Election 1852, Revival of Altar Denunciations

The Times, 28 Nov.1855:

In the advertising columns of the Freemasons Journal of this morning there appears a long letter, addressed to the inhabitants of Navan, by Mr. Charles Farrell, a Dublin auctioneer of some note, and a member of the Roman Catholic Church.  As an elector of the county of Meath, Mr. Farrell, it seems was presumptious enough to imagine that, without compromising his religious opinions, he was at liberty to record a vote in favour of Mr. Meredyth, the Liberal Protestant candidate to whom individually he was under many heavy obligations.  How far Mr. Farrell was astray in his romantic notions of freedom of election may be judged by the following extract from his appeal to his fellow townsmen.

26 November 1855:

Having attended at the 8 o’clock mass yesterday morning in your town, judge of my surprise and indignation when I found myself obliged quietly to listen for half an hour to a most uncharitable and unmannerly tirade from the altar, delivered by the officiating priest, the Rev. Mr. Blake, who denounced, through all the moods and tenses of Billingsgate, every man - and myself in particular - for daring to support a Protestant candidate for the representation of your county in preference to a Catholic nominee of Dr. Cantwell.  Disgusting and scandalous as the Rev. Mr. Blake’s harangue was, I am assured, by persons who attended the subsequent masses, that the language of Father Calleri was even worse, in so much that some of the congregation left the chapel foaming with rage, before Mass was over rather than listen to such filthy declamation from the altar of God.

These political sermons have made an impression on your minds without recalling them at any length to your recollection; but a few elegant extracts may not be, however out of place.  You were told to beware of the craft of Mr. Meredyth’s supporters, as it was usually at night time they went about canvassing, like prostitutes and thieves, ashamed of their deeds in open day - that you knew the calling or business which each of these followed, and you should not employ for the future any person who would presume beard the bishop in his own parish, for it was his well known wish that they should vote for and return a Catholic, rather than the best Protestant in all the land; and after chairing (?) the people to kneel down to holy communion, the Rev. Mr. Blake again bethought himself for with the chalice partly in his hand, he announced that a special train had been hired to convey the parishioners of Navan to the meeting that day in Kells, where it was the desire of Dr. Cantwell they should meet in thousands.

Snarling with indignation during the delivery of this unhallowed and unconstitutional denunciation, I thank God I refrained, with considerable difficulty, from replying in the chapel to this misstatements I was obliged to listen to; nor can I hope that an appeal of mine to the bishop will obtain me any redress, seeing that these scenes are enacted in his own parish, and in no other through the diocese- of course, by his special command and authority.

I have no other way open to me, therefore to vindicate my cause and my character than to address you thus publicly; and, if scandal cometh from this publication, let the sin be visited on this man who threw the first stone within a consecrated building, where the accused had no power of reply.  It is some consolation to know that tyranny of this kind is opposed by the edicts and canons of our holy faith, and in any other diocese would not go unpunished for a single moment.

The Times, 12 Dec 1855: Meath Election 1855

The contest for Meath commenced yesterday with the nomination of the two representatives of two distinct parties in the county.  Mr Samuel Winter (Whig) proposed Mr. Meredyth and Mr. Patrick John Kearney (a Roman Catholic Elector) seconded the nomination, amid a storm of groans and hisses, interlorded with cries of “Castle hack” etc.

The Rev. Mr. N. Power, who, it seems, is president of Navan Seminary, stood sponsor for Mr. M’Evoy, James Murphy being his seconder.  Both candidates appear to have got a fair hearing, and, having each said what he had to say, the High Sheriff called for a show of hands, which he declared to be in favour of Mr. M’Evoy.  A poll was then demanded for Mr. Merdyth, and Thursday morning was appointed, the polling to commence at 9 o’clock, and to close finally at 4 o’clock on Friday evening.