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stato. Indeed, I have arrived at the most perfect conviction, that it is the extreme of folly and absurdity, to imagine that an unreformed parliament would or could consent to give us relief.
“ Upon principle, the present parliament cannot give us relief—for two reasons, first, because by emancipating the Catholics of Ireland, they would destroy the system by which the present ministry govern Ireland—the system of dissension and division, the weakening of all by preventing any constitutional combination or rational cohesion, for the purposes of opposing misrule. Secondly, because to grant us emancipation, would be to extení the sphere of civil liberty, and the alchymists who expected to extract the most precious metals from the dross of the lowest minerals, were sapient beings when compared with the drivellers who could believe that they were to receive the fine gold of liberty from the dregs of the existing administration.
“Let us, however, quit all theoretic views, and come to a closer examination of our prospects. If we do so, the first object that presents itself to us, is the causeless rejection, so often repeated, of our petitions—all the arguments—all the talent was with us—a few often refuted assertions—a few stale calumnies, exploded everywhere else, and a majority of each house was against us.
“This is the first fact to prove that it is hopeless to continue our petitions to an unreformed parliament. The next is, that such rejections took place, although our advocates in the House of Commons did latterly tender the ministers the veto, as a valuable consideration for a relief bill. Now, that tender was mado not only without our conserit, but amidst our recorded and repeated disapprobation—and such tender cannot, I will add, shall not, be renewed. Neither Mr. Plunket, nor Mr. anything else, shall again offer a veto without a prompt and unequivocal disavowal—a disavowal which will be followed by a Catholic petition against receiving emancipation upon any such terms. On this point, I will not, I cannot, enter into any compromisc. Being a Catholic in the most perfect sincerity of belief, I do, in my conscience, and in the presence of my God, believe that any species of vetoistical interference would be equally injurious to my religion, as destructive of civil liberty in Ireland. this conviction on my mind, all my most strenuous exertions shall be used to disavow, to complain of, I must say, to denounce every person who may seek to obtain for us civil privileges, by a sacrifice of the safety of our religion. But, my fellow-countymen, if the parliament rejected our petitions, even whilst
rur advocates offered to extend ministerial influence and courtly patronage over another Church, what prospect or possibility is there that a parliament, composed of the same unconstitutional inaterials, will grant us redress, when we disdain and utterly reject that influence and that patronage ? Certainly none.
“ The third fact to prove that an unreformed parliament will not grant us relief, is to be found in the history of the last sessions. A period had arrived most auspicious to our interestií, The ministers had resolved to commit themselves with the British people, by the prosecution of her majesty the queen. They could not but be conscious of the perfect injustice of that proceeding--they could not but know the odium which must be excited among such a people as the English, at the palpable iniquity of any men, combining the inconsistent characters of prosecutors and judges. It required but little intellect to perceive how revolting to common sense, to common reason, to common honesty, such a combination must be. A man has only to place himself in the situation of being prosecuted, with a certainty that his prosecutors shall also be his judges. Cay anything be more frightful? The ministers knew it well-then also felt what little reliance was to be placed on the discarded servants, the prostitutes, and all the vulgar rabble of Italian witnesses, which the Milan inquisition had raked together. Tho ministers knew their danger, and yet, with a desperate tenacity of place, persevered.
" At such a moment as this, the Catholies, resolved to renew their petition. It was a golden, although not a glorious opportunity. I acknowledge that their conduct was not generous, but it was very natural. They did, accordingly, prepare petitions, and Lord Donoughmore, as a matter of course—and Mr. Plunket, by a strange combination of accidents were requested to present those petitions.
“ It is true these petitions were not rejected, but they were worse they were not received. The House of Lords was not in a temper to hear us.
That noble assenubly which could listen for veeks with a gloating satisfaction to the obscene details of a Delpont or a Majocchi, had not one leisure hour to throw away on the claims and rights of five millions of Catholics. Lord Doppughmore, and his sincerity to the Catholics cannot be doubted, therefore declined presenting our petition to the Lords. Thus, in that house, has the best opportunity I have ever known of pressing emancipation on the ministry, been thrown away and lost for ever.
“ The House of Commons was ready enough to adjourn from week to week at the convenience of the ministry; but they could uot, it seems, spare any one of their idle days to hear the prayers of an injured people. Mr. Plunket, accordingly, refused to preseni our petition at that period to the House of Commons, and thus again was lost the most favourable opportunity for our claims which has appeared in modern times.
"Thus have the last sessions passed away, and it only remains Sur us to consider what course is now to be taken. I have heard it said, that our last petition not having been presented still remains, and should be brought before parliament in the next sessions; that I totally deny. Of the ni-nerous persons who signed that petition, some must be dead. Is it the petition of the dead men ? Many have left Ireland—isit the petition of the absent and uninterested ? Very many have changed their minds on the subject, and would not now concur in that petition. I am one of the number. Is it now my petition or the petition of those who think with me? We totally disclaim it. Besides, our resolution, when that petition was prepared, was, that it should be forthwith, or immediately presented, I forget which was the word. It was prepared for a particular occasion; that occasion has gone by, and, with the petition of last sessions, has passed for ever.
