« 上一页继续 »
arbitrary lash of power, and was removed from the commission on this ground:-Information was given to the magistrate that a woman had been found dead : he immediately attended, taking with him a physician of skill to endeavor to ascertain whether the woman had been murdered, or had met her death from drunkenness, the severity of the weather, or any other cause. The opinion of the medical man was that she had not been murdered, and on the strength of that opinion the magistrate did not procure an inquest to be held on the body. A man was tried at the assizès for rape and murder of this woman, and the judge made many severe remarks on the magistrate, reported his conduct in the strongest terms to the chancellor, who instantly removed him from the situation of magistrate, and turned a deaf ear to this gentleman's earnest application for an investigation into his conduct, and to the memorial of all his parishioners and neighbors in his favor. The not holding an inquest may have been an error, and not strictly in accordance with law ; but when no improper motive appeared, it surely was a harsh measure to taunt with obloquy and public invective, and afterwards dismiss from his post, without allowing any defence, a gentleman of respectability and character, who for years had labored without reward for the good of the public, and was esteemed by all his neighbors, who were the best judges of his conduct. · The number of beggars in Ireland is another evil, to be traced to poverty and want of employment; and a system of poorlaws, in the spirit of 43 Eliz. strictly and justly administered, would (assisted by the presence of absentees, or their pecuniary compensation for absence) nearly annihilate this humiliating spec. tacle. That act provides employment for the able, and support for the impotent; wise and just regulations, but too much relaxed in England, and consequently productive of evil and litigation. An honorable member has given notice of his intention of bringing in a bill of this nature; and it is hoped that his bill may be short and plain, easy to be acted on, and difficult to be perverted from its beneficial end.
The last evil, and one of the most important that distracts this country, is the want of Catholic emancipation; which may be defined, putting the persons who profess the Roman Catholic re-' ligion exactly on the same footing with those who profess the Catholic religion in what is called its reformed state," and abolishing that detestable and insulting distinction to an honorable mind, that says; “thus far shall you go, but no farther :" you may be qualified by virtue and ability to fill the first stations of the country better than those who are now placed in them by their sovereign, but shall not succeed because you are not a Protestant.
cs, and.ivilisation heir enemiattache
The absurd notions that Roman Catholics are bound not to keep faith with heretics, and that their religion is at variance, with every good principle of civilisation and morality, and others of the same kind formerly produced by their enemies, seem rapidly vanishing : experience proves them to be as much attached to their country as persons of any other religion, to exercise the social virtues, private and public, with as much proper feeling, and to risk their blood and property in the first ranks of war with zeal not to be outdone for the defence of their sovereign, their land and laws."
Is it to be supposed during the late continental wars, when such numerous bodies of Catholics served in the armies of England and Ireland, that if such notions as those alluded to had been the moving principles in their breasts, they would not have acted on them ?--Many were the opportunities that the Roman Catholics might have seized, had they been so disposed, to have forsaken the heretical banners, and have placed themselves under the kindred eagles of Roman Catholic France; their defection might have turned the tide of battle, and their combined onset might have laid prostrate the lion of England ; but their actions have confuted the false and mean insinuations of their enemies, and have proved that sense of honor, of probity, and of moral feeling actuate them as forcibly as the most bigoted, most self-sufficient, and proudest of their enemies.' Discarding such false imputations as the offspring of weakness and malice, the Roman Catholics of Ireland appear to be as useful, as industrious, as moral, and as capable a body of men as any other in the kingdom, as much attached to their country and their sovereign, but retaining certain points of faith handed down to them by their forefathers, and attributing a degree of spiritual, not political, power to the pope, and composing the great majority of the people of Ireland. · The invidious distinction made between this body and the Protestants has caused feuds and dissensions from the first; and these miseries will continue till both parties are placed on the same footing by Government, and all cause of complaint removed.
The present peaceful time is well calculated for introducing this liberal measure ; the Catholics by their utility during the war have proved themselves worthy of it; and when the marks of degradation are removed, Ireland will become a happy and united country.
Whát danger can arise from this most desirable measure it is impossible to conceive : some persons may indeed fancy that the power of the pope would then convert all the Protestants in Enggland and Ireland to the Roman Cathlic religion; that the houses of Parliament would be filled with them; and that they would supplant
the Protestants in the favor of their sovereign, (who might also become a Roman Catholic,) and enjoy the loaves and fishes and emoluments which the Protestants now hold. Some object to the measure from habit and inveterate prejudice degenerating into obstinacy; some on the ground that having opposed it for many years, they are bound for the sake of consistency to resist it as long as they live.. . · The power of the pope, as a temporal sovereign, has been too long on the wape to enable him (even if ambitious and disposed) to do any injury to the smallest state in Christendom, whose religion may be Roman Catholic : how vain then the utmost efforts of so feeble a power against a Protestant country like Great Britain ! The minds of men in this country are too much enlightened also to be drawn by secret artifice under papal dominion; and attempts at proselytism would be vain in England or Scotland. The present royal family are so firmly seated on the throne, that any views of pretenders are subjects for ridicule rather than of fear; and though some Roman Catholics would probably be returned for counties and boroughs in Ireland, their influence combined with that of all the Catholic peers would not have the least chance (admitting their inclination) of introducing any measure detrimental to the Protestant establishment. Their arguments on that or any subject would be listened to with attention ; and members of different opinions representing Gatton, Old Sarum, or other inhabited places, would have the opportunity of answering them. That their talents and good qualities might induce their sovereign to place them in important situations is probable, and equally probable that they would do their duty, civil or military, with as much bem nefit to the country as any description of men. There is no chance of the king being a Roman Catholic at any future time, because the majority of the whole country are Protestants, and will of course prefer a Protestant king; and the only difference between a Lord O'Connell as Lord Chancellor, and a Lord Eldon, would be, that in the one case, at the head of the law, and as speaker of the house of Lords, would be placed a man of eloquence and decision, in the other a man of ordinary diction, and indecision proverbial. That many now in possession of lucrative places and pensions might not have enjoyed them if Catholics had been allowed to enter into competition with them is almost certain, for talent and ability exist among them in as great a degree as among the Protestants; and the acute reasoning and animated language of Mr. O'Connell, and the nervous and splendid imagination of Mr. Shiel, would not fear comparison with the best efforts of oratory at the British bar, or either of the houses of Parliament at the present day.
