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his eleemosynary education. Mr. Blake took hold of him, and, by a series of admirable interrogatories, eminently distinguished by astuteness and power of combination, laid this deserter of his altars bare, and tore off his apostate surplice.
But this was not the most remarkable instance in which Mr. Foster was foiled in his efforts to convert his office into the means of promoting his religions and political opinions. He had the misfortune to fall into the hands of the Provincial of the Jesuits in Ireland, the Rev. Mr. Kenny. A desire was, if I rightly recollect, expressed by Sir T. Lethbridge,* that a Jesuit should be produced at the bar of the House of Commons, in order that some sort of judgment should be formed of the peculiar nature of the ecclesiastical animal. Mr. Kenny is the most perfect specimen of this class of Catholic phenomena that conld be produced. He wants, it must be confessed, some of the external attributes which should enter into the composition of the beau ideal of Jesuitism. He is by no means gracefully constructed; for there is a want of level about his shoulders, and his countenance, when uninvested with his spiritual expression, is rather of a forbidding and lurid cast. The eyes are of deep and fiery jet, and so disposed, that while one is bent in humility to the earth, the other is raised in inspiration to Heaven ;-brows of thick and bushy black spread in straight lines above them. His rectilinear forehead is strongly indented with passion--satire sits upon his thin lips, and a livid huo is spread over a quadrangular face, the sunken cheeks of which exhibit the united effects of monastic abstinence and profound meditation. The countenance is Irish in its configuration; but Mr. Kenny was educated at Palermo, and a Sicilian suavity of manner is thrown, like a fine silken veil, over his strong Hibernian features. The beaming rays of his eye are seldom allowed to break out, for they are generally bent to the ground, and habitually concealed by lids, fringed with long dark lashes, which drop studiously over them.
Such is the outward Jesuit :- his talents and acquirements
* A county member of Parliament, bull-headed and intolerant, who, from the material of one of his garments, was usually called “Sir Thomas Leather breeches." - M.
are of the first order, and in argumentative eloquence he has no superior in Ireland. Leslie Foster, in the spirit of theological chivalry, and having set up as a knight-errant against popery, happened to meet with this disciple of Loyala, and resolved to break a syllogism with him. Mr. Kenny was duly summoned to attend the Commissioners of Education, and upon this occasion the interposition of Mr. Blake was quite unnecessary. With a blended expression of affected humility and bitter mockery, the follower of Ignatius answered all Mr. Foster's questions, correcting the virnlence of sarcasms by the softness of his mellifluous cadences, and by the religious clasping of his hands, which were raised in such a way as to touch the extremities of his chin, while he lamented, with a dolorous voice, the lamentable ignorance and delusion of the gentleman who could, in the nineteenth century, put him such preposterous interrogatories.
Leslie Foster was baffled by every response, and amid the jeers of his brother Commissioners, with Mr. Blake compas. sionating him on one side, and Mr. Glascot* nudging him at the other, while Frankland Lewis trod upon his toes, was at length persuaded to give up his desperate undertaking. Some of the questions put to the Jesuit were rather of an offensive character; and one of the Commissioners, when the examination had concluded, begged that he would make allowance for the imperious sense of duty which had induced Mr. Foster to commit an apparent violation of the canons of good breeding. “Holy Ignatius !” exclaimed the son of Loyola, holding his arms meekly upon his breast, “I am not offended - I never saw a more simple-minded gentleman in all my life !"
Mr. Foster, so far as the receipt of the public money is concerned, does not bear out the Jesuit's ejaculation. He has not proved himself exceedingly simple, by uniformly adopting that course of political conduct which was calculated to advance his personal interests and to better his fortune. I have already mentioned that he received large annual stipends from Govern
* Toby Glascot was a sharp Dublin attorney, who sided with the then dominant Ascendency party. In 1829, he made a show of starting as a candidate, against O'Connell, after the Catholic Relief Bill was passed.-M.
ment as commissioner of education and of justice. His chief source of emolument, the fountain from which his Pactolus flows, is in the revenue of Ireland; and, I conceive that, in bis instance, a very unqualified job has recently been effected, notwithstanding all the boasted cleansing of that Cloaca Maxima, the Customhouse. I put all levity aside, because, in my judgment, the expedient by which an annual sum of two thousand pound sterling has been given to him calls for decided condemnation; and furthermore, I am of opinion, that he is bound to resign bis seat in Parliament under the Irish statute passed in the thirty-third year of the late King.
