Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

to say,

of peti

forbade them to pray by proxy; it seemed passed, the Union, which gave rise to the

“come yourselves if you like ;present complaints of the Catholics, had come in

person

with
your

humble not taken place. The Convention Act “ prayers, but none of your praying by was intended solely to prevent the meet“ deputy.-To enforce this the go-ing of Delegates, bodies of whom were then vernment, on the 30th of July, issued a forming in Englaod and Scotland as well Proclamation forbidding the election of as in Ireland, and the main object of Delegates and also the meeting of such whom was a Reform in the Commons' persons as had been already chosen Dele- | House of Parliament. What has succeedgates, and calling upon all Magistrates, ed the passing of that Act we all pretty Sheriffs and others, to be aiding and as. well know; we see and feel the effects of sisting in the enforcement of such prohi. it and similar Acts daily, and hourly ; and bilion. Yet, notwithstanding this Pro we have, perhaps, only had, as yet, a mere clamation, the Committee met the next taste of those effects. But, what we have day, and passed Resolutions expressive of now to consider is, whether the Act in their decided opinion, that the Proclama question can be fairly construed to extend tion was contrary to law; but, it appears, to the present case. The Act says, that that, on the 8th of August, a warrant was the assembly shall be considered unlawissued by the Chief Justice of the King's ful, if it take place under prelence Bench, Downes, upon which warrant seve. tioning; and, therefore, if it can be proved, ral persons were taken up and carried ber thal there was no pretence at all in this fore him, who admitted them to bail to

case,

but that the object really was to prestand their trial for the offence alledged / pare and present a petition, I do not see against them. There appears to have how it is possible to inake it out that an been, at this beginning, only five persons assembly of the Catholics upon this occaarrested, namely, Edward Sheridan, Tho- sion was an unlawful assembly; and, if it mas Kirwan, Gregory Scurlog, H. Edmond was not unlawful before the proclamation Taaffe, and Dr. John Breen, the first for was issued, let it be well recollected, that being chosen a Delegale at a place called the issuing of the proclamation did not, and Liffy Street Chapel, and the viher four for could not make it so.- -The Convention acting as electors.Thus stands the Act was passed for the purpose of preventing matter at this time. The Catholics deny forced innovations : it was passed to prevent that the Proclamation is lawful. It has the people from choosing men, whose obbeen grounded, as the reader will see, ject, it was asserted, was to make great alteupon an Act passed in the year 1793 (the rations in the government. Now, willany famous year of the Autijacobin war), called one pretend to say that the Catholic dele. the Convention Act; and this Act, the Ca- gates come under this description. Their tholics say, does not forbid what they have object is, and long has been, well known; now been doing, and cannot be construed it has been clearly defined; every body to mean any such prohibition. -There understands 'it. The Catholic delegates are several lights in which this question is are merely the messengers from the seveto be viewed; and the first is, whether ral districts of the kingdom, bearing the the Proclamation be agreeable to law; or, people's wishes as to the petition. And, rather, what is the meaning of the law; let it be observed, that this petition has for, a Proclamation, not founded in law, in view, no alteration in Church or State. is no more than an old ballad or one of the It leaves the church and the state just as quack puffs that are handed out to people they now are. I prays, indeed, that the passing through Temple Bar. The Con- petitioners may be adinitted to partake in vention Act was intended to put an end to certain emoluments and honours, which the Societies formed and forming, in 1793, the government has to bestow : It prays for the purpose of procuring a Parlia- that the petitioners may be relieved from mentary Reform; but, it made" unlawful the odiuin of exclusion: it prays that they “ assemblies” of all meetings of persons, may be placed upon the same footing as who should be “elected by any part of tbe rest of their fellow subjects: and I “ the people, under pretence of petition. put it to any m 11 of common sense, whe“ ing for, 'or, in any other manner, pro- ther such a pemion can be said to concuring an alteration of matters estab template an alteration of matters estab“ lished by law in Church or State." lished by law in Church or State. I That this Act had not the Catholics in think that such a man will answer in the view is very plain; for, at the time it was negative; for, if this be not the case, whać

