of the Irish Catholics
for relief from grievous disabilities and unjust distinctions as a struggle merely for supremacy or power.
Strange, that the truth to which all history so strongly testifies should thus be overlooked,—the undeniable truth that religious bigotry and intolerance have been confined to no single sect; that the persecuted of one century have been the persecutors of another.
In our own country, it would be well for us to remember that at the very time when in New England
, the Quaker
, and the Baptist
were banished on pain of death, and where some even suffered that dreadful penalty, in Catholic Maryland
, under the Catholic
Lord Baltimore, perfect liberty of conscience was established, and Papist and Protestant went quietly through the same streets to their respective altars.
At the commencement of O'Connell
's labors for emancipation he found the people of Ireland
divided into three great classes,—the Protestant or Church party, the Dissenters, and the Catholics: the Church party constituting about one tenth of the population, yet holding in possession the government and a great proportion of the landed property of Ireland
, controlling church and state and law and revenue, the army, navy, magistracy, and corporations, the entire patronage of the country, holding their property and power by the favor of England
, and consequently wholly devoted to her interest; the Dissenters, probably twice as numerous as the Church party, mostly engaged in trade and manufactures, sustained by their own talents and industry, Irish in feeling, partaking in