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PARL. DEBATES, MAY 13, 1805.-on the Roman Catholic Petition.
king. I must protest against the truth of this position; the laws, virulent as they were, and mitigated as for the last seventeen years they have been, the people better than the laws, never could have produced that mischief; against such a position I appeal to the conscious persuasion of every Irishman. We will put it to an issue: the present chief governor of Ireland is both an Englishman and the representative of English government; I will ask the hon. gentleman whether the Irish hate him? If I could believe this position, what could I think of the protestant ascendancy, and what must I think of the British connection and government, who have been for six hundred years in possession of the country with no other effect, according to this logic, than to make its inhabitants abhor you and your generation? But this position contains something more than a departure from fact; it says, strike France; strike, Spain; the great body of the Irish are with you:" it does much more,
king; he does not say every catholic, for then he would include the English catholics and those of Canada; nor does he say every Irishman must hate the king, for then he would include every protestant in Ireland. The cause of the hatred is not then in the religion nor in the soil it mut be then in the laws, in something which the protestant does not experience in Ireland, nor the catholics in any country but in Ireland; that is to say, in the penal code. That code then, according to him, has made the catholics enemies to the king: thus has he acquitted the catholics, and convicted the laws. This is not extraordinary, it is the natural progress of a blind and a great polemic. Such characters begin with a fatal candour, and then precipitate to a fatal extravagance, and are at once undermined by their candour, and exposed by their extravagance: so with the member, he hurries on he knows not where, utters he cares not what, and is equally negligent of the grounds of his assertions, and their ne-it attempts to give them a provocation; it cessary inferences. Thus when he thinks teaches you to hate them, and them to think he is establishing his errors, unconsciously so; and thus falsehood takes its chance of and unintentionally he promulgates truth; generating into a fatal and treasonable truth. or rather, in the very tempest of his speech, The hon. gentleman having misrepresented Providence seems to govern his lips, that the present generation, mistates the conduct they shall prove false to his purposes, and of their ancestors, and sets forth the past rebear witness to his refutations. Interpret bellions as proceeding entirely from religion. the gentleman literally, what blasphemies I will follow him to those rebellions, and has he uttered? He has said that the catholic shew, beyond his power of contradiction, religion, abstracted as it is at present in Ire- that religion was not, and that proscription land from popery, and reduced as it is to was, the leading cause of those rebellions. mere catholicism, is so inconsistent with the The rebellion of 1641, or let me be controduties of morality and allegiance, as to be a verted by any historian of authority, did not very great evil. Now, that religion is the proceed from religion; it did proceed from christianity of two thirds of all Christendom; the extermination of the inhabitants of eight it follows then, according to the learned doc- counties in Ulster, and from the foreign and tor, that the christian religion is in general a bigoted education of the catholic clergy, and curse. He has added, that his own coun- not from religion. The rebellion of the pale trymen are not only depraved by religion, (for it was totally distinct in period or cause but rendered perverse by nativity; that is to from the other) did not proceed from relisay, according to him, blasted by their Crea-gion; loss of the graces; they resembled tor, and damned by their Redeemer. In your petition of right, except that they emorder, therefore, to restore the member to braced articles for the security of property; the character of christian, we must re-disarmament of the catholics, expulsion of nounce him as an advocate, and acknow- them in that disarmed state from Dublin; ledge that he has acquitted the catholics many other causes,--order for the execution which he meant to condemn, and convicted of certain priests. You will not forget there the laws which he meant to defend.--But was an order to banish their priests in James though the truth may be eviscerated from the the First's time, and to shut up their chapels -whole of the member's statement, it is not to in Charles the First's. These were the be discerned in the particular parts; and causes. There was another cause: you <therefore it is not sufficient to refute his ar- were in rebellion, Scotland was in rebellion! guments, 'tis necessary to controvert his facts. There was another cause, the Irish governThe catholics of Ireland, he says, hate the ment was in rebellion; they had taken their protestants, hate. the English, and hate the part with the republicans, and wished to