fair chance of the sake of their all who are e
Catholics such as these might indeed expect to reap the high rewards of superior talents; but would a liberal Protestant for a moment object, would he not rather glory that all who are exposed to the same privations for the sake of their common country, should have a fair chance of obtaining the rewards due to their exertions and talents ?
The bishops and clergy of the Protestant church would suffer no inconvenience, for when the burden of tithes is removed from the shoulders of the Catholics of Ireland, in the manner before pointed out, they would all contribute to the decent support of their own ministers, without asking aid from others, or interfering with any persons of a different religion from themselves.
All human things are liable to error, and nothing more than human laws; and he who, from perverse obstinacy and wicked pren tence to consistency, refuses to concur in reforming abuses, or altering offensive and injurious old laws, deserves and will receive the reprehension of impartial history, and the universal contempt of mankind.
But when, in his latter day, a man in place and power retracts the errors of his former life, and lends a helping hand to remove the obstructions to his country's peace and united happiness, rem corded praise will do justice to his liberality, and a grateful nation will venerate his memory. · The Roman Catholic priests appear a sensible, well-disposed, benevolent set of men, and are much esteemed by their followers ; but one of them has conducted himself in so distinguished a manner, that it may be useful to mention his story. This gentleman was the son of a priest, and being of an active disposition entered the army, where he performed the duties of a soldier with great credit, and served during the whole of the Peninsular war in the division of Sir G. L. Cole : at the peace he returned to his native country a lieutenant on half-pay, and, unwilling to lead a life of indolence, took on himself the office of a Roman Catholic clergyman, and in the most conscientious, laborious manner, performs all the functions of that service, beloved by his parishioners, respected and esteemed by all his neighbors, as well Protestant as Catholic. He assists the poor people also in agricultural improvements, instructs them, and instils habits of cleanliness, industry, and good order. That the religion of such a man should be dangerous to a state, a religion which causes the practice of such really good actions, is as absurd as to call your greatest benefactor a murderer, or to call evil good, and good evil. se
The next question is, how are the Roman Catholics to be emancipated ? The answer is, by removing all restrictions and all offensive oaths, and making no distinction between Protestant and Catholic; and here I must observe with regard to oaths in general, that their utility is very doubtful, for they are now so multiplied, and used on so many trifling occasions, that they begin to be treated as mere matters of form, and many are led to believe that they may tell as many lies as they please, provided no oath be taken. But as oaths are of such long standing in this country, and looked up to with a degree of veneration almost superstitious by the judges, I shall only venture to observe, that it might be a beneficial alteration to abolish all oaths, and on giving evidence, on some important occasions, to substitute a solemn admonition from an officer in lieu of the oath. This method would probably make truth more prevalent than it is at present, and the punishment for bearing false witness might be the same as, or greater than that now in use, for perjury.
The duties of allegiance and fidelity to his sovereign are in. herent in every subject, not to be increased or diminished by oaths, or change of place or time. If either Protestant or Catholic act contrary to this natural allegiance, and to the detriment of their sovereign and country, let punishment follow the crime, and that will be the best security; but do not oppress the minds of one portion of your people with oaths of little moment to the real good of the community, but containing matter invidiously pointing at the conscientious and inoffensive peculiarities of the Catholic religion, and imputing to them a belief in other noxious doctrines to which they do not assent, and which it is an insult to require them to deny.
Notwithstanding their oaths of performing their duty to their country, avarice prompted Lords Bacon and Macclesfield, in one of the highest situations, to commit an enormous crime against that country ; a plain proof that oaths are not a security against the wickedness of the most learned men in the most elevated stations, and that moral probity will avail more than all the most plausible professions supported or not by oaths.
That the Roman Catholics possess as niuch moral probity as any other class of men, none can with reason dispute; for if they did not, the same avarice which tempted the two chancellors to break their oaths, would tempt the Roman Catholics to take oaths for the sake of place and emolument, which they ought not in point of conscience.
May the sense and talent of both houses of Parliament be exercised effectually in removing this among the other causes of complaint in Ireland ; may they extend the balm of consolation and redress, instead of the horrors of war and punishment, to that afflicted, not rebellious island. The ministerial ranks abound with individuals anxious and able to do her justice, and they will be supported by the zeal and energy of an intelligent powerful opposition. His