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It may be very true that rich and educated men in Pennsylvania wish to pay the debt, and that the real objectors are the Dutch and German agriculturists, who cannot be made to understand the effect of character upon clover. All this may be very true, but it is a domestic quarrel. Their church-wardens of reputation must make a private rate of infamy for themselves—we have nothing to do with this rate. The real quarrel is the Unpaid World versus the State of Pennsylvania.
And now, dear Jonathan, let me beg of you to follow the advice of a real friend, who will say to you what Wat Tyler had not the virtue to say, and what all speakers in the eleven recent Pennsylvanian elections have cautiously abstained from saying—“ Make a great effort; book up at once, and pay." You have no conception of the obloquy and contempt to which you are exposing yourselves all over Europe. Bull is naturally disposed to love you, but he loves nobody who does not pay him. His imaginary paradise is some planet of punctual payment, where ready money prevails, and where debt and discount are unknown. As for me, as soon as I hear that the last farthing is paid to the last creditor, I will appear on my knees at the bar of the Pennsylvanian Senate in the plumeopicean robe of American controversy. Each Conscript Jonathan shall trickle over me a few drops of tar, and help to decorate me with those penal plumes in which the vanquished reasoner of the transatlantic world does homage to the physical superiority of his opponents. And now, having eased my soul of its indignation, and sold my stock at 40 per cent. discount, I sulkily retire from the subject, with a fixed intention of lending no more money to free and enlightened republics, but of employing my money henceforth in buying up Abyssinian bonds, and purchasing into the Turkish Fours, or the Tunis Three-and-a-half per Cent. funds.
NOVEMBER 22, 1843.
THE IRISH CHURCH.
A FRAGMENT ON
THE IRISH ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.*
THE revenue of the Irish Roman Catholic Church is made up of half-pence, potatoes, rags, bones, and fragments of old clothes,
*This unrevised fragment was found among the papers of Sydney Smith after his death. It was first published in April, 1845, with the prefatory remark that, "if it serve no other purpose, will, at least, prove that his last, as well as his earliest efforts, were exerted for the promotion of religious freedom, and may satisfy those who have objected to his later writings, because his own interest appeared to be bound up with his opinions, that he did not hesitate to the last moment of his life, boldly to advocate what he considered to be justice to others." The manuscript was accompanied by the following Private Memoranda of Subjects intended to have been introduced in the Pamphlet, &c. The subjects marked by a star are treated of in the Fragment.
Debates in the House of Commons in 1825, on the motion of Lord F. Egerton, for the support of the Roman Catholic clergy. Printed separately, I believe, in Ireland.
Evidence before the House of Commons, in 1824 and 1825, including Doyle's.
A Speech of Charles Grant's, in 1819, on a motion of James Daly to enforce the Insurrection Act.
Debates on Maynooth, in February last (1844).
Hard case of the priest's first year.
Provision offered by Pitt and Castlereagh, and accepted by the hierarchy. *Send ambassadors to Constantinople, and refuse to send them to Rome. England should cast off its connection with the Irish Church.
Lord F. Egerton's plan for paying the Roman Catholic clergy in 1825. The prelates agree to take the money.
* Old mode of governing by Protestants at an end.
*Vast improvements since the Union, and fully specified in Martin, page 35. Priests dare not thwart the people, for fear of losing money. Dreadful oppression of the people.
* Bishops dare not enforce their rules. They must have money.
and those Irish old clothes. They worship often in hovels, or in the open air, from the want of any place of worship. Their religion is the religion of three fourths of the population! Not far off, in a well-windowed and well-roofed house, is a well-paid Protestant clergyman, preaching to stools and hassocks, and crying in the wilderness; near him the clerk, near him the sexton, near him the sexton's wife-furious against the errors of Popery, and willing to lay down their lives for the great truths established at the Diet of Augsburg.
There is a story in the Leinster family which passes under the name of
SHE IS NOT WELL.
"She is not well."