“At the time we prepared that petition, there were six of the cabinet ministers in our favour against seven. The resignation of Mr. Canning has reduced the number of our side to five, and if his substitute, as is likely, be from the No popery faction, then the numbers of the cabinet will be eight to five against giving us any relief upon any terms.
“ The advice which I do, therefore, submit to you, my countrymen, with respectful deference, is this, to petition an unreformed parliament no more for those rights which it has refused 50 often and so causelessly, and which it will not, it cannot, it, I may say, dare not grant. The time is arrived when we should be weary of being amongst those
• Who yearly kneel before their masters doors,
It is useless, it is worse than useless, to petition a parliament of virtual representatives for liberty ; we should be again rejected und mocked by the trickery of a debate--and insulted by an unreasoning majority.
“But shall I be asked, if I advise you to lie down beneath your grievances in sullen silence and despair. No, my countrymen
2), we will not, we ought not despair. There is a restless spirit of liberty abroad, which, if it will submit to just, necessary, and temperate regulation, must lead to good. Let us not disturb its course, or retard its progress.
“If we continue our Catholic petitions, we shall continue the dissensions and divisions of our country—we shall perpetuate those distractions which alone have weakened Ireland and laid her prostrate. By continuing our separate and exclusive la. bour3, we do the work of our worst enemies, and keep up a per. petual line of distinction-a constant wall of separation between sects and parties in Ireland. Let us rather endeavour to amalgamate the Catholio, the Protestant, the Presbyterian, the Dissenter, the Methodist, the Quaker, into the IRISHMAN-and, forgetting our own individual wrongs, let us call upon Irishmen of every description to combine in a noble struggle for the natural and inherent rights of our now wretched country.
“ Let that struggle be confined within the most peacable and constitutional limits. Let it have for its object the restoration of the constitution and for its sole guide, the principles of the constitution; in a word, join heart and hand in the pursuit of constitutional reform.
“ Believe me, my countrymen, they calumniate the reformers, who tell you that the reformers are enemies of the monarch or of the throne. The direct contrary is the fact. The reformers are the best guards of the monarchy. They know that an hereditary monarchy gives a principle of fixity to executive power, which affords the best and most secure protection against those convulsions which endanger life, and confound property. The reformers are, therefore, on principle, the firm supporters of the throne, and one of their greatest and dearest objects is to rescue the Crown from the thraldom in which it is now held by that borough-mongering faction, which, by domineering over both houses of parliament, holds the ministry in vassalage and the king in chains.
“Let our future purpose be the abolition of that faction which has plunged these countries in war, in debt, in distress, and involved Ireland in all the miseries of the Union. Let us not enter into any quarrels as to the particular mode of reform ; but let us be always governed by that principle of the constitution which justifies taxation upon the grounds of consent; every man being supposed to consent to a tax by his representative. So mat without a solecism in constitutional law, no man should be axed who is not represented. This principle is plain and simu
ple; it accords with justice and common sense, and will never be forgotten by men who deserve to be free.
"Such my fellow-countrymen, is the advice of one of your. selves for the benefit of us all
. It may be mistaken—it certainly is honest and disinterested and flows from a heart warm with the love of its country and its kind, and devoted to the rights and liberties of Ireland-old Ireland.
“ I have the honour to be, Fellow-Countrymen,
" DANIEL O'CONNELL.”
"'pon this letter, Mr. Shiel published, a few days after, the following
“ ANSWER TO MR. O'CONNELL'S ADDRESS,
« BY MR. SHEIL.
“TO THE CATHOLICS OF IRELAND. “Mr. O'Connell has published his accustomed annual invo cation at the commencement of the New Year. To demonstrate the fallacy of his reasoning, and to point out the pernicious tendency of his advice, is my object in addressing you. The concern of every Roman Catholic in our national cause supersedes the sensitiveness with which, upon ordinary occasions, an individual ought to shrink from the public contact. To Mr. O'Connell's address is annexed the authority of his name. I trust that I shall be able to supply any absence of comparative personal importance upon my part by the weight of argument and of fact ; and from the high sense which I entertain of Mr. O'Connell's uthority, I cannot rcfrain from making use of it against himself
"Nil æquali homini fuit illi.' I shall state to you the substance of his letter, as well as it can be reduced to coherence and shape. This annual eruption, in which he has flung out such a flaming fragment of declamation, is accompanied with a considerable obscuration, arising from the shower of volatile opinion with which it is attended, nor is it easy to analyse the lava which is compounded out of such a variety of heterogeneous materials.
Upon his preliminary observations on our grievances, no comment is necessary ; suffice it to say, that they are written with feeling and force. Did he contine himself to such exercitations