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SLAVE: You have not done as I should have expected. You have, for five days of the most interesting crisis, kept us, your constituents, in the dark. We will never forgive you. We all waited, and searched, and labored, to hear news from our friends. Then two nights—but not a word. The enemies have had abundance. Charges the most heinous are echoed against the Catholics, and we have no means of refuting them, thanks to our faithful representative.
NOTES AND MEMORANDUMS, Taken during the Sittings of the General Committee of the
Catholics of Ireland, December, 1792.
DECEMBER 3, 1792. The roll of delegates being read by the Secretary, Mr. Edward Byrne was unanimously called to take the chair. The following gentlemen were then nominated to take the chair, in succession, from day to day : Sir T. French, Mr. Barnwall, Mr. Devereux, Mr. Bellew, Mr. Coppinger, and Mr. Rivers.
1. Resolved, unanimously, That the Catholic peers, prelates, and delegates, chosen by the people, are the only power competent to speak the sense of the Catholics of Ireland.
2. Resolved, unanimously, That a petition be presented to his Majesty, stating our grievances, and praying relief.
3. Ordered, That the Sub-committee do prepare and bring in the same.
And the Sub-committee having reported accordingly,
4. Resolved, unanimously, That the said report be now received and read.
And, the same being read,
5. Resolved, unanimously, That this meeting do now resolve itself into a committee, to take the same into consideration.
In Committee, Mr. Barnwall in the Chair, The petition being read, paragraph by paragraph,
The 1st paragraph was agreed to unanimously, 2d do., 3d do., 4th do., 5th do., 6th do., 7th do., 8th do., 9th do., 10th do., 11th do., and 12th do.
Some of these were previously amended, and the 13th was postponed for further consideration.
Mr. Byrne baving again taken the chair, and Mr. Barnwall having reported progress, begged leave to sit again, which being granted, the Committee adjourned till 11 o'clock to-morrow.
Notes taken during the Debate, on slips of paper.
Returns read. Mr. Byre called, unanimously, to the chair, on motion of Mr. Pallas. Mr. Braughall moves that the fol. lowing gentlemen be chosen chairmen, in succession, Sir T. French, Messrs. Barnwall, Devereux, Bellew, Coppinger, and Rivers. Unanimous.
Devereux. That this meeting, as now constituted, with the peers and prelates, are the only organ competent to speak the sense of the Catholic body.
Lynch. To know whether the Committee is to expire next July, or whether this is the beginning of a new one.
Keogh. Not to be postponed to the Committee struck for that purpose. No delay.
M-Kenna. In support of Lynch. Wishes to say “are competent to," not only organ competent to," &c.
Sweetman. Unanimity above all. If Sub-committee are mistaken in circular letter, to be rectified by the great body of Catholics now represented.
M.Comyn. That a petition to his Majesty be now prepared, stating our grievances, and praying relief.
Keogh. That a Committee be ordered to prepare and bring in the same, and that said Committee do consist of the present Sub-committee.
That the same be received. Question. Unanimous. That the same be read. Question. Unanimous.
That this meeting resolve itself into a Committee to konsider the same. Unanimous.
In Committee. Mr. Barnvall in the chair. That it be read paragraph by paragraph.
1st paragraph, unanimous, ad do., 3d do., 4th do., 5th do., 6th, “ tyrannical" objected to, “ grievous and oppressive” substituted. “Unjust” objected to, “ unwarrantable” substituted. As amended; unanimous. 7th paragraph, unanimous, 8th do., 9th do., 10th do., 11th do. and 12th do. 13th paragraph objected to by Luke Teeling; proposes prayer for general relief. I write to Gog to press it. Teeling very well. M-Kennn, for postponement. J. J. M.Donnell for Teeling,
DECEMBER 4, 1792. Christopher Bellew in the chair.
1. Resolved, That the meeting do resolve itself into a committee, to take into further consideration the 13th paragraph of the petition.
