Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

ration, like a strong man inflamed, if not refreshed with wine, beseeched the Peers to pass it, "even on my bended knees !"

In Scotland, we can afford to laugh at much of the drivelling of our Ministers, however disgusting and deplorable; for the people are in peace, and will remain so, in spite of them, and all the demagogues that have enlisted themselves in their service, some unasked yet not unwelcome, many undesired, because dangerous, traitors all. But in Ireland, how different the condition of the Conservative, that is, the Protestant Party, of the State! Surrounded by bigoted and ferocious enemies, and not deserted merely, but insulted and trampled on by a Ministry who seem to be resolved to subject the intelligence, the integrity, the property, and the patriotism of Protestant Ireland to the tender mercies of Popish domination!

At such a crisis, we have read, with deepest interest, in the Dublin Evening Mail, an account of a meeting which was held on December 7th in Dublin, and which appears to us one of the most import ant assemblages of rank, wealth, intellect, and independence, which ever took place in Ireland. It was attended by noblemen and gentlemen of the highest respectability, whom a sense of common danger compel led to assemble from all parts of the island, for the purpose of laying their grievances before the King, and bearing an united testimony against the cruel mispolicy of his Majesty's advisers. We cannot sufficiently express the high sense of admiration which we feel for the calm and resolute, the solemn and elevated declaration of principle, and expression of feeling, which were elicited from the various speakers who moved and seconded the resolutions. We were not before fully prepared to believe how odious and detestable to the Irish Protestants are the measures of the present viceroy. They were, at the very outset of his administration, deliberately insulted by the dismissal of Mr Gregory. Their feelings were then outraged by the promotion of Lord Plunkett to the office of Lord Chancellor, which places him over the magistracy of the country-an out

rage this the most gratuitous, a there never was perhaps a public man, of the same degree of ability and notoriety, who was so little ac ceptable to any party-who was s detested by the Protestants, and dis trusted by the Papists. He was no as a chancellor, acceptable to th bar-as a politician, popular in th country-or as a statesman, service able to the administration. Hi own immediate friends and co nexions have reason to set a hig value upon him; as Lord Grey hin self does not seem to have mor scrupulously acted upon the maxin that charity begins at home. Bi positively, when Lord Anglesea sa dled the country with the expens of providing for a retiring Chance lor, in the person of the late Sir Hart, he was not merely chargeab with a prodigal waste of the publ money, but with the removal of a equity lawyer of inoffensive man ners, and acknowledged reputatio to make way for one in whose leg. knowledge the suitors in Chancel had far less confidence, and whos temper was considered as unruly his principles were dangerous to th Protestants of Ireland. We do n know that any administration, whe ther Whig or Tory, could at the pr sent moment do a more popular a than the dismissal of Lord Plunke from his offensively conspicuou place in the Irish administration Then came the appointment of th education commissioners. This wa the severest cut of all. Educatio commissioners! They are commis sioners for the suppression of edu cation, which we will prove in ou next number. Suffice it here to say that the whole affair meets the indig nant reprobation of the nobleme and gentlemen assembled on thi important occasion; and if their re presentations fail to make a suitabl impression upon his Majesty's Go vernment, it will be demonstrabl that the Irish Protestants are to be sacrificed. In well-grounded fear o such a catastrophe, what is to pre vent their uniting with O'Connell fo a repeal of the Union? They may fairly hope to be able, from their moral weight, to make better terms for themselves and their families, in the event of separation from England, than will now be conceded to

pro

them by adhering to their British friends, who seem willing to sacrifice them to their Popish enemies. Only let a perseverance in the present policy be continued a little longer, and the Union must be repealed, not merely from a compliance with the clamour of O'Connell's party, but from a deliberate persuasion, on the part of the Protestants, that by such a measure their condition would be improved. What have they to apprehend from it? Their discountenance as a party by the British Government? They are already discountenanced. The abandonment of the Protestant interest? It is already abandoned. The overthrow of their Church? It is, already, all but overthrown. The security of their perty? Already it is marked out for spoliation. All these evils either have come upon them, or are in progress, and must speedily be realized, unless a decided change of measures shall take place; and what difference can it make to them whether their ruin be accomplished by the wickedness of an unprincipled cabinet, or the grasping rapacity of an Irish Parliament? Nay, may they not hope to obtain an interest in the latter, which would give them a better chance of safety than they can hope for, at present, from those who so grossly neglect their interests, and undervalue their numbers and importance ?These are considerations which we shall not just now pursue any far ther. We are not without a hope that this Great Meeting will produce a good effect upon our rulers. IF

