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The 11th Lord Blayney as an original thinker.

The following letter from Blayney, still a POW in Verdun, dated 10 July 1813, to his brother-in-law, the 2nd Earl of Caledon, is virtually his political credo. This displays not a little of the Social Darwinism that was only to emerge much later in the century.

'I have now to return you my sincere thanks for the part you acted for me in the support of Mr Corry at the late election and the reasons you assigned in your letter perfectly coincide with my sentiments for that support. I perceive an unfortunate question as to religion is revived in force and seems to agitate the public mind. I never should have ventured an opinion on that subject ... had it not become blended with county politics. Therefore it is right that the gentlemen of the county should be in possession of my private sentiments, however they may be deficient from my being so far removed from regular means of information as conveyed either through the channel of English pamphlets or public papers. Both of these are excluded from this country under the penalty of any person in whose possession they are found being condemned for life to the galleys.

When in Ireland, I carefully abstained from conversation on religious subjects for I conceived it far better for bigotry to die a natural death than agitate a question on which so few are competent to decide. As the people seemed advancing in civilization and more attention [was being] paid to education, I was at hopes that they would be adequate to form judgements for themselves and trace back with indignation and surprise to the periods when, on the basis of religion, the people generally became the dupes of the darkest and the most dangerous plots. The freedom of my sentiments on religion are fully recorded in the separate buildings for divine worship ably executed near the town of Castleblayney, where I have contributed both in money and furnishing ground, to the Roman Catholic, the Presbyterian, and the Established Church, so as for each to have a place suited to impress them with good moral principles in their separate avocations ...

My affectionate regard for the county of Monaghan and for Ireland in general is noticed not by declamation or by idle professions: it is by forming a suitable establishment, planting and improving the face of the county, and introducing a better mode of agriculture in hopes the example would be followed. My inclination is to reside much in the county. It has hitherto been impeded by my professional duties alone. My anxiety for the credit and happiness of the county would however lead me sadly to regret a Roman Catholic candidate being proposed, possibly not endowed with any mental recommendation or his nature being improved by education, his claim alone founded on being Roman Catholic. If such a person was returned he would be the instrument of a licentious mob, a disgrace to Ireland, and if all its members were Roman Catholics and of a similar stamp, their influence in the English House of Commons would not be sufficient to carry the most insignificant question. Such a candidate or such a member might renew animosity and these distinctions of religion which in former times excited France, England and other countries.

... I hear arguments adduced that the Roman Catholics of Ireland, being the most numerous, were the most formidable [and that] weak or timid persons have espoused their cause ... If they were to reason or examine [their] facts they would find that property, science, and talent predominates and has done and so does everywhere over numbers, and although the majority may be on the side of Roman Catholics as four to one in Ireland it is to be observed that the force of the British Empire is at least 12 Protestants to 4 Roman Catholics with the addition of property, science and talent in their favour. Although England might be slow to act in such a case, she would ultimately be compelled into action, while the unfortunate persons who were misled either by wicked or timid men would in the end be sacrificed, the country brought into disgrace, and retarded in its advancement towards industry, wealth or refinement.

It is to be supposed that a difference of religion from the Established Church causes discontent because they pay two clergy. Supposing that be the case it is like all other fancies and those who choose to indulge should pay for them. But is to be presumed that if they paid not tithe they would have to pay so much the more rent. Let it therefore be understood that my attachment is strongly in favour of my sovereign, the established religion and constitution of my country. And as my situation leads me to know that the decisive measures acted upon by the present administration are the only ones suited to protect the independence, and maintain the dignity of Great Britain in her present arduous struggle, they have my decided support. Neither do I conceive that the Roman Catholics having political rights could be of advantage to them as a body and could only be the means of creating discord and causing confusion. The following therefore are the grounds on which a candidate has a claim to my support.

1. Resident in or [near] the county for which he is proposed as candidate.

2. Sound constitutional principles suited to maintain the dignity ... of the Empire in church and state.'


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