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the newspapers, it is stated, that all the atrocities in the country have been traced to the Catholic Association. It was derogatory to the character of the Catholics to condescend to refute 80 foul and indignant a calumny, and the falsehood of which was known to every man conversant in the affairs of Ireland.
Was it not a notorious fact, the Catholic Association was formed when Ireland was in a state of agitation, little removed from open rebellion ? and was it not equally notorious that those disturbances have ceased in proportion as the Association has become loud and determined in seeking a redress of Catholic grievances ?—thereby demonstrating, that the charge is wholly infounded against the Association, and also establishing an important fact, that the peasantry are at all times ready to coalesce with the Catholic Association in their constitutional efforts for relief, as long as they are made with any prospects of success.
It was scarcely worth his (Mr. O'C.'s) while noticing the allusions to himself in that report ; but, however, he should say that he was proud of two things connected with that circum. stance ; he was flattered, felt proud and delighted at the friendship professed for him by such characters as the Knight of Kerry and Mr. Hutchinson--gentlemen of the first class patriots, whose zeal for their country is only equalled by their proud independence, and while their talents render them formi. dable to the enemies of freedom, they are active and indefatigable for the promotion of Ireland's prosperity. Their mention of him in the debate reported in the newspapers, had filled his heart with gratitude, and made him have a better opinion of himself.
But he was considered to have deserved the censure of a Colonel Trench. From what he knew of that person, he should be sorry that he had deserved his praise. The report states, that the gallant colonel, by way of reproach, called him Lawyer O'Connell ; and if there be any turpitude in being a lawyer, he shared it with the gallant colonel himself, for he remembered him walking the hall of the Four Courts in his wig and gown about the time that he (Mr. O'C.) was called to the bar ; and the only difference between them was, that the colonel paced the hall and failed, while he (Mr. O'C.) walked it, and succeeded, and therefore had no occasion, Hudibras like, to have himself transformed from a lawyer into a colonel.
The worthy colonel had dubbed him Protector; but although his ability to protect was not equal to that of the notorious Pro. tector's, yet the gallant colonel knew how he could assist, for the colonel's worthy brother-in-law, Sir Compton Domville, had experienced it in his contest with Colonel White for the county of Dublin ; and the colonel's brother at Swords had also most likely informed him of his ability to protect, as he bad felt it in the election alluded to, or perhaps in some of his late professional exertions.
Something was said about the colonel having been favourable to the Catholics in 1812, when he was then young
from college, and his bosom filled with youth al ardour and generosity. The colonel young ip 1812! Well be it so !-and oh, how the avowal delighted him (Mr. O'C.). Why that avowal in itself savoured of the generous disinterested uncalculating liberality of youth, when the impulse of ardent honesty, predominates over self-interest; and truth and justice are the motives which influence action. But he (Mr. O'C.) remembered that in the year 1812, there was a certain man living called Napoleon, and many percons who then thought it prudent to profess sentiments of liber. ality, had since forgotten their early generosity, and demonstrated the policy of the British Cabinet towards Ireland, that so long 18 England was in danger, or threatened by her enemies, it was · necessary to make a show of liberality and good feeling towards Ireland. But when the danger ceased, oppression was resumed.
There was one circumstance arising from the debate, as ro ported, that he (Mr. O'C.) felt truly proud of—THE PERFECT DE MONSTRATION OF THE LEGALITY OF THE CATHOLIC ASSOCIATION.
He felt proud, he said, not from any feeling of triumph, but because he was conscious that the Catholic Association would not proceed one instant, if their proceedings were not legal. The Catholics do not speech of law, they practise it, not from appro. hension, but from respect. The Catholics truly respect the laws, and he hoped they should yet assist in amending them.
The learned gentleman then gave notice of a motion respecting the report of the debate on the Catholic Association.
At the very morcent (Dec., 1846) that we are recording this justifiable boast of Me O'Connell's, he has just been compelled to call public attention to the fact that every asso ciation established by him stood the test of the law, although the latter was applied by unscrupulous and pes'secuting lawyers, judges, and jurors.
MR. O'CONNELL proceeded to move upon his notice respecting a report which had appeared in the Times London newspaper, stating, that Lord Redesdale had mentioned, during a debate in the House of Lords, that he had been once threatened with assas. sination in Dublin, the merit of commiting such an act having been strongly recommended and urged from the altar of one of the Catholic chapels in Dublin.
In the first place, said the learned gentleman, it was impossible that the Times, when it gave insertion to the report, could have credited such a ludicrous absurdity, and in the next place, Lord Redesdale very well knew that a conspiracy to murder is a capital offence in Ireland ; and if the Lord Chancellor had received information that it was intended to assassinate him, and that it had been recommended from the altar, it would have been a breach of his sworn duty not to have brought the delinquents to justice ; which, there is no doubt, would not have been slow in punishing so foul a crime, where a Lord Chancellor was the object.
Now he (Mr. O'C.) recollected that the day before Lord Redesdale left Ireland, he made a speech from the bench, in which he strongly expressed his regret at being obliged to leave Ireland, and declared that he was exceedingly ill used in being removed from this country, upon whose people he then passed an eulogium.
