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known, the decision of the British cabinet was taken. Therefore, so far from the time being ill chosen, or the measures tardily adopted, it was not physically or morally possible to have anticipated them, even by a few weeks.

Then with respect to the mode in which this object had been effected, he contended that it was the best and wisest that could have been adopt ed. Those who opposed the course adopted by his majesty's ministers should speak out, and state explicitly why they objected to the mode in which the recognition was effected. Did they intend to argue, that this measure was imperfect, because it was not accompanied by war? Did they dislike it, because it was not accompanied by military preparation? The task which he had to perform was, to arrive at this great object-without giving just cause of war to France or any other power. There might be something mean and huckstering in this mode of proceeding, at least so the hon. and learned gentleman seemed to suppose; but, if he thought that war was not to be had, without some little dexterity, he was exceedingly mistaken. War lay here and here; it was on the right and on the left of our path; our course lay in the middle: we took that course, and arrived at the object of our solicitude honourably and peaceably. Was this mode of proceeding unsatisfactory, because there did not exist in the archives of the Foreign-office, a single document relative to this question, which Spain had not seen, and of which the powers in alliance with this country had not been supplied with copies? Was this transaction deemed unsatisfactory, because Spain was told, that, if she would take the precedence

in recognising the independence of the colonies, this country would be content to follow her steps, and to allow to her a priority in the markets of those colonies? Was

the arrangement unsatisfactory, because, proceeding alone, England disdained to take any unfair advantages of a friendly state? Was it unsatisfactory, because we saw, that whoever might follow us in recognizing the independence of those states, would be placed by our side, and would enjoy equal advantages with ourselves? The hon. and learned gentleman admitted that he approved of the measure, but stated that he disapproved both of the mode and the time. Now, he would say to the hon. and learned gentleman in return, that the credit of the measure might be his, or it might be that of his hon. and learned friend (sir J. Mackintosh); but he (Mr. C.) would claim for himself the merit of that to which the hon. and learned gentleman affixed blame-namely, selecting the time, and devising the mode, in which this object was to be effected. And he trusted, that by this plain conduct, by this temperate this tardy policy, if they pleased so to call it

the country had got rid of all the dangers which otherwise would have accompanied the recognition. Did they not know-could he attempt to conceal that by this step England had offended many interests? Had she not called forth many regrets? Had she not excited much anger? Had she not raised up considerable ill-feeling? Had she not created passions of no favourable nature? Such was the fact. Still, however, he entertained the most sanguine hopes, that those evil feelings and angry passions would exhale themselves,

and subside in mere words, and that the peace of the world would continue to be preserved.

The Address was agreed to unanimously, and a committee appointed to draw it up.

On the following day lord F. L. Gower brought up the report of the Address. That gave occasion to another discussion, in which Mr.

Hobhouse, colonel Palmer, sir John Newport, Mr. Hutchinson, and Mr. Denman on the one side, and the chancellor of the Exchequer, and Mr. Peel, on the other, followed respectively nearly the same line of observation, which their several parties had taken in the preceding debate. This discussion, like the former, did not lead to any division.

CHAP. II.

Catholic Association-Mr. Goulburn's Notice of Motion-Lord Lansdown's Motion-Motion for leave to bring in a Bill to amend the Acts relating to unlawful Societies in Ireland-First Night's Debate; Speeches of Mr. Goulburn, Sir Henry Parnell, Mr. Peel, and Mr. Denman-Second Night's Debate; Speeches of Mr. Plunkett and Mr. Tierney-Third Night's Debate ; Mr. North's Speech-Fourth Night's Debate; Mr. Canning's Speech-Proceedings of the English Catholics-Deputation from the Catholic Association-Petition of the Catholic Association-Motion that the Association should be heard by their Witnesses and Counsel-Progress of the Bill in the House of Commons-The Bill passes through the various stages in the House of Lords-Provisions of the Bill-Subsequent Proceedings of the Catholics-Plan of a new Catholic Association.

ROM the tenor of the dis

apparent that the restraints intended to be imposed on the Roman Catholic Association, would be the first object of contention between the two parties. No time was lost in commencing the struggle. On the second day of the session Mr. Goulburn gave notice, that he would, on the 10th of February, move for leave to bring in a bill to amend certain acts relating to unlawful societies in Ireland. Mr. Brougham pressed for a fortnight's delay; and, this not being conceded to him, he moved that the House should be called over on that day fortnight.

On the 8th of February, a preliminary discussion on the subject of the Roman Catholic Association was excited by a motion of lord Lansdown for the production of any despatches which had been received from the lord-lieutenant of Ireland, relating to political and religious societies existing in that country, their origin, progress, and VOL. LXVII.

consequences. Lord Liverpool an

that the measure about to be brought forward should rest on official information, or upon any principle of confidence in his majesty's government, there would be fair ground for calling for inquiry or information. But the measure would not be founded on any official information, nor on any principle of confidence in government, nor, indeed, upon any circumstances which might not be equally as well known to any one of their lordships as to his majesty's ministers. It was the boast of the Catholic Association, that all their proceedings were public, and that every thing they did, was done in the face of day. If their lordships should think fit to adopt any measure affecting the Association, they would adopt it on facts which were admitted by the Association, and which no member of it would deny. Besides, the motion was unprecedented, and had reference to a measure of which the House [C]

at present knew nothing. Lord Grosvenor, lord Holland, and lord Caernarvon supported lord Lansdown. Lord Bathurst spoke on the other side.

