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ceremony ? - The times have been when Popes 'supported France with all their inight, without producing any dangerous consequences in Ireland I remember when the last Pope exerted himself to support your Government, and just with as much effect as when he opposed it; his weakness in both cases was equal. In the present state of Europe the power of the Pope has no effect whatever in Ireland. If, my Lords, all these allegations were absolutely true, that the Catholic Religion does make all men who profess it disloyal, and that the new state of France has thrown the Pope entirely into her hands, then the necessity of striving to counteract that disposition, would demand of us to take such measures as are now proposed. I would say, in that case, that the allies of Bonaparte are not the Catholic Clergy of Ireland; but those who exasperate mens? minds by trying to excite aniinosities that were gradually composing, and might be settled and tranquillized. But it was said, should your Lordships comply with this Petition, the consequence shortly must be, the repeal of the Test Act; but without entering at all into the question of such a repeal, whether

you may think it adviseable or not, this, at least, I am sure of, that it is adviseable to listen to the Catholic Petition. Even though you should think fit to continue the disabilities attached to the Dissenters, it would be a most unjust, unwarrantable, and unheard-of argument, to assert that the Irish Catholics shall not be relieved, because you are unwilling to relieve the Dissenters in this country; a body of men, in a situation totally unconnected with them, and even more opposite to their worship than you are. I know not what scale of comparison ought to be instituted to regulate the claims of different bodies of men. I trust your Lordships must see the policy and justice of concession to the Catholics. Does not the continuance of the present system tend to perpetuate and increase all the difficulties of which we complain ? Admit all the charges against the

Catholics, Catholics, and then what is the course which this country is to pursue with four millions of subjects, inveterate in their hatred of all your establishments? The one is that which was adopted in the reign of Queen Anne, and the other is that which has been pursued with such success in the reign of his present Majesty. On the first system, you must begin by depriving them of their constitutional rights; then of their property, and the means of acquiring property; and lastly, reduce them to the situation of aliens in their own country. There is no stopping in this course. You are put between the alternatives of complete exclusion, or the possession of rights with the alienations of privileges. But if the dispositions of a people are bad, the measure of true wisdom is to alter and ameliorate them. If, therefore, you refuse to accede to their requests, you prevent them from forming an attachment to your government; and if you perceive that your present conduct is mistaken, if you find that it fails to conciliate to your interests any one of the individuals whom you should wish to have attached to you, why must this country persist in a plan so obnoxious to others, and useless to themselves? Your proposition, in that case, amounts but to this ; we cannot deprive the Roman Catholics of their property, that is placed by the laws beyond the reach of the

government; we cannot deprive them of their natural weight in society, and of those franchises and privileges which at present they possess; but we torment the more elevated ranks of that persuasion, by restraining them from attaining the objects of their ambition, and hinder them effectually from rising to the summit of the professions to which they inay apply themselves. If this be not the ground on which the enemies of the Catholics proceed, the only argument that is left them seems to me to be this: we are are now arrived at that particular conjuncture at which we must come to a stand. Can it ever be prudent or desirable for a Legislature to re


solve upon a final cessation in a measure of such a nature as this is? If it ever can be prudent or desira able, it must be under circumstances of a very peculiar kind, and of a very marked, palpable, and evident description. But are such then the circumstances, under which we are now situated ? Your former concessions to the Catholics have been wise, just, and fitting ; but now you are told that túmult exists