2. Resolved, That the chairman do now leave the chair.
3. Resolved, unanimously, That this paragraph, thus amended, do stand a part of this petition.
The petition being now read,
4. Resolved, That the chairman do now report to the General Committee.
Christopher Bellew in the chair. Mr. O'Brien reports the petition from the Committee. No amendment being then proposed or received,
5. Resolved, unanimously, That the petition, now read, do stand the petition of the Catholics of Ireland.
A preamble being then proposed,
6. Resolved, That the same do stand the preamble to the petition of the Catholics of Ireland.
7. Resolved, That the petition be engrossed.
8. Resolved, That the signatures of the delegates, and the places they represent, be affixed to the petition, before the mode of transmitting it to his Majesty be decided on.
9. Resolved, That the secretary do call over the roll of delegates, on Thursday next, at 11 o'clock.
10. Resolved, That this meeting do now adjourn to 11 o'clock to-morrow, punctually.
Notes on the Debate.
Bellew in the chair. Moved, by Fitzgerald, that no man be allowed to speak twice on the question, unless he be called upon to explain. Overruled.
In committee. D. T. O'Brien in the chair. Moved by Teeling, to generalize the prayer of the petition. Co-extension of demands, between Catholics and Belfast, proof of intimate union. To compound, would be a desertion of our duty. Golden opportunity; union amongst ourselves; Dissenters with us, England, Scotland liberal, France. No danger of violence. What to do in case of refusal ? Tell our constituents, they, and not this body, will determine. Take the sense of the people, and see what they will have done. (Plaudits.)
M-Neven Pro! Leaders not binding on the great body of the Catholics. (Great plaudits ; his speech has been since published.)
Deolin Pro! Necessary to cultivate the people. Strength only in numbers. Not desert our just claims.
McKenna Pro! Agrees that we are not bound to two things only by circular letter.
Committee report petition ; C. Bellew in the Chair.
Keogh. Tochange one or two words; Privileges for “Rights of Citizens."
Lynch. To change Citizens ; (right ;) Rochford, ditto, (Loyal.) Lynch again. (Loyal, too much).
Keogh. Amendments. Loyalty and attachment to the three Estates, the sentiment of the meeting. Disdain to repel charges.
Rights and privileges of a free constitution.”
Keogh. Proves that “we are slaves,” from taxation, laws, bearing arms, &c. We want no Republic; difference between that and a limited monarchy not worth a contest. Question might have been carried last night unanimously, but delayed to secure consistency.
Notes on slips of paper. Keogh. Ask what you will, and you get it; loyalty of poor Irish; the North, cause of this very meet
ing. Narrative of the rising connection between us. “Will you abandon the North ?" (Omnes, "No! no! no engagement but an honorable tie.”) “ Are you for liberty?" (Omnes, "Yes! such measures as may completely restore us to an equal enjoyment of rights and privileges with our Protestant fellow subjects.")
Note. Every sentence in favor of union, meets with the most favorable reception; any man professing intention not to divide the meeting applauded.
Demand generalized; accepted; preamble added; engrossed.
Motion, “That some of our own body present the petition to the Crown. Opposed by Fitzgerald ; supported by Keogh. Adjourned, &c.
Note. This is an important negotiation. Not to look for any other qualification than knowledge of the business, dexterity, and talents. Not risque the success on a foolish punctilio; no deference to wealth or rank; name those best acquainted with the business. (Lynch.)
DECEMBER 5, 1792.
James Edward Devereux, Esq. (of Wexford) in the chair.
1. Ordered, That a sheet of parchment be provided, to receive the signatures of the Delegates; such signatures to be taken alphabetically, in the order of their counties.
2. Resolved, That a printed list of the signatures affixed to the petition, with the addition of their residence, and post towns, certified under the Secretary's hand, be furnished to each subscriber.
3. Resolved, unanimously, That each delegate shall engage to support, with their hands and signatures, the sense of the majority. (Carried with acclamations.)
The members then proceeded to sign the petition, in the order of their counties.
4. Resolved, That the Committee will, to-morrow morning, proceed to take into consideration the mode of transmitting the petition to his Majesty. Adjournment to 11 o'clock, to-morrow.