is there that we can petition about which tion, and those who oppose us, only wish may not be said to belong to matters to deprive us of the means of doing it. established by law, in Church or State? -But, the ministerial papers tell us ; It is well known that there are many they assert, and in the most unqualified German and Aristocratic French officers manner, that the professed object of the and also Dutch officers in our army. Catholics is not their real object; that There is an act of parliament that pro- the doors of the legislature are always vides that these men may serve and may open to them ; that their petitions have obtain high rank though they be Roman been received, and have been discussed Catholics. Now, shall it be said, that the with the utmost solemnity ; that emanciIrish; that any number of Irish Gentle- pation is of no more importance to them men, beeause they are met. for the pur- than a child's rattle, and that they say so; pose of framing a petition, praying that that they want a repeal of the Union, a they may be placed upon a' footing not popish parliament, separation from Great less favourable than these Germans and Britain, and, perhaps, other connections ; Frenchmen; shall it be said that such a “ these objects,” say they, “ if you will meeting of Irish Gentlemen, aims at an “ but sit quietly by while we pursue, alteration of inatters established by law, “ will render vs indifferent as to Catholic in Church or State? Shall it be said “ emancipation. Such is the language of tbat they are an unlawful assembly? -It “ the Catholics." -Such is not the lanwas seen, at the time of passing the Cow guage of the Catholics, and all these asservention Act, that it might be said to be tions, so boldly made in the Courier of the intended to stifle all, petitioning at once ; 13th instant, are just so many base and and, therefore, a clause was introduced, atrocious falsehoods. The same writer providing tbat the Act should not be con- says, that the real object of the Catholics strued, in any manner, to prevent or im- is to arm the people against the governpede the undoubted right of his Majesty's ment, and, in short, to rouse the country subjects to petition him or the Houses of to rebellion. The man who writes this Parliament for a redress of any public or knows it to be false ; but he knows that it private grievance. Yet, we see, that now is likely to answer his purpose, namely this Act is made use of for the purpose of that of awaking the old prejudices in the preventing the Catholics of Ireland from minds of some classes of the people in porsuing those means which, they assert, England and Scotland, who, it must be are absolutely necessary to come at a full confessed, have been but too ready to and fair expression of their wishes. Inevery listen to accusations such as are here precase of this sort the success of a petition sented, and thereby to prevent the adopmust evidently depend, not only upon tion of those measures which have, so the numbers of the petitioners, but, upon long, been necessary to the real union, the their unanimity also. And how, I should strength and the happiness of the kingdom. be glad to know are the numbers or the -Yet, as if it were to be taken for wishes of the Irish Catholics to be fully granted, that the Catholics of Ireland ascertained, except by the means of dele- really wish for a separation from England gates, or persons under some other name, and a connection with France, the same appointed for the purpose of bringing writer goes on to observe, that he need those numbers and those wishes to one not wish them a severer punishment than point? The opponents of Parliamentary they would meet with in the accomplishReform. have often urged upon us, that ment of their wishes. It is hardly posthere are no petitions; that the people do sible to conceive any thing more unjust, not want a Reform, if they did they would any thing more injurious than these ask for it. But, is it not manifest, that, in charges against the Catholics. Herein, order to collect the wishes of a whole peo- however, the Catholics have a lesson : ple, you must form in the first place some they will now see that there is nothing to thing of an elective body. They call exempt them, so long as they have comout to us for petitions ; but, the moment plaints to make, from the lot of all others any one sets about the only mode of colo who venture to complain of grievances ; lecting them, he is acting unlawfully, and which lot invariably is, to be accused of must abide by the consequences. We partiality for the enemy, of designs to are thus placed in a situation like that of overturn the settled order of things, of a poor Sancho at the Banquet. We, like the wish to produce confusion and bloodshed, Irish Catholics, have free liberty to peti- and, in short, of being the worst of sub

