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tional rights and liberties which he would be delegated to pro tect.
But was there no influence used on the other side by clergymen? Did they not recollect the letter he (Mr. O'C.) read for them at an aggregate meeting, where the writer, a Protestant clergyman, commanded a person to vote for Sir Compton Domville, and commanded him too, as being a Protestant, and who should feel the consequences of disobeying the mandate by the loss of some pecuniary benefit which he enjoyed. The learned gentleman concluded some further complimentary observations on Colonel White, by seconding Mr. Mullen's motion for inserting the colonel's letter on the minutes.
YR O'CONNELL read the following opinion upon the subject of church rates, in reply to the inquiries of two clergymen who had written to the Association upon the subject :
“I have considered the questions submitted for my opinion by the Association with all the attention in my power, and am of opinion, that none of the country parishes in Ireland can be assessed in a sum of ten guineas, or five guineas, or in any other sum for keeping a school, or teaching the Protestant children.
“It is true, that Protestant clergymen are bound by oath, on admission, to keep an English school in each parish, but that obligation did not induce any expense on the parish whether the school was kept, or not.
“I am also of opinion, that the parish cess for coffins is an illegal assessment in Ireland.
“I am also of opinion, that the charge for a sextoness is an illegal charge, and cannot, by law, be rated on the parish.
“ I am also of opinion, that the charge of 101. 45. 4d. mentioned in the case of the parish of Dunshaughlin, levied a second time, for hanging the bell, is a grossly illegal charge, as, of course, is the charge for 61. in that parish, for teaching twelve poor children, where it is stated, that no such school is kept.
“Such a charge as this would (as I have already said) be illegal, even if the school were kept it is a very gross and scandalous illegality, where there is no school at all.
"I am also of opinion, that the charge for collecting the cess in thrt parish, is an illegal charge,
“ Wherever the applotment is made upon
lot of v68 try charges, as is usually the case, and that such lot contains zvy illegal item, there the entire applotment is illegal, and may with safety be resisted by legal means.
“It is true that there is a statute of the 4th of the present king, chap. 86, which very much increases the liability of the poor to vexatious attempts to levy improper church rates, but fortunately the most mischievous sections in that statute are clumsily and untechnically drawn up, so as to neutralize its ill ffects in a considerable degree. There are therefore still sufficient legal means to resist the illegal charges above alluded to, according to the circumstances of each particular case.
“ DANIEL O'CONNELL. Merrion-square, October 9, 1824.” At this meeting, a gentleman named Candler, who announced himself as an English Protestant Dissenter, addressed the Association. He began by expressing his surprise, after what he had learned of the conduct and views of the Orangemen, that the Catholics did not hate, instead of simply.contemning them.
He then went on to deprecate the opposition given by Catholics to the establishment of Bible Societies in Ireland, assuring them that their conduct in this respect gave great offence in England
MR. O'CONNELL, in reply to the last speaker, observed, that if the attempt at proselytism were confined to the cunning and dexterity of the individuals employed, he should not have heeded them ; but when the most cruel persecution and aggravated oppression were enforced against the wretched peasantry, who refused to send their children to the Biblical schools, it would have been inhuman and criminal, when an opportunity offered, did he neglect to expose the imposition, or, by publiciy challenging its promoters, afford them an opportunity of explaining their views.
But who were the divines that the Biblicals employed, and that he (Mr. O'Connell) as being a layman, was charged with having improperly contended against ? Why, forsooth, a man of war, with a Bible in one hand aud a sword in the other, who abused Ireland and praised Scotland, and young man of fashion, armed with prejudice and enthusiasm. Was it not meritorious to attempt undeceiving the public, and to expose the chicanery of a system that could make a dupe of such a man as Sergeant Lefroy, who was led to countenance such a transparent job -as the expending of no less than £8000 for the printing of Bibles in the Irish language ; when it was known to every one that
; thuse who were capable of reading thie Irish character had ac
quired that facility by means of the English language; and when it was equally notorious that not one of the peasantry could read Irish at all!
With respect to the Dissenting Clergyman who, as they were now informed, had declared from the pulpit that he, (Mr. O'Connell) was doing injury to the Catholic cause, the only remark that appeared to be required was, that in all probability-perhaps in all certainty-the pious gentleman, if he really thought as he said, would have been careful to allow the injurious proceedings to go on, unrebuked and unnoticed !