IT SHOULD, THE EMPIRE WILL BE SA

VED. If it should not, the ranks of the agitators may be reinforced by an accession of strength which must render them irresistible; and England will find, when it is too late, that in sacrificing Protestantism, she

has sacrificed Ireland.

the machinations of Irish traitors, abetted as they are by the revolutionary schemes of the Ministry, are driving at, first, a repeal of the Union, secondly, the separation of the two countries, thirdly, the erection of an independent nation in Ireland; and that these three things involve the ruin of the British empire, and as it regards Ireland, the property, the religion, and the lives of the Irish Protestants. To avert such evils has been the object of the careful, deep, and patriotic deliberation of the preservatives; nor could better means be devised than the adoption of those principles which have always guided the Orangemen of Ireland, and converted that loyal and constitutional body into a sacred guard, which bulwarked the throne, and fenced property with impassable trenches, and afforded a secure asylum to the civil rights, the religious liberties, and the natural affections of this great, good, and much calumniated body. Calumniated by whom? By the enemies of order, and liberty, and truth-by the friends of confusion, slavery, and fanaticism

by the imbecilles,who believe they can soothe ferocious passions by submission, and cajole sedition and treason out of their long-pursued prey by fear-born flattery, and by studious insults and exquisite injuries offered, in face of day, to all that is most high and honourable in the character and conduct of the best citizens!

After two preliminary meetings, it was finally agreed on, that a junction between all classes and denomi nations of Irish Protestants should take place; that a committee should be appointed to prepare resolutions in accordance with the sentiments expressed by the meeting; and that such committee should come prepared with them on the following day. On the third day, Lord Roden

The able editor of the Dublin Evening Mail most justly says, that, as a deliberative assembly, that to which we have referred surpassed in rank and respectability, in knowledge and in talents, any other ever called together in Ireland. There was a solemnity attendant on the proceedings, and a depth of thought manifested in lution," that now, as upon all occa the discussion, commensurate with sions, our inclination and duty equalthe importance of the subject. It ap- ly lead us to express our devoted peared evident, on the whole, that loyalty to his Majesty the King, and

in the chair, a series of resolutions were passed, and, grounded on them, an address, to be presented to his Majesty by the Earls of Roden and Longford, Lord Viscount Lorton,

and Lord Farnham.

Lord Roden moved the first reso

also to assure his Majesty of our unalterable attachment to the principles which placed his Majesty's illustrious family upon the throne-principles which form the groundwork of our civil and religious liberties." His lordship, in moving this resolution, declared, that there never was a period in which the Protestant institutions of Ireland were placed in such imminent peril, since the days immediately preceding those of William the Third. "This cause is our cause it is the cause of freedomthe cause of truth-and the cause of God. Acting under such guidance, and maintaining the pure principles of Protestantism, which have been such a blessing to the world, we may go forwards fearlessly, and despite of our enemies and the danger by which we are surrounded. We are not met here for party-purposes we have higher objects in view. We are met here as men who love their country-who value its constitution -and who are determined, if necessary, to sacrifice all in its defence. The occasion on which we have assembled, is one of the most important in the annals of our history; no one can tell the ramifications to which this meeting may give rise through the country, and the spirit it may revive in the breasts of loyal

men.

[ocr errors]

On Lord Roden resuming his seat, amidst loud cheers, Lord Longford rose to propose the second resolution-"That we should be wanting in our duty to his Majesty, and insensible of the obligations which we owe to our Protestant fellow-subjects in Ireland, if we failed to lay at the foot of the throne a statement of the universal feeling of alarm and discontent which prevails, and of the causes which have led to the present perilous crisis of Protestant affairs in Ireland." Lord Longford, after some introductory observations, spoke

thus:

