The Campaign 1
Frederick Lucas a successful candidate in this election had recently founded a weekly catholic newspaper ”The Tablet” which is still published. These extracts from this paper naturally support Lucas.
The Times, 27th April 1852:
The leading liberal electors of Meath, headed by a large number of Roman Catholic clergymen held a meeting at Navan on Friday, when it was unaminuously resolved to carry into effect the resolution of last year, to retain Mr. Lucas, of the Tablet, as the champion of the tenant farmers.
The Tablet 5-6-1852.
Election 1852- Mr. Grattan was seeking a nomination but the local Parliamentary Committee of the Defence Association in Navan did not support him.
We don't know whether our readers will appreciate the exquisite humour of this production without the aid of contrast. The Committee which voted the joke we have just recorded perpetrated it at their secret session held on Wednesday last (2nd June), a little after noon. Exactly at that fated hour, Mr. Grattan was canvassing in Navan, and was trying to hold a meeting at Brady's Hotel, which meeting he had convened by private circular and public advertisement, and had laboured to make as large and influential as possible. Just at the very moment that Mr. Wilberforce was tracing upon paper the words "two men of their own choice" a scene was taking place at Navan which will rather surprise him when he hears of it. It was market day in Navan, which day had been purposely selected by Mr. Grattan as a sure opportunity of getting a crowd together, and meeting in the streets the neighbouring farmers and the shopkeepers of this energetic borough. What took place is thus related to us by two valued clerical correspondents who were eye witnesses of the scene.
Mr. Grattan's grand canvass in Navan began before or about one o'clock, and before two he had to fly off as fast as a horse could gallop under his car. All the time he required the protection of the police. Mr. Grattan has the lowest possible ideas about the priests and the people. Just think of it. His first act was to send up his card to the venerable and Reverend Pastor of this town; and, when he was informed that he could not see him, he left a message with the servant, to the effect that he meant to employ Father O'Reilly's nephew as his attorney at the election. This handsome bribe having been left to do its work, the next step was to the Very Reverend Dr. Power the principal of the Navan Ecclesiastical Seminary, who introduced you (Mr. Lucas) at the Navan meeting. Of course, Father Power did not see him. Everywhere as he went through the town the doors were shut against him, or were defended by some irremoveable guardian who refused him admission. And, mind you, there was not a man from the town of Navan to accompany him (as a friend) one yard in his excursions through the streets. A large body of priests were spectators, but he got no countenance from any of them. On the contrary, Father O'Farrell, speaking in the name of the rest, publicly advised Mr. Grattan to desist from his hopeless attempt. Grattan wanted to address the people, but they would not hear him and, after a brief and unsuccessful effort, he got clear of the town at a much faster pace than he entered it. The reception he met with beggars all description.
So much for Navan. (Mr Grattan then went on to Trim)
The Tablet 26-6-1852.
The preparations for the elections appear to be going on, so far, very favourably, and ought, amongst other things, to give the greatest possible encouragement to the friends of Tenant Right, and encourage them in every locality to fulfil, each man as strenuously as he can, the duty that devolves upon him.
If we may be permitted to speak first of the election about which we know most, and if we may make the modest assumption that our readers attribute any importance to the struggle now making in the county of Meath, we should say that the aspect of affairs in that county is most cheering. It is impossible for us to express too strongly or emphatically our acknowledgments to the clergy and laity of every part of the county for the zeal and persevering energy with which they are sustaining the candidate of their choice. In particular, and without meaning to undervalue the labours of any other part of the county, but, on the contrary, feeling that Mr. Lucas owes the deepest gratitude to all—we may be permitted to signalise the extraordinary exertions of the men of Navan, whose enthusiasm, little less than heroic, made the triumph achieved last Sunday at Trim a monster triumph, and will give the same character to the demonstration preparing for to-morrow at Duleek. From its position in the heart of the county, and being the centre of communication from every part of it, a great deal in every election depends upon the impulse communicated and sustained from Navan. Attempts have been made by our adversaries to get up a feeling of hostility between - for instance Navan and Trim, and to represent the act of a few drunken hirelings of Mr. Grattan as the result of a feud between two rival towns. Nothing can be more absurd or ludicrous, than this misrepresentation. The meeting at Trim on Sunday would have given a triumph to the popular party if not a Navan man had stirred from his own door —for this simple reason that, with a few individual exceptions, all are of one mind. Trim was crowded, not with Navan men alone, but with Trim men and with electors from all the surrounding parishes as well as with the men of Trim, and all as we said, showed a resolute determination to stand well together, and to make the cause triumph. The Navan monster gathering, we have no doubt, gave incalculable strength to this resolution, scattered to the winds every chance of opposition, and wonderfully raised the spirits of the other districts, as it was intended to do by the visible presence of help and co-operation from the rest of the county. But the people of Navan used no dictation, nor on the part of the friends of the tenant cause in Trim was their presence taken as indicative of any undue interference. Whatever our enemies may pretend, the people of Meath are united, nor does any rivalry prevail among the different parts of the county, except the glorious rivalry which shall serve their country best. The men of Navan by their position occupy a post of great honour and responsibility. If they were to desert that post they know and feel that the cause would suffer; and with this knowledge fresh in their minds, they are resolved that no catastrophe will happen through any supineness of theirs. This is the secret of their great and glorious exertions—exertions which as manifested on Sunday last, we were obliged to use superlatives in order to describe adequately, but which we believe will both out do, not only the past, but all the superlatives in the language as they, are to be manifested tomorrow at Duleek.
