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traordinary change of opinion in Mr The reasons which Mr Brownlow and Brownlow and some others, for it his friends assigned for their change, would be no easy matter to add to the did not satisfy the public. The Brihumiliation into which they have tish nation is in the practice of subplunged themselves. Every great state- jecting to a very severe scrutiny the question is composed of a multitude of reasons which public men assign for parts, which change, in their character going from one opinion to another. It and effects, every hour; and, of course, feels this to be a matter of absolute nothing could be more preposterous necessity: it knows that such men are than for us to argue, that, because a surrounded by powerful temptations man opposes a matter at one time, he to change, from unworthy motives, is, for that reason alone, always to op- and that their changes have often very posé it. A few years may reverse a greatinfluenceoverits interests. There question in everything but name, and, is, moreover, something in the nature in such case, a man must reverse his of the Englishman which holds change opinion respecting it, to be truly con- of side in abhorrence. If a public man sistent. We believe a man to be a cannot assign satisfactory reasons for drunkard, because we witness his his change of opinion, he loses public drunkenness, but then we are not from confidence then and for ever. This is this to believe him a drunkard, if he most proper and necessary. reform and show proofs of his sobriety. It would be very idle in us to give The change, however, in the question, any.summary of the reasoning of the must precede and govern the change two parties. The real merits of the in opinion ; and it must be distinct question were carefully avoided by the and satisfactory in the eyes of impar, Catholic advocates. The most distin, tial men. The Catholic question has, guished of these rested principally no doubt, undergone some change in upon abstract right, and the bad spilate years; but what is this change? rit and conduct of the Catholics. Mr The British and Irish Catholics have Peel fought the battle with very great displayed far worse opinions, spirit, ability. His speech on the second and conduct. The Catholicism of Eu- reading of the Relief Bill cut a far betrope has become much more powerful ter figure in the newspapers than that and active-it has renewed its offen- of Mr Canning, delivered on the same sive operations against Protestantism, occasion. He was very powerfully supand it has become a potent political ported by Mr Goulburn. instrument in the hands of foreign go- The bill passed the House of Comvernments. Now, the corresponding mons, and the Catholics declare, that change in opinion ought evidently to this proves that the British people are be, a more determined opposition to with them. Unluckily for them, it the removal of the disabilities. Mr admits of arithmetical refutation. Mr Brownlow, however, and those who Spring Rice, their champion, has asfollowed his example, could only find serted, that two-thirds of the Irish in this change a reason for becoming members voted in favour of the bill. strenuous friends of the Catholics. The Now, no one-not even a Catholic winter's blast destroyed the summer's will say that the Irish members are warmth, therefore they put out their the representatives of the British peofires and threw off their garments. ple. Assuming Mr Rice's assertion to
On what did these individualsground be correct, and placing these members their change of opinion ? On the evie wholly out of sight, we find the majodence of Bishop Doyle and Lawyer rity of the British members voted O'Connell. We know not by what un- against the bill in all the divisions. accountable chance it happened that We find that if the question had been these two persons were examined. It left solely to the British members, the is amazing, that after what they had bill would never have entered the done, spoken, and written, any one House of Commons. This, we think, should have thought that their evi- is sufficiently decisive; it ought even dence would have the weight of a fea- to convince a Catholic. ther with the nation; and is still We will look a little more closely at more amazing that, after comparing this boasted majority in favour of the this evidence with their opinions given Catholics. Many of the Irish memon other occasions, any one should have bers are elected by the Catholics, or dared to venture his reputation upon it. by those who are, from personal rea
sons, as anxious for the removal of the harmony, without absolute necessity. disabilities as the Catholics themselves. But when it was industriously trum These members hold their seats on the petted forth that Lord Liverpool had sole condition of voting for this remo changed his opinion, that the bill val, and, therefore, on such a question would pass the Lords, and that the they can only be regarded as so many Crown was even in its favour, the naCatholics. If we subtract them, we tion took the field in a moment. As find the majority to be in favour of the soon as it was thought that petitions disabilities. The opinion of such peo were necessary,Parliament was almost ple, and of those who supported the overwhelmed with them. Lord Eldon bill on the ground of abstract right, in the one house, and Mr Peel in the is perfectly worthless on a question other, distinctly declared that they had which ought to be decided solely upon not taken any steps to procure a single its merits.
