« AnkstesnisTęsti »
to demand in loud and earnest tones her enfranchisement. But whether the specific measure of the repeal of the act of union and the restoration of her domestic parliament would effectually remove or lighten the evils which now weigh so heavily upon her, we consider Irishmen better qualified to decide than we are; and to them belongs, and to them we leave, the decision of the question, if it be still an open question. For ourselves, we will only add, that Ireland has never, in our judgment, lost her nationality; she therefore still possesses all the inherent rights of a nation, and is entitled to self-government as much as any other nation, free from all foreign control or dictation. If we did not take this ground, we should be obliged to regard the Repeal movements of our citizens as virtually, if not expressly, in contravention of international law. But, taking this ground, we are free to express our hope that the time is not far distant, when all traces of Ireland's conquest by or subjection to Great Britain will be wiped out, either by her restoration to complete and entire national independence, or by her elevation to perfect equality, civil and political, with the English portion of the British empire. Which would be best, or which will be effected, we know not; but that one or the other ought to be, and must and will be, we entertain not a doubt.
But we leave the discussion, as foreign to the province of our Journal, in which we consider we are at liberty to discuss political matters, whether foreign or domestic, only so far as they have a bearing on Catholic faith, morals, and worship. But we cannot refrain from making a remark or two on the attitude Mr. O'Connell has assumed in regard to our own country. Men do and will estimate Mr. O'Connell differently, according to the different points of view from which they contemplate him; nor is a man to be regarded as wanting in devotion to the interests of Ireland, even in case he cannot feel towards him as do the warm-hearted and enthusiastic Irish. We protest in advance against making the idolatrous worship of any man the test of one's devotion to the cause with which that man may be identified. For ourselves, as American citizens and patriots, we may have had our feelings wounded, our prejudices aroused, and even our judgments warped by Mr. O'Connell's unprovoked attacks on our country; for we are as sensitive to the interests, to the honor and glory of America, as Irishmen are to those of Ireland, and we are as quick to resent any attack upon them, come it from what quarter it may. But we regard
Mr. O'Connell as a wonderful man, and as a firm and devoted patriot. It is rather a Hibernianism, if we may be allowed the expression, to call him the "Liberator," for his countrymen are not yet liberated, and it is always too early to call any man the liberator of his country before his country is liberated; but that O'Connell earnestly desires the liberation of Ireland, and that he is prepared to effect it even at the sacrifice of his life, we see no good reason for doubting. We should think not over and above well of the Irishman whose heart did not honor O'Connell, and beat quicker at the mention of his name.
Nevertheless, we think Mr. O'Connell has, in his speeches, made remarks in regard to this country which are hard to justify or even palliate. We have strong reasons for believing that these remarks do not accord with his own private views and feelings, and that they are made mainly for the purpose of conciliating friends or silencing enemies in England and Scotland. Mr. O'Connell is better informed as to the state of things here than his public speeches would indicate. But he appears to judge it important for his success to conciliate, and, as far as possible, to enlist, the Abolitionists in Great Britain on his side, and to have it clearly and distinctly understood by the British government and people, that, however ardently he may desire Repeal, he is not prepared to carry it by courting or accepting any foreign alliance or sympathy. Thus he repelled the proffered sympathy of the French Liberals, and thus he has repelled, in some measure, the proffered sympathy of American citizens. Up to a certain point, this is a justifiable and even a necessary policy on his part. He is attempting, in his view of the case, a simple measure of domestic legislation,a legal measure to be carried by legal means, and by legal means only. It is, therefore, a matter in which the citizens or subjects of a foreign state have little right to interfere, and in which they cannot interfere without in some measure placing him in a false position, exciting the jealousies of the British government, wounding the national pride of the English people, and endangering, if not defeating, the success of his cause. He would belie his assertion that Repeal is a question of internal legislation, which nowise concerns foreign nations, and be ill qualified to act as the chief of the Repeal movement, if he did not take particular care not to give offence to the British government and people by accepting the sympathy of foreigners; and we think here is a consideration which should have great weight with the Repealers in this country, especially with
those who are American citizens. They may, after all, retard more than they can advance the cause of Repeal, and, it seems to us, O'Connell feels this, and hence the bitterness and contempt with which he speaks of us. We cannot, for ourselves, blame him very severely for this.
Nor do we blame Mr. O'Connell for pledging the British government the support of his countrymen in case of a war with us, on condition it does justice to Ireland. Mr. O'Connell and the Irish people profess to be loyal subjects to the British crown; they acknowledge that they owe allegiance to that crown; and, therefore, however much we might desire their coöperation, active or passive, with us, in case of a war with England, we cannot understand on what grounds we should have a right to expect it, or they to give it. We do not censure him, nor do we see how any one can rightfully censure him, for the conditional threat he threw out, unless it be the British minister himself; for, rightly considered, it was rather a threat against the minister than against us. It was as much as to say to Sir Robert Peel: "Do justice to Ireland, and if you go to war with America, you may count upon us as loyal subjects; but withhold justice from Ireland and go to war, and
manage with Ireland as best you can. We fight no battles for you, till you grant us a redress of our grievances." As an American, we take no offence at this; as Sir Robert Peel, we might, perhaps, demand of Mr. O'Connell by what right he, as a loyal subject, holds such language to the government to which he owes allegiance.