The Tablet 10-7-1852.
PUBLIC RECEPTION OF MR. LUCAS—DEFEAT OF THE ENEMY.
On Sunday last a public meeting was held in Slane for the purpose of ensuring the return to parliament of Mr. Lucas, the Tenant Right candidate, who has already had so many triumphant demonstrations of the popular will in his favour in other parts of this great county, and not the least remarkable is the one which has just taken place in Slane. Mr. Lucas reached Navan on Saturday evening, and on Sunday, accompanied by several of the clergy of that town, he started for Slane at the head of a large procession of the people, preceded by the Navan band. During his triumphal progress from Navan to the place of meeting the procession was swelled by accessions of popular strength, every hamlet and house giving its quota. The procession entered Slane about three o'clock, and on Mr. Lucas being recognised, cheers loud and long burst forth from the assembled thousands, amid the waving of flags and green branches, and every demonstration of enthusiasm. The meeting took place in the principal street of the beautifully picturesque village of Slane, and the platform, which was decorated with evergreens, was erected just opposite the hotel, commanding a good view of the vast assemblage, which numbered about fifteen thousand persons. The joyousness of the people indicated their rising hopes for their country, and the allusions of the different speakers to the independence of the church, and in denunciation of those atrocious and murderous attacks on its defenceless ministers and unoffending people by the sanguinary ruffians of Stockport, elicited the most marked and vehement approbation. The gathering was a triumph to the popular cause, to Mr. Lucas, and to his friends.
Amongst those present on the platform and in other parts of the meeting were—Rev. D O'Brien, P.P., Slane, Rev. Mr. Murphy, C.C., do.; Rev. M. Kelsh, P.P., Kilbarry; Rev. R.J. Kelsh, C.C., do. ; Rev. T. Lynch, P.P., Blacklion; Rev. M. Cogan, C.C., do.; Rev. John Langan, P.P., Ardcath; Rev. Thomas Langan, C.C., do.; Rev. P Dunne, C.C., Lobinstown; Rev. P. O'Farrell, Navan; Rev John Kelly, C.C., do.; Rev. M. Tormey, Seminary, do.; Rev. T. Cassidy, C.C., St Mary's Drogheda; Rev. J. Kearney, C.C., Skryne; Rev. M. Gogarty, Navan; Rev. M. Duffy, P.P., Donohor, &c., &c.
At about half-past three o'clock, on the motion of the Rev. Thomas Langan, C.C., Ardcath, seconded by acclamation, the chair was taken, amid enthusiastic cheering, by the Rev. D. O'Brien, P.P., Slane.
Mr. Lucas then presented himself to the meeting, and was received, with repeated rounds of applause. After silence was restored, he said—Mr. Chairman, ladies, and gentlemen, while you have been listening to the eloquent speeches that have been addressed to you, I have been looking through this vast assembly to see whether I could discover any friends of Mr. Grattan—(laughter and cheers)—
and I don't think I could discover one. (No, no.)
Gentlemen, I rather think that this great contest in this county is at an end. (" Hear. hear," and loud cheers.)
I rather think that whether Mr. Grattan intends to go to the poll or not, from this day forward he is defeated. (Renewed cheering.)
If any additional evidence were wanting, the event of this day, the great and magnificent procession that we had from Navan along that glorious road—(hear, hear)
—and the mighty and splendid demonstration that has assembled in this open space—endowed, not merely with non-electors, but with the great bulk of the electors of this district and neighbourhood—I say that all those things assure me the contest is at an end—(cheers).
— and that whether Mr. Grattan goes to the poll or not, he has no chance of succeeding; but if he should go to the poll, he goes there to register in the most unmistakable characters, the defeat and the shame he will have brought on himself. (Loud cheers.)
Gentlemen at other meetings I have had occupy a great deal of time in convincing— not in convincing, but rather in giving reasons to men, the vast majority of whom were already convinced—why Mr. Grattan was not a fit and proper representative for this great tenant right county. (Protracted cheering.)
I don't know if it necessary for me to go over this part to you (No,no)
—You know it well- (cries of yes)-
and therefore I shall spare myself from going into particulars regarding that matter, in order to dwell more fully on some other topics. (Hear, hear).