Mr. O'Connell was followed, upon this occasion, by two men whose honoured names are sear to the grateful memories of Catholic Irishmen. The one was the Rev. Francis Joseph L'Estrange, of the order of the Discalced Carmelite Friars, and John Bric, usually known in the agitation, by the designation then prefixed to barristers' names in ordinary conversation, that of Counsellor Bric.
The Rev. Mr. L'Estrange was the first Catholic clergyman who entered himself as an every-day worker in the struggle for emancipation, and steadily, most heartily, and with constant and manifest benefit to the public cause, did he labour on, until the great object was attained.
Sober-minded, but devoted-indefatigable, but gentle and unassuming; intensely alive to all the wrongs and sufferings of his creed, his race, and his country, yet ever prompt to hold out the hand of friendship and generous forgiveness, upon the first symptom of relaxed animosity; kindly, cheerful, and er.inently good in every way; as a friend, as a patriot, and above all and before all, as a clergyman, he commanded the warmest esteem and regard while living, and is remembered in his grave with the sincerest and most affectionate regret! .
The eccentric and not very sapient "Prince Puckler Muskan," chancing, during his rambles through Ireland in the course of the year 1827, to meet the Rev. Mr. L'Estrange et Darrynene Abbey, had his German Protestantism mach astonished by the “enlarged and liberal views" expressed by the rev. gentleman, although (strange to say, he persisted in remaining a Catholic.'"
It seemed a miracle to the German mystic, whose own ideas and opinions were of the narrowest and pettiest nature, that a Catholic could hold a liberal opinion.
Of John Bric, it may confidently be said, that had he lived, he would have achieved high distinction in the state. He came up from his native country a poor, unfriended, scantilyclothed boy, and with no other assistance than that which his own talent and efficiency obtained for him, while acting as clerk to Mr. O'Connell, contrived to educate himself for the bar, to which he was called about the year 1819.
The most sterling honesty of purpose, energy of will, and soundness of judgment marked tis public career ; and during the short time that it was permitted to him to labour in the cause of Ireland, he rendered her many services, and gave earnest, alas ! fated not to be redeemed-of much more extended and higher powers of utility.
In private, he was one of the most amiable of men, kindly, cheerful, confiding, and geneTais, loved and respected by all who knew him.
Of the most unbappy, most mournfal chance that deprived Ireland of so able, so devoted a son and servant, we cannot bring ourselves to speak. That hideous custom which disgraces civilization and shames our Christianity, never had a nobler victim-never workel a more fell issue !
We give a speech of his, on this occasion, that may serve as a fair specimen of his style and ability.
It was ir furter 20wer to ur. Carlor, the English Dissenter, to whom the foregoing
speech was the first reply. M:. Bric was directly called upor. io rotice Mr. Cand.ur's specch, as that gentleman, in his strictures on the Catholics for their opposition tc the spread of the Bible societies, had specially referred to a then recent encounter butwcen some of the knaves and fanatics, who had inade themselves missionaries through Leland for thcso societies, and Mr Bric, sapported by some other Catholics.
COUNSELLOR Bric said, that as one of the fanatical and irreligious lawyers -(a laugh)-to whom the honourable gentleman (Mr. Candler) alluded, and who took an humble part at the meeting at Cork, he hoped he might be allowed to say a few words in his defence.
The honourable gentleman had been pleased to charge them with having been intemperate at that nieeting; he was mistaken ; there was not a single intemperate word uttered on that occasion by the lawyers; and, as a candid man, he felt himself called upon to say, that the demeanour of their opponents agreed with the respectability of their station in life; although certainly, most unhappy, illiberal, and intemperate expressions escaped from some of them.
For his own part, he beheld the strange exhibition which that meeting presented, with subdued feelings--with feelings softened by sorrow, not excited by anger. He saw there those energies exerted and abused, which, if directed to the real-improvement of the people, might achieve great public good—might banish misery and discontent, and foster in their place the hopeful growth of peace and comfort. He attended there without having had the remotest intertion of saying a single word.
It was not until he heard Captain Gordon openly avow that proselytism was the object of his mission—it was not until he heard the Hon. Mr. Noel declare from the bench where he stood that the religion of the Catholics was so dark, and their moral condition so degraded, as to fill his mind with the conviction that they were persons who never would behold the light of heaven! (Murmurs.) The expressions, he could assure the meeting, fell from the honourable gentleman; they were uttered at one of the most crowded meetings he ever saw. He (Mr. Bric) reminded Mr. Noel of those words, and it was but due to him to say that he had the manliness not to disavow them. After those declarations had been made, and not till then, he (Mr. Bric) made up his mind to address the meeting; and he would put it to the candour of the gentleman opposite whether a Catholic, who had any regard at all for his own religion, could have remained silent when he heard its sacred name abused, its teachers censured, and its followers denounced as unworthy of the mercy of that God who is merciful to all.
