Obrázky stránek

be conscientiously my own.

The union was a manifest injustice, and it continues to be unjust at this day; it was a crime, and must be still criminal, unless it shall be ludicrously considered that crime, like wine, improves by old age, and that time mollifies injustice into innocence. You may smile at the supposition, but in sober sadness you must be convinced that we daily suffer injustice — that every succeeding day only adds another sin to the catalogue of British vice; and that if the union continues it will only make the crime hereditary and injustice perpetual. We have been robbed, my countrymen - most foully robbed of our birthright — of our independence. May it not be permitted us mournfully to ask how this consummation of evil was perfected ! for it was not in any

disastrous battle that our liberties were struck down; no foreign invader had despoiled the land. We have not forfeited our country by any crimes — neither did we lose it by any domestic insurrection. No, the rebellion was completely put down before the union was accomplished; the Irish militia and the Irish yeomanry had put it down. How then have we become enslaved ? Alas ! England, that ought to have been to us a sister and a friend — England, whom we have loved, and fought, and bled for England, whom we have protected, and whom we do protect - England, at a period when, out of 100,000 seamen in her service, 70,000 were Irish — England stole upon us like a thief in the night, and robbed us of the precious gem of our liberty; she stole from us that which not enriched her, but made us poor indeed”. Reflect then, my friends, on the means employed to effect this disastrous measure. I do not speak of the meaner instruments of bribery and corruption. We all know that everything was put to sale — nothing profane or sacred was omitted in the union mart — offices in the revenue commands in the army and navy—the sacred ermine of justice, and the holy altars of God were all profaned and polluted as the rewards of union services. By a vote in favor of the union, ignorance, incapacity, and profligacy obtainėd certain promotion; and our ill-fated, but beloved country, was degraded to her utmost limits before she was transfixed in slavery. But I do not intend to detain you in the contemplation of those vulgar means of parliamentary success -- they are within


the daily routine of official management; neither will I direct your attention to the frightful recollection of that avowed fact, which is now part of history, that the rebellion itself was fomented and encouraged in order to facilitate the union. Even the rebellion was an accidental and a secondary cause — the real cause of the union lay deeper, but is quite obvious — it is to be found at once in the religious dissensions which the enemies of Ireland have created, and continued, and seek to perpetuate among themselves, by telling us off, and separating us into wretched sections and miserable subdivisions ; they separated the Protestant from the Catholic, and the Presbyterians from both; they revived every antiquated cause of domestic animosity, and invented new pretexts of rancor ; but, above all, my countrymen, they belied and calumniated us to each other, and they continued to repeat that assertion until we came to believe it; they succeeded in producing all the madness of party and religious distinctions, and whilst we were lost in the stupor of insanity they plundered us of our country, and left us to recover at our leisure from the horrid delusion into which we had been so artfully conducted. Such, then, were the means by which the union was effectuated. It has stripped us of commerce and wealth — it has degraded us, and deprived us not only of our station as a nation, but even of the name of our country. We are governed by foreigners — foreigners make our laws; for, were the hundred members who nominally represent Ireland in what is called the imperial parliament, were they really our representatives, what influence could they, although unbought and unanimous, have over the 558 English and Scotch members ?

There is another subject that peculiarly requires the attention of the legislature, but it is one which can be managed only by a resident and domestic parliament - it includes everything that relates to those strange and portentous disturbances which, from time to time, affright and desolate the fairest districts of the island.

It is a delicate, difficult subject, and one that would require the most minute knowledge of the causes that produce those disturbances, and would demand all the attention and care of men whose individual safety was connected with the discovery of a proper remedy. I do

not wish to circulate the extent of the evil that may be dreaded from the outrages I allude to, if our country shall continue in the hands of foreign empirics and pretenders; but it is clear to a demonstration, that no man can be attached to his king and country, who does not avow the necessity of submitting the control of this political evil to the only competent tribunal- ---an Irish parliament. The ills of this awful moment are confined to our domestic complaints and calamities. The great enemy of the liberty of the world extends his influence and his power from the Frozen Ocean to the Straits of Gibraltar. He threatens us with invasion from the thousand ports of his vast empire; how is it possible to resist him with an impoverished, divided, and dispirited empire? If, then, you are loyal to your excellent monarch — if you are attached to the last relic of political freedom, can you hesitate to join in endeavoring to procure the remedy for all your calamities — the sure protection against all the threats of your enemy – the repeal of the union ? Yes, restore to Irishmen their country, and you may defy the invader's force ; give back to Ireland her hardy and brave population, and you have nothing to dread from foreign power.

