Puslapio vaizdai

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 cen

, sure 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

till you grant us a redress of our grievances." 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


for you,

As an



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. Two 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,

as we may learn from our own experience, where the great mass of the young men who graduate are little better than downright infidels. A more insidious or destructive measure it is impossible to devise, and we regret to find it countenanced by some who would fain persuade us they are Catholics. We trust, however, Catholics generally will treat the measure as it deserves ; for the well instructed Catholic knows that education not based on religious principle and coupled with thorough religious training is a curse, instead of a blessing ; and no religious training, to satisfy a Catholic, is possible in a school not exclusively under Catholic control. We would much rather our children should grow up ignorant of letters, than be taught in a school which is not Catholic. Better to be ignorant and believing than to be learned and doubting.

The second measure is the proposition to pay the Catholic bishops and clergy a salary from the public treasury, which, it is hoped, will make them the tools of the state. The English Tories seem to have still too much respect for principle to make such a nefarious proposition ; but the English Whigs, in whose ethical code honor, justice, manliness, independence, never found admission, and never will, - a party notoriously

– without principles, and held together by cant and a common love of chicanery and baseness, make no scruples in boldly avowing such a policy and its motives. Events may rapidly drive the government into its adoption. Its acceptance would be the death-knell of the Irish Church, Irish nationality, and Irish liberty. We trust the dignitaries and clergy of the Irish Church do not need to be told this ; and we trust in God, that in the hour of trial they will be found firm and unflinching, choosing “to be afflicted with the people of God, rather than to have the pleasure of sin for a time, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of the Egyptians.” Retain the Catholic faith of the Irish people and the independence of the Irish Catholic Church ; Irish nationality will never be lost, and Irish liberty will assuredly ere long be triumphantly vindicated and established. Corrupt the faith of the Irish people, make them infidels, or educate them merely with reference to success in this world, and reduce the Catholic prelates and clergy to the condition of stipendiaries on the British govern ment; Ireland's degradation will be complete, and all hope of her regeneration delayed for ever.

For ourselves, we confess that we feel more lively apprehensions as to the effect Repeal agitation is likely to have on the cause of the Catholic Church in Ireland, than we do as to its probable success in securing Irish freedom and national prosperity. Temporal prosperity, however great, is too dearly purchased, if purchased at the expense of that faith without which it is impossible to be saved. Great popular movements in behalf of any worldly end, however unexceptionable or praiseworthy in themselves considered, are always to be viewed with something of fear and anxiety. They almost necessarily draw off the mind and the heart from the great work of securing our celestial destiny, and concentrate them on the means of working out an earthly destiny ; and therefore tend to make us worldly-minded, instead of spiritually-minded. We look upon all popular movements with a certain degree of distrust; for they are almost always sure to be carried on by blind impulse or enthusiastic zeal, and to fall at last under the control of the unprincipled and the designing, instead of the true, the good, the holy, the practical, and the discreet. So far as we have observed them, though in behalf of a great and praiseworthy object, they generally strike down more good by the way than they secure by gaining their end. We can see no good that has, as yet, resulted from the terrible popular movements of modern times. The giant turns that he may rest his wearied limbs ; but the mountain merely sends forth volcanic eruptions, which spread fear, consternation, and ruin through all the neighbouring towns, villages, and hamlets. In order to secure success, the masses make concessions and form alliances which are incompatible with truth and goodness, and which rarely fail, in the end, to rob victory of its most valuable fruits. There

may be no cause in the Irish Repeal movement for any of the apprehensions we here express, and we would fain hope there is not; and yet we are not without our fears. Great men and good men, engaged in a cause they have much at heart, looking steadily at its final success, are apt to be a little blinded, and to give countenance, unconsciously, to principles and measures which they would not for the world adopt, if clearly and distinctly proposed and contemplated. In their patriotic zeal, Mr. O'Connell and some others, who are not to be judged by us, may, in order to unite all Irishmen for Ireland, make concessions to Protestant prejudices, and professions of policy, which grate rather harshly upon the sensibilities of a Catholic not engaged in the strife, and which may have, in the end, unhappy consequences. We may

be oversensitive, and led astray by the zeal and enthusiasm of the re

« AnkstesnisTęsti »