petition-thé Bishops declared that It certainly required prodigious har- they had used no influence to procure dihood to assert, in the face of the pe petitions--the leading opponents of the titions which were spontaneously pour Catholics were in many places detered into Parliament, that the British red from calling public meetings, by people were on the side of the Catho threats of opposition from the Whigs lics. The British people
not merely scarcely any public meetings were the lower orders—but the vast mass of held to influence the public mind by the middle and upper classes, were ne inflammatory speeches and by far the ver more decidedly hostile to the re- greater portion of the press was in famoval of the disabilities, than they are vour of the Catholics. The petitions at present; and they never gave more emanated from, and spoke the consciunanswerable evidence that they were entious opinion of, the nation at large, actuated by such hostility, than they to a degree almost unexampled. have done during the present session Our readers have not to be told, that of Parliament. The Catholics have the Upper House did not adopt the opis lost ground fearfully among the Disa nion of the lower one, touching the Casenters. The Methodists, many of the tholic relief bill. To this bill the Duke Baptists, and some of the Presbyte- of York, with a boldness and honesty rians and Independents, petitioned worthy of his high station and characagainst them; and in spite of the as. ter, gave the first mortal blow. We need sertions of Mr W. Smith and Mr not defend him from the flood of slanBrougham, we happen to know that der which his excellent speech has the feeling in favour of the disabilities drawn upon him; we need not comis very widely entertained among the ment on the base and dastardly strokes Presbyterians and Independents. For which have been aimed at him from much of this the Catholics have, no other quarters than Catholic meetings doubt, to thank their connexion with, and newspaper offices. The country is and the writings of, Cobbett.
acquainted with his character, and it As to the “ apathy" on which so is equally well acquainted with the much has been said, we believe it character of his calumniator. His never existed ; as far as our personal Royal Highness has long been one of observation went, it did not exist in the most popular men in the nation. London ; and from all the information He has been popular not with one class we have been able to procure, it did or party, but with all. He has been not exist in the country. The fact is, popular, not from courting popularity, every one was prepared to expect from but from disregarding it-not from former experience, and the
din which shifting, trimming, and conceding, was kept up in the House of Commons from veering about from creed to creed, in favour of “ liberality” and “ liberal and systein to system, as fashion might principles," that the bill would pass dictate,--but from his consistency, his this House ; but no one believed that steru integrity, his firm attachment to it would travel any farther. All felt the maxims of his illustrious fatherperfectly confident that it would be his open and determined adherence to rejected by the Peers, and that there the institutions and old principles of was not the least necessity for petie the empire. He has been popular, not tioning. In addition to this, the leade from being a liberal man, but from ing Tories of the country were exceed- being an honest man. The nation has ingly reluctant to disturb the existing found in him the heart and conduct of
a sterling Englishman of the old school, tfon where they ought to be fixed, and it has revered him accordingly.- upon the real merits of the Catholie He is now more popular than ever. Question-upon the effects of the pre
Great expectations rested upon the sent system of the Catholic church Bishop of Chester, and they were re
upon society. alized. His eloquent and powerful This speech has been called an inspeech has gained him his due place temperate one; it is a sufficient refu. in the estimation of his country. For. tation of this, that no one has ventunate it is for the Church of England tured to cite any portions of it to prove that she has gained a prelate like him its intemperance. Lord Liverpool kept in these her days of danger. Those aloof from personalities and matters who, like us, look beyond public cha- purely theological ; he was called upon racter, will find some satisfaction in to say whether there was anything in being told that he bears, the highest the system and conduct of the Catholic character as a man and as a minister, in church to justify the exclusion of its the parish in London which has been members from Parliament and the Miunder his care. The sound and ex- nistry, and he pointed out that in both, cellent speech of Lord Longford de- in a temperate but firm manner, which, serves notice. The venerable Lord in his judgment, justified such exclu. Chancellor closed the debate in a man- sion. It has been said, that he planer worthy of his commanding talents ced before the Catholics the alternative and virtues ; upon him the confidence of conversion or perpetual subjection of the nation mainly rested, and he to the disabilities. He did no such proved that he deserved it.
