Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Parish Letter from Loughguile - 1801



Rev. J, O'Laverty P.P.M.R.I.A.

VOL. 4

"At a meeting of the Roman Catholic congregation of the parish of Loughgeel [Loughguile], in the County of Antrim, held at their Chapel on the 16th day of August, 1801. The following expression of their sentiments was unanimously agreed upon : —
When we have beheld with the most serious concern the many endeavours that have been made to disunite his Majesty's subjects by creating doubts of the loyalty of the Roman Catholics, and circulating the most cruel and unfounded rumours to prejudice the public mind — amongst which that of Wednesday, the 12th instant, causing the Protestant inhabitants of the village of Connor to abandon their houses at midnight, to prevent their murder by the Catholics, has given us the deepest affliction. Under such circumstance we consider silence becomes criminal, and if on appeal the facts be received in our favour, we entreat the public at large to reflect upon the conduct of the Roman Catholics of the County of Antrim, and in particular of this part of it during the disturbances of 1798. Then it will be found that their conduct was peaceable and loyal, when many of their calumniators were in the front ranks of rebellion; then did we, where now we stand, pledge ourselves to James Stuart, Esq., of Grace Hill, a gentleman whose regard and protection we are proud to have merited, to persevere in such conduct and have this day renewed that pledge in the most solemn manner. To that part of our Protestant brethren, who have so solemnly excluded us from their fraternity, we only entreat that should the hour of danger ever arrive we may be allowed to unite our efforts in defence of our king and country. To all who hope from the rejection of Catholic claims to see discontents prevail amongst us we tell them to their disappointment that we know the value of what we have received and are truly grateful for the same; and as soon as those who have poisoned the royal ear against our humble claims are removed, we look up with confidence to our beloved Sovereign for a further extension of these liberties, that our other fellow-subjects of every religious persuasion enjoy in this country. Finally we wish to bring to the recollection and impress on the heart and mind of every Roman Catholic, that all the benefits, favours, and indulgences, which they have received from the era of the Revolution down to the present day, they have received in the reign of our gracious sovereign George the Third, whom God long preserve.

"Signed by order of the Meeting,