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His revilers--whose name was at all times Legion-and eren many, very many friends umong those who differed from luus in his subsequent opposition to those laws, often twitted him with such declarations as the foregoing, and with his frequent changes of opi. nion on the subject, on which he undoubtedly did alter his opinion two or three times, according as changing circumstances presented, under different aspects, the expediency of Ewystem of state-relief for the poor.
He never hesitated to allow that he hed, from time to time, taken and expressed different views upon this, as upon other important problems of legislation. He ever heartily repa. diated that truly must indefensible species of consistency, which would induce a man to persevere in error, through a miserable fear of being charged with instability of mind.
In Ireland there had, of course, been no practical experience of poor-laws, nor were there facilities for profiting of the experience of others. The circulation of parliamentary uocuments was far more limited even in England than at present, and her statesmen were chary of confessing how much they were themselves dissatisfied with the results hitherto obtained. Again, in the shock and hurry of active agitation-of that singularly active nyitation which Mr. O'Connell had been carrying on in moments with difficulty snatch d and hardly to be spared from the engrossing requirements of a laborious profession--agitation, too, necessarily contined in its main direction to one object-there had been de learned leisure, no enlarged opportunity for a thorough investigation of the asserted principle of poor-laws, and of such facts as could be got at to illustrate the degree of value attaching to the arguments in support of those laws. A deep-seated suspicion of their unsoundness-a strong distrust of the entire system, no matter how varied in detail-were among Mr. O'Connell's earliest political impressions, and if at times some prospect of specie! and immediate advantage to the suffering Irish people (ever the main objects of his solici. tude) won him to a favouring view of the question, it never was one to which he gave the nature and deliberate sanction of his judgment and reason.
Ultimately a full acquaintance with the entire history and practical results of all the thousand-fold varieties of system and schemes of poor-laws with which England has been afflicted during the last three centuries, settled irreversibly his conviction that poor. laws in any and every shape yet attempted, are "a mockery, a delusion, and a snare!" That they stimulate to pauperism instead of diminishing it, and work evil upon recipients of relief and rate-payers alike, by destroying all independence of spirit, r:eutralizing all gratitude, and sowing fertile seeds of sulky discontent and bitterness in the former, and anni. lilating, or grievously obstructing in effect, the blessed impulses of real charity in the latter:
The transient hopes that induced Mr. O'Connell from time to time to lean towards the project of poor-laws for Ireland are sufficiently indicated in his speech just given, and even to those who later entertained them than he did, the bitter practical experience re have at length been made to acquire, will have long ere this manifested their unsubstantiality. The expectations that through the operation of poor-laws, the absentee proprietors of Ireland would be efficiently coerced and punished—that bad landlords, of every descriptior, and tithe-owners, would have a pressure put upon them to mitigate iheir extortions from The tenantry; and that the poor man would acquire a certain hold upon the soil, have, as every one must confess, been for the larger part sadly disappointed, or where at all leite wed in appearance, it has bcen only
Absenteeism has not really felt the burden. Bad landlords have been as cruel and insparing as ever-extermination of lenantry proceeded with unrelenting and accelerated pacc, until famine, and the extraordinary emigration of late years, limited its scope of action. And in the detailed working of poor-laws we have witnessed a host of evils, inlurulìt in those low's under any system or madlifcation of them, and therefore inov!t illu wberosoever they exist, such as a niggard, and at times even an inhuman economy on the puest of guardians-& bitter thanklessness and recklessness on that of the paupers-a continual recurrence of personal squabbles and theological disputes among the membela of the local boards, and endless and pettifogging controversies between them and the com. wissioners-an outrage of natural ties in the separation of families—a bringing up of youthful population of both sexes in laborious idleness, and without a link to connect them with society, and evils worse and darker than even these; extending, in severa. cases, to an almost organized system of female corruption !
From this necessary digressi now return to the record of Mr. O'Connell's opinions declarations, and counsellipgs upon the general crowd of topics occupying the attention on the Catholic Association.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 7.
UPON Saturday, the 7th of August, the Association being assembled in its usual weekly .esting,
MR. O'CONNELL, ere entering upon the regular business of the day, gave notice of a motion for the first day of meeting in October-(the intervening summer-circuit and legal “long vacation,” usually occasioning an adjournment, at least of metropolitan agitation, during the remainder of July and the two fol. lowing months)—for the appointment of a committee to devise the best means of co-operation between the Irish Catholic Asso.. ciation and the Association established in London for the at. tainment of Catholic Emancipation and the redress of grievances.
He was exceedingly happy to find, by the newspapers, that Mr. Dogherty's communication on behalf of the Catholics of Manchester, to the effect that the English Catholic Board in. tended to separate from the other Catholics of England, and from the Irish Association, was totally unfounded. The two Associations had but one and the same object in view—to establish the principle of civil and religious liberty. This can only be effected by a refutation of the atrocious calumnies so industriously and perseveringly circulated to the prejudice of Catholics ; and, by informing
and enlightening the public mind, until any hostility which now prevails against their claims shall be converted into a conviction of the propriety and justice of admitting them within the pale of the British constitution. If the English Catholic Association adopt the popular course sugrested at their late meeting, it will embody all the Catholics of England in the common cause; and the English Association will be a source of power and influence from which material kad inportant dvantages, and the general interests, may be
drawn ; and in the progress of their exertions, il vin on cerriceable to them to have the support and co-operation of the Catholics of Ireland. Both Associations may be able to have before parliament a petition every third day, bringing forward particular calumnies of the Catholics, with their real and genuine opinions upon such subjects, and for which they are daily maligned and misrepresented. They will also have petitions demonstrating the monstrous injustice, and personal and local grievances to which, as Catholics, they are subjected, in violation of the spirit and principles of the British constitution ; and, in every point of view, the co-operation of the Catholics of both countries is most desirable. In conclusion, Mr. O'Connell observed, that it might be found advisable that a delegation from the Irish Catholic Association should proceed to London, in the month of January next, for the purpose of arranging the business to be brought before Parliament, and even then some working lawyers might find time to proceed to London upon the subject.