A Protestant clergyman, whose church was in the neighbourhood, was a guest at the house of that upright and excellent man, the Duke of Leinster. He had been staying there three or four days; and on Saturday night, as they were all retiring to their rooms, the duke said, "We shall meet to-morrow at breakfast." "Not so,” said our Milesian Protestant; "your hour, my lord, is a little too late for me; I am very particular in the discharge of my duty, and your breakfast will interfere with my church." The duke was pleased with the very proper excuses of his guest, and they separated for the night; his grace, perhaps, deeming his palace more safe from all the evils of life for containing in its bosom such an exemplary son of the Church. The first person, however, whom the duke saw in the morning, upon entering the breakfast-room, was our punctual Protestant, deep in rolls and butter, his finger in an egg, and a large slice of the best Tipperary ham secured on his plate. "Delighted to see you, my dear vicar," said the duke; "but I must say as much surprised as delighted.” Oh, don't you know what has happened?" said the sacred breakfaster, "she is not well." "Who is not well?" said the duke: "you are not married—you have no sister living-I'm quite uneasy; tell me who is not well." 66 Why, the fact is, my lord duke, that my congregation consists of the clerk, the sexton, and the sexton's wife. Now the sexton's wife is in very delicate health: when she cannot attend, we cannot muster the number mentioned in the rubric; and we have, therefore, no service on that day. The good woman had a cold and sore throat this morning, and, as I had breakfasted but slightly, I thought I might as well hurry back to the regular family
dejeuner." I don't know that the clergyman behaved improperly; but such a church is hardly worth an insurrection and civil war every ten years.
Sir Robert did well in fighting it out with O'Connell. He was too late; but when he began he did it boldly and sensibly, and I, for one, am heartily glad O'Connell has been found guilty and imprisoned. He was either in earnest about Repeal or he was not. If he was in earnest, I entirely agree with Lord Grey and Lord Spencer, that civil war is preferable to Repeal. Much as I hate wounds, dangers, privations, and explosions-much as I love regular hours of dinner-foolish as I think men covered with the feathers of the male Pullus domesticus, and covered with lace in the course of the ischiatic nerve-much as I detest all these follies and ferocities, I would rather turn soldier myself than acquiesce quietly in such a separation of the empire.
It is such a piece of nonsense, that no man can have any reverence for himself who would stop to discuss such a question. It is such a piece of anti-British villany, that none but the bitterest enemy of our blood and people could entertain such a project! It is to be met only with round and grape-to be answered by Shrapnel and Congreve; to be discussed in hollow squares, and refuted by battalions four deep; to be put down by the ultima ratio of that armed Aristotle, the Duke of Wellington.
O'Connell is released; and released, I have no doubt, by the conscientious decision of the law lords. If he was unjustly (even from some technical defect) imprisoned, I rejoice in his liberation. England is, I believe, the only country in the world where such an event could have happened, and a wise Irishman (if there be a wise Irishman) should be slow in separating from a country whose spirit can produce, and whose institutions can admit, of such a result. Of his guilt no one doubts, but guilty men must be hung technically and according to established rules; upon a statutable gibbet, with parliament rope, and a legal hangman, sheriff, and chaplain on the scaffold, and a mob in the foreground.
But, after all, I have no desire my dear Daniel should come to any harm, for I believe there is a great deal of virtue and excellent meaning in him, and I must now beg a few minutes' conversation with him. “After all, my dear Daniel, what is it you want? —a separation of the two countries?-for what purpose?—for
your own aggrandizement?-for the gratification of your personal vanity? You don't know yourself; you are much too honourable and moral a man, and too clearsighted a person for such a business as this: the empire will be twisted out of your hands by a set of cut-throat villains, and you will die secretly by a poisoned potato, or be pistolled in the streets. You have too much sense, and taste, and openness, to endure for a session, the stupid and audacious wickedness and nonsense of your associates. If you want fame, you must be insatiable! Who is so much known in all Europe, or so much admired by honest men for the real good you had done to your country, before this insane cry of Repeal? And don't imagine you can intimidate this government; whatever be their faults or merits, you may take my word for it, you will not intimidate them. They will prosecute you again, and put down your Clontarf meetings, and they will be quite right in doing so. They may make concessions, and I think they will; but they would fall into utter contempt, if they allowed themselves to be terrified into a dissolution of the Union. They know full well that the English nation are unanimous and resolute upon this point, and that they would prefer war to a Repeal. And now, dear Daniel, sit down quietly at Derrynane, and tell me, when the bodily frame is refreshed with the wine of Bordeaux, whether all this is worth while. What is the object of all government? The object of all government is roast mutton, potatoes, claret, a stout constable, an honest justice, a clear highway, a free chapel. What trash to be bawling in the streets about the Green Isle, the Isle of the Ocean! the bold anthem of Erin go Bragh! A far better anthem would be Erin go bread and cheese, Erin go cabins that will keep out the rain, Erin go pantaloons without holes in them! What folly to be making eternal declamations about governing yourselves! If laws are good and well administered, is it worth while to rush into war and rebellion, in order that no better laws may be made in another place? Are you an Eton boy, who has just come out, full of Plutarch's Lives, and considering in every case how Epaminondas or Philopomen would have acted, or are you our own dear Daniel, drilled in all the business and bustle of life? I am with you heart and soul in my detestation of all injustice done to Ireland. Your priests shall be fed and paid, the liberties of your Church be scrupulously guarded, and in civil affairs the most even
ERIN GO BRAGH!