923] PARL. DEBATES, MAY 13, 1805.-Mr. Fox's Motion for a Committee
draw into treason the Irish freeholders, that that against evidence by which that vilest with the forfeiture of another's rebellion caitiff would be acquitted, against the autho they might supply their own. I go back rity of four acts of parliament; the act of with concern to those times: I see much 1778, which declares their loyalty for a long blood, no glory; but I have the consolation series of years, that of 1782, that of 1792, to find that the causes are not lodged in the and that of 1793; and farther against the religion or the soil, and that all of them but declared sense of government, who, in the the proscriptive cause have vanished. I fol-year 1762, proposed to raise four catholic relow the member to another rebellion, the giments, because the catholics had proved which should properly be called a civil war, their allegiance; and against the authority not a rebellion; it proceeded from a com- of the then Irish primate, who supported bination of causes which exist no longer, that measure, and in his speech on that suband one of those causes was the abdicating ject, assigns as his reason, that, after his peking at the head of the catholics, and ano-rusal of Mr. Murray's papers, nothing apther cause was the violent proscription car-peared against the Irish catholics of any ried on against the catholics by the opposite connection whatsoever with the rebellion of and then prevailing party. These causes are that period. The member proceeds to the now no more; or will the member say there rebellion of 1798, and this he charges to the is now an abdicating prince, or now a popish catholics; and against his charge I appeal to plot, or now a pretender? There are causes, the committee of the Irish house of commost certainly, sufficient to alarm you, but mons in 1797, in which it sets forth the revery different, and such as can only be com- bel muster, containing 93,000 northerns enbated by a conviction that, as destinies are rolled in rebellion, and all the northern now disposed of, it is not the power of the counties organised. At the time in which catholics which can destroy, or the exclusion the committee of the house of commons of the catholics which can save you. The states the rebellion of the north, the disconclusion I draw from the history above al-patches of government acknowledged the alluded to, is very different from that drawn legiance of the south. To those dispatches by the member, and far more healing; con- I appeal, written at the time of Hoche's proclusions to shew the evils arising from fo- jected invasion, and applauding the attachreign connections on one side, and from do- ment and loyalty of the southern counties, mestic proscription on the other. If all the and their exertions to assist the army on its blood shed on these occasions; if the many march to Cork to oppose the landing of the fights in the first, and the signal battles in French. If you ask how the rebellion spread, the second period, and the consequences of and involved the catholics, I will answer and those battles to the defeated and the trium- tell you, that as long as the proscriptive sysphant, to the slave that fied, and the slave tem continues, there will be in our country that followed, shall teach our country the a staminal weakness, rendering the distemwisdom of conciliation, I congratulate her pers to which society is obnoxious, not only on those deluges of blood: if not, I submit, dangerous, but deadly. Every epidemic disand lament her fate, and deplore her under-case will bring the chronic distemper into standing, which would render not only the action. It is the grapestone in the hand of blessings of Providence, but its visitations death, which strikes with the force of a fruitless, and transmit what was the curse of thunderbolt. If you have any apprehension our fathers as the inheritance of our children. on this account, the error is to be found in The learned gentleman proceeds to mis- yourselves; in human policy, not in relitate a period of 100 years, namely, the cen-gion; in the fallibility of man, not of God. tury that followed the revolution, and this If you wish to strip rebellion of its hopes, he makes a period of open or concealed re- France of her expectations, reform that pobellions. The sources of his darkness and licy; you will gain a victory over the enemy misinformation are to be found in history when you gain a conquest over yourselves. and revelation. Of his charges against that But I will for a moment accede to the memperiod he brings no proof; none of those on ber's statement against facts and history : the same side with him can bring any. They what is his inference? during one hundred heard from such a one, who heard from such years of the proscriptive system, this state a one I neither believe them nor such a has been in imminent danger: therefore, one, and I desire so many generations may adds he, continue the system; here is the not be convicted on evidence that would not regimen under which you have declined. be admitted against the vilest caitiff; and persevere. But the member proceeds to ob