jects and the worst of men. -After these enemy to invade that country. Oh! says false and base accusations against the he, this will not do. And yet I must not principal persons amongst the Catholics, suppress my accusations. I will, thereihis writer turns round and pays his court fore, make a distinction between these to the mass of the Irish people. o We Catholic leaders and the Catholics in ge“except” says he, “ the great mass of the neral; and I will say that these latter “ Irish people from any participation in hate Buonaparté and love the present “ such wishes. They know that shey are order of things; and thus I shall counter“not restricted in the exercise of their act the dangerous tendency of my former " religion, that they are not prevented assertions. But he did not perceive that “ from the right of petitioning; they re. what he was doing for this purpose, was “ main calm and tranquil, because they completely at variance with every word “ do not want the blessings of Buona. that he hail said in defence of measures in “parté's system; because they do not Ireland, and that all the aid he was giving “ desire to make common cause with these to those measures was to prove, that one “who wish for separation from England of their advocates at least, was amongst “ and connection with France." -Well, the most foolish as well as the most base now, if this be true, what an argument is of mankind.--I cannot quit this part of here, against the measures which have the subject, without observing upon the been recently adopted in Ireland. We are effect which is likely to be produced upon here told that the mass of the people in the mind of the enemy, by the circumthat country know that they are not re stance of there being a prohibition in any stricted in the exercise of their religion, part of this kingdom, against the people that they enjoy the full right of petition, meeting together for any purpose, not in. that they desire no separation from Eng cluding positive breaches of the peace. Such land and no connection with France, that prohibition must be necessary or unnecesthey are too wise to want any of the bless- sary: if the latter, I need noi characterise ings of Buonaparte's system; and that, the conduct of the government that lays therefore, they remain calm and tranquil. such prohibition; and if the former, what

-Do they so indeed ? And is this their must be the state of the country, what way of thinking? If this be true, why are must be the disposition of the people, and you afraid to let them meet together? how heavily must the fact weigh against What danger could possibly arise from us in all the calculations of the enemy and their assembling? Nay, thoa base and of the world! If the people have no reavenal man, why do you suppose, that they son to complain ; if they be contented; would meet at all? If this, which you if they have reason to be contented; if have given, be the true character of the this be the case, what reason, is there, let thoughts and the views of the mass of the me ask, to be afraid of their assembling people in Ireland, how is it possible that together? When men think rightly we the peace of the country should be en. all know how much more strongly they dangered by any calls made upon those feel, in consequence of communications people for any purpose whatever, much with one another: we all know the power. less for the purpose of choosing delegates ful effect of public assemblies; and why to be the bearers of their sentiments and should not the government avail itself of their wishes; and which delegates would, the benefit naturally arising from this of course, be such men as were conspicuous source? If the people be not unanimous for their hatred of the system of Buona- in sentiment of approbation of the governparté, for the abhorrence of a separation ment, still, if there be a majority of them from England, and their still greater ab. of that description, the government has horrence of a connection with France? nothing to fear from assemblies of the

-Thus is this vender of falsehoods people, unless we can suppose that in this convicted out of his own lips.

case, contrary to what happens in all other it always happens to those who have cases in the world, the majority is to yield not truth for their guide. This writer to the sentiment and wish of the minority. looking back upon the former part of So that, it may, I think, be taken for his Article, perceived, that its natural granted, that when the government has tendency was to cause it to be believed recourse to prohibitions against popular that rebellion was a prevalent desire in assemblies, the conclusion to be drawn is, Ireland; and that, in fact, he had been that it feels a consciousness of the existwriting and publishing an invitation to the ence of that which this venal writer is not