"It is my clear conviction that the present circumstances of the times justified us in calling you together, and though the aspect of affairs is most gloomy at present, they will become more gloomy unless we hold together (hear and cheers.) Different as some of our opinions are as to the propriety of establishing an association, there was one point upon which we were and are

all agreed, namely, the necessity that exists of a universal combination of Protestants taking place, in order that we may counteract the schemes of our enemies-(hear, hear.) There is no art left untried to mislead those who are weak

enough to be misled-there is no falsehood or calumny too gross for the agitators to assert who exhibit at their new association. Their association appears to be established for the purpose of ca

lumniating the aristocracy of the coun

try, of outraging the law, of traducing the clergy, and trampling upon the Protestant establishments which we look this impression we felt it to be our duty upon as a blessing-(hear, hear.) Under to call this meeting together. The state of the Protestants is such, that at the present moment we cannot permit apathy to pervade our body-apathy in itself does not actually amount to a crime, but a number of negative cases put together will amount to positive criminality— (hear, hear.) Our country from the time of William the Third has advanced regularly in prosperity, and only because its institutions were founded on Protestant principles. Latterly these principles have gradually been relaxing, and the result is manifest to the most inattentive observer-(cheers.) Having said so much of the principle generally, I shall now merely remark, that I fear One of his Majesty has been misled. the maxims of our constitution is, that

the King can do no wrong. His Majesty may be too easily influenced; but which have been adopted, the blame must however we may detest the measures

attach to the Ministers who advised them

(hear, hear, hear.) It is our duty to lay before his Majesty a detail of the grievances of which we complain, and I trust and believe that he will afford us redress."

The third resolution was moved by that best of patriots, Lord Farnham-"That the general sentiment of anxiety and alarm which prevails among the Protestants of Ireland, is, in our opinion, fully justified by the spirit which appears to influence the councils, and dictate the measures, of his Majesty's advisers." The pithy speech of this bold lover of his country we give entire.

"My lord and gentlemen, before I submit to you the resolution which has been confided to me to propose for your adoption, I must offer my cordial thanks to the noblemen and gentlemen who signed the requisition convening this

meeting-(hear, hear.) The thanks of the Protestants of Ireland are justly due, and I am confident will be awarded, to those noblemen and gentlemen who called us together at this most momentous crisis (hear, hear.) We are met here to discuss the calamitous situation to which the Protestants of Ireland are reduced by the infatuated policy of his Majesty's present Ministers-(hear, hear.) I am confident that the Protestants of Ireland will respond to the call this day made on them, and that they will now, as they have ever done, shew their attachment to those principles which placed his Majesty's family on the throne of these realms, and to the civil and religious institutions of the country-(hear, hear, hear)—which are at this moment endangered by the conduct of the Government-(hear, hear, hear.) From the period of the Revolution of 1688 to the time of the legislative Union, it had been considered that the interests of England and those of the Protestants of Ireland were identified and indissolubly united― that this unity of interest was essential to the maintenance of the connexion between the two countries—and that upon all occasions they would naturally support each other. Upon this ground the Irish Protestants placed the most implicit confidence on the British Government. I lament to say that the latter period of our history displays a sad reverse-this friendly policy seems now to be abandoned, and the Irish Protestant is looked upon with jealousy and distrust. Nothing, however, can be mathematically more capable of demonstration than this, that if Protestantism be put down in Ireland, the separation of the two countries must follow-(hear, hear, hear) -and it requires no great political sagacity to foresee, that the downfall of the British empire must be the direct consequence-(hear, hear, hear.) I therefore think that the result of this meeting will not merely tend to the benefit of the Protestants of Ireland, but to the welfare of the empire at large -(hear, hear.) Now let us for a moment consider what were the inducements held out to the Protestants of Ireland at the time of the Union, and which succeeded in gaining for that measure the support of many most powerful interests which were attached to the Protestant cause. It was held forth to them by the Government of the day, that, as matters stood before the Union, the Protestants were but a small minority in Ireland, and that therefore a strong argument could be supported, that their religion, as being that of the minority,

