Gentlemen of the Grand Jury,
The present tranquil and orderly state of our country and Capital, and the scanty Calendar in my hand, call scarcely for any other expression from me than that of the most lively and cordial congratulation. The times, it is true, have been turbulent; the Laws have lost their energy and just authority; and Humanity must for ever deplore the streams of blood which the insulted justice of the country has exacted. But it is a consolation of much moment that so many unhappy victims have not died in vain. Our misguided fellow-subjects, warned by numerous and severe examples, have discarded their evil counsellors and abandoned the criminal courses into which they had been deluded. They have opened their eyes at last to the blessings of that Constitution which protects them; and have returned to the paths of honest and sober industry, and a due submission to the laws of the land.
Gentlemen, I feel that it would be an insensible and disgusting waste of the public time to detain you at this joyful moment by a cold phlegmatic dissertation upon your duty, the threadbare theme upon which I have so often solicited public attention. I feel that at this proud juncture such a discourse would be deemed as it ought, a pedantic mockery of your best and finest feelings, engrossed as no doubt they now are by one of the most exhilarating and sublime subjects that ever presented itself to the enraptured mind of man. Yes, Gentlemen! Virtue has triumphed over Crime, Order over Anarchy, Liberty over Slavery, Religion over Atheism.- The right arm of our gracious God hath been stretched out to crush an impious Foe, and to save and protect his favourite Island. The long patient vengeance, the slumbering wrath of a just and terrible Divinity hath at last been awakened, and hath vindicated his power and justice upon the heads of an hardened and apostate race, who have proscribed him from his temples, and denied even the existence of the living God.
In contemplating this signal mercy, there are certain facts too prominent and emphatical to escape the notice of the most superficial observer; facts which might impress conviction upon infidelity itself, were infidelity capable of conviction. The discomfiture and utter confusion of the Enemy steeped in blood, steeled ‘against every compunctious visiting of nature,’ have been the sole and exclusive work of the Almighty; Providence it would seem had reserved to himself the punishment of those declared enemies of all order, virtue and religion. Affavit Deus et dissipavit eos. It was the breath of the Almighty which dispersed them. He uttered his will, and straitway the enemy who had eluded the British fleet, and had already in imagination rioted in the golden spoils of this plundered and devoted land, were scattered. This proud armament, the last effort of their expiring Navy, invited hither by traitors, advanced with all the confidence of another Armada to a certain and easy conquest, and has closed its career with the same disastrous tragical catastrophe. – Nor can it be forgotten by any well-regulated mind, that this awful visitation had been appointed for the great festival of Christianity; as if to recall by a tremendous warning at that sacred season a lost and infatuated people to a due reverence for our holy religion, which had been the object of their derision, and which they had with great formality abjured.
But this is not all: if the pompous enterprise, from which your destruction was promised, has been miserably frustrated, your preservation has been accomplished by means not only the most effectual, but the most judicious and best selected. It is true a fair opportunity has been lost of emblazoning another day in the crowded calendar of British glory; but humanity and true policy, frugal of the blood of patriots and heroes, shrink alike from the blood-stained triumphs which feed the unfeeling pride of nations and conquerors! Your deliverance has been effected by wiser and more providential means; it has not cost you a single life or a single ship: that storm, which burst upon the hostile fleet, locked up ours secure in port – and what at first was felt by us all as a misfortune, proves ultimately but another instance of Divine favour.
For my own part, as a steady and confirmed Christian, I cannot but descry, in the strong marked events of this auspicious hour, the Divine finger – the immediate interposition of an avenging, a protecting, a just Ruler of the Universe: I can discover in these providential occurrences a superintending Dispenser of good and evil, ‘scattering a people that delight in war;’ scourging the perfidy of a Government who project the destruction of your country, even while they present to you the olive-branch of peace, mortifying their contumelious insolence, their pride, their gigantic arrogance, inspiring the five-headed Despot of France by practical lessons of bitter adversity with sentiments of becoming moderation, and holding forth to exhausted humanity some reasonable prospect, some fair omens, of returning repose.
But, Gentlemen, it would be unjust to pass over the effects of this much-vaunted expedition amongst ourselves, happy beyond the most sanguine hope. When I had the honour to address the last Grand Jury of the County, I took the liberty to draw their attention to the critical state of public affairs, and to suggest the necessity of arming ourselves under the sanction of Government, in conformity to the Yeomanry Act of this Session; but well as I had reason to recollect the martial alacrity and genius of our countrymen, my mind, I own, had not been prepared to expect or to conceive the possibility of what has since happened; high as I knew their pulse to beat at the call of danger, of honour and of their country, I hardly could expect that all party animosities, religious and political, could instantly have subsided – that all professions, trades and occupations, would be abandoned for arms – that in the space of three short months, you would have become a nation of soldiers, and another Volunteer Army would have arisen more sudden, more systematic, and better regulated even than the former. This mad and desperate enterprise has developed the true character of Ireland to admiring Europe; it has displayed your gallantry, your patriotism, and your public spirit: These, however, are virtues which were never denied to the Irish character; but it has proved also, what perhaps was not before so well understood, the sound and loyal principles of the Southern peasantry, their just and inveterate conception of French Fraternity, and their ardent devotion to their good King, and to the British Constitution and Government. It has produced the Pastoral Letter of the pious Catholic Bishop of Cork, breathing a spirit of peace, loyalty and philanthropy, worthy of an Apostle: It has, in a word, vindicated the great Roman Catholic mass against the misconceptions of men prejudiced because uninformed, and (what was more difficult) against the disaffection and criminal tardiness of certain discontented individuals of their own body. – The Elements have saved us; a British Fleet may save us; – but whilst we are thus united at home, thus animated by a just sense of the incalculable blessings we enjoy – the perfect security of our Liberty, our property and our persons – confident in our own resources, we may bid defiance to any future experiments which our implacable enemy shall be rash enough to repeat.
