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ly require to be enumerated. The first is, that it would restore to the service of their country a great multitude of persons, whose talents and exertions are now lost, by their exclusion from rewards and honours. The situations to which no Catholic can aspire, are, it will be confessed, the most important in the country, and those which it is of the most consequence to have occupied by talents and virtues. The Catholics, however, form at least two thirds of the Irish population ; and not much less, perhaps, than one sixth of the British nation. The evil, then, would be great and flagrant, if it consisted merely in this, that our chance of finding able statesmen and valiant commanders was lessened by one fourth, in consequence of the choice being thus narrowed and restrained ; one fourth part of the prizes are thus withdrawn from the lottery, and one whole limb of the empire paralyzed for every noble exertion. This, however, is but a very partial and inadequate view of the evil that results from this system of exclusion. It is not merely of the Chathams and Wolfes, the Nelsons and Foxes, which that system condemns to inaction and obscurity, that the nation is deprived, but of all that vast harvest of ascending talent and liberal exertion which would be reaped from those whom their example would call into competition. The high prizes of office and command can come but to a few, but the hope and excitement which they produce, extend to innumerable multitudes ; and the public receives the reward of its prudent munificence, not so much in the eminent services of the individuals who monopolize its distinctions, as in the generał zeal and activity which is excited by the spectacle of their promotion. By the exclusion of one fourth part of its subjects from the honours of the state, the public is defrauded not only of one fourth of the illustrious characters who would have advanced its interest in these high stations, but of an equal proportion of the subordinate, but important and indispensable services that would have been performed by those who were ambitious of such distinctions.
The second great advantage of the emancipation would be, that it would regain the affections, and secure the allegiance, of four millions of people, who must necessarily be discontented as long as it is withheld, and from whose impatience and resentment the most serious evils, and the most tremendous dangers, may otherwise be apprehended. This is a consideration which is paramount to every other; and the antagonists of the cause, while they feel its force, have laboured to counteract its effects by more suggestions than can well be reconciled to each other. In the first place, they have denied that there is any considerable discontent, or tendency to disaffection, among the body of Irish
Catholics. Catholics. The answer to this, however, is to be found in facts that admit of no dispute or controversy. In the rebellions and insurrections which have agitated that unhappy country for the last twelve years ;-in the military law, under which a great part of it suffered for no less a time, and in the great military force which it is still necessary to maintain ;- in the constant jealousy and precaution of the government;-in the late insurrection bill, and the public avowal then made by the great advocate of Irish loyalty, of the existence of a French party in the heart of the kingdom ;-finally, in the arguments and assertions of the adversaries of emancipation themselves, when it suits them, to change their ground, and to insist on the jacobinism, cruelty and disaffection which are inherent in the profession of popery.
Taking for granted, then, the fact of Catholic discontent, which is but too notorious, the opponents of emancipation must contend, that it is a very unreasonable discontent, and that it would not be cured by the remedy which is now suggested. The truth of the latter proposition depends evidently upon the first. If the disabilities to which the Catholics are liable, are not actual and sufficient causes for their discontent, it is certainly reasonable to conclude, that it will not be cured by removing those disabilities. But, on the other hand, if it can be shewn that those very disabilities, which are confessedly the ostensible grounds of complaint, are also quite sufficient to account for it in reality, then, it seems to follow, with equal certainty, that it may be effectually cured by their removal. . At first sight, indeed, it may not appear very natural or probable, that the exclusion of two or three hundred opulent individuals from Parliament, and from the high offices of the civil and military departments, should operate as a source of general irritation and discontent with the great body of the peasantry and mechanics : And it has been asked, what sort of interest the potatoe fed tenant of a cabin could be supposed to have in the nomination of Lords Lieutenant and Masters of the Ordnance ? A very little consideration, however, will show the fallacy of this mode of reasoning. In the first place, all who are actually excluded, and all who think they are excluded by this system, must necessarily be very much irritated and discontented ; and, as their influence must naturally be very great over their inferiors of the same persuasion, it would not be wonderful, if the whole body were to be infected with those feelings, from that principle alone. But the original impression of disappointment and injustice comes infinitely lower down than to those who, from rank or qualification, might have aspired immediately to the forbidden honours. Every youth, whom ambition or vanity inspires with the hope of distinction, arrogates to himself those honours in imagination, and resents all peremptory exclusion, perhaps yet more fiercely than him to whom their possession would be less a distinction. Every brave cadet who gets an ensign's commission in a regiment of militia ;-every poor scholar who gains a prize at a provincial academy ;-every attorney's apprentice who corrects the blunders of his instructor, looks forward to honours and dignities at the close of his career, as well as to emolument during its continuance; and is cheered, in his obscurcst labours, by the prospect of emerging, at last, to power and distinction. It will scarcely be believed, by those who have not made the inquiry, how much these dreams of future glory contribute to lighten and exalt the humblest toils, in which talent or vanity can serve their apprenticeship; and how beneficially they bind those resta less qualities to the constitutional establishments, in which they have their original. To the whole body of Catholics, however, this land of golden promise is proscribed. Whatever may be their talents or pretensions, they must drudge on, with no other reward but sordid emolument; or, if they indulge in visions of honour and elevation, must necessarily connect those pleasing ideas with anticipations of political change and revolution. In this way it is conceived to be manifest, that the whole active and energetic part of the Catholics must consider themselves as directly injured and affronted by the exclusions to which they are liable ; and, as the inferior mass of the population scarcely ever acts but from the impulse of the higher, nothing more seems to be requisite to account for the general dissatisfaction of the Catholics with their present condition.
