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kind benefactors, they may not, contrary to their intentions, by mistaking the means, most irretrievably destroy us.
To conclude, be just in your dealings, sober in your conduct, religious in your practice, avoid riots, quarrels, and tumults; and thus you will approve yourselves good citizens, peaceable subjects, and pious Christians.
LETTER OF MR. O'CONOR TO DR. CURRY....PAGE 54.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
MY neighbour, or rather a great man in my neighbourhood, the Bishop of Elphin, has been of late very inquisitive about the Bishop of Ferms's bleeding Iphigenia, in hopes, I suppose, of throwing some dirt at us this session out of our own dunghills. I know enough of this book out of Walsh's, to think that you as well as I, are of Walsh's side of the question, in condemning the proceedings at Waterford, Jamestown, and Galway, and in declaring that the war of the confederate Catholics was just and necessary; they fought against unprincipled regicides, and his lordship's abuse will tend ultimately to make such enemies less odious to mankind. In the mean time, you and all of you, are as passively silent as sheep before the shearer; you are of opinion, I suppose, that it is not justice due to all parties to shew by what means and by whose means, such evils were brought upon us as operate to this day. This Harris's insolence is seasoned for him by an opinion derived from your silence, that he has defeated us all. For my part, were I you, and had I but a pebble, I would cast it at such an illiberal dog; nay, at every Irishman, who would be so base as not to be ashamed to mangle the corpse of the fallen, or to rivet the fetters of the oppressed.
But alas! we are a people truly fallen, or we would co-operate with each other systematically, in counteracting the proceedings of the parties that are united in nothing but in a league against us. They offer as a boon, a registry bill, which is evidently calculated to extirpate our very remains. Nothing can be better known, than that our spiritual economy cannot be exercised without the spiritual jurisdiction of our bishops. Yet, the jurisdiction of Catholic bishops is totally overturned by this blessed boon, the intent of which is therefore to destroy Popery by Popery itself,
The difference between Queen Anne's Registry Bill and this one, is, that the former was too penal to execute itself. But the latter is far from being so; it avails itself of our most despotic passions to destroy our best principles.
Let us therefore draw up a solemn appeal, to be published in the Foreign Gazettes, which will acquit us in the face of Europe as men aggrieved merely on account of honest attachments to our principles. This will be of use to us in the day of exile ; for I see now that there is no remedy but emigration. I can never think of this legal annihilation of episcopal authority, without alternate emotions of anger and dejection. I am moved to indignation when told, that, after this bill passes, the penal clauses shall be as little enforced as those already existing. Vain presumption! This penal law is calculated to execute itself, and ourselves shall be the executioners! How shall I proceed on this melancholy subject which afflicts me the more, as, for so many years past, we have not by any principle or conduct, given the smallest provocation. Allow me, my dear friend, to apply to you for the consolation which I can derive only on the vigilance and activity of which I know you are possessed.
Tecum etenim longos memini consumere soles.
[The Declaration of the Roman Catbolic Tenets published at this time was the
same as that published in 1793; for which vide Appendix, No. LXXXVIII)
MR. wyse's PROPOSAL TO THE FIRST CATHOLIC COMMIT
WHEREAS, many of the penal laws enacted against the Roman Catholics of Ireland, since the Revolution, have in a great measure been owing to the supineness of some, to the overbearing superiority assumed by others in taking the lead, and despising the opinions of men of greater knowledge and penetration; to embezzlements of public money, and an insecurity of application to the purposes, for which large sums have been occasionally raised; to an imprudent choice of improper agents ; to the diffidence and difficulty of raising such sums as are necessary to give weight to solicitation, and lastly, to the want of that good under standing, harmony and union so remarkable in the political conduct of all other Dissenters, by which they have preserved a legal toleration of their religious worship, and the rights and liberties of freemen, which the Catholics might have been equally successful in keeping, if they had gone hand in hand, and pursued the same methods, the neglect and omission of which have brought such an inundation of calamities on us, that neither clergy nor iaity could live in this kingdom, if the severity of the laws themselves did not suspend their execution, and the lenity of government hold up the scourge, but not the spirit of persecution, which breaks out each session, with greater violence, and though now and then diverted, yet in the end must extirpate us, if not pru lently counteracted.
