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One of the best Irishmen living—and, if there was but one such in every county, Ireland would not remain as it is—that calented individual, the Honourable Pierce Butler,* had written most powerfully upon the gross injustice of fixing the average for the seven years preceding 1821, but though the honourable and learned writer had successfully exposed the false data upon which the bill was founded, yet, as he was not a lawyer, he did not detect the important distinctions between the sums paid, and that agreed to be paid, during the seven years upon which the average is struck; and every one knew there was some difference (particularly in Ireland) between sums paid, and sums agreed to be paid. (Hear, hear.) And it was also to be considered that the term of years
for certaining the average, included two or three of the years in which agricultural produce was higher than it had ever been in Ireland before or since; and then, how was the average to be ascertained, supposing the principle unobjectionable? Why, by commissioners, who were to average every acre in the parish, and for which they were to receive each thirty shillings per clay. By that provision every man of property would be at the mercy of the commissioners; and for himself, he (Mr. O'Connell) would be glad to have the commissioners his friends, but most certainly would dread their enmity, in having his property subject to their valuation.
Really, thirty shillings per day to gentlemen paid for riding through the parish, amusing themselves, and exercising their strange boasted authority, would be so desirable a mode of killing time, that he (Mr. O'Connell) feared the seven years allowed for ascertaining the practicability of the measure would expire before every acre in the parish was valued.
From the clause, that whatever sum should be awarded was to have precedence of every other engagement or claim, it appeared as if the anxiety of the framers of this bill was directed principally to the minister's protection and aggrandisement, he (the minister) being permitted to re-value and obtain the highest price of the day, should he become dissatisfied with the former allowance. It was calculated that by this bill one half of the property of the country would be enjoyed by the clergy, and he (Mr. O'Connell) was one of those who thought they had quite enough already ; nor would he quarrel with the person, whoever he might be, that would say the clergymen had too much tithes.
• The rocently dermeed and lamenteå Colucel Butler M.P. county Kilkouny.
EXTENSION OF THE CATHOLIC ASSOCIATION.
MR. O'CONNELL next gave notice of a motion for the appointment of a committee to devise measures for the purpose of extending the Catholic Association throughout every county in Ireland, as he conceived the Catholic cause would be benefited by every county coming simultaneously forward next session, with their petitions to parliament.
The misery of Ireland has, within these few years particularly, been increasing in proportion to the prosperity of other countries. France, in her finances and trade, was at that moment the most flourishing nation in Europe. Owing to the apathy of the British ministry, she had exterminated liberty on the Continent, and driven her from her last hold ; she had secured the most imposing military positions ; she commands the coast from Cadiz to Dunkirk, from any port of which she can leave at pleasure, with her countless forces. The British navy, in its proudest days, could not blockade such an extent of coast as France now possesses; and whether her hostility to England was a mark of gratitude or not, was immaterial. (Hear.) But with such facilities and powerful means, and having previously secured the alliance of MARSHAL Rock, she might, on a landing at Bantry Bay, prove an infinitely more formidable enemy than ministers appeared to chink.
He (Mr. O'Connell) was of opinion that a connexion with England would be beneficial to Ireland ; but he wished it to be a fair and just connexion; and he conceived his allegiance to the British monarch obliged him to express his apprehensions and opinions for the safety of the empire, and to caution England against continuing her intolerant opposition to the rights of the Irish nation, thus making for France an ally so near her in the Irish peasantry, who should rather be made a portion of England's strength.
He thought that when the Catholic Association was extended through Ireland, they might simultaneously send forward a petition to parliament every fortnight; for, unhappily, there
want of subject or matter for such petitions.
CATHOLIC BURYING GROUND.
WHEN MR. O'CONNELL was about to hand in his notices, Mr. Conroy reminded him of the rights of sepulture ; upon which Mr. O'Connell observed that the subject was certainly one of paramount importance.
Late occurrences bad shown that opportunities were eagerly sought for, and every pretext laid hold of to humble the Catholics, and remind them of their degraded condition. They were not content with oppressing Catholics when living, but they must insult them when dead. He had no doubt of the Catholic's rights, as stated in his published opinion, and which he learned was assailed, in his absence, by some person who withheld his name. It was not his (Mr. O'Connell's) babit to reply to communications addressed to him anonymously, or he would have something to occupy him ; but if any barrister, or other person, would contend with him openly, he should be able to support his opinion, and dissipate such objections as had yet been put forward.
To be sure, he heard it gravely asserted that the church-yard was the clergyman's freehold, and he could do as he pleased with it; and so he (Mr. O'Connell) always understood that a man could make what use he pleased of his own freehold.; but he had yet to learn whether a clergyman could plough up the burying-ground, and sow turnips in it: and yet he was told it was his freehold. If he could appropriate the ground to sowing turnips or other vegetables, yet he doubted whether such an occupation would be as productive as sowing Papists (laughter); for the freehold of St. James's
, he was informed, produced the minister near a couple of thousand a year.