At the same time let me say one word about it. Mr. Grattan comes before you now for the first time in his political career— for the first time in that twenty one years, during which he has not served your county, but misrepresented it—(hear, hear)—
pretending he is a Tenant Right candidate.
A Voice—He is not.
Mr. Lucas—I don't see the person who used those words, but he spoke the truth. (Cheers.)
Mr. Grattan is not a Tenant Right man. (Hear, hear.)
When he has been before the constituents for twenty-one years, during the whole of which period, but especially during the latter portion of it, a question so absorbing as this of tenant right, which affects every one of his constituents in the most direct manner, has been before the country, and when he comes to you, as he now does, for a new lease of his public office, you have a right to judge of the future by the past. (Cries of " Hear hear.")
You have a right to ask yourself what has he done in the past that you may calculate what he will do in the future. (Loud cries of " Hear, hear.")
I appeal to every man who loves truth and justice, and hates that sort of lying, on which Mr. Grattan's cause, from the beginning to the end of it, has been based by his supporters, to point out any services which he has rendered to the cause of tenant right. (Hear, hear.)
How has he advocated the cause of the farmer? How defended the right of industry? How has he protected you against oppression, and robbery, and extermination, and death, and famine, and exile, and misery in its worst form. During those years of what he miscalls public services has he rendered you on any occasion one month's real and substantial service? (No, no.)
In one of his speeches, to which I elsewhere before alluded, Mr. Grattan told us he was riding in his omnibus, and that I wanted to get in to displace him. I pointed out at the time that what he was riding in was not an omnibus, but a cart such as stones are carried in for mending the highway, and that in the shaft of it there is a pin, which is pulled out when it becomes necessary to spill the stones on the road; and that when the question came to be decided by your votes and influence, whether he or I should sit in parliament for the great county of Meath in the next session, he would not be in the cart at all, but would be spilled out on the highway like a bundle of rubbish. (Laughter.)
What I told him has since happened. The Queen has gone down to Westminster pulled the pin out of the cart, and has spilled him on the road. (Laughter.)
He is no longer riding in the vehicle, no longer a member of parliament, but, like myself, a simple gentleman, standing before you on equal grounds asking for your suffrages. (Loud cheers.)
A Voice—We won't have him.
Mr. Lucas—Gentlemen, I made a mistake. We do not stand on equal grounds. (Loud cheers, and a cry, " You would not shoot us.")
You know what Mr. Grattan's past services have been, and some of you may have heard of the humble services I have endeavoured to render; but it was truly said by one of yourselves, whom I see before me, that at least no part of the claims I have on your regard depend on my having recommended the soldiery to present and fire—(loud cheers)—
upon his miserable and famine stricken constituents, for whose votes Mr. Grattan has again the audacity to make a claim. (Hear. hear.)
That a man who, in the midst of that horrible famine which desolated the country for so long, and who had just been returned without a six pence of expense by the catholic clergy and tenant farmers of this county just after that great honour was conferred on him—should go down to the House of Commons, and in a ferocious after dinner speech should dare to pronounce the words, that if he was called on to take part in the suppression of any public disturbance, his language to the soldiers would not be prime and load, but present and fire—(groans)
—in order that the bullets might draw the last drop of that heart's blood which the famine had left to run, in a scanty and feeble tide, through the veins of his unhappy constituents. (Renewed groans.)
That a man who has defiled his lips and disgraced his character by such abominable words and guilty sentiments—that a man, after uttering such language, should dare to come face to face with any of his former friends in this county, dare to meet those whom he thus threatened, should dare to ask their votes on the ground that he properly represented them—that a man should have the presumption and audacity to canvass the electors, passes the limits of what I before thought to be credible, and makes me imagine many things may be true which, at a former period, I should altogether have disbelieved. (Prolonged cheering.)
Mr. Grattan has dared not come before your county, but he found by experience of the treatment he has received at those various places which were mentioned by Father Langan, what your sentiments are; and now, having ascertained those sentiments to be hostile, he takes himself off to other company, associates with another class of people, and places himself openly where he ought always to have been; for in heart, and soul, and conscience, if he has a conscience, he was one, of them already. He is now on the grand jury of Trim, amongst the other exterminators of the people. (Groans.)
During all the 21 years that Mr. Grattan represented you, though his position in the county would have almost made it his duty to do so, he has never gone into the grand jury, never assisted there, never made the acquaintance of the grand jurors of the county, never taken a part with them; but has always pretended to throw himself on the popular interest, to connect himself with the clergy and the catholic people, and to hold himself aloof from the exterminators of the county. On Saturday last, however, for the first time in his life, knowing, as he does, that he has no claim on the people—knowing that he has no chance of receiving their votes—knowing that the bishops, that the primate, that the clergy, without exception, of the county, parish priests and curates—knowing every catholic interest in it, both clerical and lay is against him—knowing that he has no chance of receiving the votes of his former friends and supporters except those of a few bad and disreputable catholics—knowing that, except these, no catholic would support him, he takes himself off to the grand jury in Trim, and is there introduced to the men whom he did not know before-that is, to his fellow exterminators that is by that representative and organ of all organism and toryism, and bad landlordism, and exterminationism, and everything that is evil in the county, Mr. Blaney Wade. (Great groaning.)
