the Catholic petition after the next election-so indignant do the electors of Galway feel at the conduct of those honourable gentlemen. Indeed, he did not think the Catholics could have more dangerous enemies than those who vote the general question of Emancipation, because it is sure to be of no avail ; but when a particular grievance is submitted, they are sure to be found in the ranks of ministers.

The Catholics could have no worse nor more effectual enemy than the man who, having the patronage of a county in loise pocket, and boasting of its influence, coalesced with a ministry like the present, though he might formally fulfil the conditions upon which he was returned, by giving bis solitary vote upon an'annual mockery of the Emancipation Bill.

A member inquired what was become of the address to the Lord Lieutenant, npen which

Mr. O'Connell stated, that the committee had made no report As for himself, he said he had changed his mind upon that subjeot since the resolution of the corporation of Cork had been put for. ward. This he regarded as an official proceeding, not as the proclamation of an Orange lodge, imposing upon, ridiculing, and insulting the government by forwarding this Orange proclamation with fictitious signatures, such as the romantic one of Alfred Howard. It was certainly the safest mode of keeping the name of the grand officer secret, when he had the grace to be ashamed of his dignity by affixing the siguature of a person who did not exist.

The committee appointed to prepare the address to his Excel. lency had determined on the propriety of not doing so, out of respect to the exertions which it was evident the Lord Lieutenant Wis making, to prevent the insult against which his interposition was intended to be claimed ; and they also refrained in order to show their sense of the conciliating disposition evinced by the corporation of Cork.

Next, Mr. O'Connell, on the part of the committee appointed to preparë petitions to parliament, on the subject of poor-rates, stated, that it was the opinion of the committee, that as they were every day obtaining additional information with facts which

« ÖncekiDevam »