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Brethren, Countrymen, and Fettoio Citizens,
Religion has always considered war as one of the scourges of Heaven, and the source of numberless scourges and crimes. Men may arm their hands in defence of life and property; but their hearts shudder at the thoughts of a field of battle, which can scarce afford graves to the armies that dispute it, covered with the mangled bodies and scattered limbs of thousands of Christians, who never saw nor provoked each other before; and whose only fault was obedience to their princes! which obedience cannot be imputed to the soldier as a crime. The peaceful cottage deserted at the sight of an approaching enemy! Famine and distress closing the scene, and filling up the measure of calamities! Such are the misfortunes inseparable from war—misfortunes which induced the great St. Paul to exhort the Christians in the following manner: 41 exhort, therefore, that, first of all, 'supplications, prayers, intercessions be made for all men, 'for kings, and all that are in authority: that we may lead a 'quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.'* And such should be the constant prayer of a Christian.
But what, my brethren, if the enemy's sword glittered in our streets, and that to the licentiousness of a foreign fee we added domestic dissensions! If the sound of the enemy's
trumpet would be drowned in the cries and shrieks of the injured neighbour, whom we ourselves would be the first to oppress! Would not war itself lose its terrors, when compared to such outrages? And the calamities we would bring on ourselves, would not they surpass those which would pour in upon us from foreign nations? Such, nevertheless, are the fears that haunt us. Both Protestants and Catholics declare, that in case of an invasion, the common people are the greatest cause of their alarms; not from dread of your superior power; but from the sad necessity they would be under, of punishing those whom they are willing to protect, and "the general con. fusion that would disturb the peace and tranquillity of the rich, and draw down inevitable destruction on the poor. For in such an unfortunate juncture, every Catholic possessed of a feather bed, and commodious habitation, would join his Protestant neighbour in their mutual defence. The aggregate body of them would not be a match for regular forces, yet they would be an overmatch for you. They would unite in one common cause; you would be divided amongst yourselves, exposed to each other's encroachments, and overpowered by all parties.
Such, my brethren, would be your situation, should you be unhappy enough to strike from the path of a peaceable and Christian conduct. Forbid it Heaven, that it should be ever your case! I conceive better hopes of you. Your unshaken loyalty under the most trying circumstances; the calm and quietness that reigned in your peaceful huts, scattered up and down the extensive counties of Cork and Kerry, where the Catholics are poor and numerous, whilst other parts of the kingdom were infested with Houghersy White Boys, Hearts of Oak and Steel, and alarmed at the continual sight of judges, .chains and gibbets; the quiet and peaceable manner in which you behaved on a late occasion, when you imagined the enemy at your doors; all these circumstances are pledges of your loyalty and good conduct, and happy omens of your steady perseverance in the same line.
Your bishops and clergy have enforced the doctrine of peace, subordination, and loyalty, Jfrom the sacred altars, where the least lye would be a sacrilege, and crime of the first magnitude. The Catholic gentlemen have set forth the example to you. Both have bound themselves to king and government, by the most sacred ties. They have souls to be saved, and would be sorry to lose them by wilful perjury: they who would be on a level with their Protestant neighbours, if they took but the qualification oath against the con* viction of their consciences.
But the doctrine and example of the learned, prudent, and better sort of your profession, should be the only rule of your conduct; for in all countries, the generality of the common people are ill qualified to judge or determine for themselves. They are easily governed by the senses; hurried by their passions; and misled by a. wild and extravagant fancy that intrudes itself into the province of Reason.
Far be it from me to suspect you for any design to avail yourselves of the calamities of your nation, or to commit, in time of war, a robbery which you would detest in time of peace. Is the crime less heinous, because it is committed against a neighbour, who is doubly miserable from the terrors of a foreiga foe, and the outrageous assaults of a treacherous fellow subject?
