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the atrocious outrage on the people's rights, against which they had now met to protest, he (Mr. O'Connell) would be ready to admit that the Irish government were disposed to consider tha just rights of the people. But in the uncertainty, or, perhaps he should say, the very great doubt he was in upon that subject, he could not by any means consent to allow himself to be sent about from the office of one deputy at the castle, to the office of another under-secretary's under-deputy, and to come away with. out redress, if even he were accorded any reply at all.
He was of opinion that it would be the more proper method to bring the question before parliament, and to expose the whole proceedings to the public eye of England, that England might see that there existed abundant spirit and manliness in Ireland to co-operate with her in the cause of freedom. (Applause.)
Great as was indeed the outrage, yet he was clearly of opinion, that the sheriff had served the cause, of which it was evident he was no very warm friend. His conduct was a death-blow to many addresses intended to be got up for the same vile purposes, and by the same underhand management. It had awakened the spirit of the land. Whatever remnant of public spirit still lingered in this country would, by the events of that day, acquire renewed and augmented force and energy. He sincerely hoped, that one and all, forgetting past dissensions, and sinking every petty dispute about sect or party, in the general weal, would obey the universal call to exertion which the late unparalleled outrage so imperiously demanded.
He did not think that he was too sanguine in hailing tho occurrence at Kilmainham as the harbinger of better days for Ireland. He never would despair—he believed that that liberty for which the patriot long prayed, and which the poet had promised to them, would one day come. Her voice had been lately heard among other nations of the earth. It spoke in Spainand as it spoke, the nation rejoiced, wealth increased, prosperity was secured, despotism was suddenly struck with blight, and the people became free! (Loud cheering)
In Naples, too, her voice had been heard. But Naples stands not secure in her freedom, not because there is danger of invasion into her territory by the Austrian despot, but because Naples treated Sicily, as one nation, which might easily be named, uniformly treated another which shall be nameless ! (Loud cheering.)
But on no nation, perhaps, were her blessings—the blessings of constitutional liberty-more abundantly showered thau on Portugal - Portugal, whose people an English writer, but a short time ago, had ventured to denominate “ human vermin !" Portugal, whose inhabitants Lord Byron, the poet of the age, and the friend of humanity, had in 1818 pronounced to be
“Base Lusian slaves—the lowest of the low!" That same Portugal is now a great nation among the highest oi the high, and her people are the “ freest of the free.” Had his friend Mr. M'Donnell been of the patriots of Oporto, he might probably have suggested the propriety of sending an address to the court of the Brazils, at Rio de Janeiro, petitioning for liberty; and, after waiting a year and a-half for an answer, returning with a very plain and unmistakeable refusal. (Laughter.)
With such a prospect before him, why should he despair for his country? He never would subscribe to the belief, that Ireland was reserved for exclusive degradation—but rather espouse the sentiments of the “bard of Erin,” who united the spirit of propaecy to the genius of poetry
“The nations have fallen, but thou art still young,
Thy sun is but rising, whilst others are set-
The full noon of freedom shall beam round thee yet!
At an adjourned meeting, a few days after, held at the same placé, Mr. O'Connell spoke again on the same topics, and to the same effect. A very large number of gentlemen, Protestants and others, who did not asually attend public meetings, were present, and it vote of thanks and compliment to Mr. O'Connell was carried with unanimous acclamations.
No redress was obtained, as from the usual current of events at that time, might have recu expected to prove the result, and indeed was so expected.
LETTERS OF MR. O'CONNELL
We now come to some letters of Mr. O'Connell, the first of them being one of the earliest of the stirring annual appeals which, during his career hc so frequently made to the Irish people, calling on them to arouse themselves to renewed and increased exertion for their yuffering country, to count all by-gone efforts as nothing, while yet there was before ther: anything which they might do to advance her cause.
“Nil actum reputare, dumquid superesset agendurn." Such, in truth, was onc of the maxims of his agitation most frequentiy enforced, and inost perseveringly acted upon by himself.
The diffcrences with Mr. Shiel, which this letter gave rise to, and to which the others refer, did not prove enduring, and their very recollection gave way before long to the 21866 wduring mutual regard and friendship
« TO THE CATHOLICS OF IRELAND.
"'Can piety the discord heal,
Or stanch the death-feud's enmity
Can love of blessed charity ?"
“Merrion-square, Dublin, 1st January, 1821. “ FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN—After another year of unjust degra dation and oppression, I again address you. We have lived, another year, the victims of causeless injustice. Our lives wear away, and we still continue aliens in our native land. Every thing changes around us. Our servitude alone is unaltered and permanent.
“ The blood runs cold, and the heart withers when we reflect on the wanton prolongation of our sufferings. The iron zinks into our very souls at the helpless and hopeless nature of our lot. To the severest of injuries is added the most cruel of insults, and we are deprived of the miserable consolation of think. ing that our enemies deem themselves justified by any necessity or any excuse for continuing our degradation.