thing; he only, in effect, called for We mention the Earl of Liverpool such an alteration in the laws and conlast, not to give him the lowest place duct of the Catholic church, as would in our panegyric. He was, on this oc- harmonize it with the constitution and casion, again himself. His speech was laws of the empire. The calumnies exactly what might have been expect which have been cast upon this most ed from a man of his powerful under- virtuous man, and most upright and standing and great experience and re- able Minister, have only done him serputation from the Prime Minister of vice. He now occupies that place in England-from the Head of that Min the affcctions of his country which nistry which had conducted the country might even content the most unscruthrough unexampled difficulties and pulous worshipper of popularity. dangers, to unexampled glory and pros- His Majesty was placed by this quesperity: He did not tamper with the tion, and the conduct of the Catholics innocuous extremities of the question, and their advocates, in the most delibut he grasped it by the vitals; he did cate, difficult, and trying situation imanot whimper and whine, and sing eu- ginable ; his conduct displayed conlogies over the creature he meant to summate temper and prudence, and it destroy, but he treated it with the firm is duly appreciated by the nation. hostility of a manly enemy. He laid Whether the Peers did wisely, or his hand at once upon the foul ulcers unwisely, in rejecting the bill, is a of the Catholic church, and pinched question which we are not called upon them until she shrieked out in agony. to discuss. Our opinion touching this No speech has been abused like that matter is known to our readers. But of Lord Liverpool, and this proves de there is a question on which we must cisively that no speech has told só tre- say soinething, and this is--Can anymendously against the demerits of Ca- thing whatsoever be found to justify tholicism as that of Lord Liverpool. the present words and conduct of the This speech has been shuddered at, Catholics, and their parliamentary and and snarled at, and wept over ;-the other advocates ? Catholics have railed against it, the We have already said, that however newspapers have lavished on it their the question of right and expediency choicest Billingsgate, the House of may be however just or unjust the Commons have sat upon it, Mr Can- disabilities may be there is but one ning himself has tried his hand at its tribunal that can, and that ought to, refutation, and yet it remains unin- remove these disabilities. Before this jured, unanswered, and unanswerable. tribunal the Catholics have appeared It will yield prodigious benefit to the their case has been fully investigated country; it will fix the eyes of the na- they have had a fair trial--all the
advantages have been in their favour verpool and his friends to support their --they cannot say that any just means claims that can compel the majority were denied them, or that any impro- of the Peers to vote in their favour. per ones were employed against them. They must be quite as well aware of Yet the decision has been for the con- this as ourselves. tinuance of the disabilities.
What conduct, then, ought the CaIf this decision had resulted from tholics to pursue to do the best for their form and technicality, rather than evi- own interests? They should submit dence and deliberate judgment-if it to the decision of Parliament and the had been that of the Peers against the country in a manner becoming good sense of the country, or of the Crown subjects. They should reform the
obagainst the vote of Parliament--if it noxious parts of their conduct. They had been in any way doubtful—the should abolish the objectionable law's Catholics might then have quarrelled of their church, and submit to be plawith it, although it would then have eed on a level with the Protestants as been perfectly legal and constitutional. a body. Instead of this, they are to But what are the facts ? With regard reform and change nothing-they are to the nation, it is abundantly proved to array themselves as far as possible that the vast majority of all classes against the laws-they are heaping were against the Catholics; with re- the most foul and unwarrantable abuse gard to the House of Commons, the upon all who have felt it to be their actual majority was very small; and duty to oppose them. The reason is, the real majority; putting out of sight because that is not done which is a those who voted on grounds foreigni downright, palpable impossibility. to the merits of the question, was Do these neorile thon scriu!, think against them. With regaru to the Peers, that we are a nation to be driven from the majority against them was large, our opinions by their guilt and madand perfectly free from suspicion of ness? Do they expect to compel our being obtained by undue means. Peers to vote for them by sedition and With regard to the Ministry, one-balf slander? Do they believe, that calumof it was against them. And with re- niating such men as Lord Eldon, the gard to the Crown, it is just as likely Earl of Liverpool, and the Bishop of that its sentiments were against, as for, Chester, will gain our friendship? Do them.
they imagine, that the change of feelAgain, to decide upon this question, ing which can alone remove the disour great political parties were dissol abilities, is to be wrought among us ved for the moment. The influence of by threat and insult-by hatred and the Ministry was destroyed in effect, in outrage ? If they do, we will assure and out of Parliament, for each half- them they are mistaken--we will asneutralized that of the other. The in
sure them that they have formed a Anence of the Crown, in so far as it was pro-ligiously erroneous estimate of our used, was used by the Catholies and character. - Alas! Alas! Is there not their friends in their favour.