But so

willing to allow as existing in Ireland at | tem, so fatal to England; but, at the same : this time.--Turn the matter on which time, I must found my judgment upon side we will, it is, at any rate, impossible " the evidence of facts;" I must refer to to avoid seeing, that Ireland, from one my senses when I would say what I do, or cause or another, is fai from being in a do not, believe; and, if they bid me bestate such as a real lover of barmony and lieve a thing, I am a hypocrite if I say peace could wish; and, let me ask those that I believe the contrary.. -There has, who are continually telling us of the dis- for some time past, evidently been a suscontents amongst the subjects of Napoleon, picion growing up amongst the Whigs, what they would say, what hopes they that the Prince had abandoned them, and would express, what exultation we should taken to their opponents, not only in form hear from them, if events were to take but in substance; that is to say, that he place in Alsace, in Provence, or even in had, after all, given the preference to Mr. Italy or Holland, such as are now taking Perceval and his colleagues, and that, in place in Ireland ? I have not the least case of his father's death, he meant not to doubt that they would thereon found a change the ministry, and, of course, not to prediction of his overthrow, and of the change the system. The news-papers, in speedy deliverance of all Europe.--And favour of the Whigs, have very sedulously why, I ask for, perhaps, the hundredth endeavoured to persuade the public that time, should such events take place in that was not the fact; but that, on the con-Ireland ? What answer can any one give trary, the Prince still adhered to them; me to this question? Is it the fault of the that he suffered, indeed, the ministers to people ? Surely a whole nation can never do nearly what they pleased until the year be in fault for so many years together; of restriction was over; and that he longed and besides, if it be so, why are the peo- most impatiently for its being over, in ple not made a better people? It is not, order that he might avail himself of the moreover, our custom, when speaking of services of the Opposition. This has been rigid measures adopted towards his sub- the language of the prints devoted to the jects by our enemy, to ascribe the fault to Whigs; but, on this the Ministerial prints the people, whom we, and with good rea- bave put a flat denial. They have assert. son I believe, generally look upon as be- ed, that the Prince cordially liked his mis ing in the right. Be the fact, therefore, nisters; that he approved of all their meaas it may, we certainly shall have no rea sures ; and that he had no intention at all son to complain if the world mele us back of changing them, even in case of the our own measure of judgment, and look death of his father. -Between assertions upon the Irish Catholics as not being in so directly opposite, and yet equally pothe wrong.

-With this view of the mat- sitive, we must judge froin facts that are ter before us, it is natural for us to ask notorious and that neither party can deny. ourselves, when, oh! when, will any change -Now, what are these facts? First, as take place in the situation of Ireland ? And to the negative; we have not heard any this question naturally leads us to inquire, speech, any message, any expression what are the wishes of His Royal High of the Prince, conveying even a hint of ness, the Prince of Wales, now Regent of his impatience to get out of the hands the kingdom; what are his wishes upon of the present ministers. But, on the this important subject; because, upon that other hand, we have seen him make apmust depend, whether the Catholics have pointments, purely in his own gift, just any thing to expect or not, either now or in such a way as a man would have whenever a change shall take place as to made them, supposing him to be a cordial the possessor of the executive power. friend of the present ministers. I do not This is a question of very great conse allude to the appointment of the Duke of quence : it goes to a decision as to the fate York. That might, perhaps, be fairly asof the Catholics; and, indeed, it falls little cribed to mere fraternal feeling, and was, short of being decisive as to what the in my opinion, of very little consequence whole kingdom has to expect in future; to the nation; or, at least, not of sufficient in short, it goes nearly to settle the alla consequence to call off its attention from important point, namely, whether the many other objects. But, the appointPrince has, or has not, embraced the Pitt ment of the new Lord Melville to all the system of rule.--For my part, I am disa Offices held by the former one of that posed to believe that His Royal Highness name; this was a thing that gave me, I has not, and never will, embrace that sys- must confess, a shake as to my opinions