“ No, my fellow-countrymen, no, there is no excuse for the injustice that is done us. There is no palliation for the iniqui. tous system under which we suffer. It contradicts the first right of men and Christians--the right of worshipping our God according to the dictates of our conscience. Nay, this odious system goes farther ; it converts the exercise of that right into a crime, and it inflicts punishment for that which is our first and most sacred duty-to worship our Creator in the sincerity of conscience.
“For this crime, and for this crime alone, we are punished and degraded-converted into an inferior class in our native land, and doomed to perpetual exclusion. Our enemies cannot accuse us of any other offence-other crime we have committed none. Even the foolish charge of intemperance-a charge which was only a symptom
of that contempt in which our enemies hold us“ even the absurd accusation of intemperance is now abandoned, and our degradation continues without necessity, without excuse without pretence, without palliation.
“Some honest men might have been heretofore deluded into en hostility towards us by their being made to believe that there was something in the tenets of our religion inconsistent with civil, or at least with religious liberty. But this delusion cau
130 longer continue. To prove that the Catholic religion is con sistent with civil liberty, I appeal to Catholic Spain, where a Catholic soldiery joined a Catholic people to restore representative government; and succeeded in a glorious revolution, unstained on their part by a tear or a drop of blood. To prove that the Catholic religion is consistent with civil liberty, I appeal to Catholic Portugal, where again a Catholic soldiery joined a Catholic people, to enforce the justice of universal suffrage and representative government; and where, also, a bloodless and tearless revolution has been effectuated, of which all that we know is good, is excellent. I might appeal likewise to Catholic Naples, but that the Ireland of her connexion reminds me of my own trampled and heart-broken land, and makes me abandon an example honourable to my religion, because it excites feelings rendered too painfully familiar by the miseries of my native country.
“I need not recur to more ancient instances. I need not cite the first republics of modern Europe. The Catholic republics of Venice, of Genoa, of Lucca. I need not refer to the Catholic Cantons of Switzerland, which were all democratic, while the Protestant Cantons were all aristocratic. Nor need I recal to mind the present struggle for liberty and national independence through the wide-spread regions of South America. But when I contemplate ancient and modern days, I can proudly, but cordially and affectionately enter into a rivalry with Protestant lovers of freedom : and contend, as I do contend, that Catholics deserve the palm in the cheering struggles which nations have made, and which, thank God, the nations of the earth are now making for civil liberty.
“With respect to religious liberty, the case of the Catholics is, if possible, still stronger. It was a Catholio state that first proclaimed and established libcrty of conscience for all persuasions—the Catholic state of Maryland. It was a Catholic parliament that alone has granted full, free, unrestricted, and equalized emancipation to their Protestant fellow-countrymen-the Catholic diet of Hungary. It was a Catholic king that afforded the last instance of a similiar emancipation---the Catholic King of Bavaria. These iustances of Catholic liberality cannot be made too familiar to the minds of honest Protestants, whos ambition it ought to be to give reciprocal proofs of liberality and Christian charity. I would also remind such Protestants that the odious and execrable inquisition so long cherished by despotic monarchs, has been crumbled into dust by the Catholic people of Spain, the moment they had the power to crush it. I would remind then
that in France, a Catholic monarch, whose sincerity in the Catholic faith cannot be doubted, and who punctually hears mass every day, has for one of his ministers of state a Protestant gen. tleman, although that Protestant, if he were in England, could not fill the office of parish constable, without swearing that tho Mass was impious, and he who heard it an idolater. Finally, let
every Protestant recollect, that even in Rome itself, a Protestant Church has been erected, and that the Protestant worship is performed in Rome, as it were under the eye, and certainly by the permission of his Holiness the Pope himself.
“I will not, and I need not pursue this subject farther. Every unprejudiced man who will consider the subject dispassionately, must with me arrive at the conclusion, that the tenets of the Catholic religion are perfectly consistent with complete freedom of conscience, and that they assort kindlily and well with the best forms of civil liberty.
"I do not dwell upon these topics because of the melancholy pleasure I feel in contrasting our merits with our sufferings. I do not dwell upon them because of the honest pride I experience at the superiority in religious liberality and love of rational liberty, which belongs to the religion of your fathers and mine. I advert to them merely to show, that as Catholic degradation in Ireland is without a cause, so it also is without a remedy. Could that degradation be attributed to intemperance, we might hope for a mitigation of it by changing our manner, and becoming as gentle as sucking doves. Could that degradation be justified by offence or crime on our part--ihen, indeed, we might hope for relief by repentance, by atonement, by amendment. Had pot ancient and modern instances of the enthusiastic devotion of liberty to Catholics proved our fitness for freedom, we might still expect to win our way by declaring our attachment to the genuine principles of the constitution. Had not Catholics given not only the best and brightest, but almost all the examples of religious liberality hitherto known, we might flatter ourselves to succeed by solemn protestations, that the real doctrine of our A postolic Church disclaims all force or compulsion, and seeks for votarics, as the apostles did, by mere persuasion. But alas ! every hope, every expectation of this kind is now. useless. Our degradation is, I repeat it, without a remedy, because it is without a rational cause, or any reasonable pretence.
“ From our exertions we can expect no relief ; can we hope for any redress from parliament? In my conscience I think not whilst the parliament remains in its present most anunalous