When this contest was begun I was happy to carry it on with an interchange of courtesies. Mr. Grattan had a sort of standing in the county, in spite of his previous bad conduct. I thought that he was not sufficiently enlightened as to the sentiments of the catholic electors, and that if it were made clear before the day of polling that of the catholic electors we had the majority on our lists he would be satisfied, and release the county from the annoyance of a contest.(Hear.)
Under that impressing, I always treated him with respect, out of regard for the great name he has inherited, and which he will transmit to his children, tarnished by his follies and misdeeds. (Hear, hear.)
I say I always treated him with respect which I now pay him no longer, for this plain reason. So long as there could be a doubt who had the majority of the electors on his side—so long as there could be a doubt which of us truly stood on the interests he has pretended to represent for twenty one years—so long as I gave him the benefit of the doubt, as I was unwilling to come into hostile collision with the son of Grattan; but now he knows he has no footing, and that he cannot stand on the interest which hitherto supported him when he goes into the grand jury room of Trim and allies himself with the exterminating, murdering blaspheming interest which now tries to rule in this county, to trample on it, to kill and destroy the souls of you and your children when he allies himself with that interest which is perpetrating the most horrible enormities—when he relies for support in the county, and opposes me, in connection with the friends and supporters of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, a man whom the great Liberator described as the descendant of the impenitent thief whose character he knew perfectly well when he him such a designation—when he allies himself with the men who uphold the impious and sacrilegious government of Lord Derby—when Mr. Grattan connects himself with those men, makes himself one of their faction, and for the first time visits the grand jury room to canvass for their support against me, and not against me, but against the bishop, against the clergy and the immense majority of the catholic laity of this county—then, I say, I have lost my respect for him— I denounce him as a man who has lost his character and disgraced his name, and I should feel contaminated if in any public assembly his name should even pass my lips without an expression of the deepest and most unmitigated abhorrence. (Loud and prolonged cheering.)
Gentlemen, I agree with Father Langan, the questions we have now to consider in this county, however important, as forming the basis of everything that we are likely to accomplish of good for the country, are in themselves of much less real moment than the questions which have been thrust on us by the acts of Lord Derby's government within the last week. (Hear, hear.)
Let me tell you what those questions are, at the expense of occupying, perhaps, too much of your time. (Cries of " No, no.")
It would be leading you over too long a history if I went to the length it would be necessary to go to explain my mind fully on the subject. Gentlemen, you recollect when the first attempt on the liberty of your church was made by Lord John Russell. (Groans.)
It was made about two years ago, and at that period what was the state of the representation of Ireland? You had then a number of Irish members of parliament who were sold to the whig government, and who earned the wages of iniquity by doing all the services which the government required of them, (Groans.)
When Lord John Russell wrote his letter in the year 1850 to the Bishop of Durham, in which he said that the catholic religion confined the intellect and enslaved the soul, when he hounded on the mobs of England, and endeavoured to stir them up to overthrow your Church, and destroy, or at least, to trample underfoot the catholic population of England. What was the state of your representation? I say when he wrote that document, when he entered on that policy, Lord John Russell counted—and Mr. Shell, then in Dublin, openly declared that he counted on the support of the Irish members to carry him through the persecution of your and their religion. (Cries of " Hear, hear.")
And why was this? Mr. Sheil told his whig friends in the city of Dublin, at the end of the year 1850— and it is very important for the electors to bear it in mind—that the way in which their Irish representatives had been used to support the government was in this manner: When a vote was required on an important question, the member received a line from the Treasury telling him such a situation in the Customs, in the Excise or Post Office was vacant, and ready to be filled up as soon as he mentioned the name of the new occupier of the place. Immediately on receipt of the letter the Irish member went down to some man of business in the city of London, and told him to find out a purchaser who would give him so much money for that place. (Hear, hear.)
The vacancy was to be filled up as soon as the vote was given—as soon as the service was performed, and the broker, in accordance with his commission, inquired among his friends for a person to pay for such a situation. (Hear hear) On his part he finds the purchaser; the Irish member goes down to the House of Commons on the appointed day, votes against his conscience, and, as the government of Lord John Russell hoped, against his religion, and next day, the appointment to the vacant post is filled up in favour of the man who has contracted to pay for it some £500 or £5,000 (Great groaning.)