serve, that you cannot hope to reconcile | racters from a court press; so that the averwhom you cannot hope to satisfy; and he sion of the Irish government stood in the instances the repeal of the penal code. I place of disqualification by law, and the hosdeny the instances: the repeal in 1778 and tility of the Irish minister succeeded to the 1782 did reconcile and did satisfy; and ac- hostility of statute. The catholics, some of cordingly you will find that the Irish catho- them I know, thought so, and there are genEcs in 1779, 1780, 1781, and 1782, were ac- tlemen now in parliament to whom they tive and unanimous to repel the invasion communicated their sentiments, that they threatened at that time, when the French would prefer their situation before the repeal rode in the Channel, and Ireland was left to of 1793, to the situation which followed; the care of 6000 regulars, and was only de- inasmuch as they experienced in the then fended from invasion by the spirit and loyalty Irish government a more deadly and more of the catholics, in harmony and in arms active enemy than before they had expewith their protestant brethren. The repeal rienced in the law. I refer to the speeches of a principal part of the penal code, in delivered and published at the time by the 1793, did not reconcile, and did not satisfy: ministers and servants of the Irish govern◄ it was because the Irish government of that ment, and persisted in and delivered since. time was an enemy to the repeal and to the There you will see an attack on all the procatholics, and prevented the good effects of ceedings of the Irish from the time of their that measure. That government, in the address for free trade, such as were glorious summer of 1792, had sent instructions (I as well as those that were intemperate; know the fact to be so) to the grand juries, without discrimination or moderation: there to enter into resolutions against the claims of you will see the Irish ministry engaged in a the catholics. Their leading minister op- wretched squabble with the catholic composed himself at one of the county meet-mittee, and that catholic committee replying ings, and took a memorable post of hostility on that ministry, and degrading it more and publicity. When the petition of the ca- than it had degraded itself; and you will tholics was recommended in the king's further perceive the members of that minis speech in 1793, the Irish minister answered try urging their charges against the members the king, and with unmeasured severity at- of that committee, to disqualify other cathctacked the petitioners. When the bill in- lies who were not of the committee, but optroduced in consequence of his majesty's re- posed it: so that by their measures against commendation was in progress, the same the one part of the catholics, and their inminister, with as unmeasured severity, at- vective against the other, they take care to tacked the bill, and repeated his severity alienate, as far as in them lay, the whole against the catholics. When the same bill body. The fact is, the project of conciliaof reconciliation, in consequence of the re- tion in 1793, recommended in the speech commendation and reference of the petition, from the throne, was defeated by the Irish was on its passage, the Irish government at- cabinet, which was at that time on that subtempted to hang the leading men among ject in opposition, and being incensed at the the petitioners, and accordingly Mr. Bird British cabinet for the countenance afforded and Mr. Hamil were by these orders indict- to the catholics, punished the latter, and ed for a capital offence, I think it was de- sowed those seeds which afterwards, in confenderism; and so little ground was there junction with other causes, produced the refor the charge that those men were triumph-bellion.-I leave the member, and proceed antly acquitted, and the witnesses of the to discuss the differences now remaining that crown so flagrantly perjured, that the judge, discriminate his majesty's subjects of the I have heard, recommended a prosecution. protestant and catholic persuasion. Before These were the causes why the repeal of we consider how far we differ, it is necessary 1793 did not satisfy; and in addition to to examine how far we agree. We acknowthese, because the Irish government took ledge the same God, the same Redeemer, care that the catholics should receive no be- the same consequences of redemption, the nefit; therefore, opposing these with their same Bible, and the same Testament. known partisans and dependents in the cor- Agreeing in this, we cannot, as far as reporation of Dublin, when they sought for spects religion, quarrel about the remainder, the freedom of the city, seldom giving any because their merits as christians must in our office (there are very few instances in which opinion outweigh their demerits as catholics, they got any) in consequence of the act of and reduce our religious distinctions to a difparliament, and always attacking their cha- ferenc about the encharist, the mass, and