Independent of this altogether, it is to be considered, that those who are excluded, are so excluded on account of those principles, and that profession of faith which they hold in common with the rest, and by their attachment to which they are al united in one interest. It is natural for the lowest Catholics to think that their condition would be amended, if persons of their persuasion were freely admitted to the legislature,--the bench,--the magistracy, -and army. At all events, it is impossible that they should not feel that the condition of the whole body would be more honourable; and this is a feeling which operates more powerfully, even in the very lowest classes of society, than legislators always seem to have been aware of. .
Of all the feelings in which resentment and dislike, either individual or general, can take its origin, the most common, most prolific, and most powerful, is that of insult and unmerited contempt. The love of estimation is rooted so firmJy in human nature, that there is scarcely an individual so debased as not to be more affected by an affront than an injury; and much more likely to resent unmerited scorn than un
provoked provoked malignity. Now, the exclusion of Catholics from all offices and situations of honour and dignity, and that solely on account of their being Catholics, cannot fail to be felt by them as an insult and opprobrium on their faith, and to remind them, that they are a degraded and inferior people. In whatever situation a Catholic may be placed individually, he must still feel that he belongs to a despised and humiliated order, and must be prone to all those movements of resentment and dissatisfaction which belong to those who are undeservedly dishonoured. It is this feel. ing, we are persuaded, far more than the actual hardships and privations to which they are subjected, that has generated among the Catholics that spirit of disaffection which it would be in vain to deny or dissemble; and that impatience for the removal of their remaining badges of inferiority, which has sometimes appeared more turbulent than the object could justify. It is a feeling which necessarily arises in such a situation, and which has often been known to produce effects at least as formidable as any which have yet been either experienced, or anticipated from Catholic combinations. We formerly alluded to the early and obstinate dissensions of the patricians and plebeians of antient Rome, which originated in this very feeling. But a more recent and impressive illustration may be found in the history of the French revolution. All rational people are now agreed, that the true cause of that monstrous commotion was the obstinate exclusion of the lower orders from places of distinction and authority. The roturier and the noble were pretty nearly equal with regard to all the substantial rights which affected person or property; and it was the latter, much more frequently than the former, that felt the effects of what was arbitrary and oppressive in the constitution of the monarchy. The roturier, however, was excluded, in a great degree, from high military command, or civil office of the first distinction, and this alone proved sufficient to produce a spirit of general discolle tent and disaffection, which specdily overthrew the whole frame of the society. The immediate effects of the exclusion could reach but to a few ;-but the sense of injustice and partiality communicated itself to the whole boily. The lowest individual felt his share of the contumely which it inflicted on his order, and resented and rebelled against those ancient arrangements which withheld from that order its full share of the honours and distinctions of the nation. What the roturier was in France, the Catholic is in Ireland; and, if his conduct should ultimately be the same, it will not be without a precedent, nor those who provoke it, without a warning.
There is nothing overcharged in this parallel ; on the contrary, we believe, that it does not represent the degraded state of the Irish Catholics with sufficient force and effect. The lower orders in France, we believe, laboured under fewer disabilities than the Catholics of Ireland ; and those disabilities they owed to their birth, of which they were generally ashamed, and not to their religion to which it was their duty to procure respect and honour. They paid no tythes to a sect they disapproved - they had no recollection of having been sharers in the privileges they envied— and, if they were liable to slights and insults from those who enjoyed all the proud distinctions of office, still those were almost uniformly tempered by the forbearance and good-breeding which naturally belonged to nobility ;- finally, they had never been opposed in open hostility to their superiors, nor mingled the remembrance of antient enmity and merciless victory with the grudgings of their present inequality. If that vast insurrection, therefore, the consequences of which have shaken the world to its foundations, be held to be sufficiently accounted for by referring to the disabilities and exclusions of the tiers etat, after it came to hanker after the offices from which it was debarred, there seems to be no difficulty in accounting for the general discontent and impatience of the Irish Catholics, and no great hazard in predicting similar consequences from the continued rejection of their claims.
This conclusion we should think ourselves warranted to draw, from the mere consideration of the law as it stands with regard to this body; but, if we take into view the well authenticated accounts of the feelings and practices to which the law has given occasion, we shall be disposed to wonder how any hesitation should ever have been expressed as to its adoption. Throughout Ireland, a Protestant alone is qualified with the appellation of an honest man ;' and, in common speech, the Catholics are still designated by terms of contempt and abhorrence. In some places, the passing bell is rung out in a brisk and merry measure when one of them dies. The obnoxious Magistracy which superintendo ed the floggings and executions which attended the suppressioni of the rebellion, is still continued in office; and the bloodhounds of the Orange faction are still caressed in the courts of the Castle. Catholics, as we have already noticed, are systematically excluded from serving on juries; and instances are by no means wanting, where the protestantism of the jury has been sufficiently distinguishable on the face of their verdict. In some counties, a general combination has actually been entered into, to drive all Catholics from among them, by menaces and actual violence,-and the magistracy, from fear, or from baser motives, have remained quiet spectators of an outrage so enormous. This last statement we should have declined to make upon any thing that could appear questionable authority; but when we find it