The Irish member having sold the country—having betrayed your religion, destroyed your population, murdered your tenant farmers and labourers, robbed you of your liberties—having supported a government to persecute your religion, to destroy the independence of your Clergy, to asperse the characters of your nuns, and to do every horrible thing which man's ingenuity could conceive, or the iniquity of hell devise against your souls and bodies—having done these things, he goes down to the man of business in the city and receives his £500, the reward of his treacherous vote, and with it pays a portion of his debts, or, if he is not honest enough to do that, at least continues to live luxuriously at the price of his own soul, and of your dearest interests. (Great groans and cheering.)
I have been speaking at another meeting on this subject. I called this the trade of a member of parliament, and a very profitable one it has been. (Loud cries of " Hear, hear.")
With the year 1851 commenced a new epoch in Irish politics. I told you that when Lord John Russell commenced his course of persecution against the Catholic people of this empire, he entered on a career which produced results he never anticipated. It raised the spirit of the people of this country against him, broke up the whole Whig faction, and created such an abhorrence against his government, his principles, his person, and his party, that many of those Irish members who carried on the disgraceful traffic were ashamed and afraid to continue it any longer; because they knew the eyes of their constituents were upon them, and that it would destroy them forever if they were to persist.
(" Hear, hear," and cheers.)
They broke with the government, took a part in establishing the Irish Brigade in the year 1851, and declared the principles in which for the future they were determined to act. One of these principles was that the Irish party was to be independent of whig and tory. They were to take no part on either side. They were to stand on an independent footing in the House of Commons, and not ally themselves with any government whatsoever. (Cheers.)
These were the promises, and already I see symptoms that they will be broken; already I see signs that these promises have been broken, (Cries of " Hear, hear.")
They were intended by many of those who made them to last up to the meeting of the new parliament. (Hear, hear.)
They were made in anticipation of the general election in which we are now engaged, and, in the minds and mouths of many of those members of parliament, they were not to last any longer. The calculation was, that the old whig party would be turned out of office; that the tories would succeed them for a few months; and that after the general election—that is, about the end of this year—the tories would be turned but, when there would be formed a new liberal government, to consist of Lord John Russell and his old followers, Sir James Graham and the followers of Sir Robert Peel, and as many of the Irish liberal party as could make a good bargain for themselves. (Cries of " Hear, hear.")
This alliance has been already made in anticipation and one bad effect has already flowed from the breach of the promises made to this country—that the now Irish party would hold itself perfectly independent both of whigs or tories. Some of them--many of the leaders of that new party—have, I believe, given their friends in England to understand that after the new parliament shall be elected, they will make an alliance, offensive and defensive, with the whigs, on condition of forming a part of the new liberal government I have described. The tories, as soon as they understood that that compact was formed—that they had nothing to expect from the representatives of this country, being neutral between themselves and their opponents—when they found, or at least believed that the Irish members would be hostile to them, and give all their support to the whigs; and would degrade themselves into an element in a factions English contest in which, I believe the, people of Ireland have no interest whatever— (" Hear, hear," and cheers.)
—what, I ask, was the first act of the tories with Lord Derby at their head. He and they made a very prudent and wise calculation, as far as regarded the momentary interests of his party. He said to himself, " If we have all the Catholic feeling of the empire arrayed against us we must endeavour to get all the protestant interest in our favour; if we have all the roman catholics of Ireland closely united with our opponents, sustaining and strengthening them permanently, and if we never can hope for a fair or candid vote from the Irish Brigade, we must look to strengthen ourselves in another direction, and seek to gain as a support the bigoted, fanatical, and brutal protestantism of England. We must endeavour to gain the support of these infuriated mobs who have desolated and sacked Stockport, and make up for the uncompromising hostility of the brigade by calling out and placing on our aide all the secret, loathsome fanaticism of the land. (Loud groaning.)
On those principles Lord Derby's government had acted in issuing the proclamation I have mentioned. As regarded the present tory government, it is impossible for me to use language strong enough to express the abhorrence I feel towards their acts. (Hear, hear.)
I believe that our time has not witnessed such a crime as they have been just perpetrating. (Cries of " Hear.")
They issued a proclamation prohibiting religious processions in England, on the pretence of preventing a breach of the peace. Those things have taken place in England ever since the Emancipation Act without causing any breach of the peace or any disturbance. They did not foresee that any interruption of public tranquillity was likely to result from the continuance of the practices which had existed so long. One clause in the Emancipation Act declares that no public act of worship shall be allowed out of the temple of God, and that no clergyman shall be allowed to wear any vestment or dress of his order in public; but that clause was a dead letter. It had never been intended to be acted on, and never had been acted on. Processions and other violations of the statute had been publicly made thirty or forty times in every year that has passed over our heads since the emancipation, and not one single breach of the peace ever took place or resulted from disregarding the provisions of the statute. (Hear, hear.)
