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ioners, and is their benefactor, their friend, their father. It is not only in the actual ministry of the sacraments of religion that he stands as an object of affectionate reverence among them. I saw him, indeed, at his altar, surrounded by thivusands, and felt myself the influence of his contagious and elthusiastic devotion. He addressed the people in tlle mit of a rude edifice, and in a language which I did not understand; but I could perceive what a command he has over the minds of his devoted followers. But it is not merely as the celebra. tor of the rites of Divine worship that lie is dear to his flock; he is their companion, the mitigator of their calamities, the soother of their aflictions, the trustee of their hearts, the repository of their secrets, the guardian of their interests, and the sentinel of their death-beds. A peasant is dying: in the midst of the winter's night, a knock is heard at the door of the priest, and he is told that his parishioner requires his spiritual assistance: the wind is howling, the snow descends upon the hills, and the rain and storm beat against his face; yet he goes forth, hurries to the hovel of the expiring wretch, and, taking his station beside the mass of pestilence of which the bed of straw is composed, bends to receive the last whisper which unloads the heart of its guilt, though the lips of the sirner should be tainted with disease, and he should exhale mor. tality in his breath.
“Gentlemen, this is not the language of artificial declama. tion - this is not the mere extravagance of rhetorical phrase. This, every word of this, is the truth — the notorious, palpable, and unquestionable truth. You know it, every one of you know it to be true; and now let me ask you can you wonder for a moment that the people should be attached to their clergy, and should follow their ordinances as if they were the injunctions of God? Gentlemen, forgive me, if I venture to supplicate, on behalf of your poor tenants, for mercy to them. Pardon them, in the name of that God who will forgive you your offences in the same measure of compassion which you will show to the trespasses of others. Do not, in the pame of that Heaven before whom every one of us, whether landlord, priest, or tenant, must at last appear — do not prosecute these poor
people: don't throw their children out upon the public roaddon't send them forth to starve, to shiver, and to die!
“For God's sake, Mr. Fitzgerald, and for your own sake, and as you are a gentleman and a man of honor, interpose your influence with your friends, and redeem your pledge. I address myself personally to you. On the first day of the election you declared that you would deprecate all persecution by the landlords, and that you were the last to wish that harsh and vindictive measures should be employed. I believe you; and now I call upon you to redeem that pledge of mercy, to fulfil that noble engagement, to perform that great moral promise. You will cover yourself with honor by so doing, in the same way that you will share in the ignominy that will attend upon any expedients of rigor, Before you leave this country to assume your high functions, employ yourself diligently in this work of benevolence, and enjoin your friends, with that eloquence of which you are the master, to refrain from cruelty, and not to oppress their tenants. Tell them, sir, that instead of busying themselves in the worthless occupation of revenge, it is much fitter that they should take the political condition of their country into their deep consideration. Tell them that they should address themselves to the Legislature, and implore a remedy for these frightful evils. Tell them to call upon the men, in whose lands the destiny of this great empire is placed, to adopt a system of conciliation and of peace, and to apply to Ireland the great canon of political morality which has been so powerfully expressed by the poet – Pacis imponere morem. Our manners, our habits, our laws, must be changed.
The evil is to be plucked out at the root. The cancer must be cut out of the breast of the country. Let it not be imagined that any measure of disfranchisement, that any additional penalty, will afford a remedy. Things have been permitted to advance to a height from which they can not be driven back.
“Protestants, awake to a sense of your condition. Look round you. What have you seen during this election ? Enough to make you feel that this is not mere local excitation, but that seven millions of Irish people are completely arrayed and organized. That which you behold in Clare, you would behold,
under similar circumstances, in every county in the kingdom. Did you mark our discipline, our subordination, our good order, and that prophetic tranquillity which is far more terrible than any ordinary storm ? You have seen sixty thousand men under our command, and not a land was raised, and not a forbid. den word was uttered, in that amazing multitude. You hare beheld an example of our power in the almost miraculous sobriety of the people. Their lips have not touched that infuriating beverage to which they are so much attached, and their habitual propensity vanished at our command. What think you of all this? Is it meet and wise to leave us armed with such a dominion ? Trust us not with it; strip us of this appal. ling despotism; annihilate us by concession ; extinguish us with peace; disarray us by equality; instead of angry slares, make us contented citizens: if you do not, tremble for the result!”