The motion was rejected by a majority of 42 to 20.

On Thursday the 10th of February, M. Goulburn, pursuant to his notice, moved for leave to bring in a bill to amend the acts relating to unlawful societies in Ireland. There were two subsisting acts directed against these associations: the first enacted by the Irish parliament in the year 1793, commonly called the Convention act; and the other was that which had been passed in 1823 against Orange societies, and Orange processions. The act of 1793 prohibited all assemblies for the appointment or election of deputies, or which assumed in any manner the right of representing the people of that country. The Catholic Association contrived to evade both laws; and the object of the proposed enactments was, to put a stop to the mischievous operations of that body. To shew the necessity of the interference of parliament, Mr. Goulburn entered into an examination of the character, constitution, and conduct of the Association. The Catholic Association began to act in 1823; and in its first report declared, that its object was confined to the furtherance of the question of the Roman Catholic claims. Whether its object was still limited to that question, or whether, as was avowed in their debates, it embraced reform in parliament, and eventual separation from England, was for the present a question of no importance; for it mattered not that the object was inoffensive, if the means of carrying that object into effect were incom

patible with good government. The Association, though a public body, had this peculiarity-that all the members were of one mind. There was no competition of opinion: no opposing voice was heard. Every speech was previously arranged, and every decision was unanimous. Under different circumstances the fickleness of the multitude might operate as a check to the probable evil results of such an association; but this self-elected body was under no control, and continued to act without resorting elsewhere for extraneous advice, or receiving any fresh accession of authority from the people. Unfortunately, those whose duty it was to impart religious consolation, not only encouraged, but assumed a part of its powers. Next, in upholding that Association were to be found men of disappointed ambition and considerable talents, who exerted themselves in exciting the public feeling against the government; and in inflaming the population against the laws, and against what they described to be a prodigal and corrupt administration of them. The surviving members of the committee of 1793-that very committee against which the Convention act was passed, were now enlisted with the Association; and there were found also in its ranks men, who had been the familiar friends of those traitors of old times-the Tones, Russells, and Emmetts, who had been put down only by military force. It was no doubt true that, in the Association, were to be found also a great proportion of the Roman Catholic gentry and aristocracy: but such a connection was not altogether voluntary on their part; and a great number of that class were as much alarmed at the proceedings of the Association

as its most determined opponents in that House; though either from a want of firmness of character, or a reluctance to lose the confidence of the people, they had been led to swell its triumph. The Association condescended most strictly to imitate the forms of parliament. They appointed their committees of grievances, of education, and of finance. They had almost copied verbatim the sessional orders of that House. In one point, indeed, they abstained from imitationthey had not appointed a speaker; probably because in an assembly, in which there existed such an universal ardour for speech-making, no candidate could be found who would pledge himself to be perpetually silent. It had been also the practice of the Association, from time to time, to convene aggregate meetings, as they were called, of the Roman Catholic body of Ireland; and these meetings were convoked in such a manner as to seem contra-distinguished to the Catholic Association, though in truth they were composed principally of the very persons who belonged to that body.

After considering the constitution of the Association, Mr. Goulburn next directed his attention to specific parts of its proceedings. By virtue of an order emanating from the Association, large sums of money were collected from the people under the name of the Catholic rent. The particular amount to be raised was not stated: that was left to depend on the liberality of the contributors, and on the exertions of those by whom the subscription was to be collected. The mandate of the Catholic Association was, however, issued to the priest of every parish in Ireland, calling upon him, in distinct terms,

to use every means in his power to produce a large contribution. Besides furnishing him with the necessary instructions for this purpose, he was supplied with books to enrol the various contributions; and his ready acquiescence was secured, not only by the political ascendancy which the Association would naturally have over him, but by the subordination which, as a minister, he owed to his bishop. On the receipt of this mandate, the priest announced its contents from the altar of his chapel, as well as the names of the individuals on whom he fixed for payment; which individuals were, according to the duty imposed upon him, to have no option on the subject. Cases however were not rare, in which, the mandate of the Association having been issued, and some hesitation in its execution having been manifested on the part of the priest, he received a censure from the Association; and others had occurred, in which, having forborne to execute the orders sent to him, he had been held up to the congregation of his chapel as unworthy of their confidence and attachment. The instructions to the priest went still further: he was directed to enter, in the books which were sent him, the names of the individuals who contributed to the fund: there was another book in which the refusals to contribute were also to be recorded. Every man who dared to refuse, whether Roman Catholic or not, whatever might be the wants or necessities which prevented him, was comprehended in this register. But the Association went a step further. As the gentry were of different persuasions, it was obvious that some of them would consider themselves bound to oppose the collection of

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