But now Lord Derby, with the consent of the government of which he is the head, comes out with a proclamation, as an electioneering artifice, declaring that these innocent and useful religious processions shall be prevented in future. And when Mr. Walpole, the Home Secretary, was cross-examined about it in the House of Commons, and was reminded that the law had never been enforced, that it had become an obsolete and dormant statute which no one thought of carrying into effect, he strenuously protested that it was not a dormant statute, that it had not been let sleep, and was not now brought forward for the first time. Now, gentlemen, I here, in the presence of those who will send my words through the public press to the ears, it may be, of millions, say that Mr. Walpole, in making that profligate and wicked assertion in the House of Commons, told a deliberate lie. (Tremendous cheering.)
The law had been dormant, and had never been enforced. Mr. Walpole knew that it had always been dormant, and that it had never been enforced. He knew that he had no reason, on any grounds of social convenience or necessity, for enforcing that statute, and yet, when he was questioned on it, he had the insolence, the baseness, the detestable falsehood—speaking as the Home Secretary of her most gracious Majesty—he had the unspeakable wickedness to tell that horrible lie. (Groans.)
And why did he do so? Why did Walpole, the liar, tell that lie, that abominable falsehood. I will make it clear to you. It was to cover and conceal his passage to the commission of a worse crime. The lie was the porch to the building, the entrance to it, and the structure itself was to come after.
A Voice—Bad luck to him—I wish we had him here. (Laughter and cheers.)
Mr. Lucas—No, I don't wish that. If he were here I don't think that the punishment he would get here would be greater than his offence; but I see in your countenances that it would be greater than any one of us in cold blood would wish to see inflicted on him. I say he told that enormous lie—Walpole the liar—I wish to brand that description on his name—Walpole the liar—told that lie in order to cast a veil over his intentions. The next day after the proclamation an article appeared in the Times which distinctly anticipated the outrages that would take place in consequence of it, on the catholic clergy and religious in the streets of the towns of England, and expressed in plain terms that the outrages that would follow would lead to the loss of life. (Hear, hear.)
I charged Lord Derby before, and I charge him again, with having sat in the Queen's Council Chamber to issue that proclamation with a full knowledge that there was no occasion for it, as regards the public peace, and distinctly foreseeing that the publication of that document would lead to violence against the catholic clergy, to the destruction of temples of the living God, and to all the other horrible outrages we have seen at Stockport, and that it would lead to the loss of life. (Cries of " Hear, hear.")
I charge him with putting forward that proclamation, not directly to produce that loss of life, but with being utterly careless whether that even worse consequences were produced by it. The expectations of its promulgators was that it would create, develop, and inflame such infuriate protestant mobs in England as those which have lately worked their lawless will on your poor countrymen in Stockport—(hear, hear)
—who have organised themselves into bands to commit crimes and assassinations, and inflict the most horrible and unspeakable outrages on what you hold most dear and venerable in your religion. (Great cheering.)
What have they done? This day week there was procession of the children of the catholic schools in Stockport—one of those which annually took place in the towns of England. The innocent children, accompanied by their parents, their friends, and their pastor, walk in an innocent procession, as is the custom of all religions, of the rotestant, presbyterian, dissenter, and catholics. (Hear. hear.)
This custom has been maintained during a long series of years without a single interruption to the peace of the town; but it was determined in the minds of the Protestant Association, of whom Lord Derby is the instigator and ally—and I can't forget, when speaking of this, that Mr. Grattan has allied himself to these anti-catholic friends of Lord Derby—it was determined by the Protestant Association on this occasion that the procession should not pass off as innocently as heretofore. Every exertion was made by the catholic priest that there should be no violence or disorder on the part of the catholics. The ceremony did take place, and the day passed peaceably away. When provocation was given it was received with the greatest patience and equanimity. There was no disturbance, and the whole catholic population went to their beds on Sunday, persuaded the danger was passed, and that tranquillity would henceforward prevail between themselves and the protestants in the neighbourhood. But they were mistaken. Lord Derby's friends were determined this should not be. While the catholics slept the unsuspecting sleep of innocence, the protestants were awake, and the missionaries of hell were amongst them. (Hear, hear.)
They prepared and arranged with all possible coolness and deliberation one of the best planned and most fearful outrages that probably was ever perpetrated in a civilised land. They organised themselves into bands, and marked in chalk the doors of the houses they did not want to attack, and where no outrage was to be committed they marked in chalk the word " England." These hands destroyers, whom Lord Derby's friends organised and set upon this diabolical work, had a number of little boys, forty or fifty of whom would follow one or two catholic men when they saw them walking by themselves in the streets, and endeavour to create a disturbance by assailing them. A collision did take place, as it had been planned. Those who were attacked were compelled to defend themselves. They were the least numerous; it was night, and the greater part of their and your countrymen were sleeping peacefully in their beds. These organised bands pursued the few catholics who were in the streets at that unseasonable hour, attacked them, drove them to their houses, followed them up stairs with deadly weapons, dragged two men from their beds, beat them with merciless cruelty, inflicted the most horrible punishment on them, destroyed the furniture and all the little property in the house, drove the dwellers from their rooms in the dead of night into the street—naked women and helpless children—and made the very street in which they lived the wreck of a ruin. (Vehement cheers.)