VOL. XXXI. NO. CLXXXIX,

should not in justice continue to be the established religion of the country, but that when the two separate kingdoms were united, and their population amalgamated, the great preponderance of numbers would be in favour of the Protestants, which consequently ought to be, and would ever continue to be, the established religion of the United Kingdom; that this was the case, I can refer with confidence to my noble friend opposite, who recollects the events at that period (hear, hear, from Lord Longford.) Accordingly the faith of the Government was pledged upon this point, and by the 5th article of the Union it received legislative sanction. It was enacted, that the separate churches of England and Ireland should merge in the united church of Great Britain and Ireland-"That the continuance and preservation of the united church should be deemed and taken as an essential and fundamental part of the Union." We now see that it is the intention of his Majesty's Ministers to introduce measures in direct violation of this national compact, so essential to the integrity of the British empire, and to deal with the church in Ireland in a different manner from that which they intend to pursue towards the church in England. Is this good faith? Is it honourable, after we have confidingly given up our own legislature? Every measure adopted by the present Ministry, every appointment made by the Irish Government, indicates their determination to trample on the Protestants of Ireland. If, however, we are united amongst ourselves, we need not fear. With the blessing of God, we shall defeat the machinations of our enemies. From this day's meeting, at which I see influential noblemen and gentlemen from every part of Ireland, and from the cordial unanimity and patriotic spirit which prevails, I foresee the most happy results. With the majority which the Ministers can now command in the House of Commons, I entertain but little doubt that they will carry any measure they propose, through that House; but, thank God, there is a conservative power elsewhere, which has already shewn itself able and willing to control the democratic spirit of the Commons-(cheers)— and which, I trust, will extend its protection to our cause, if a Ministry shall be found daring enough to introduce measures subversive of those principles which the King at his coronation has sworn to maintain." (Loud cheers.)

This resolution was seconded by Sir Henry Brooke, Bart., who declared

F

it to be his opinion, from looking at the recent appointments to the Education Board, and, at the same time, the continuation of the grant to Maynooth College, that the consequence of the measures of the Ministry would be to establish Popery in Irelandand subject all things to a Jesuitical party under the control of the Popish hierarchy. The Ministry are led, he said, by a party of men who never will give up their views till they are firmly and strongly resisted by the Protestant population of Ireland. Henceforward, then, let all disunion be banished from among Protestants, so that they may present to their enemies an unconquerable phalanx, united as one man for the preservation of all most dear. Sir Henry Brooke knows too well the true nature of that institution to speak coldly of Orangemen. But for their exertions, at a former period, he says, Iwe should not now be sitting in this room, consulting how the evils with which we are at present threatened may be averted. I may be permitted to speak of them, inasmuch as, in the year 1798, I was one of the very first men who was sworn in an Orangeman. It was the Orangemen who put down the rebellion of that period, and to that loyal body you must look, at this almost equally eventful crisis, again for support."

The fourth resolution, which was moved by Colonel Perceval, and seconded by the Rev. Holt Waring, is a comprehensive one-"That while it is impossible within the limits of a Resolution to enumerate all the grounds of this general belief, yet, among many which might be added, we specify the following, as in themselves sufficient to establish the justice of the connexion. First, the conduct of the Government in permitting the formation and continuance of unconstitutional and mischievous associations, whose efforts are evidently directed to crush the powers of the Government; the gross partiality exhibited in the administration of the powers of the Government in many cases, but particularly as instanced in the policy which induced the dismissal from the yeomanry corps of individuals, who, in their capacity as private citizens, engaged in the long-established celebration of events to which the people of these countries owe their li

berties, and the King his throne, while processions of a really objectionable and dangerous description are permitted in the streets of the metropolis, and the head and instigator of these processions honoured and promoted; the treatment by the Government of the Protestant clergy during the late and present invasion of their property, and the encouragement afforded to that systematic opposition, as evinced in the remission of the sentence of those legally convicted of that conspiracy; the conduct of the Government in withdrawing from societies established for the promotion of scriptural education the customary Parliamentary grants, while pecuniary support continues to be given to the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth, not only by abandoning the system of education which hitherto so admirably accomplished the purposes for which it was designed, but by transferring its superintendence into the hands of those who do not possess the confidence of the people of Ireland." In commenting-which he does most ably-on the different clauses of this resolution, Colonel Perceval speaks of that association which meets two or three times a-week in the city of Dublin, within a short distance of the nominal government, whose powers it assumes, and from which it derives its strength. For have they not heaped honours upon the man who originated it, the man, whose declared object now is a repeal of the Union, and who, after having disavowed in his place in Parliament an ulterior object, now as publicly declares, that he has ulterior objects? "This man is upheld by the weak and vacillating Government with which we are cursed." (Loua shouts.) Colonel Perceval says he is almost afraid to trust himself with a comment on the appointments which have recently taken place—the coun ty (Sligo) which he represents ha ving been treated with peculiar insult. But let this excellent man speak for himself.

"But I cannot help bearing my testi mony of the thraldom in which the Go. vernment is held by certain members o Parliament, who appear to act under the control of the great agitator, who compelled the Government to admit that the party were too strong for them—(hear, hear, hear These gentlemen were not

« VorigeDoorgaan »