Nor, again, are we disturbed by the opinions Mr. O'Connell has expressed of the American people. We hope we have character and consistency enough, as a people, to be able to survive the expression of any opinions any foreigner may entertain of us, however unfavorable they may be. The only thing we complain of in Mr. O'Connell, in regard to us, is his interference with our domestic concerns, and his effort to throw the whole weight of his character and position into the scale of a domestic faction, whose avowed intention is the dissolution of the American Union, and whose success would involve the destruction of all government and law. We complain of him for coupling his Repeal movement with the movement of the American Abolitionists. It may be, that we, in our active sympathy with him in his efforts to liberate his countrymen, have transcended our rights as American citizens in regard to the British government, and unjustifiably interfered in the internal concerns
of the British empire; but if so, it was not for him to retort by leaguing with our own domestic enemies, and to revenge the British government for our generosity to Irishmen, by doing all in his power to destroy our existence as a free people. Such a retort would have come with a much better grace from Sir Robert Peel than from Daniel O'Connell.
Men may think as they will on the question of slavery; but no man, not blinded by his fanatical theories and prejudices, can watch, as we have, the rise and progress of the Abolition party in this country, and not hold the least conceivable countenance of it to be recreancy to God and treason to the state. A more subtle or dangerous enemy to religion or to liberty it is impossible to conceive. Our institutions could more easily withstand the whole combined force of Europe directed against them. It is yet to give them a severe trial, - to convulse our whole nation, and to hasten on a civil war, which we see already gathering on a no distant horizon. The party gathers force and virulence in its progress; it assimilates to itself every particular fanaticism in the country, and rolls on its accumulated and accumulating waters to the destruction, not of negro slavery, but of the state, of government, of religious institutions, of all social organizations, and of all law but the law every man is unto himself. The wildest extravagance can
conceive nothing more extravagant than its avowed principles; and the boldest and liveliest imagination falls short of the terrible evils its success would involve. The British government, for reasons not difficult to divine, gives this party its official sanction, and urges it on by all the indirect means in its power. This excites in us no surprise. But that O'Connell, a Catholic, and, therefore, a friend of established order, of firm and regular government, of religion, law, and humanity, for the sake of clearing himself of the charge of courting foreign sympathy, for the sake of pleasing the British government, and conciliating British fanatics, with whom he can have no sympathy, should aid and encourage this detestable faction, and in return for our having provided a home for millions of his countrymen, and sympathized warmly with his efforts to enfranchise the millions who still cling to their own "Green Isle of the Ocean," we own excites, if not our surprise, at least our deep indignation, and calls for the stern rebuke of the American people. He who sides with our enemies, plots with them, and encourages them in their hostility, can hardly expect us to treat him as our friend.
But while we express ourselves thus strongly against Mr. O'Connell's ill-advised sympathy with the American Abolitionists, we are far from confounding him either with the cause of Repeal or with the Irish people. For the Irish people we have the feelings every one must have who has made himself acquainted with the wrongs they have suffered for these seven hundred years. They are a noble, generous, and warm-hearted people, second to no people on the face of the earth. They have contributed their full share to what is noble, distinguished, touching, heroic, and saintly, in human history; and however indignant we may be at O'Connell's speeches, all the O'Connells in the world cannot shake our attachment to them, our admiration of the many noble traits in their character, or our earnest desire for their restoration to their rights as a free people. Nor does it seem to us that the remarks of Mr. O'Connell should affect at all our zeal or sympathy in regard to the cause of Repeal. Mr. O'Connell is not that cause, although he is its distinguished leader. It should be judged of independently of him, on its own intrinsic merits, and we should act in regard to it without taking at all into consideration his union with the miserable Abolition fanatics of this country.
But there is one other Irish question of more importance, in our view, than the Repeal question, the question of the relations of the Catholic hierarchy and clergy to the British government. Ireland owes the preservation of her nationality to Catholicity, and the fact that her bishops and clergy have depended not on the British government, but on the Holy See and the Irish people. It is to those bishops and clergy the Irish owe, under God, the preservation of their faith and nationality; and for whatever conquests have been achieved in behalf of Irish liberty, without these to back them, your long line of Irish heroes and patriots would have labored in vain. The British government are well aware of this, and they have now begun the policy of attempting to retain Ireland in subjection by trying to buy up her spiritual guides and rulers. measures will be proposed to this end: one, to corrupt the faith of the Irish people; the other, to corrupt the patriotism of the bishops and clergy. The first is to come in the shape of a system of mixed academical instruction, or the establishment of schools and colleges open alike to Catholics and Protestants, from which all positive religious instruction, whether Catholic or Protestant, shall be excluded. This will be to render the schools and colleges mere nurseries of infidelity,