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ARGUMENT

BEFORE THE

COMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

UPON THE PETITION OF

BENEDICT FENWICK AND OTHERS,

WITH A PORTION OF THE

DOCUMENTARY TESTIMONY.

BY RICHARD S. FAY,

COUNSELLOR AT LAW.

“Statutes serve to record the rights of a people, and speak the intention of parties
to defend what the letter of the law has expressed; but without the vigor to maintain
what is acknowledged as a right, the mere record, or the feeble intention, is of little
avail.” Ferguson.

BOSTON:

PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY J. H. EASTBURN,

No. 18 State Street.

1835.

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It is perhaps, unnecessary for the writer of the following pages to make any apology for putting in pamphlet form, the substance of the remarks made by him before the Committee, in support of the petition of Benedict Fenwick and others. He should not have done it, except at the request of the friends of the petitioners, who are desirous of giving to the public every possible information, as to the nature and extent of their claims upon the favor of the Commonwealth. They are unwilling to consider the question settled by the vote of the present Legislature.

The counsel for the petitioners has added, upon his own responsibility, the Notes to be found in the Appendix, in relation to some of the tenets of Roman Catholic faith. In the course of argument they were unnoticed, because the petitioners wished to place their case above all sectarian prejudices, believing that the good or bad tendencies of their religious doctrines had nothing to do with the merits or demerits of their claims upon the justice and charity of the Commonwealth. Their counsel considered the questions involved, of a different and far higher nature, and as intimately connected with the very groundwork of the constitution. This, however, has been viewed differently by some, and the remarks added by way of note, are merely intended to furnish information and to correct some glaring errors of statement among those, who oppose making a grant to these petitioners upon the ground that they are Catholics. As a Protestant, the author would deeply regret having the questions raised by the petition, settled upon any of the religious or sectarian grounds which have been assumed ; in which regret, he believes he is joined by the liberal and enlightened members of every religious denomination.

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