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should write a book to do it justice. My chief anxiety for emancipation, after a sense of duty to my king, and attachment to my country, arises from my aversion-from my horror of civil war.
I have the honour to be,
Dear Sir, &c. &c.
J. K. L.
P. S.-You mentioned in your Letter something of a provision for the Catholic Clergy. I think all mention of that subject should be deferred until the penal laws are abolished, as I hope you would not find even one individual of our entire body who would accede to any arrangement made for such a purpose whilst a single restrictive statute remeans unrepealed. No: the attachment of the laity to us would be badly requited did the ministers of that religion on account of which these laymen suffer, cease to share in the common lot, or not even appear foremost amongst the persecuted. But if Catholics were
emancipated a provision could be made for the Catholic Clergy unconnected with, and totally independent of court favour, and which would not add probably a single shilling to the burthens of the country.
ON THE DISFRANCHISEMENT OF THE FORTY SHILLING
THIS subject has been so frequently mentioned, the evils arising from the subdivision of lands so closely connected with it are now so familiar, and almost so fashionable a topic, and the prevailing system of looking superficially at every political question is so much in vogue, that I would not be surprised if it were proposed to reduce again the peasantry of Ireland to the condition of serfs; that is, of serfs without hope of manumission, for serfs they are at present; but every man who does not despair of Ireland expects
to see them one day converted into freemen. There are other reasons why this measure might be dreaded; the influence of the Catholics in returning members to parliament from the southern and western counties and cities; the successful struggle made by them on different occasions in the County Wexford and Queen's County, and more recently in Sligo and Dublin; these things have excited all the bile of the Orangemen, who, not presuming to speak in parliament of the re-enactment of the penal code, would wish to introduce it covertly, by taking from the Catholic peasant even the semblance of political power, and depriving him of his chief claim to the protection and favour of his landlord. So strong is this feeling amongst the orange party, that I doubt not the aristocracy which is connected with them would sacrifice the last remnant of their rank and power, which consists in the number of their freeholders, to the base passion of wreaking vengeance on the Catholic name. But there is a still stronger reason for being filled with apprehensions on this subject, and it arises from the English aristocracy, and their powerful agent in
the House of Commons being opposed to the extension of the elective franchise in England, as to some agrarian law; such a feeling necessarily obliges them to look with displeasure and apprehension to the extent of this right in Ireland, lest its existence here might act as an incentive upon the English people in seeking a similar right for themselves. They would, therefore, without avowing the true motives of their conduct, gladly avail themselves of the outcry raised against forty shilling freeholders in Ireland, in order to abolish what in their opinion is a great encroachment on their own hereditary rights. But if there be one measure more than another calculated to seal the doom of Ireland, to eradicate from her soil the very seeds of freedom, and to insure for ever her degradation, that measure is, in my opinion, the disfranchisement of the forty shilling freeholders!
It is the natural right of man-a right interwoven with the essence of our constitution, and producing, as its necessary effect, the House of Commons, that a man who has life, liberty, and property, should have some share or influence in