When the soldiers asked St. John the Baptist, what they should do? He desired them, 'to do violence to no man; 'not to accuse any one falsely; and to be content with their * wages.'* Hence all divines are agreed, that the empire of justice is so extensive, that war itself must acknowledge its authority. Kings, in declaring war, make a solemn appeal to the tribunal of heaven, for the justice of their cause. The soldier cannot, in conscience, plunder or oppress the merchant or husbandman in his enemy's country: he must strictly abide by the orders of his commander. If justice, then, in certain circumstances, must sheath the enemy's sword, how much more forcibly must it not restrain the citizen's hand from invading what he cannot enjoy without guilt here, and punishment hereafter? A punishment the more to be dreaded, as perhaps there would be no time for restitution and repentance! Indispensable obligations, to which every robber is liable, and without which he has no mercy to expect. But if a robbery committed on a private man, deserve death
and damnation, what must not be the guilt of those who would flock to the enemy's standard, to the total overthrow and destruction of an entire kingdom? It would be vain to plead the hardships you suffer; the prospect of being reinstated in the lands of which your ancestors have been deprived in times of general confusion; a more free and unlimited exercise of your religion; in fine, the last argument of a desperate man, 1 if they come, 1 have nothing to lose.' Those reasons I have not heard from yourselves: I have read them with surprise in speeches and essays against the repeal of the penal laws; and I hope in God, that your conduct shall for ever contradict them. *.
When an enemy lands in a country, every person has something to lose. The labourer who refreshes his weary limbs with balmy sleep, and for whose soft slumbers the gouty rich man would exchange his bed of down, would lose his rest from continual fears and apprehensions. When public works would be discontinued, and tradesmen dismissed by their employers, carpenters, masons, slaters, Sec. would lose their hire. It would not be with a view to feed an hungry Irishman, that a number of French dragoons would make excursions from their camp: it would be with a design to carry off his calf or pig, and to kill himself if he resisted. Whatever distinction die laws of this unhappy kingdom may make between Protestant and Papist, a conqueror's sword makes none. War levels and confounds all religions, where their professors are subjects of a monarch whose kingdom is invaded.
When the French joined the Americans, it was not from love for the Presbyterian religion. If they landed here, it would not be with a design to promote the Catholic cause.— When Oliver Cromwell beheaded Charles the First, brotherin-law to the King of France, and issued a bloody decree, whereby all the English Catholics were commanded to quit the kingdom in the space of two months, the French, far from resenting the injury offered to the blood-royal and to the Catholic religion, sided Cromwell against Spain; and ordered the Duchess of Saxony to promote and protect her Protestant subjects, whilst the English Catholics were smarting under the scourge of persecution, and threatened with total extermination.*
i Thus all religions are alike to a political people, whose only aim is interest and conquest. Hence, in France, Protestants of all denominations are promoted in the army.— Protestant generals command Wer forces: the order of Military Merit is instituted for Protestant officers. It is equal to them whether a soldier prays or curses-—whether he handles a bead or a prayer-book; provided he can manage a sword and gun. And if thirty thousand men, under the denomination of French troops, landed in Ireland, fifteen thousand Protestants, from France, Germany, Switzerland, &c. would make up half the number.
Neither are you to confide in their promises of protection. The history of their own nation informs us, that a French king banished his mother at the request of the English. The most part of yourselves can remember, that in the war of seventeen hundred and forty-five, they prevailed on the Pretender to invade Scotland. This adventurer, after suffering more hardships than any romantic hero we read of, no sooner returned from this chimerical expedition to Paris, than,. at the solicitation of the English ambassador, he was forced to leave the kingdom of France. He died, about two months since, without issue; and by his deadihasrid the kingdom of all fears arising from the pretensions of a family that commenced our destruction, and completed our ruin.—Of this I think fit to inform you, as, in all likelihood, if the French landed here, some might give out that he might be in their camp, in order to deceive you by an imposture that would end in your destruction. For all those who would join the French, would be strung up after the war, and give occasion of charging the whole body of the Roman Catholics with the treachery of some of its rotten members. Or what * protection could you expect from people who would sacrifice the ties of kindred and friendship for the good of their state?
Expect then nothing from the French on the score of religion, but remain peaceably in your cottages. Mind your
* leti'* Life of Cromwell.