This, however, was not the worst part of it. This was only the beginning. The worst part of the outrage was yet to come. They went on the following day to assault the temple of God, and, if the accounts taken on the spot are to be credited, the mayor of the town, the police, and the special constables, who had been called out to preserve the peace, were all either grossly neglectful of their duty, or actually took a part in the riot, and assisted in the plunder. (" Oh, oh," and hisses.)
Yes, it is confessed by the protestant journals that special constables sworn to keep the peace helped to break the peace. (groans)—
broke their oaths and the peace at the same time, and helped to pillage and destroy your countrymen, whom the rioters surprised in the dead of night in their beds. (Groans.)
They went to assail the church, and there was no interference with them on the part of the police—no activity on the part of the mayor. They went armed with such implements of their trade as were best fitted to perform, in the shortest time, the greatest amount of destruction. (Hisses.)
They broke in the chapel door with these formidable weapons—they broke down all the wood work leading to the staircases and galleries—they utterly destroyed all the seats and benches in the body of the church—they broke to pieces the organ and the organ loft—and having completed the work of destruction everywhere else, they passed on to the altar. (Great sensation.)
Oh, great God in heaven ! words fail me to tell what they did at the altar.
A Voice—We know it.
Mr. Lucas—I don't know whether you all know it, and, therefore, I will tell you. They tore down the sacred pictures from behind the altar, and broke them to pieces. The altar itself they burst asunder - the candlesticks, the vessels, the ornaments they consigned to destruction; and then these impious and sacrilegious wretches wrenched asunder the door of the tabernacle, and laid their hands upon the ciborium, in which the great God, who made us and them, deigns to repose for our love and adoration—(sensation)
— nor has it yet been discovered where that sacred vessel was taken, nor how these horrible miscreants disposed of that awful plunder. (Continued sensation.)
The very God that made them was not safe from their bloody hands. (Great agitation.)
Thus, therefore, stands the case. They have assailed your women and innocent children in the dead of night; they have murdered your unoffending countrymen; they have destroyed your churches; they have desecrated your altars; they have perpetrated even upon the God of Heaven himself sacrileges which language is inadequate to describe. (Sensation.)
But I ask by whom were these things done, What do I care about the horde of brutal ruffians whose hand did the work and carried out the design? I tell you that, as far as we yet have evidence, the real workers in these transactions either by agency direct or indirect, or by criminal neglect, are all the various classes of officials, from the police and the special constables to the local magistrates, the Home Secretary, the Prime Minister of England—aye, even the Lord Chief Justice of England, who ministers iniquity on the bench of justice, and employs all the faculties of his mind in inflaming the brutal protestant bigotry of that country—and that through these and other agencies everything that could furnish a motive and an excitement to attack the catholics of England has been done, and everything that should be employed to keep the peace has been employed to disturb order. (Loud cheers.)
At this moment the lives of your countrymen in England are not safe in their beds. Your countrymen are not safe when brought before protestant juries; not safe amongst those with whom Mr. Grattan has associated himself, and who, I have no doubt, if they were able would give the word to present and fire. (Groans.)
Gentlemen, they would do the very same things here if they dare—(cheers)
—and as we came along with our multitudinous procession to-day it occurred to me that before long we may have our peaceful processions interfered with, and the word given by Mr. Grattan's new friends to fire upon you; that we may have the same scenes occurring in Ireland which have taken, place in England unless the strongest expression of opinion be directed against them; unless you send to the House of Commons men who are in earnest to resist these aggressions, and who will stand aloof from all English , parties whatever—(cheers)
— and unless you do this, you will have your priests murdered; you will have your countrymen stabbed; you will have the holy of holies violated by a sacrilegious horde; you will have repeated in Ireland the atrocities that have been perpetrated in England; you will have them here stamp the bloody hoof of oppression upon your necks—(loud hissing and groaning)
— shooting you down in the streets; trampling you in the highway; robbing you of your property; destroying your souls and the souls of your children for ever; refusing you all redress for the injuries they perpetrate; and making a worse wreck of a nation that is in ruins. (Tremendous cheering and groaning.)
We have in our hands other means of redress than the constitutional privilege of building up some sort of wall or barrier against the demons who infest your land—(loud cheers)
—to denounce them before the world—to make their very names infamous through Europe and through America—(cheers)
—to gain for you the sympathies of the civilised world, and for them its execration and abhorrence. (Cheers.)
You want and you must have proper representatives. You must be content with the constitutional power which you possess, and resolute to use it aright; for it is all that stands between you and murder; it is all that stands between you and the desecration of your altars; it is all, except the providence of God, that stands between you and the damnation of your children's souls—(cheering)
—it is all that stands between you and those infamous wretches of whom the massacre of the people is nothing compared with a six months' tenure of power. (Tremendous cheers.)