respecting the real politics of his Royal," was contrived since the days of MachiaHighness. It seemed to me to be some “ vel.When his Royal Highness the thing like shaking hands with the whole “ Prince of Wales accepted the Regency, set and the whole system, and especially as " he saw plain!y, that under the restricI saw, that, at the same time, several well-“ lions imposed on him it would be in knows adherents of the Prince were re “ vain to attempt any object of great and ceiving favonrs at the hands of the minis. " permanent national good; and wben, in ters.--Still, however, I might be de- “ addition to the nullity of bis situation, ceived; and I was very unwilling to ex « in point of power, the solemn and repress, or even hint, an opinion favouringiterated asseverations of the King's Phyihe idea of his Royal Highness having “sicians gave him reason to believe that been won over to the system; but, there - his Royal Father would speedily resume is no wisdom in shutting one's eyes and the Government, his Royal Highness ears, and, from what I see and hear, I ' naturally felt (as every man of sense felt must say, that there does not appear any “ for him), that it would be most unfair to good reason to suppose, that the ministers expect at his hands the immediate realiza. have, in hardly any instance, acted in op tion of those fond hopes, which his future positions to the wish of the Regent. The “ subjects had indulged on the prospect of contrary has been positively asserted by

“his accession to power.

His Royal the Morning Chronicle and as positively “ Highness relied on the justice of mandenied by the Courier; and this brings “ kind to perceive, that, in fact, he had not us more closely to the case of the Irish acceded io power, and that he had ob. Catholics, who, in all their poblications, "tained from Mr. Perceval nothing more have loudly boasted of having the Prince “ than the temporary administration of on their side, but who, as to this point es " some of the royal attributes. On this pecially, have been flatly contradicted by “ground he appears to have resolved, that the ministerial prints, who tell them, that " as he could execute nothing effectually, the Prince's opinion, respecting them,

“ it would be wiser not to attempt the erecuagrees with that of his ministers, and, in tion of any meusure of importance during short, that he is resolved to pursue the the restrictions.-His Royal Highness, system, which, under his Royal Father, “ therefore, determined to continue all has “ with the assistance of Divine Pro things in their place. He removed no “ vidence,” brought this nation into its Minister. He recommended no friend present safe, honourable and happy state. “ to the patronage of the King's Servants; In answer to assertions of this kind, the " and above all, he brought forward no meaMorning Chronicle of the 15th instant “ sures of his oxun.-Acting on this principublishes a very curious article. It is “ple fairly and honestly, his Royal Highvery clearly intended to make the public "ness had a full right to expect that the believe, that, as far as the Prince has Ministers, on their parts, should, at least, given his approbation to the measures meet him half way, and abstain from against the Catholics, he has been deceived " disturbing the existing state of things, into it; that there has been a sort of plot" by the obtrusion of any measures which against him ; but that, as yet, the plot has might have for their object, the not wholly succeeded. This article is very strengthening their own system of Gocurious and worthy of the greatest atten “vernment, in opposition to the known and tion. It may be looked upon as speaking, recorded principles of his Royal Highness. not what the Whigs themselves believe; “ Forbearance to this extent, however, by but what they would wish to believe, and, no means suited the views of Mr. Perat all events, what they would have the “ceval. “ To be thus,” he argued, “ is public believe.

-The writer is upon the nothing;, but to be sufely thus”-and subject of Ireland, and, after speaking of " he knew that he could not be "safely the disputed point relative to the in «" thus," unless he could contrive to make terpretation of the Convention Act, he such good use of his time during his possesproceeds thus : -“ It is not a dry sion of power, as either, by his representapoint of law, however, on which the « tions, to weaken the confidence of his Royal “ judginent of the public at the present Highness in the soundness of the Whig prin"moment requires so much to be enlight ciples which he had imbibed; or to induco jur ened. It is fit that they now attend to « him, by the force of circumstances, to consi\ the developement of one of the darkest der a perseveranee in the present system as e " and most artful political intrigues that ever “matter of necessity, even after the expiration

« ZurückWeiter »