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of implied criminality, which is more galling to a well-constituted mind, than any corporeal suffering,” is constantly present to our imaginations; we carry the mark of Cain upon our forehead; we drink the waters of bitterness in our journey through the desert; and though some of our fetters have been removed, the dishonourable traces which they imprinted, still remain, to bear false evidence against us.
We know it to be an incontestable truth, that the main edifice of the constitution of this country was the work of Catholic valour, talent, and perseverance; and yet we are doomed to be strangers to its benefits ; to hear the principle proclaimed and acted upon, every day, that Catholics are only known to the Constitution for the purposes of pains and penalties; (e) and that it is just and lawful to de
out one public occupation or one aspiring hope, in the midst of a busy and ardent-spirited people."--(Lord Nugent's Plain Statement, &c.)
(a) Witness, amongst others, the decisions, in 1825, of the Lords in council, upon the claims of the British Catholics for the restoration of their confiscated property, by which, though the money was actually paid by the Government of France, it was not permitted to reach its destination, under the plea that it would be employed in superstitious uses. It has since passed into a much more serviceable channel, forming a large item of the mysterious £250,000 which lately found its way, so opportunely, into
spoil us, in the land of our forefathers,of that sacred and glorious inheritance, which they so solemnly bequeathed, as his birth-right, to every free-born Englishman. We are worse than aliens in our native land, inasmuch as that an alien is under the protection of equal law, which we are not. If an alien be a delinquent, or a presumed delinquent, he is entitled to a trial by his peers, and half of those peers are his own countrymen, and of his own religion; whereas, our delinquency, imaginary as it is, is tried by men who have no fellow-feeling with us, and who convict us, upon evidence, collected, produced, and attested by themselves. We are condemned to endure the stings of insult and calumny, frequently without either the opportunity of reply, or the hope of redress by law. We are denied the privilege of the meanest malefactor, that of being confronted with
We are excluded from the places in which the most galling and most influential of the calumnies pronounced against us are uttered; and, if we dare to answer them elsewhere, our calumniators may sit in judgment upon us, and punish our audacity with imprisonment!!
When the country calls forth the Roman Catholic in her defence, his blood flows as freely
the hands of the Commissioners of Woods and Forests. For a fair statement of this grievance, see APPENDIX,
as that of his Protestant companion in arms; when our treasure is demanded, we give it in the same proportion as our more favoured fellow-subjects : but, when we ask for the same rewards, the same honours, the same privileges, the same rights,—we are repulsed with reproaches; we are rejected, as the refuse of a state which, but for her Roman Catholic subjects, might long since have been annihilated. Yes, it was Catholic blood which kept the ark of the country afloat in the deluge of perils from which we have but lately emerged, and in which, be it remembered, we may so soon be plunged again. What must be the natural consequences of such outrageous injustice, but to wean our affections,—not from our country,for our country we must ever love and cherish, out of respect and veneration for the memory of our ancestors, - but from the government and institutions under which we are doomed to live?
But we are weary of proclaiming .our grievances :-suffice it to say, that we are treated with an inhumanity and injustice, such as I hope clearly proves, and for the honour of human nature be it
(e) If, previous to any one engagement during the late glorious though disastrous war, either by sea or land, the Catholic soldiers or sailors had been withdrawn, no victory would ever have been obtained. Without Irish bravery and Irish blood, neither Nelson nor Wellington had ever worn a laurel.
spoken,) that our oppressors have neither any knowledge of us, or of our sufferings, of our principles, or of our services. We must look to other causes for such a state of things, than a mere love of oppression and cruelty in our rulers. It is ignorance and prejudice, faction and interest, which alone can uphold such a system of absurdity and tyranny. For faction and interest there can be no excuse, save the darkness with which these passions overspread the mind; neither is a voluntary and cherished ignorance less culpable in men, who use it as a weapon to inflict pains and penalties on millions of their innocent fellow-subjects. When an umpire is appointed to decide upon the most trivial affair between man and man, does he ever presume to do so, without a full and fair inquiry? Would he not consider it a flagrant injustice, to come to a decision upon partial or insufficient evidence? Yet here is a case, involving not only the well-being and prosperity of the whole empire, but, in a more intimate manner, affecting the rights, the properties, the reputation of seven millions of people; and yet both deliberative branches of the legislature,-almost without hesitation, certainly without adequate knowledge, or mature examination,-pronounce a verdict of guilty. It is wholly impossible, it is utterly inconsistent with the exercise of their rational faculties, that they can have duly weighed and
examined the question, and yet come to the decision which they do. The evidence is now so clear, so fully before the world, that whoever, in spite of it, shall shut his eyes to the light of justice, we must pronounce to stand convicted of an inveterate hardening of the heart, and a palpable blinding of the understanding. We must then conclude, that it is only by ignorance and prejudice, by faction and interest, that men are governed in this matter.
My object, therefore, is, as far as my humble endeavours may extend, to warn the thinking portion of the community from being misled by those false and malignant spirits who are so busy to poison the public mind against us ; who dress us up in a hideous garb, and put upon us all sorts of deformities of their own invention, till people believe us to be any thing but what, I trust, we really are. Likewise would I guard them against the injustice which we are doomed to suffer from ignorance and credulity; an injustice of which we have, perhaps, the most reason to complain, because it is the easiest to rectify.--While every other species of learning is pursuing a rapid and triumphant career-while the press teems, almost daily, with authenticated expositions of our doctrine--and while well-informed Catholics are to be met with at every corner, ready to give evidence of our faith, is it not too much to be reduced to the alternative, of being either neglected as unworthy of attention,