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[327] power. The emancipation of the Catholic of Great Britain from the thrall of a century, in 1829, prepared the way for the bloodless triumph of English reform in 1832. The Catholic Association was the germ of those political unions which compelled, by their mighty yet peaceful influence, the King of England to yield submissively to the supremacy of the people.1 Both of these remarkable events, these revolutions shaking nations to their centre, yet polluted with no blood and sullied by no crime, were effected by the salutary agitations of the public mind, first set in motion by the master-spirit of O'Connell, and spreading from around him to every portion of the British empire like the undulations from the disturbed centre of a lake.

The Catholic question has been but imperfectly understood in this country. Many have allowed their just disapprobation of the Catholic religion to degenerate into a most unwarrantable prejudice against its conscientious followers. The cruel persecutions of the dissenters from the Romish Church, the massacre of St. Bartholomew's day, the horrors of the Inquisition, the crusades against the Albigenses and the simple dwellers of the Vaudois valleys, have been regarded as atrocities peculiar to the believers in papal infallibility, and the necessary consequences of their doctrines; and hence they have looked upon the constitutional agitation

1 The celebrated Mr. Attwood has been called the ‘father of political unions.’ In a speech delivered by his brother, C. Attwood, Esq., at the Sunderland Reform Meeting, September 10, 1832, I find the following admission: ‘Gentlemen, the first political union was the Roman Catholic Association of Ireland, and the true founder and father of political unions is Daniel O'Connell.’

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