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and arm that nation (which on all occasions treats his holiness so very politely) with his bulls and pardons, to invade poor old Ireland, to reduce you to popery and slavery, and to force the freeborn, naked feet of your people into the wooden shoes of that arbitrary monarch. I do not believe that discourses of this kind are held, or anything like them will be held, by any who walk about without a keeper. Yet, I confess, that on occasions of this nature, I am the most afraid of the weakest reasonings; because they discover the strongest passions. These things will never be brought out in definite propositions. They would not prevent pity towards any persons; they would only cause it for those who were capable of talking in such a strain. But I know, and am sure, that such ideas as no man will distinctly produce to another, or hardly venture to bring in any plain shape to his own mind—he will utter in obscure, ill-explained doubts, jealousies, surmises, fears, and apprehensions; and that, in such a fog, they will appear to have a good deal of size, and will make an impression; when, if they were clearly brought forth and defined, they would meet with nothing but scorn and derision. There is another way of taking an objection to this concession, which I admit to be something more plausible, and worthy of a more attentive examination. It is, that this numerous class of people is mutinous, disorderly, prone to sedition, and easy to be wrought upon by the insidious arts of wicked and designing men; that conscious of this, the sober, rational and wealthy part of that body, who are totally of another character, do by no means desire any participation for themselves, or for any one else of their description, in the franchises of the British constitution. I have great doubt of the exactness of any part of this observation. But let us admit that the body of the catholics are prone to sedition (of which, as I have said, I entertain much doubt,) is it possible that any fair observer or fair reasoner, can think of confining this description to them only 3 I believe it to be possible for men to be mutinous and seditious who feel no grievance: but I believe no man will assert seriously, that when people are of a turbulent spirit, the best way to keep them in order, is to furnish them with something substantial to complain of You separate very properly the sober, rational, and substantial part of their description from the rest. You give, as you ought to do, weight only to the former. What I have always thought of the matter is this—that the most poor, illiterate, and uninformed creatures upon earth, are judges of a practical oppression. It is a matter of feeling; and as such persons generally have felt most of it, and are not of an overlively sensibility, they are the best judges of it. But for the real cause, or the appropriate remedy, they ought never to be called into council about the one or the other. They ought to be totally shut out; because their reason is weak; because when once roused, their passions are ungoverned; because they want information; because the smallness of the property which individually they possess, renders them less attentive to the consequence of the measures they adopt in affairs of moment. When I find a great cry amongst the people who speculate little, I think myself called seriously to examine into it, and to separate the real cause from the ill effects of the passion it may excite; and the bad use which artful men may make of an irritation of the popular mind. Here we must be aided by persons of a contrary character; we must not listen to the desperate or the furious; but it is therefore necessary for us to distinguish who are the really indigent, and the really intemperate. As to the persons who desire this part in the constitution, I have no reason to imagine that they are men who have nothing to lose and much to look for in public confusion. The popular meeting from which apprehensions have been entertained, has assembled. I have accidentally had conversation with two friends of mine, who know something of the gentleman who was put into the chair upon that occasion; one of them has had money transactions with him; the other, from curiosity has been to see his concerns; they both tell me he is a man of some property; but you must be the best judge of

this, who by your office are likely to know his transactions. Many of the others are certainly persons of fortune; and all or most, fathers of families, men in respectable ways of life, and some of them far from contemptible, either for their information, or for the abilities which they have shewn in the discussion of their interests. What such men think it for their advantage to acquire, ought not, prima facie, to be considered as rash or heady, or incompatible with the public safety or welfare. I admit, that men of the best fortunes and reputations, and of the best talents and education too, may, by accident, shew themselves furious and intemperate in their desires. This is a great misfortune when it happens; for the first presumptions are undoubtedly in their favor. We have two standards of judging in this case of the sanity and sobriety of any proceedings; of unequal certainty indeed, but neither of them to be neglected: the first is by the value of the object sought, the next is by the means through which it is pursued. The object pursued by the catholics is, I understand, and have all along reasoned as if it were so, in some degree or measure to be again admitted to the franchises of the constitution. Men are considered as under some derangement of their intellects, when they see good and evil in a different light from other men; when they choose nauseous and unwholesome food; and reject such as to the rest of the world seems pleasant, and is known to be nutritive. I have always considered the British constitution, not to be a thing in itself so vicious, as that none but men of deranged understanding, and turbulent tempers could desire a share in it: on the contrary, I should think very indifferently of the understanding and temper of any body of men, who did not wish to partake of this great and acknowledged benefit. I cannot think quite so favorably either of the sense or temper of those, if any such there are, who would voluntarily persuade their brethren that the object is not fit for them, or they for the object. Whatever may be my thoughts concerning them, I am quite sure, that they who hold such language must forfeit all credit with WOL. III. 33