the Virgin Mary, matters which may form a ing the consequences of its own policy in difference of opinion, but not a division of the re-action of its own bad passions on itinterests. The infidel under these circum-self. I am to add the mischief done to the stances would consider us as the same reli- peace of the country, when the spirit of gionists, just as the French would consider religious discord descends to the lower order you, and cut you down, as the same com- of people, and the holiday becomes a riot : munity. See whether we are not agreed a and when the petty magistrate turns chaplittle farther, and united by statute, as well man and dealer in politics, turns theologian as religion. The preambles of three acts and robber, makes for himself a situation declare the catholics to be loyal subjects; in the country formed out of the monstrous the act of 1778 declares that they have been lies he tells of his catholic neighbours, so for a series of years; the same act de fabricates false panics of insurrection and clares that they should be admitted into the invasion, then walks forth the man of blood, blessings of the constitution; the act of his creditors tremble, the French do not; and 1793 goes farther, and admits them into a atrocities, which he dare not commit in his participation of those blessings. Thus is own name, perpetrates for the honour of the principle of identification established by his king, and in the name of his Maker. I the law of the land, and thus are the have heard of the incivilisation of Ireland: catholics by that law proclaimed to be too much has been said on that subject. I innocent, and the calumniators of the deny the fact; a country exporting above catholics guilty. Let us consider their five millions, even at your official value, situation under these laws, professedly and near about half a million of corn, three in principle admitted to every thing except millions of linen, paying eight millions to seats in parliament, and certain offices of the state, cannot be barbarous; a nation state; they are, in fact, excluded from connected with you for six hundred years, every thing under the circumstances of what do you say? cannot be barbarous. If paying for every thing; the few places they France should say so, you would contradict enjoy make no exception; they pay their her, because it is not on Ireland, but on proportion to the navy, and contribute one-you, the reflection must fall. But if any third to its numbers, and have not a com-thing, however, delays the perfect and exmission: they contribute to the expenses of tensive civilization of Ireland, it is princithe army, and to one-third of its numbers, pally her religious animosity. Examine all and have not a commission and shall I the causes of human misery, the tragic now be asked how are the catholics affected machinery of the globe, and the instruments by this, or be told that the catholic body of civil rage and domestic murder, and you would not be served by the removal of this? find no demon is like it, because it privileges How would the protestant body be affected, all the rest, and amalgamates with infidelity if only removed from the state, the par- as well as murder, and conscience, which liament, the navy, and the army? In ad- restrains other vices, becomes a prompter dition to this I am to add the many minor here. To restrain this waste, and this injuries done to the catholics in ways that conquest exercised over your understandmust be felt, and cannot be calculated; the ing, your morals, and your fortune, my inestimable injury done to the catholic mind hon. friend makes his motion. The present by precluding it from the objects of ambi- lord lieutenant of Ireland has done much tion, and to the catholic spirit by exposing to reconcile, but his mild integrity and good it to the taunts and insults, (you cannot be sense must be aided by parliament. Come, at a loss for an instance), such as are ut- let us hear the objectors. The catholics, tered by the vilest of the protestants against they say, should not have political power. the first of the catholics. I am to add the Why, they have it already: they got it mischief done to the morals of the country when you gave them landed property, and by setting up a false standard of merit, by they got it when you gave them the elective which men without religion, moral or pub- franchise: "Be it enacted, that the catho lic integrity, shall obtain, by an abhorrence lics shall be capable of holding all offices, of their fellow subjects, credit and conse- civil and military, except," (and then the quence, and acquire an impunity for selling act excludes a certain numeration.) This is the whole community, because they detest the act of 1793, and is not this political a part of it. You see it is impossible for power allowed by act of parliament? so any one part of the society to afflict the that the objection goes not so much against other without paying the penalty, and feel- the petition, as against the law, and the
