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great principles. Like the Hon. Chairman, he avowed himself a Dissenter, and this was a dissenting principle. Like him, he avowed himself a Protestant, and this was a Protestant principle; like him, he avowed himself a Christian, and this was a principle of Christianity; and like him, he was a man, and this principle involved the great rights of humanity.”
In a letter of apology for not attending the dinner, Mr. Bentham expressed his unbounded admiration of the speech at Penenden Heath,—“So masterly an union of logic and rhetoric as Mr. Sheil's speech, scarcely have I ever beheld.”
In his speech at the dinner he defended, with his accustomed boldness, what had been censured as the unseemly violence of the language used in the Association; and referred to the remarkable words of Lord Grenville, as quoted by Mr. Burke, “that the humble tone of the Catholics showed that they had no real grievance to complain of.” He traced the history of gradual and grudging concession, and appealed with irresistible force to the truth of the unhappy maxim, that nothing was to be expected in seasons of quiet and forbearance. “With such wrongs, and while our hearts are bursting in our bosoms at their endurance,
you expect that we should speak in soft and mellifluous phrases; and that, instead of heaving on the rack on which she is stretched, Ireland should breathe her complaints in gentle murmurings, and that her petitions should be as soft as her national music, to which every spinster in your drawing-rooms lends the enchantment of her dulcet intonations. No, sir; the groans of a people are not to be turned into a set of parliamentary melodies."
On his return from England he was received with warm congratulations and plaudits. It was proposed that a public dinner should be given to him in Dublin, in acknowledgment of the services he had lately rendered. He declined the compliment, however, upon the ground that as a similar demonstration had been spoken of for the purpose of entertaining Lord Morpeth, and as no opportunity ought to be lost of drawing closer together the Catholic claimants of freedom and their Protestant advocates, it would serve a better and a wiser purpose if the latter suggestion should at once be carried into effect. This was accordingly agreed to, and on the 27th November, Lord Morpeth was entertained in Dublin by a large number of noblemen and gentlemen, the Duke of Leinster presiding.
In the previous October, the Marquis of Anglesea had accepted an invitation to pass some days at Lyons, the seat of Lord Cloncurry, in Kildare. Sir Anthony Hart, then Lord Chancellor, was also of the party, rendered memorable in the correspondence which subsequently took place between the Prime Minister and the Viceroy. Lord Cloncurry having soon afterwards attended one of the public meetings of the Catholic Association, the Duke of Wellington thought it right thus to advert to that proceeding :-"I will not conceal from you likewise that your visit, and those of my Lord Chancellor, to Lord Cloncurry, and the attendance of Lord Cloncurry at the Roman Catholic Association immediately subsequent to the period at which he had the honour of receiving the King's representative in his house, are not circumstances calculated to give satisfaction to the King and to the public in general.”*
Lord Anglesea replied with becoming spirit, that he must be allowed to use his own discretion in the interchange of courtesies and the choice of acquaintances with whom he saw fit to associate; but denied at the
Letter of the Duke of Wellington to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, 11th November, 1828.
same time that he was in any way responsible for the public actions of those who, like the nobleman in question, honestly and legally entertained sentiments favourable to Catholic Emancipation. This was not deemed satisfactory, and the rebuke already so unpalatably administered, was repeated in terms not less direct. The Marquis replied that he believed Lord Cloncurry to be a loyal subject and an exemplary magistrate, and added with much feeling, “that even had he been mistaken in the character of Lord Cloncurry, and that he was not what he supposed him to be, he was sure he would not be thought arrogant in expressing a conviction that there was something in his own character and in his well-known devoted and affectionate attachment to the King, which ought to shield him from the imputation of having selected and encouraged as acquaintances those who were illaffected to his Majesty's person and Government.”* Some weeks later Lord Anglesea was recalled.
Events were now fast hastening to a crisis. On the 4th December, the Catholic Primate addressed an earnest but respectful appeal to the Duke of Wellington on the perilous state of Ireland. Doctor
* Letter to the Duke of Wellington, 23rd November, 1828.
Curtis had been personally well known to the Duke in Spain, and had subsequently received marks of his esteem. His nomination to the Catholic Archbishopric of Armagh was, in point of fact, generally understood to be attributable to his grace: Pius VII., desirous of showing his grateful respect for the British Government, having unofficially intimated his willingness to receive such a suggestion. He seldom interfered in politics ; but feeling deeply the fearful exigency which had arisen, he laid aside his ordinary reserve, and anxiously besought the Premier to re-consider the policy hitherto pursued. On the 11th, his Grace replied in a communication whose brevity and ambiguity did not prevent its obtaining a memorable celebrity, and from exercising a notable influence over the transactions that were
soon to follow. He declared himself sincerely anxious to witness the settlement of the Roman Catholic question, which, by benefiting the State, would confer a benefit on every individual belonging to it. But he confessed that he saw no prospect of such a settlement.” The strange suggestion then follows, that were it possible to “bury it in oblivion for a short time, and employ that time