PARLIAMENTARX AGENT. Mr. Conway gave notice of a motion for the first meeting of the Association, to appoint a parliamentary agent to the Association in London.
On Saturday, October 2, Mr. O'Connell returned from the country, and re-appeared in the Association.
A letter was read from the Hon. G. Agar Ellis, inclosing his own and Vicount Clifden's subscriptions of £10 each to the Catholic rent, and thanks were voted.
Mr. O'CONNELL read a letter from the Catholic Association at Manchester, stating their having resolved to act in conjunction with the Irish Catholic Association. The learned gentleman then proceeded to observe that
every approach towards a communication with the Associations of the two countries, and for unanimity of proceedings should be met in the most favourable way. He was sorry to see, however, that the English provincial Catholic Associations were not apprised of having committed an illegal act in forming themselves into branch Associations.
The act under which these Associations became unlawful was the act against Corresponding Societies. They might, however, obviate this difficulty, and render themselves equally useful, by forming themselves into independent societies. To be sure, the act equally applies to the Evangelical and Orange Branch Socie. ties, which have long existed with impunity; but he was not sure that the Catholic Associations would be so secure. But
tire more respect the Catholics show for the laws, buth from prizaple and motives of prudence, the better; and therefore he moved that he be allowed to reply to the letter of the Machester Catholic Association, suggesting to them the course to pursue, without any violation of law. The motion was agreed to.
Mr. O'Connell then gave notice of a motion for a vote of thanks to the London Catholic Association, for their communi. cation approving of the proceedings of the Irish Catholic Association,
THE MURDER BY THE POLICE IN MEATH.
MR. O'CONNELL stated that the committee had been occupied upon this case, which presented instances of the most singular anomaly. The verdict of the coroner's jury declares the unfortunate man was murdered ; points out the class of persons by whom the deed was committed, and states no justification for the act; and yet not one of the party accused has been apprehended.
Such murders might happen in any country ; but it could only happen in Ireland, that the friends of the deceased should be lodged in jail for his murder. In another country it would be the parties accused by the verdict.
There was, to be sure, an allegation that the people attempted to disarm the police; and it was not surprising they should, when the armed
police were slaughtering the defenceless unoffending people. It was also stated that the affray, had commenced in an unlicensed public-house ; which was privileged by the police to defraud the king, but not however without a conscientious attention to their own interests, for they took special care of one portion of the community-themselves. They resorted to the precaution of getting their portion of the unlicensed profits.
The police party had also been distinguished by the use of the most scandalous expressions respecting the religion, the people by whom they were surrounded. Mr. Ford has also learned, that so turbulent and riotous were the people in the neighbourhood of Summer-hill, that the serjeant could absent himself for weeks to superintend the harvest-makers of one of the magistrates.
The committee had highly approved of Mr. Ford's activity and zeal in this case, and they had authorised him to continue the proceedings. In the first place he was directed to issue a civil bill against the gaoler, for having charged fees for furnishing to vne of the men comraitted a copy of the committal. Mr. Ford
had also been commissioned to procure bail for the men in gaol, although their committal was evidently drawn up in as harsh a form as possible ; and if any difficulty should arise upon that point, an application should be made to the judges of the King's Bench, upon which occasion they should not want lawyers.
Indeed, it was possible that the men would not be bailed but by the judges, for, if it had been ossible, the murdered man himself would have been in gaol ; nay, if the police had committed a robbery on the people, it is probable that the latter would have been imprisoned instead of
the offenders. The committee had resulved that the case was one for the intervention of the Association; but they recommended, in the first place, that the friends of the deceased should have a memorial presented to the Lord Lieutenant in person by some of the gentry or Catholic clergy of the neighbourhood. Mr. O'Connell concluded, by moving a vote of thanks to Mr. Ford, for his .exertions on the present occasion, and requesting him to continue the proceedings. Mr. Ford was, Mr. O'Connell said, at present down at Summer-hill, in consequence of additional information he had received. The vote was agreed to unanimously.
Upon the motion of Mr. O'Connell, the sub-comunittee was empowered to conclude a treaty for the large room of Home's Arcade, for the use of the Association.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 9.
CATHOLIC FINANCE COMMITTEE.
the Catholic rent received during the week was announced to be £350 178. 4jd.
A letter was read from Colonel H. White, M.P., enclosing £5 for the Catholic rent.
MR. O'CONNELL passed a warm eulogium upon him, and his family, for their steady liberality and general services. Every one recollected with what energy Colonel White rebutted the calumnies against the Catholic clergy, when they were accused of having exerted their influence ; because they voted for him, as if the Catholic clergy had not a right to use their elective franchise as well as any other class of her Majesty's subjects. Would it not have been criminal and base in them to return a member like Sir Compton Domville, who would have given his vote for their exclusion from the enjoymept of those co.istitu•