And, whereas, it would be impossible to convene together all the Roman Catholics of property throughout the kingdom on any emergency, or even all the Roman Catholics of weight and consequence in and about the city of Dublin, the fountain head of intelligence, and though such a convention were practicable, it would be inexpedient; in order therefore to remedy, &c. &c. the following scheine is humbly proposed for establishing a perpetual committee of representatives for each diocess in Ireland, and for each parish in the city of Dublin. One representative to be chosen by ballot, at a meeting of the principal inhabitants of each parish, and in each county by a majority of the parish priests, as well as of the towns and cities, and each nomination and appointment of a lay representative to be signed not only by the said clergy, but also, by the principal inhabitants of the diocess, and these several elections to be made with as much secrecy as possible.
The chairman of the said committee with an assistant, constantly residing in Dublin, to keep a book of accounts, and enter all transactions for the satisfaction of their constituents ; to be annually chosen on some day before the first of January, by a majority of members, and to have a casting voice, in case of a division, and an equality of voices on both sides. The country members, who may not be in town at the time of any necessary business shall be duly apprized thereof by the chairman or assistant secretary for the time being, and any gentleman, though not of the committee, shall have access to their meetings, to give his opinion or advice on any deliberation of importance, but not to have a voice in any debate or resolution of the committee, or be present when the ques. tion is put; and every thing done by a majority of voices, relative to the spiritual or temporal welfare of the constituents, shall be binding, and considered by all parties as conclusive, &c.
LETTER OF MR. SAUL TO MR. O'CONOR OF BELANAGARE
MY DEAR MR. O'CONOR,
I AM an utter stranger to what our people here are doing, and I am resolved never to be concerned in any affairs during my life, but those of my family, and a small circle of friends; what I suffered on account of my humanity in the case of Miss Toole, has taught me this lesson ; I was then made to under. stand, from the mouth of no less a personage, than the lord chancellor, that the laws did not presume a Papist to exist here, nor could they breathe without the connivance of government. for I shall not attempt to think otherwise, after so solemn a declaration, how can you blame me for being an enemy to addresses and to memoirs ? Éven you cannot persuade me that they tend to any purpose. I remember to have read in some of the classics (when a school boy) a line or two, which have been of singular use to me in the course of
life. Nunquam pænituit tacuisse, at sæpe locutum. And now, my dear friend, since there is not the least prospect of such a relaxation of the penal laws, as would induce one Roman Catholic to tarry in this house of bondage, who can purchase a settlement in some other land, where freedom, and security of property can be obtained, will you condemn me for saying, that if I cannot be one of the first, I will not be one of the last, to take fight from a country, where I have not the least expectation of encouragement to enable me to carry on my manufactures, to any considerable extent ?
Heu! fuge cruđeles terras, fuge littus avarum ! The parliament of 59, is not the parliament of 53. The heart was then on the right side of the political body, ready to promote, on all occasions, the interest and welfare of the country ; but the case is quite the reverse at present. The patriots of that happy æra are the betrayers of this ; and he only is wrong, who stood out for too great a price, or did not sell himself in time for what he could obtain,
If (as Pope says) 4 whatever is, is right,” those trials may perhaps be intended for our greater benefit, as lessons to shew us, that our kingdom is not of this world, that we are not to expect ang real happiness in this life, and that the greatest calamities and miseries here must have an end.
This reflection, I own, has often relieved me on many distressing occurrences. But how I will be able to bear at this time of life, when nature is far advanced in its decline, and my constitution by constant exercise of mind very much impaired, the fatal necessity of quitting for ever, friends, relations, an ancient patrimony,.... my natale solum, to retire perhaps to some dreary inauspicious clime, there to play the school-boy again, to learn the language, laws, and constitution of the country ; to make new friends and acquaintances; in short, to begin the world anew; how this separation, I say, from every thing dear in this sublunary world, would afflict me, I cannot say, but with an agitated and throbbing heart.
But when Religion dictates, and Prudence points out the only way to preserve posterity from temptation and perdition, I feel this consideration predominating over all others, I am resolved as soon as possible to sell out, and to expatriate; and I must content myself with the melancholy satisfaction of treasuring up in my memory the kindnesses and affections of my friends. Living or dying,
My dear O'Conor,
November 15, 1759.
LETTER OF MR. O'Conor to DR. CURRY....PAGE 55,
September 16th, 1759. NO circumstance attending the Memoirs gives me more pain, than the prospect you have before you, that the storm of the times is to burst over the heads of the patronizers of such a work, that is, over the defenceless, the grieved, and hated part of the nation....
If our masters are so far bent against us, as to be