The Catholics should get rid of such unfeeling and unnatural irritation; and the means by which they could do so would be, to form an association for the purchase of ground, to serve as an asylum where their bones might be deposited with the forms of Christian burial, without fear of insult, and where the Irish Catholics might enjoy the exercise of a religious ceremony of which they only, of the whole Christian world, were deprived. (Hear, hear, hear.)
Catholics should know that the burying-grounds were not consecrated by the Protestants, but by the Catholics; and it is because they were so, that Catholics continue being buried in the present grave-yards. Catholic bishops could again conse
crate burying-grounds, the revenue of which, instead of being given to enable their enemies to purchase The Evening Mail, and insult the Catholics, may be applied to some Catholic charity (great applause); and then the BISHOP OF DUBLIN and the SAXTON OF ST. KEVIN's may be left to arrange the expulsion of ('atholic clergymen from church-yards. He mentioned the BISHOP of DUBLIN, because it was between him and the SEXTON; but he could not say what portion of the honour ench was entitled to. The glorious distinction was not exclusively theirs, however; for tho same revolting and unchristian-like interference had extended lately through several parts of the kingdom; and really those who valued the peace and tranquillity of Ireland should be anxious for such an establishment as would preclude the necessity of employiug the police, or increasing their numbers.
It was never so much the practice as at present to call for the interference of the Peelers. Whether to distrain or collect tithes, to drive for rent or execute any civil process, the criminal and military authorities must have a share in the proceedings; and is, in addition to these services, they give the Catholics a military escort with their funeral processions, the armed guardians of Ireland must be prodigiously increased, and perhaps on such occasions, having to bury one, may cause the death of many; and therefore, instead of paying for the privilege of being insulted, the Catholics should endeavour to avoid the opportunities of giving or receiving offence.
He should, therefore, give notice of a motion for, appointing a committee to take measures for the purchase of ground for a. Catholic cemetery, and against which there was no statute. There was one against burying in old abbeys; but he believed that was remedied by the act of '93.
“ After thanks to the chairman (says the report) the meeting adjourned; the three months and a half recess not having given birth to any projects for carrying on the agitation on the part of any other member.”
The following Saturday—the usual day of adjournment -Mr. O'Connell redeemed soma of the foregoing notices :
CATHOLIC ASSOCIATION.-Nov. 8, -1823.
LAURENCE CLYNCH, Esq., LN THE CHAIR. MR. O'CONNELL opened the business of the day, by observine, that as had given five notices of motions for that day's discus sion, it was his privilege to take them in such order as he pleased; and he should commence with one upon which he did not anticipate any difference of sentiment in the meeting.
The motion was—“That the thanks of the Association be returned to the author of the pamphlet in vindication of the Roman Catholics of Ireland”—a work in which its author evinces more talent, more genuine liberality, and more command of his subject, than, perhaps, any other writer who has laboured in the
He fearlessly asserts what Catholics believe to be true, while he treats with decent respect the belief of others; and in han. dling with a happy and dignified sarcasm the vulgar and bigoted prejudices that exist against his countrymen, he forcibly and successfully vindicates their principles. From amongst the numerous, unfounded, and illiberal charges daily issuing from the vile press of their opponents, he has selected such as appeared to have any claim to be considered serious accusations ; and he (Mr, O'Connell) should mention them in the order they appeared in the work itself, for the purpose of showing to the Association how important it was the charges should be collected and replied to.
The first charge was, the late miracles or (should he call them) extraordinary cures. If upon that subject there happened a mistake, was it reasonable its consequences should fall upon the ('atholic body, or that it should be imputed to them ? The rea lity of the cure had been admitted on all sides. Mrs. Stuart was most dangerously ill, and in a few moments was restored to perfect health ; that is a fact not doubted. Then as to the manner of cure, Doctor Cheyne and others might call it natural, and also contend that the circumstance of a person who lay at the point of death, and was instantly restored to health, had no connexion with the sacrifice of the Mass ; but was it to be believed that from any species of credulity, such a man as Doctor Murray would be capable of contriving an imposition or publishing a falsehood, and that the lady herself, and the other persons who have attested what they saw, were perjurers. If credit was tu be denied to them, he did not know what was to become o. human testimony.
It had been his duty, from a professional course of many years, to draw matters of fact, as resulting from human evidence; and more credible testimony than theirs he never saw offered to a public tribunal of justice.
Mrs. Stuart had confined herself for life, from religious mo