among the people, and by way of a remedy for so glaring an evil

, you propose to take away all distinction and hope of reward from those to whom the people are accustomed to look up, by whose influ-ence they are directed, and for whose injuries they feel. If you must place restraints upon any, let those restraints be imposed on the persons who may injure you ; but never throw obstacles in the path of those who, if you do not impede them, will labour for your good. And who, after all, are the people whom, by your present restrictions, you exclude? Three or four Catholic Peers, who not only are not disaffected towards you, but who have given repeated proofs of their loyalty, at the hazard of their persons, against the foreign and domestic foes of their Sovereign ; these are excluded, even from the possibility of being placed in this House. Does this system afford you any thing like security ? Suppose these Catholic Peers in this House, do you think they could succeed in persuading you to abolish the Hierarchy ? that they would persuade you to desert the religion to which you have been educated, or make war upon the Constitution to which you are attached ? I think there is no man who imagines it. Can you be afraid of it? On the contrary, the very circumstances under which they would be introduced, must make them eager, on every occasion, to display how worthy they were of the privilege they had obtained.. Go to the House of Commons, you will see that there, too, the mischief is as little to be, dreaded. How small would be the number of Catholics elected! and if to take an immoderate calcu. lation, even fifty members, one-half of the represen



tation, should, in a long course of years, gain admission, of what possible consequence could be a party of comparatively so little importance? If an evil disposition existed out of Parliament, indeed, you might have danger to apprehend from men of such consequence as some of the Catholics in Ireland. I will appeal to you all, if any mischief has occurred from the mixture of Members professing a different religion from that of the Established Church, who have been returned from the kingdom of Scotland! Has any man desired to introduce here the Presbyterian Governinent ? If the exclusion, then, of Catholics from Parliament be groundless, are the other restrictions you have thrust upon them more consistent with policy? They are excluded from the Law, from the Army, and from the Navy; an unreasonable stigma is thrown upon them ; yet in the course of my life, which has not been a very long one, I have seen all the principal Offices of the Law filled by men, who, there is reason to suppose, had a Presbyterian education; among those were your Lordship's predecessor on the Woolsack, a Chief Justice of the King's Bench, a Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, a Master of the Rolls, and the present Chief Baron of the Exchequer. I will venture to say, that when they were appointed to their offices, there was no one who knew or enquired what religion they might happen to profess. I could enumerate, in the same way, persons of the highest distinction in the army and the navy. So vain is the argument made use of by some, that if the Catholic claims should be granted, our King would be a Protestant, and his principal Officers in Ireland Papists.. A notion has prevailed, that if one party acquires, another must necessarily lose ; but so far is that position from being true in domestic politics, that it does not always follow, even between nation and nation, that if one country makes any acquisition by friendly intercourse, another must suffer a loss in proportion; and here by granting to the-Catholics what their Petition requests, you give,


what is of little benefit for you to withhold, but what is of the utmost importance for them to acquire. Does not every student in the law acquire some degree of consequence from your Lordship’s situation and dignity upon the woolsack? and is he not cheered by the hope that it may in future be his lot to arrive at a similar distinction? Or what parent would subject bis, child to the miseries of a seafaring life, and the hardships which, as a midshipman, he must suffer, were it not for the prospect of future successes, such as those of the Howes and the Nelsons of our day? In the army the case will be found parellel. Suppose a number of subaltern officers assembled together, can you conceive any thing more humiliating than the situation of any one of them who could be told by the rest, whatever glories or honours we hereafter may obtain, from all those glories, and from all those honours you must be for ever excluded. To you we can never say

I pede fausto

Grandia laturus fortunæ præmia. All the subjects of this country are exalted by the consideration, that there is no man who walks the streets who may not aspire to the highest ranks of the State: and must not the Irish Catholics for ever be excluded from all participation in the dearest object of their hopes and wishes, if those who desire to depress them shall have it in their power for ever to say, it is not we whọ keep you back, it is the law of the country that prevents your aggrandizement? If this must continue the case, small is the hope that we can ever entertain of seeing domestic discord and animosity buried in oblivion. Therefore it is, iny Lords, that I repeat to your Lordships, that though this concession will be a small one for you to have granted, it will be a great one for them to receive; it will remove from them a degrading badge. It will be some consolation to them to reflect, that they have Representatives in Parliament of the same persuasion with themselves; but if you persist in distrusting the

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