the rest. This is infallible—if they conceive any opinion of their judgment, they cannot possibly think them their friends. There is, indeed, one supposition, which would reconcile the conduct of such gentlemen to sound reason, and to the purest affection towards their fellow-sufferers; it is, that they act under the impression of a well-grounded fear for the general interest. If they should be told, and should believe the story, that if they dare attempt to make their condition better, they will infallibly make it worse—that if they aim at obtaining liberty, they will have their slavery doubled—that their endeavor to put themselves upon any thing which approaches towards an equitable footing with their fellow-subjects, will be considered as an indication of a seditious and rebellious disposition—such a view of things ought perfectly to restore the gentlemen, who so anxiously dissuade their countrymen from wishing a participation with the privileged part of the people, to the good opinion of their fellows. But what is to them a very full justification, is not quite so honorable to that power from whose maxims and temper so good a ground of rational terror is furnished. I think arguments of this kind will never be used by the friends of a government which I greatly respect; or by any of the leaders of an opposition whom I have the honor to know, and the sense to admire. I remember Polybius tells us, that during his captivity in Italy as a Peloponnesian hostage—he solicited old Cato to intercede with the senate for his release, and that of his countrymen: this old politician told him that he had better continue in his present condition, however irksome, than apply again to that formidable authority for their relief; that he ought to imitate the wisdom of his countryman Ulysses, who, when he was once out of the den of the Cyclops, had too much sense to venture again into the same cavern. But I conceive too high an opinion of the Irish legislature to think that they are to their fellow-citizens, what the grand oppressors of mankind were to a people whom the fortune of war had subjected to their power. For though Cato could use such a parallel with regard to his senate, I should really think it nothing short of impious, to compare an Irish parliament to a den of Cyclops. I hope the people, both here and with you, will always apply to the house of commons with becoming modesty; but at the same time with minds unembarrassed with any sort of terror. As to the means which the catholics employ to obtain this object, so worthy of sober and rational minds. I do admit that such means may be used in the pursuit of it, as may make it proper for the legislature, in this case, to defer their compliance until the demandants are brought to a proper sense of their duty. A concession in which the governing power of our country loses its dignity, is dearly bought even by him who obtains his object. All the people have a deep interest in the dignity of parliament. But, as the refusal of franchises which are drawn out of the first vital stamina of the British constitution, is a very serious thing, we ought to be very sure, that the manner and spirit of the application is offensive and dangerous indeed, before we ultimately reject all applications of this nature. The mode of application, I hear, is by petition. It is the manner in which all the sovereign powers in the world are approached; and I never heard (except in the case of James the Second) that any prince considered this manner of supplication to be contrary to the humility of a subject, or to the respect due to the person or authority of the sovereign. This rule, and a correspondent practice, are observed, from the grand seignor, down to the most petty prince, or republic in Europe. You have sent me several papers, some in print, some in manuscript. I think I had seen all of them, except the formula of association. I confess they appear to me to contain matter mischievous, and capable of giving alarm, if the spirit in which they are written should be found to make any considerable progress. But I am at a loss to know how to apply them, as objections to the case now before us. When I find that the general committee which acts for the Roman catholics in Dublin, prefers the association proposed in the written draft you have sent me, to a respectful application in parliament, I shall think the persons who sign such a pa

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