This is the power, and the only power, that you possess, and, in God's name, use it right. If I am not fit to represent you turn me adrift. (Loud cries of " No, no.")
If Mr. Grattan is fit to represent you, welcome him. (Loud hisses, and cries of " We will not.")
No man in this meeting, no man in this county, has the slightest personal motive for preferring me to Mr. Grattan but many may have personal reasons to prefer Mr. Grattan to me. (Groans, and cries of " No, 'no.")
No man, I repeat, has or can have any personal motive to prefer me in this contest except those motives which arise from a desire for the public good; and I say that you who have votes, and those of the non electors who are able to influence the voters, have a trust in the sight of Heaven —a trust for the Church—a trust for your country, which the providence of Almighty God has committed to your keeping—a trust for your wives and families—a trust for posterity—a trust for this noble country of Ireland, whose children wicked men have decimated, have sent into exile, have imprisoned in the workhouses, have crowded, into the overflowing graves—a trust, I say, for this country, which is yours only for a day but which is committed to you for that brief period that you may do your part in preserving it, and handing it down from the uncounted generations that have gone before to the long succession of generations that are to follow you. (Loud cheering.)
On you men of this time, it depends whether that long tradition shall be upheld, Whether the venerable name of Erin shall be maintained in the dignity which is its rightful portion—(cheers)
—upon you and, in some small degree, upon the vote which you are to record at the coming election. (Cheers.)
Of course it absurd in me to pretend that my return to the House of Commons can of itself, achieve any very great result; but union is strength. If you return for this county to the next parliament a man who is a little better in place of a man who is a little worse; and little people in the next county and in the next borough add another man who is a little better to the man of your choice; and if you act with them in doing your best to make a party of men, each of whom is a little better than his predecessors, and who will stand firmly and honestly together in the struggle that is approaching, then I say you will have done your part towards strengthening, redeeming, raising, restoring, beautifying, and adorning your native land, whose great and glorious character is the property, not of you alone, or of this time, but of all time, and of the entire human race—and you will have earned the gratitude of those long generations of men who will come after you, and who, receiving at your hands so great benefits, will venerate you as the men who have done such things. (Enthusiastic applause.)
and tell you that your example does not stand alone, and that it is producing great results in other and in distant constituencies. In New Ross Charles Gavan Duffy - (great cheering)
—I am proud to say, is certain of being returned. (Renewed cheering.)
Your example is being followed in Monaghan, where Dr. Gray, of the Freeman's Journal—(cheers)—
will be returned against all the whigs and tories that, with envenomed hatred, can muster their slaves against him. Mr. Lucas then went on to refer to the elections for Wexford, Leitrim, Louth, Westmeath, &c., and to the probable return of staunch tenant right men for these various constituencies.
(At this stage of the proceedings, some confusion was created by a drunken partisan of Mr. Grattan's, who did his best to create a quarrel and confusion. The uproar and noise following his indecent behaviour threatened to last some time, until two clergymen descended from the platform, and with the assistance of their rev. brethren succeeded in restoring order in spite of the apparent endeavour of the sub inspector of police to stimulate that excitement which it was his duty to quell. When order was restored)—
Mr. Lucas said—Is it not very hard that one drunken man—drunk with Mr. Grattan's whiskey—should be able to produce so much interruption. (Great cheering.)
Gentlemen, I know very well that the good sense of the people of Meath will not allow a little drunken occurrence of this kind to disturb them. (Cheers.)
It is nothing but a small drunken incident of no sort of importance if you do not attend to it. I was saying that what is being done by the people of this county for the protection of their interests or the protection of their wives and families—for the protection of every interest, lay and ecclesiastical—is also being done by the people of other counties, and in this contest you will not have to stand alone. As far as I have been able to calculate, the day of nomination will be about a fortnight hence, and the polling will take place after an interval of two days more. I believe it is the general opinion that two weeks will pass over before you are called on to register your votes, and then it will be seen whether your votes will be for me or for Mr. Grattan—(loud cries of " For you")
— how far you will act up to the promises which I have received in every other part of this county, which you have this day, by your multitudinous voices, given me from the town and neighbourhood of Slane, and which, I am confident, will be performed in Slane, as well as in every other part of the county. (Great cheering.)
A Voice—In you shall go. (Renewed applause.)
Mr. Lucas-Yes, in I shall go. (Cheers again.)
It is not one drunken man that will keep me out. (Hear, hear.)
It is your thousands of votes and unanimous voices that will send me in. (Cheers.) I now take my leave of this meeting, and allow me, in conclusion, after thanking you for the great attention with which you have heard me, to apologise to the electors of this county for not being able to make, a personal canvass.
A Voice-It is not necessary. (Cheers.)
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