THE PENENDEN HEATH MEETING.
Anxious to witness the great assembly of the men of Kent," of which the High-Sheriff had called a meeting (liaving appointed twelve o'clock upon Friday the 24th for the immense gathering), I proceeded froin Rochester to Maidstone at an early hour. * Upon my way, I saw the evidences of prodigious
* The Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, early in 1828, with little more than a shadow of resistance from the Wellington Ministry, was a sort of political " writing on the wall," to the Protestant Ascendency people throughout the United Kingdom. To check any further concessions, particularly as the Catholics had more and juster claims than the Dissenters, it was resolved to establish Brunswick Clubs, which were practically much the same, minus the secret oaths and obligations, as the Orange Lodges, put down by a prohibitory and penal statute in 1825. The Duke of Cumberland (brother of the reigning sovereign) was the patron of these associations, and Lords Winchilsea, Kenyon, and other persons of rank and property, were openly members. Clare Election, ending July 5, 1828, on the victory of O'Connell, a Catholic, excited the anger and apprehension of these ultra-Protestant agitators, who determined to hold public meetings, in defence of Protestant Ascendency in all the English counties. The first of these came off in Kent, on the 24th of October, 1828, on Penenden Heuth, and from twenty thousand to thirty thousand persons were present. Mr. Sheil, whose graphic description brings the scene before us, happened in London when the meeting was about taking place, and several friends of civil and religious liberty strongly pressed him to attend, as a speaker, confident that he might thereby advance the cause which they had at heart. He consented, prepared a long and elaborate specch, obtained the small landed qualificatioa requisite to allow him to address the meeting as a freeholder, and proceeded to Penenden Heath, where the clamor was so great that he could utter only a few sentences, though what he intended to say was printed, and distributed fur and wide. The Penenden Heath Meeting, however, did not encourage similar attempts elsewhere, and Protestant Ascendency made no further public display until February, 1829, when Catholic Emancipation was proposed as a Government measure.-- The newspapers of the day amused thein
exertion to call the yeomanry together, and from the sumn
of a hill that surmounts a beautiful valley near Maidstone, I · beheld a long array of wagons moving slowly toward the skins which had been fixed by the High-Sheriff for the meeting The morning was peculiarly fine and briglit, and had a reennant of “summer's lingering bloom;" and the eye, through the pure air, and from the elevated spot on which I paused to survey the landscape, traversed an iminense and glorious pruspect. The fertile county of Kent, covered with all the profusion of English luxury, and exhibiting a noble spectacle of agricultural opulence, was before me; under any circumstances the scene would liave attracted my attention, but, upon the occasion ou which I now beheld it, it was accompanied by circumstances which greatly added to its influence, and lent to the beauty of nature a sort of moral picturesque. The whole population of an immense district seemed to liare swarmei from their towns and cottages, and filled the roads and are nues which led to the great place of political rendezvous. IL the distance lay Penenden Heath ; and I could perceive that long before the hour appointed by the Sheriff for the meeting, large masses had assembled upon the field, where tlie struggle between the two contending parties was to be carried on.
After looking upon this extraordinary spectacle, I proceeded | on my journey. I passed many of “the men of Kent," wl were going on foot to the meeting ;* but the great majority were conveyed in those ponderous teams which are useil fir the purposes of conveying agricultural produce: and, indee; “the men of Kent,” who were packed up in those vehicles. seemed almost as unconscious as the orilinary burdeus withi wliich their heavy vehicles are laden. The wagons went on in their dull and monotouous rotation, filled with human beings, selves with ridiculing Mr. Shril's printed but unspoken oration; the puide, however, perused it eagerly, and multitudes of copies were circulated all ove: the Kingdom. This is included in the volume of Sheil's published speeches and is in every way worthy of his great reputation for political rhetoric.-M.
* There is a difference between Men of Kent and Kentish men. The former are locally accounted superior to the latter. A Kentish man, is a nntive of Kent county, born north of the river Medway; a “ Man of Kent" comes froc the district south of that river, which includes two thirds of that county.- M.