He attributed his recal to Mr. Ponsonby, although it was really owing to the very extraordinary correspondence that was published at the time, between his Lordship and Lord Fingall, and the Chancellor sent the Commission of the Peace to the Earl of Fingall. But although he acknowledged that it was in consideration of Lord Fingall's great exertions to quell the rebelsion he sent him the commission, yet he seemed to infer that, being a Catholic, he must therefore be disloyal. Lord Fingall, who would have consulted his own dignity much more by refusing the commission, accepted of it, and wrote to Lord Redesdale, undertaking to prove that although he was a Catholic he might be loyal. This produced a reply from Lord Redesdale, and a concroversy ensued, which, upon the publication of it, displayed so much political absurdity as occasioned his removal, for which he (Mr. O'C.) was truly sorry, for there never was a more learuci, able, and impartial judge.
lo his anxiety for justice he discovered and proclaimed, in au
emphatic sentence, that in Ireland there was one law for th3 rich and another for the poor;" but in his court, he (Mr. O,C.) could declare, that every man without distinction of creed or politics, had justice done him as far as it was possible.
When he (Mr. O'C.) spoke thus of a man who was decidedly opposed to Catholics, who was exerting himself to keep from him (Mr. O'C.) his natural rights, his testimony had some value, when he allowed him all the merits and virtues of a great and good judge, but declared him an incompetent and sorry politician.
In the petition they would call upon their lordships to visit with punishment the author of so unfounded a charge against the Catholic priesthood of Ireland, of whom there is not one existing that the shadow of a suspicion of such a crime could be cast upon.
The Catholic priesthood are distinguished for opposite qualities—disinterested, laborious, and poor; they preach and demonstrate, by the strictest practice, that most essential ingredient of religion-morality, without which they say that no enthusiasm or fanaticism can (like as it is taught in some sects of the day) procure salvation by mere belief in one thing. No belief or faith in Christ will, they say, avail, without the accompaniment of good works and the practice of the Christian virtues. The motto of the Catholic priesthood is, 6 believe and do."
Those who contend that the Catholics are unworthy of emancipation, have had at times the indecency to argue that it was a principle with the Catholics, no matter what evil you do, if it is for the good of the church.” Now he (Mr. O'C.) was uncertain whether the Catholics had more occasion to rejoice at such monstrous calumnies, as they proved to what extremities their opponents were reduced, when attempting to contend ugainst the principles of natural right; or whether it was matter of deep regret, that in the nineteenth century, men of education should be found in a British assembly, whose prejudices, or whose want of information could have occasioned such a groundless imputation against the Catholics, whose religion taught them, in the words of St. Austin, “that to attain heaven itself, the smallest lie was not permitted.
Yet those are the people who are objects of such atrocious calumny!
One of the greatest services of the Catholic Association was their taking measure to contradict every falsehood propagated
to the prejudice of their claim and their religion. The Association would not have given the Orangemen any concern, supposing they were debating high treason, but that they perceive it will be impossible to delude the English people much longer, while the Association exists. That it must exist unless there be a new law made to put it down, cannot be doubted; and if they proceed to that extremity, why then they must also put down the Association for distributing bibles without note or comment, and the Associations for petitioning against Negro Slavery. There cannot even be a love feast, without being reached by the act, and it will extend even to meetings of dowager ladies for tea and tracts !
It was a considerable recommendation of the Catholic Association, that, self-constituted as it was of necessity, its being on the watch against Catholic defamers and libellers of Irishmen was found to be an annoyance and prevention of calumny.
The petition, which was now preparing by a gentleman to whose pen the Association were already considerably indebted (Mr. Bric), would say, we don't pretend to inquire into your privileges or observe upon your proceedings, but we complain of a silly and ridiculous calumny which has been cast upon the Catholics. We challenge inquiry—we demand investigation, you have the power of examining upon oath and of bringing before you witnesses. Let the inquiry be followed up by punishment. There is no statute of limitation against a capital offence.
Mr. O'Connell, in conclusion, observed that Lord Redesdale having thus spoken of the Catholic clergy or people, was the more incredible after he had written a letter which should be read.
Here a letter was read from his lordship to a Catholic clergyman, acknowledging some restitution-money transmitted from a penitent of the clergyman's. The letter was very courteous in tone ana matter.
Mr. O'Connell having been called to court shortly after he gave in his resolution, a con. siderable discussiou arose as to the terms of it; and Mr. Sheil opposed the mention of the Times newspaper, as it would convey a reflection on that paper. But the objection was everruled, and after some time had elapsed, Mr. O'Connell returned to the meeting, to redeem a notice given the preceding week, for the appointment of two assistant-secretaries, according to the rules of the Association, in order to assist the secretary to the Catholics of Ireland.
Mr. Conway was appointed one of the new officers, and Mr. O'Connell took occasion to compliment hira upon his services and devotion to their cause. There was nothing to be unde ny Protestants in becoming their advocate: while money and preferment to be had by opposing them.
A committee w s now appointed to prepare a petition, as directed by Mr. O'Conner's resolution