one Catholic in the whole body who is Now, granting it to be probable that blessed with common sense, and who this decision may have been an erro- will step forward to save Catholic inneous one, who is to decide it to have
terests and hopes from utter ruin? been so, and to reverse it? Where is O'Connell and the Catholics genethe court of appeal? In so far as the rally, for reasons which may be easily opinion of the nation goes, this opis imagined, discourse without ceasing nion is decidedly in favour of the de- in fayour of liberty. The worthy cision; and there is no legal and con- counsellor, who led his mobs to crush stitutional authority in the realm that as far as possible the religious and ci. can take cognizance of the question, vil liberty of the Irish Protestants, save the one by which the decision who declares that the peasantry ought has been made. No matter how thë not to be suffered to read the Bible, Catholics may be aggrieved, there is to enter a Pr estant place of worship, nothing in the nation that can at pre- and to send their children to such sent afford them a lawful remedy. schools as they may think fit-who There is no power here, or in any defends the detestable penal code of other part of the earth, that can com- the Catholic Church, and who praises pel the British people to change their to the skies the conduct of the Cathoopinions--that can compel Lord Lin lie clergy of Spain and France,—this VOL. XVIII.
ma: cants in favour of liberty and lie those places which a few years ago beral opinions with all the volubility were the hot-beds of radicalism of an English Radical. Were we to from Manchester, Glasgow, Oldham, believe the Catholics, the men who Westminster, &c. In these places dare not alter the laws of their church the Irish labourers are the most pufrom the fear of the Pope and their
If the radical teachers only priests, the men who assist in keeping persevere in favour of the Catholics, their poor brethren in the most galling we are pretty sure that a few years bondage,-they are the most fierce will make our lower orders once more enemies of slavery in existence. All loyal, once more King and Church this is lost upon us in England. It people. Burdett's popularity among is not for them to give us iustructions the Westminster electors is gone; touching liberty. We want no such were an election to take place in the liberty as they worship; we enjoy a present summer, he would lose his seat, far better kind already. When we if opposed. see them as free from priestly tyranny. We must now say a word touching as we are ourselves, --when we see the conduct of the Parliamentary and them enjoy, and suffer their poor bre- other advocates of the Catholics. thren to enjoy, the liberty, civil and These people actually speak as though religious, which the laws and consti- the late decision had been directly at tution place within their reach, we variance with the laws and constitu. shall then think they have some af- tion. With them it seems the majofection for liberty, but not before. rity is to bind the minority no longer ; O'Connell will delude the people of the voice of the nation is to be rated this country no more; they now know as nothing. They cannot see that him; his coming to London has given the Cathoäc question is one on which them his exact measure.
the wisest and greatest of men may We are pretty sure the Catholic differ--they cannot perceive that it prepriesthood imagined that their con- sents any difficulties and perplexities nexion with Sir Francis Burdett and they can only discover that it is quite Cobbett would give them a vast por- impossible for themselves to be in tion of our lower orders as proselytes. error, and that all who differ from We were in some alarm touching this, them are the most simple and ignobut it is now dissipated; we even now rant persons in existence. They are think that this connexion will go very not content with charging us with be. far towards accomplishing the exter- ing utterly destitute of knowledge and mination of Radicalism. So oddly do understanding; we are, it appears, some things sometimes operate. The brim-full of all kinds of bad feeling. lower orders of the Irish have not the The modesty of this is amazing, and art of causing themselves to be beloved the liberality of it, considering that by the people of this country when it proceeds from the exclusively “libethey come among them. If an Irish ral” people, is still more amazing; regiment be expected in any of our Well, before we concede that these towns, its arrival is looked for almost are the only people in the empire who with horror; and so long as it may be are capable of sitting in judgment on quartered among the inhabitants, there the Catholic question--that these are is generally nothing but quarrelling the only people in the empire who are and ill-blood between them and the sol capable of managing public affairs, diers. Our labourers regard the Irish that these are the only people in the ones as interlopers, who come among empire who possess any talent, know. them to rob them of bread, and they ledge, and wisdom-that these are the dislike them from one side of the island only people in the empire who are not to the other. In addition to this, the fools, dunces, and knaves, let us see disposition and conduct of the Irish on what grounds: we must make the labourers are calculated to do any- concession. thing rather than to gain the friend- Two of the most distinguished ad. ship of the English ones.
It is a
yocates of the Catholics--two of the inost remarkable fact, that, notwith- leaders-maintained that the diffestanding the labours of Cobbett and rence between the Cathokic Church the radical Baronet, the petitions and the Church of England was triagainst the Catholic bill that were the fing and unimportant. Did this prove most numerously signed, caine from that these individuals possessed suffi,