« PredošláPokračovať »
diate se be tice."
the same time I believe that I speak those of the body to which I belong; at any rate, I am sure that what I have said, I have said in the sincerity of my heart
I have one word to offer upon a circumstance which is frequently advanced as a mark of the liberality of the times, and as a proof that the question of Catholic Emancipation is now permitted to stand upon its own merits, and to be decided by the unbiassed judgment of the public-I mean the neutrality of the Cabinet. This has long been a mere delusion, sounding plausible in theory, but absolutely contradicted in practice; since THE WHOLE of the Church patronage has ever been showered down exclusively upon the professors of ascendancy principles. For it cannot be supposed that it has all fallen by accident on those only, who see imminent danger to the Establishment in equalizing the distribution of civil rights throughout the country, and of satisfying all classes of the people, that they have no longer any thing to fear from ecclesiastical tyranny.
We know and for the honour of the Establishment be it said that
and which certainly is not calculated, either to promote dignity in the hierarchy, or respect towards it in the people.
individuals do exist in this kingdom in sufficient numbers, of irreproachable conduct, and of competent learning, to fit them for the most elevated order of the hierarchy, and yet believing that emancipation from civil thraldom would neither make Catholics nor dissenters more dangerous to the revenues of the Established Church; nay, who think that a generosity of conduct on her part, would altogether overcome the hostility of both. Is it therefore probable, that, while the existence of such men is known to all others, the first Lord of the Treasury alone should never be able to discover them? But, till he does accidentally light upon them, or, rather, till every vacant see be filled with a liberal candidate, until the episcopal bench be equally divided in opinion upon the question of emancipation, there can be no virtual neutrality in the Cabinet.
It is mere mockery to talk of the hopes of emancipation from the neutral qualities of the ministry, while we see every particle of Church patronage thrown with force into the scale against us, and while bigotry is still the chief climbing ladder to preferment; for it is now self-evident that the bishops, and the bishops alone, are the bar to our success. We are confident that it will soon appear that we have the House of Commons with us ;'") we have
(s) This prophecy has been happily fulfilled.
a decided majority amongst the Irish members ; we should even triumph in the Lords, if the bishops would but give us their six-and-twenty votes. We only ask them to repay in kind what twentysix Catholic peers so freely gave them, in 1661. They have enjoyed the fruits of this liberality for upwards of 150 years, without making any acknowledgment in return; and the repayment now, instead of costing them any thing, would be a gain to them, as well as to us. It would assure them a firm and lasting support, founded on the solid basis of reciprocal generosity. As it is, they provoke us to hostility, not only by a violent and ungenerous opposition as spiritual peers, but as spiritual pastors, by deserting their duty to their own people, to attend to us, who belong not to them ; — they abandon their flocks to the wolf, while they go in pursuit of an imaginary foe; they put on the helmet instead of the mitre,-sieze the lance in lieu of the crozier,—and the pulpit, which ought to breathe peace and charity, resounds with the
angry notes of war and slander.'')
(1) The subdued tone of most of the Prelates who took part in the late debate upon the Catholic question, and the absence, as far at least as I am acquainted, of all those virulent Charges, which, for so many years, have been considered the necessary and appropriate fruits of a diocesan visitation, are happy omens of coming liberality; and I sincerely trust, that a continuance of these signs willobli
Would it not much better accord with the vocations of their ministry, to strive more earnestly against that torrent of crime and immorality which is gaining so rapidly upon the country, than to terate the memory of the past from our recollection, or at least consign the circumstances which I have here stated to the keeping of history, to be noted only as beacons to warn us against a recurrence of that state of things which produced them. The question seems now to be narrowed to one of securities : but what security can be desired where there is no danger? When the union with Scotland admitted 45 Presbyterians into the Commons, and into the Peers, the outcry was, that the Church of England would be overthrown. The anomaly of Presbyterians legislating for an episcopalian Church, terrified the imaginations of the bigots of the day; but, so little were the prophecies of danger fulfilled, that these very men soon became a proverb in support of Church and State, and have so marvellously sustained this character ever since, that, to give dignity and independence to the Scottish peerage, it was thought adviseable to introduce a bill into parliament, during the last session, to render its representatives eligible for life! Where then is the justice or necessity of requiring securities from the Catholics which were not demanded of the Presbyterians ? The great objection to securities of any kind is, that they serve to mark us with suspicion, and to imply a danger which does not exist. If they go so far as to curtail us of our privileges, they become anomalies in the constitution; they will keep alive the remembrance of all our former wrongs, and form an after-piece to those very grievances, from which we are seeking to be wholly and entirely relieved.
waste their energies, as they do now, in a mad crusade against Catholics? It is a notorious fact, that the hostility of that portion of the people who are opposed to us, is to be ascribed almost entirely to the influence of the clergy; the apathy of those who are indifferent, proceeds from ignorance of Irish and of Catholic affairs; while we have good reason to hope that the great body of educated men are favourably inclined to emancipation, from policy as well as principle: and it is much more to the extension of this feeling that we must ultimately look for success, than to any pretended neutrality of the cabinet.(u)
(*) “ Unwillingly assenting to the fact, that no dissolution of this dangerous body (the armed Orangemen of Ireland) has ever been designed by his Majesty's gorernment, it is not easy to express our uneasiness at the arowal of a truth so ominous and unwelcome. We have long since affirmed, that in the northern yeomanry were to be found the chief incendiaries of the Orange faction ; and the thing is notorious every where. It may further be taken as a well-known fact, that few, if any, of the yeomen still embodied, are other than sworn Orangemen. Is it then, let us ask, the intention of our government, to arm an equal proportion of red-hot Catholics, reeking from the association, or from the simultaneous meeting rooms ?
And if such be not the ministerial purpose, where is the system of neutrality between factions where the even-handed justice where the equal favour to all the king's servants, whether