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The result had been, that Ireland must submit. But were we to had fallen into a state in which it destroy one part of the people by was impossible for it to remain; it rousing and inciting the other? must either advance or recede, for It was the duty of government all the ties, which held society to protect the whole, to ensure together, had been loosened or them the greatest degree of probroken. The only question, then, tection, and to give to the people which the government had to de- all the privileges they had a right termine was, whether it should to enjoy. attempt to forward or to throw To those who urged a dissoluback the improvement of the condi- tion of parliament, that the country tion of the people of Ireland. By might have an opportunity of exretracing our steps nothing could pressing its opinion upon the meabe done. A certain state of things, sure, it was answered, that parliaindeed, not deserving the name of ment, as it existed, was as capable society, might be maintained by of discussing this question now, as means of the sword, but such a any parliament had been at any frame of society could have no timeduring the last five and twenty analogy whatever to the British years; that this, like every other constitution. The only intimida- question, either of a foreign or dotion which ministers could be ac- mestic nature, was fit for the concused of yielding to, was the fear sideration of the House of Comof continuing such a state of things, mons at all times, when brought and aggravating all its evils by forward by any member of that gradual accumulation, instead of House; and that it was particularly restoring mutual good will, and the fit for their consideration, when it peaceful empire of the law. There came recommended from the throne was no other intimidation in exist

as necessary for the safety and the The

power of the Catholics peace of the United Kingdom. A was as nothing. No intimidation dissolution of parliament, said Mr. had been felt in Ireland ; an un- Peel, meant, that the Catholic Asarmed multitude afforded none, sociation and the elective franchise since, when measured against the should be left, as they were. If power of the state, its force was as parliament were to be dissolved, nothing. But when it was consi- the Catholic Association must be dered what effects might arise from left as it was ; for the law-officers disunion,—when it was considered of the Crown had declared that the that a spirit of resentment was common law was inadequate to growing up, which roused men suppress it; and being so left, it against each other, there did ap- would overturn the representation pear a kind of intimidation, of a of Ireland. Whatever majority nature which did not admit of being they might have from Great Bridespised; for no army could be tain, that majority would not justify effectual in putting down a system them in bursting asunder the ties of private outrage and revenge. between landlord and tenant in The Protestant body-at least the Ireland, and in strengthening the body which arrogated to itself that influence of the priesthood in that title--knew the enthralment under country. If eighty or ninety perwhich they had held the Catholics, sons were returned in the interest of and that an unarmed multitude the Catholic Association, and, form: Vol. LXXI.

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ing themselves into a compact and recorded the grievances committed united band, were determined night- against the liberties of the people ly to harass and oppose, how could by the preceding monarch, and the the government transact the affairsof remedies provided to prevent a reIreland? He knew that they could currence of them; and that it excarry the measures they proposedl; cluded from the throne any person but he knew also that no governs who should refuse to take the dement could carry on the local ad- claration which it contained, and ministration of Ireland, if they who should profess the popish rewere to be met by such a decided ligion. Such were the two disopposition at every turn. It had tinctions drawn in the Bill of been said, increase the army or Rights; but the indispensable artithe constabulary force in Ireland. cles of it related to the liberties so They could not apply a greater guaranteed to the people, and to force in Ireland. He would state the protection of the throne from one simple fact. Above five-sixths the intrusion of popery. All else of the infantry had been employed was mere machinery. The Bill of in conducting the government of Rights provided that the king should Ireland, not in repressing violence, make, subscribe, and audibly repeat, but chiefly in interposing between the declaration mentioned in the two hostile parties. There must, statute made in the 30th

year under such circumstances, be a re- the reign of Charles II.; and the action which would compel them allusion to that act showed, that it gradually to this alternative,- came within the contemplation of namely, instead of resting the civil those who were the authors and and social government on its base, promoters of the Revolution. If, to narrow it and to rest it on its apex. then, they had been of opinion, that Neither was there any thing pe- the exclusion of Roman Catholics culiar in the nature of the proposed from seats in parliament was as inmeasure to require a special appeal dispensable as the Protestant chato the people. It was incorrect to racter of the person who filled the represent it as a violation of the throne, how did it happen that constitution. That constitution there was no provision for the one, was not to be sought for solely when there was an express proviin the acts of 1688; its foundationssion for the other ? They found had been laid much earlier-laid no difficulty in saying, that, if the by Catholic hands, and cemented king should hold communion with with Catholic blood. But, even the church of Rome, or profess the taking the compact of 1688 to be popish religion, or marry a papist, the foundation of our rights and he should be excluded from the liberties, yet the most diligent throne ; and that, in such cases, opponent of the Catholic claims the people were absolved from their would be unable to point out in allegiance: and it would have been the Bill of Rights a single clause, just as easy, and, if they had enby which the exclusion of Roman tertained such an intention, it Catholics from seats in parliament would have been almost impossible was declared to be either a funda- for them to have omitted saying, mental or an indispensable princi- that every Roman Catholic should ple of the British constitution. It be prohibited from taking his seat was true that the Bill of Rights in either House of parliament, and that the consent of the king to his other conclusion, than that those admission should also be considered prayers, and the terms in which as a just cause for absolving the they were conveyed, had been sug, subject from his allegiance. gested by some common head and • To the objection that the mea.