Mr. Foster was appointed counsel to the Commissioners of Customs and Excise in April, 1818. He succeeded Sir Charles Ormsby, with a salary of one hundred pounds sterling a year, payable by the Board of Customs, with certain fees on each brief. The Irish Board of Customs was annihilated by the Consolidation Act, which abolished the employments held under their authority. The office held by Mr. Foster was abolished as never having been necessary or useful, and the Lords of the Treasury recognise that abolition. If Mr. Foster has lost his original appointment, and in lieu thereof the Crown retain him (is not every information in the name of the Crown, and is he not its counsel ?) “ to act as counsel to the Board, with a salary of £2000 a year,” to be payable without any reference to the extent or even the existence of business, this is a new office under the Crown; and if it be, he must resign his seat, under the 33d of George III., cap. 41, in whieh it is enacted, by section 4, that, “ if any member of the House of Commons shall accept any office of profit from the Crown, during such time as he shall continue a member, his seat shall thereupon become vacant, and a writ sball issue for a new election.” The 41st of George III. virtually re-enacts these clauses. In that event, Harry Mills and the Doctor will again parade the streets of Dundalk; Leslie Foster will again wipe the cold exsudation from his forehead with an orange kerchief, but he will not again be carried in triumph through the woods of Cullen, amidst the applauses of the yeomanry, the hurras of the parson, the sexton, and the parish clerk, and the accla. mations of the police.
THE CLARE È LECTION, IN 1828..
The Catholics had passed a resolution, at one of their aggregate meetings, to oppose the election of every candidate who should not pledge himself against the Duke of Wellington's Administration. This measure lay for some time a mere dead letter in the registry of the Association, and was gradually passing into oblivion, when an incident occurred which gave it an importance far greater than had originally belonged to it. Lord John Russell, flusbed with the victory which had been achieved in the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts,* and grateful to the Duke of Wellington for the part which he had taken, wrote a letter to Mr. O'Connell, in which he suggested that the conduct of his Grace bad been so fair and manly toward the Dissenters as to entitle him to their gratitude; and that they would consider the reversal of the resolution which had been passed against his government as evidence of the interest which was felt in Ireland, not only in the great question peculiarly applicable to that country, but in the assertion of religious freedom through the empire. The authority of Lord John Russell is considerable, and Mr. O'Connell, under the influence of his advice, proposed that the anti-Wellington res
* In February, 1828, Lord John Russell introduced a bill for the abolition of the Test and Corporation Acts (which subjected Dissenters to civil disabililies on account of their religious faith), and it passed into a law that session, chiefly in consequence of the feeble opposition offered to it by Peel, then Ministerial leader in the Commons. In truth, Peel was just then in a transition state, having seen that the old Tory system of intolerance could not continue, and scarcely knowing how to change it. Observant politicians judged, when relief was afforded to the Dissenters, that justice to the Catholics must follow: it did, in 1829. -- M.
olution should be withdrawn. This motion was violently opposed, and Mr. O'Connell perceived that the antipathy to the Great Captain was more deeply rooted than he had originally imagined. After a long and tempestuous debate, he suggested an amendment, in which the principle of liis original motion was given up, and the Catholics remained pledged to their hostility to the Duke of Wellington's Administration. Mr. O'Connell has reason to rejoice at his failure in carrying this proposition; for, if he had succeeded, no ground for opposing the return of Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald would have existed.
The promotion of that gentleman to a seat in the Cabinet created a vacancy in the representation of the county of Clare; and an opportunity was afforded to the Roman Catholic body of proving that the resolution which had been passed against the Duke of Wellington's Government was not an idle vaunt, but that it could be carried in a striking instance into effect. It was determined that all the power of the people should be put forth.* The Association looked round for a candidate, and,
* Clare Election, the unexpected result of which certainly compelled Wel lington and Peel to grant Catholic Emancipation in 1829, took place under the following circumstances. The Catholic Association had resolved to oppose the election or re-election of any member of a Government hostile to the Catholic claims. On June 13, 1828 (the Duke of Wellington being Premier), Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald, who had always voted for the Catholics, was gazetted President of · the Board of Trade, the holder of which office is always a Cabinet Minister,
On the 16th of June, he was also appointed Treasurer to the Navy. It is a constitutional rule, in England, that no office, having emolument attached, can be conferred by the Crown on a member of the House of Commons, without his thereby vacating his seat: which explains how, on a change of Ministry, Parliamentary business is usually suspended until the new officials have gone back to their different constituencies, for re-election or rejection. Mr. Fitzgerald, who was M. P. for Clare county, therefore, had to present himself to the electors; and did so, without any anticipation of rejection. Mr. O'Connell, on becoming a candidate, pledged his professional reputation (than which none was higher) on his assertion that, if elected, he could take his seat in the House of Commons without taking the then usual oath that the Catholic religion was idolatrous. Mr. Charles Butler, the eminent Catholic barrister of London, well known as an erudite constitutional lawyer, unexpectedly backed this agsertion by an elaborate argument which went to show that Mr. O'Connell's view was right. The election commenced on June 30, 1828, and proceeded as graphically related by Mr. Sheil. The entire constituency of the