One very serious and alarming fact is now confirmed beyond a doubt, that a traiterous correspondence has been maintained by miscreants in this kingdom with the Government of France. It now appears that the invasion, thus happily averted, has been promoted by domestic traitors, scandalously misrepresenting the general spirit of the Irish peasantry; that invasion, which was to lay waste your fields, to sack and pillage your cities and habitations, and consign your honest acquisitions, the well-earned fruits of long and laborious thrift, your virtuous matrons and beloved children, to the spoil, the brutality and butchery of a famishing licentious and inveterate soldiery, culled (for their pre-eminence in crime) from the gaols and gallies of France, and recently schooled in the ensanguined, desolated and smoaking ruins of La Vendee. Whether the French rulers have reason to thank their parricide correspondents for belying the purity of our country, for their confident assurance that Ireland was impatient for French Liberty – that is, to league with ruin and embrace death, let the present triumph and universal glow of patriotism and loyalty decide. But allow me to express an earnest and anxious hope, that the Magistracy and all good subjects may not be deluded by the present flattering calm, but that they continue to watch with jealous vigilance, all suspected individuals and associations. In the best constituted communities there will always be found men of splenetic and malignant minds, or surfeited by too much happiness, or intoxicated by sudden prosperity, or having no property or character to lose, who eagerly pant for change, are ready to overturn the venerable fabric of Government, and labour to spread their own contagion amongst a happy and contented people. The old and flimsy veil under which these innovating spirits cloak their pernicious purpose is Parliamentary Reform. – When the House is no fire, they refuse to join in extinguishing the flames, until a certain chamber, which in their wise and profound judgment is ill constructed, shall be altered according to their taste. But whatever they profess, there seems no violence in suspecting that the object of such projectors is the destruction of the whole building, and not its improvement – those cold-blood Reformers, who in the hour of danger would capitulate and parley with their country, and must make their bargain even when the enemy is in your harbours. If there be men amongst us surrounded with all the means of human happiness safe in their persons, secure in their property, in the full fruition of every species of rational and social liberty, who yet are discontented and complain – if there be men, who warmed by the animating beams of the sun, make no other use of his cheering light but to discover the spots upon his glorious disk, I can only pity lamentation so unfounded, and occupation so unprofitable and unavailing. Be it our study to cherish with a jealous care, a Constitution our protection and pride, the parent of every civil blessing, and which it would be our greatest misfortune to survive.
But in vain has all this profusion of bounty been showered upon us, unless we turn with grateful hearts to Him from whom it flows –unless impressed with a deep and lasting sense thereof, we allow it to mingle with our lives, and colour all our conduct; but above all, unless we resolve to cling fast by that sacred Revelation of the Divine Will, which is the best consolation under misfortune in this world, and the strong anchor of our hope in the next. It is an imperious duty upon men of your condition and influence to promote by example and admonition, among the inferior classes of the people the practice of industry and temperance, a willing obedience to the laws, and all the moral and religious virtues. The prevention of crimes is far more lovely and acceptable in the sight of God than the punishment. Virtue and happiness go hand in hand even in this life; and depend upon it, the greater the stock of individual virtue in any state, the happier will be the general condition of that state.
Gentlemen, the surest pledge which I know for public order, personal security, and universal happiness, is to be found in that divine compendium of ethics – ‘Fear God, and honour the King’.
 The Negotiations for Peace continued till the Expedition was ready, and then were abruptly and contumeliously broken off. The Fleet sailed from Brest on Thursday evening the 15th Dec., and on the 19th Lord Malmesbury received the French Minister’s note commanding him to quit Paris in 48 hours.
 This excellent Divine (Dr Francis Moylan, Bishop of Cork, earlier Bishop of Kerry –ed.) did not hang back or temporize till the danger was past. With a courage not less striking than his loyalty and benevolence, he delivered this impressive and spirited exhortation upon the first appearance of the hostile armament on our coast. Ardent in the cause of his God, his King and his Country, and regardless of evey personal consideration, he did not balance between duty and danger. At the very crisis of our fate, when the force and peril (swelled by panic and credulity) could not be known or calculated, he lost not a moment in giving battle to an Atheistical Enemy, and exposing himself in case of any untoward event to their most rancorous vengeance. The Cork Committee, composed of 31 Citizens of the first rank and character, without any regard to religious distinction, caused 3000 copies of this salutary and seasonable admonition to be immediately printed and circulated through the city and county.