Ha (Mr. Bric) took a part in the proceedings; but he hoped he did not imitate the intemperance of the missionaries : he did not abuse any creed; he did not denounce any mar because he belonged to a particular religion. Indeed, he could not do so without doing great violence to his feelings without departing from an opinion which he had ever entertained, that religion is purely a matter of conscience, and that every man, without obstruction or penalty of any kird, has a right to take his own road towards heaven. Of his own religion, he was sorry to say, he did not, perhaps, know as much as he ought; of the religion of others he pretended to know nothing whatever; but this he would say, that as all were heirs to the common frailties of human nature, they were heirs also to the mercy of their common God; and that, as religion was the source of hope and comfort in a life to come, on earth it ought to be the handmaid of charity : the mother and fosterer of the social virtues, instead of being the bitter cause of hate, contention, oppression, and injustice.
These were the sentiments with which he rose to address the meeting af Cork; and he would defy the honourable gentleman to show that he had, full the two hours that he addressed thein, uttered a single word intemperate in any sense, disrespectful to any individual, or offensive to any creed.
The honourable gentleman said, that Catholics, and particularly lawyers, ought not to interfere in those meetings : he hoped, however, that he had heard enough in that room to induce him to alter that opinion. It was true, the missionaries made little or no progress, but the best way to prevent them from making any progress whatever was to meet them on every ground, and to refute them at every point. The honourable gentleman had also said, those who were foremost in promoting missionary labours and Bible societies were foremost als3 in forwarding the cause of religious freedom. He (Mr. Bric) would be but toe happy could he bring his mind to entertain the same notion ; if the fact were 8(:, it would be creditable to religion, and hopeful to the claims of a suffering people; but he lamented to say, that the fact was exactly the other way.
In Ireland, Lord Roden was the leader and supporter of Bible societies. His lordship, on a recent occasion, gave an intemperate vote against the Catholics. Another nobleman, Viscount Lorton, the brother of a noble earl who was no Bible distributor, but who was doing the good work of a resident proprietor in the south-he meant the Earl of Kingston-Lord Lorton was also a great and influential leader at the Bible meetings. His lordship, in and out of the legislature, was a firm, decided, he had almost said an angry, opponent of the Catholics.
Those noble persons, and many others, gave a tone to their followers so powerful, that if he were called upon to point out the men who were most hostile to the liberation of Ireland, he feared he would be compelled to name many of the most active Bible distributors. Those pious gentlemen, though extremely anxious to provide for our eternal happiness, are by no means anxious for our temporal comforts. Bless their hearts, they would make us saints in heaven: but they will not allow us to be freemen upon earth. He did not care to repeat a vulgar phrase, which he once heard from a member in the House of Commons, but it was not without force, and it was very applicable: this Bible society is a humbug, a very mischievous and solemn humbug, and men ought not to be censured because they oppose it in fair discussion.
The honourable gentleman, however, seemed to think that the Catholics acted extremely wrong in opposing the measures of that society; and he threatened them with the hostility of that great and powerful body to which he belongsthe Dissenters of England. He (Mr. Bric) was not ignorant of the power of that body, of their great wealth, their intelligence, and their parliamentary influence, and, certainly, he would look upon it as one of the worst signs of the times, if such a body as the Dissenters could lend their aid to the bigots of their own country, and the Orangemen of this, in order to crush the hopes of an aggrieved nation, merely because certain individuals opposed the objects of tt Bible Society, composed, as that society is, of men in whom they have no confidence, for whom they have no affection; of men who have avowed intolerant principles, and whose hostility towards them stands recorded on the votes of the Ingislature.
TIe (Mr. Bric) should rather hope that the Dissenters of England would pass by this petty warfare, and that they would take a more enlarged and a more generous view of the condition of Ireland. Having suffered themselves under the scourging rod of religious oppression, the Dissenters ought, and he hoped they did, feel a kindly sympathy towards those who were denied the liberty of. conscience. They were men who always claimed that liberty —whose notions on civil government were bold and enlarged. Could he suppose that for a trilling. or almost for any cause, they could be brought to combine with the enemics of