law is the answer to it. The reasons they give for objecting to the law are, first, that the catholics do not acknowledge the king to be the head of their church. To require a person of the catholic faith to acknowledge a person of another religion, who makes no very encouraging declarations towards them, to be the head of the catholic church, is going very far; but to make the withholding such acknowledgment the test of disaffection is much farther; farther than reason, and farther than the law, which does not require such test, but is satisfied with a negative oath and therefore, the presbyterian, who makes no such acknowledgement, may sit in parliament. So that here the objector is answered again by the law, and the reason he gives in opposition to the law shows, that the legislature is wiser than he is; the reason alleged is, that he who allows his majesty to be the head of his church, has more allegiance, because he acknowledges the king in more capacities. According to this, the Turk has more allegiance than either, for he acknowedges the grand seignior in all capacities; and the Englishman has less allegiance than any other subject in Europe, because, whereas other European subjects acknowledge their king in a legislative, as well as an executive capacity, the English acknowledge their king in the latter capacity only. Bot such men know not how to estimate allegiance, which is not measured by the powers which you allow, but by the privileges which you keep; thus your allegiance is of an higher order, because it is rendered for the proud circumstances belonging to an Englishman; to the peer who has his rank, the commoner who has his privileges, and the peasant who has magna charta; the catholic too, he has an interest in his allegiance; increase that interest, that is, increase this privilege, you increase the force of the obligation, and with it your own security. But here, again, the objector interposes, and alleges that the catholic does not only acknowledge the king to be the head of their church, but acknowledges a foreign power. Whom? I cannot find him; there was, indeed, a power which you set up in the last war, and guarded with your troops. Is that the memory at which gentlemen tremble? a sort of president or chair,, in whose name the business of the catholic church is conducted; for whom no catholic would fight, and against whom the Irish catholic would fight, if he came into their country at the head of an invading andy--they have said VOL IV.
so. You will recollect how little you yourselves feared that name, when you encompassed and preserved it at the very time of the Irish rebellion; and now do gentlemen set it up, and bring it back again into the world as a principle to influence the action of the Irish? But then I have received an answer to this; and that Buonaparte has gotten possession of the power and person of the pope. What power? He had no power before his captivity, and therefore he became a captive; he has not found his power in his captivity. Or will you say that he could now disband an Austrian army, or an Irish army; or that, if he were to issue out his excommunications, your seamen or soldiers would desert? Such the power of the pope-such your fear of it, and such is the force of their argument: what is the policy of it? Buonaparté has gotten the pope; give him the catholics. But here the objector interposes again, and tells us it is in vain to look for harmony with the catholics, inasmuch as they deliver the protestants to damnation. Gravely they say this, soberly they say this in a morning; and, according to this, you must not only repeal your laws of toleration, but you must disband part of your army and your navy, and disqualify your electors. The catholic who hears this, produces a protestant creed which does the same thing, and damns his sect likewise. The infidel who listens agrees with both, and triumphs; and suggests that it were better not to cast off your people, but to shake off your religion.) So Volney makes all.sects contend and all conquer, and religion the common victim. The truth is, exclusive salvation was the common frenzy of all sects, and is the religion of none; and is now not only rejectedby all, but laughed at: so burning one: another, as well as damning one another. You can produce instances--they can pro-› duce instances: it was the habit of the early christians to anathematise all sects but their own. No religion can stand, if men, without regard to their God, and with regard only to controversy, shall rake out of the rubbish of antiquity, the obsolete and quaint follies of the sectarians, and affront the majesty of the Almighty with the impudent catalogue of their devices; and it is a strong argument against the proscriptive system, that it helps to continue this shocking contest-theologian against theologian-polemic against polemic, until the two made men, defame their common parent, and expose their common religion. With argu