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went together to the Duke of Leinster, there was net a siugle signature, Protestant, Catholic, or Dissenter, to any document --really John Lawless is a little loose in his chronology.
But, to return: I would then again demand the proofs of the extraordinary liberality of the Belfast Dissenters. They, to be sure, give some countenance to the talent and integrity of my friend, of The Irishman, but they support three or four of as paltry papers as any with which our entire island is cursed (Hear, hear.) It is next said that they cannot prevent the Marquis of Donegal from exercising his prerogative as owner o? the borough—but has there been that active system of petitioning against his pernicious, and, to the town, most disgraceful ownership, which such high and mighty liberals ought to pursue ? If they possessed any real spirit, would they not long since have a fresh petition every month in the sessions, on the state of their representation-but, allow me to take them out of their own village—these liberals, though they profess their inability to open the borough of Belfast, have properties in the adjoining counties. Have they not? Where are the instances of the exercise of their mighty patriotism to be found in the electioneering records of these counties ? Are not the counties in the North as ignominiously delivered up to the possession and enjoyment of a brutal faction, as their own town? (Loud cheers.) Of what avail is a liberality that has not any one useful result ?
All the North is in the hands of the Orange faction, in parliament, save only one member for Armagh. Let John Lawless praise them until he is fatigued. I reply, where is the use of all this supposed patriotism ?-show me any generous sympathy in our struggles—show me any one serviceable act of these boasted liberals—show me any one vote in either house which they procured for Ireland or even influenced. They are wealthy, he says-a million and a half of property! Weli, it is property, now, that influences the hon. houses ; where are the fruits of the property of the Belfast liberals ? Not one single or solitary vote. Why, then, in the name of common sense, should their patriotism be vaunted until we are disgusted with the useless, driftless, profitless vapour? Why, if they were so liberal, so patriotic, why have they not given some support to the liberal and honest journal, The Ulster Recorder, which has lately been set up in the very focus of Orangeism, Derry: --why have they not prevented it from perishing through the warit of the commones: encouragement ? (Hear, hear.)
Is the hand of their bounty so short that it could not reach Derry? Long as we have been engaged in our struggle for the rights of conscience, there has been in my time almost a con. stant coldness towards us on the part of the Belfast patriots. With the exception of two, or perhaps three, now gone, alas ! co their honoured graves, I never saw cordiality or generous sympathy amongst them—whilst I have for years listened to the oft retold and repeated tale of their virtues. Upon principle, I think, they should be warned, that we know how vain and empty this boasting is--we get no support, no strength, no sympathy, from Belfast. I therefore said, deliberately, that I had a con. tempt for the sickly affectation of a liberality which showed it self by no deeds-proved itself by no acts-and, probably, con tinues only to exist, because the embers of a once more violent fire are fanned by the vivacious breath of honest John Lawless. (Much applause.)
I conclude, as I began, by admitting, there are some dozen and a-half of liberal persons in Belfast, perhaps, as I can learn, some thirty or forty—but, for the rest, it is a close borough on the one hand, and the blood-stained arm of Orangeism is extended on the other. I repeat, therefore, that I continue to despise the affectation of treating Belfast as liberal. Liberality is the exception, then—the general rule combines it with the other Orange portions of the North.
PETITIONS TO PARLIAMENT.
Mr. O'CONNELL said, the Catholics would come before parliament with a petition demanding to worship God according to the dictates of conscience ; they would come before it on the ground of the violated treaty of Limerick ; the petition was abcut to be printed, and three thousand copies of it would be ready for signatures in the course of a week, and would be sent to parliament with a million of names. There would have to be a waggon hired to carry it from the Tower-wharf to Parliament(laughter)—for the Earl of Donoughmore, in the House of Lords, and Sir Francis Burdett, in the House of Commons.
The next petition would be on the building of churches, Should there be but two or three Protestants in a parish, they can build a church at the expense of the Catholics ; they may on applying to the Board of First Fruits, get a sum of nioney, which can be levied off the parishioners, without their consent. Then, as to where there are no Protestants, there will be a petition, praying to be exempted from the payment of
tithes, and building and repairing of churches. (Laughter.) There will be a petition on the subject of church-wardens; the jaw on that head in Ireland is a frightful anomaly—a Catholic is made to fill, but cannot vote for the office of church-warden.
In England, the Dissenters and Jews are exempted from serving the office. None fill the office without taking an oath, which the Catholics cannot take. The oath binds him to attend divine service, to provide bread, &c., for the communion table, and generally see that things are kept in order at divine service; two or three Protestants, with the concurrence of the minister, may, perhaps, in spite, elect him church-warden ; his conscience will not allow him to act, yet he is held responsible. What will the English people say to this (said Mr. O'Connell)? will they not be astonished ? and will they not applaud the Association for their struggles to see justice done to a suffering people?