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And what were the three sure now contemplated was uncon- securities prayed for? Why, the ditional concession concession first was, “ Put down the Catholic without a single security for the Association.” The second was, Protestant establishment-it was 'Correct the elective franchise of answered, that principles of exclu- Ireland." And the third was, sion were not the securities to which Abolish for the future the order the established religion either did of the Jesuits in this country.” trust, or ought to trust. The real Now the bill which he proposed securities of Protestantism would happened to contain all these seremain unaffected by the bill. curities. And if the necessity of They were to be found in the un. them were so great as the petialterable attachment of the peo- tioners contended they were, let ple, who, however much they might him be answered this question be divided on minor topics, would would the Protestants ever have had unite in resisting the errors of the least chance of obtaining them, popery. The safety of the church if his Majesty had not recommended did not depend on particular that the disabilities of the Catholics statutes, but on the combined force should be taken into consideration, of habits and circumstances, which with the view to an adjustment of were not to be shaken. The House this question ? Could any man say should look, too, at that great se- it was possible, though the unanicurity which they would derive mous voice of the Protestants of from the generous attachment of Ireland declared these securities to the people of Ireland, who, after be necessary, that any one of them nges of oppression, would now find could have been obtained unless a themselves restored to their place proposal of adjustment had been in society. Moreover, the se- made? curities, which the bill actually On a division, the motion was contained, were not, in the opinion, carried by a majority of 188; the at least, of the Protestants of votes being, 348 for the motion, Ireland, so nugatory as they were and 160 against it. This preponnow represented. Mr. Peel said, derance was manifestly decisive of that when he looked at the peti- the ultimate fate of the question, tions which had been sent from at least in the House of Commons; all parts of the country, he coul and its extent betrayed an over, not help observing one very ex. whelming weight of ministerial traordinary coincidence. These influence, which could scarcely fail petitions prayed for those securities, to be less successfully employed in and the prayers of them were the House of Peers. couched in terms so exactly similar, The country did not desert itself. whether they came from the county Though deprived of its accustomed of Wicklow, or from the county of leaders, at the very moment when Cork, or from the county of Armagh, their vigilance and energy were or from the county of Wexford, that most required, the public voice anit was impossible to arrive at any nounced itself in an expression

power. Sir

of decided opposition; and if a enemy. The changes, which rushed judgment was to be formed from upon the public eye, were astoundthe number of petitions, which be- ing. Those of men like Mr. Peel gan, so soon as the intention of were matter of melancholy seriousministers was known, to crowd the ness, because destructive of all pubtables of both Houses, the proposed lic confidence, and drawing with measure was one to which the them a practical revolution in the public mind of Britain was utterly system of government. The huraverse. Ministers did not attempt ried wheelings of the subaltern to deny the fact, and hence their performers, were the ordinary determination not to risk a new phenomena of official nature, and election. Hence, too, a determina- only excited a smile at the awktion to treat the petitioners with wardness with which the evolution as little respect as possible, to re- was sometimes performed. gard the petitions as impertinent But there were examples of and troublesome encroachments on change among men who ought to the time of an assembly, whose have stood aloof from the threats, as resolutions had been already taken. from the seductions, of Before the first reading of the bill, Thomas Lethbridge, one of the there had been presented nine Members for Somersetshire, had hundred and fifty-seven petitions attended a meeting of the county against the intended alteration, of Devon, held in the middle of and three hundred and fifty-seven in January, to petition against farits favour. The former were uni- ther concessions to the Catholics. formly spoken of with pity, as He had there been the organ of expressions of well-meaning but most obstinate and enthusiastic reignorant prejudice, or with indig- sistance to their demands. On the nation as the result of persecuting 6th of February, after the royal illiberality and knavish contrivance. speech, he had announced that his It is quite true that such modes of opinions were unchanged. In the expressing opinion always admit beginning of March he now read the expression of a great deal of his recantation, and announced all opinion which is entitled to little at once, that the plan of ministers weight: but then the very same was wise, patriotic, and excellent in facilities exist on both sides; no

Announcements like deduction is to be made from the these were received with shouts one, which is not, on the same of laughter by the House, and grounds, to be made from the other; with utter loathing by the country. and, after all proper subtractions, The House having gone into the fact remained, that the mea- committee, and agreed to certain sure which was now to be forced resolutions, a bill, in conformity, upon the country was odious to was directed to be prepared. It the great majority of its Protestant was brought in by Mr. Peel on the population. But in parliament 10th of March, when it was read a they were without leaders of weight first time. The opponents of the and reputation; all the talkers measure allowed the first reading

the other side ; their to take place without opposition, it orators and influential men had being arranged that the debate on wheeled round at the word of their the principle of the bill should captain, and joined the ranks of the take place on the second reading.

all its parts.

were

on

That reading was fixed for the said, in the debate on the motion for 17th, notwithstanding the oppo- a committee, that " It was better sition of the anti-catholic members, to get on with the measure than to who insisted that a week was too argue about it ; that action, not short a period to allow the country talking, was to be looked to."-In to form an opinion on the bill, truth, the inefficiency of the antiafter it should have been printed, catholic population of Britain conand its details known. It was an- sisted in their very quietude. If, swered, that only the general prin- instead of confining their expression ciple of the bill was to be then of opinion to petitions, they had decided: the details would remain followed the example of the Cathofor discussion in committee: that lics of Ireland, and addressed to delay was sought only to rouse

Ministers the same argument of the prejudices, and inflame the “agitation" which had been so efpassions of the people ; and that, fective in the hands of the Associaconsidering the state of excitation tion, their opinions would have in which the public mind already come in that form, which, when was, it would be desirable to allay adopted on the other side, ministers the agitation, by settling the ques- allowed to be legitimate and irtion with all possible speed. Sir resistible. Francis Burdett, in fact, had already

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