It is useless to detain the meeting longer in detailing the miseries that the union has produced, or in pointing out the necessity that exists for its repeal. I have never met any man who did not deplore this fatal measure, which has despoiled his country; nor do I believe there is a single individual in the island, who could be found even to pretend approbation of that measure. I should be glad to see the face of the man, or rather of the beast, who could dare to say he thought the union wise or good — for the being who could say so, must be devoid of all the feelings that distinguish humanity. With the knowledge that such were the sentiments of the universal Irish nation, how does it happen that the union has lasted for ten years ? The solution of the question is easy—the union continued only because we despaired of its repeal. Upon this despair alone has it continued. Yet what could be more absurd than such despair ? If the Irish sentiment be but once known - if the voice of six millions be raised from Cape Clear to the Giant's Causewayif the men most remarkable for loyalty to their king and attachment

to constitutional liberty, will come forward as the leaders of the public voice, the nation would, in one hour, grow too great for the chains that now shackle you, and the union must be repealed without commotion and without difficulty. Let the most timid amongst us compare the present probability of repealing the union, with the prospect that in the year 1795 existed of that measure being ever brought about. Who in 1795 thought a union possible ? Pitt dared to attempt it, and he succeeded. It only requires the resolution to attempt its repeal; in fact, it requires only to entertain the hope of repealing it, to make it impossible that the union should continue; but that pleasing hope can never exist, whilst the infernal dissensions on the score of religion are kept up.

The Protestant alone could not expect to liberate his country – the Roman Catholic alone could not do it — neither could the Presbyterian; but amalgamate the three into the Irishman, and the union is repealed. Learn discretion from your enemies; they have crushed your country by fomenting religious discord; serve her by abandoning it for ever. Let each man give up his share of the mischief, let each man forsake every feeling of rancor. But I say

not this to barter with you, my countrymen, I require no equivalent from

you ; whatever course you shall take, my mind is fixed. I trample under foot the Catholic claims, if they can interfere with repeal. I abandon all wish for emancipation if it delays the repeal. Nay, were the minister to-morrow to offer me the repeal of the union upon the terms of re-enacting the penal code, I declare from my heart, and in the presence of my God, that I would most cheerfully embrace his offer. Let us then, my beloved countrymen, sacrifice our wicked and groundless animosities on the altar of our country; let that spirit which heretofore emanating from Dungannon spread all over the island, and gave light and liberty to the land, be again cherished amongst us—let us rally round the standard of Old Ireland, and we shall easily procure that greatest of all political blessings, an Irish Sovereign, an Irish House of Lords, and an Irish House of Commons.



none are

The honorable gentleman opposite talks of bigotry; can anything exceed the bigotry of the petitions which liave been presented against the grant to Maynooth college ? Can anything be more disgusting than the rancor which overflows in these petitions which the honorable gentleman, with gloating zeal, has introduced into the house ? Are the people of Ireland deserving of the aspersions which the honorable gentleman opposite pours against them ? are they deserving of those foul calumnies, those abhorrent misrepresentations, in which the honorable gentleman indulges ? Oh! if that be his christian faith, let him keep it all to himself; if that be his christian charity, God defend me and mine from becoming its object! Nothing can be more just than the tribute which Lord Morpeth has this evening paid to the Irish nation. Most true is it that of these realms the women of Ireland are of the purest, her men among the most temperate, and all the most religious more regular communicants with their church — none more zealous for their religion-none more famed for their practical piety. True, oppression goads its victim on to an act of revenge ; but I can with pride, in comparing my country with either England or Scotland, affirm that in Ireland crime is infinitely less in aggregate amount, and infinitely less in individual atrocity, than in either of the other portions of Great Britain. Never was Ireland dishonored by those pecuniary murders—those horrible assassinations, committed merely out of a thirst for gold, which are of such dreadful frequency, and which cast such a foul blot upon the people of England and Scotland. The attempt to raise a cry against such a people as the Irish, is neither wise nor prudent, nor christian-like. Those who oppose Ireland, would do well to mind their own religions more, and that of Ireland less. Let the honorable gentleman opposite occupy himself with studying presbyterianism till he attains the highest light it can afford; and, if this research do not sufficiently engage him, let him turn his attention to protestantism, with which church he also communicates.

« PředchozíPokračovat »