MR. O'CONNELL said, that The British Traveller was in considerable circulation, and that it afforded a more considerable portion of its space to the affairs of the Catholics of Ireland than must other papers. He was glad to perceive, too, that The Morning Chronicle, though it differed from him in opinion as to the merits of the Catholic religion, was, nevertheless completely agreed with him as to the great principles of civil liberty. The information of the editor of The Morning Chronicle was most extensive. He had lately triumphantly overturned the arguments of The Courier, and exposed the lamentable ignorance of the editor of that paper on the history of Ireland. The Chronicle was the genuine organ of the Whigs of Great Britain-it was the echo of all the rational friends of liberty in England. Indeed, considering the persons whom he was addressing, perhaps he would be better understood when he said, that The Chronicle was in England that excellent kind of paper which The Dublin Evening Post was in Ireland. And, as he was speaking of that journal he would now declare, that he never read a more admirable article than that in The Evening Post of Tuesday last. (Loud cheering.) The Evening Post had a just conception of the state of the people of Ireland; and he was happy to find that The Chronicle drew largely upon it. There was no better source of information, and it had been well applied—for there was no. calumny of The Courier's left unanswered. Bad as the London prints were, they had, however, some taste for decency ; they did not, in general, outrage every social feeling, like The liari and Star of Dublin.
He was persuaded that the attacks of The Courier on the Catholis clergy-attacks' as slanderous and malignant as ever escaped from the tongue or pen of man—were written by some renegade Irishman, who had climbed to an ignominious distinction by calumniating his country. He hardly knew how to express the detestation and horror he felt towards the author of These attacks ; but the tenor of his life had been consistent. In Ireland, he had traduced the defenceless female; and in England he had calumniated the virtuous priest. (Cheers.) Wherever he went, his track could be traced by the slime of slander which he left behind him. (Cheers.) The Courier had reproached the Irish Catholic clergy for the lowliness of their birth. He hed asked, where were the estates of their fathers ? He would answer him—the estates of their fathers had been confiscated; they had undergone a legal spoliation, while those who should inherit them—the native nobility of the land—were toiling through oppression and poverty, and working out their way to a Christian ministry, which they adorned not more by their attainments as scholars than by their virtues as Christians.(Cheers.) But he did not speak of these priests in their characters of theologians alone.
He asked The Courier to look at their late exhibitions at the various Bible meetings, and he would find that in the depth of erudition, in the graces of fancy, and the splendour of style, in exquisite taste and animating eloquence, they exceeded the children of the dumb and silent sister. (Cheers.) Had they not cast a bright effulgence on the dark night of England ? Had they not exhibited to the ministers of an apostolic church the dangers that threatened their establishment, dangers that must inevitably undermine the national religion of England by law established, if the progress of Bible reading be not restrained. (Cheers.) The Catholic clergy and the Catholic people had been moderate ; they did not dwell on the characters of the clergy of the Established Church ; they did not talk of their aptitude for anything but a Christian ministry; they did not delight with a morbid appetite for all that was degrading and disgusting, to gloat over the transcendant turpitude of the mitred monster, nor over the Skibbereen pastor ; they did not seek, curiously, to inquire what most powerful cause could induce a parson to give up £1500 a-year, but they very well knew it was not a desire to abstain from the comforts and conveniences of life-cheers)
—they very well knew it was not a wish to live like an anchorite -all he would say was, that there was a most potent cause for all this, but he would not pollute his lips, nor horrify his hearers by more than distinctly alluding to that cause, and he desired it to be understood that the Skibbereen parsons owed much to their forbearance.
But The Courier had praised the foreigu on acation of the priests of half a century ago, while he very well knew that his masters, the then government, hunted down those priests like dogs. (Cheers.) But did The Courier wish the priests of this age to be imbued with foreign prejudices against the people and government of England ? Did he wish the governments of France and Spain and Italy to have representatives of their views and wishes amongst a numerous and justly discontevted pupulation ? Did he wish the influential priesthood of Ireland to forin a foreign alliance, a kind of “ cordon sanitaire" with the great powers of the Continent ? (Much cheering.) If he wished for this let him talk of a foreign education, but if he wished for a grateful priesthood and a loyal people, let him be more liberai to the one and more just to the other.
When the government performed its duty, England might defy the world. The priests and the people would go forth in an union of sentiment, of devotion, and of love—of love to a constitution whose benefits they fully enjoyed, and whose history was associated with the proudest achievements of their ancestors
, and of devotion to a government, whose long former injustice would be obliterated in one solitary act of parentai kindness.
Mr. O'Connell concluded by moving that I'he Examiner, whose taste was as exquisite as its politics were honest, together with The Morning.Chronicle and The British Traveller, be taken at the room of the Association.
Mr. O'Connell had, in later years to modify, his good opinion of The Examiner newspaper. A strain of bitter, paltry, and pitiful personality marked the conduct of that newspaper with respect to him, for which he was unable to assign any other reason than that it once came within the strict requirements of his public duty to speak as they deserved of the mal-practices of a person connected by family with the leading writer of that paper. And the bitterness towards him has naturally, but miserably, been extended towards that with which he is identified ; and which he has created the great national effort of the Irish people to restore their country to her rank as a nation,