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of three days. May all unjust power have as speedy a termination! The deputation report, that they were sent for this morning by Hobart, to tell them, “ That nothing could be done in the “ business of the bill for the relief of the Catholics, unless he 6 should be enabled to say, that they would be satisfied with the “ measures at present intended; that, by being satisfied, is meant, " that the public mind should not be irritated in the manner it has “ been, for some time past; that it is not meant to say, that future “ applications may not be made, but that if they (the Catholics) 6 will not for the present be satisfied, it is better to make a stand “ here, than to concede, and thereby to give them strength, by “ which they might be able further to embarrass Administration, “perhaps next session.” This is pretty stout language of the Secretary. It is observable, that, last night, 20,000 army and 16,000 militia were voted by the House of Commons, and that opposition, and particularly Grattan, were as carnest in the measure as the Treasury bench. They are a fine set, to be sure, altogether. Grattan dreads the people as much as Monck Mason. A long conversation amongst the Catholics on the point of declaring themselves satisfied, or not, with Hobart's bill. For satisfaction, Sir Thomas French, Bellew, Byrne, O'Connor, and Keogh; against it, O'Gorman, Sweetman, M.Cormick, and James Plunkett. This is as important a crisis, as any which has occurred in Catholic affairs.
For satisfaction: it is said, that the people out of doors would disown US, if we were, after bringing the question thus far prosperously, now to refuse purchasing the present bill at so cheap a price; that the Secretary did not say that we were to acquiesce for ever under the measures intended, butonly that the public mind should not be irritated; that every accession of strength enabled us the better to secure the remainder; that we might take what was now offered, and in a year or two apply for what was withheld ; that the present bill would give substantial relief; that the numbers who would suffer by what was withheld were very few, in comparison with those who would be satisfied by what was granted ; that, as to the Bench, few Catholic lawyers could be, even in point of standing, fit for that station for many years, before which time it was hoped all distinctions would be done away; that, as to seats in Parliament, if all were this moment granted, no Catholic gentleman is prepared, by freeholders
or otherwise, for an immediate contest, so that in case of a general election immediately, the Protestant gentry must come in without opposition; that a few years would alter this, and enable the Catholics to make their arrangements, so as to engage in the contest on equal terms. It was again and again pressed, that the people would not be with us, and, finally, it was asked, were we prepared for the consequences of a refusal? that is, in plain English, were we ready to take the field? An argument which seemed to have its due weight with divers of the assembly.
On the other hand : it was said, that what had been determined by the general will of the Catholics of Ireland assembled, could not be reversed by the persons appointed to carry that will into execution; that the Sub-committee had not even the power of discussing the Minister's propositions; that if the Catholics were still to be kept from an equal share of the benefits of the Constitution, they should not sanction the exclusion by concurring in it; that it would ill become them now to ask less, when they had obtained the Royal approbation of their claims, when they had the support of the entire North, and so many respectable county meetings of their Protestant brethren joined to their own united strength, than they had done at a time when so many fortunate circumstances had not yet concurred in their favor; that the proposal originated with men who had always been their enemies, and therefore was brought forward evidently with a view to distract and divide them; that the people were with the Sub-committee, as appeared by the universal satisfaction which the resolution of the Grand Committee, to go for complete emancipation, had given to all ranks and descriptions of Catholics; that they were unable to cope with their enemies in the arts of negotiation; that if the Minister desired that expression of satisfaction, which the Sub-committee neither could nor ought to give, the Grand Committee might be summoned, the bare mention of which would deter him from pressing it farther; that, as to the “ tented field,” such language was not to be held out to an unarmed people, pursuing their just rights, and using, and desiring to use, no other weapons than a “sulky, unaccommoda“ing, complaining, constitutional loyalty.” Finally, it was again pressed, and insisted upon, that the Grand Committee having already decided in favor of the whole measure, no body, nor in
dividual among the Catholics, had power to sanction any measure, short of complete relief.
After much altercation and repetition of the above arguments, on oth sides, the Sub-committee broke up, without coming to any determination. I see the whole measure is decidedly lost.
Letters from the Catholic Sub-committee, during the negotiation
with Secretary Hobart. Sir: In communicating to the Sub-committee the conversation you honored us with last Monday, we stated your apprehensions, that our opponents might draw arguments against us, if our petition to Parliament was in the words of the sketch submitted to you.
Although the Sub-committee have no authority to narrow the object decided upon by the delegated Catholics of Ireland, which, as we had the honor to acquaint you, was to petition for the repeal of all the penal laws, yet the Sub-committee have power to choose the words, that may convey that prayer.
In deference to your advice, they have changed the words of that prayer, agreeably to the copy we have the honor to enclose, which is now expressed precisely as in the petition presented to our beloved Sovereign, and most graciously received by him, and in consequence of which he has recommended his Catholic subjects to the liberality of Parliament.
We have no doubt but Parliament will, in their wisdom and liberality, imitate the example of the Father of all his people, in their reception of this our petition.
We hope the Catholics of Ireland will owe to you, his Majesty's Minister in Ireland, the obligation of presenting and supporting this petition, and the more so, as you will thereby effectually cement and unite all his Majesty's Catholic subjects in support of the Constitution.
We submit to you, Sir, whether this must not be the will of the best of Kings; otherwise, we would be expected to be attached to a constitution from which we are excluded.
And thus, his Majesty's Ministers in Ireland will have the honor of making this Government as popular, and as strong, as our King is justly revered and loved by his grateful people.
January 31st, 1793.
Sir: Agreeably to your desire, I have the honor of sending you, enclosed, a paper containing the alterations, marked in red ink, which the Sub-committee of Catholics wished to submit to yoll, to be aslopted in the bill for the relief of their people, so that the objects it purposes may be effectually accomplished. It is also accompanied by another, explaining the grounds on which said alterations are proposed. This is not as full as might be wished, from the shortness of the notice; but if you, Sir, and the King's law servants, shall judge any further explanation to be necessary, and will be so good to allow our counsel the opportunity, they will attend when you may direct. I have the honor to be, with the highest respect,
RANDAL M.DONNELL 22d February, 1793.
Note by the Editor. These two fatal letters mark the crisis in the Catholic affairs, when, overreached by the superior art of their adversaries in the Irish Government, their irresolution lost an opportunity, which they have never recovered since.
From this date my father's journals are all lost. A few fragments of memorandums and letters, of the two subsequent years, will complete this Appendix.
Ireland, in April, 1793.
7th SITTING—April 16th, 1793. Mr. Harvey Hay in the chair— The delegates appointed to present the petition of the Catholics of Ireland to his Majesty, having presented their report, the same was received and read.
The Secretary having presented the draft of an address to the King, the same was received and read.
1. Resolved, That the same be referred to a committee of the whole house.
In Committee - The Chairman having left the chair, and Mr. Edward Byrne having taken it, the address was read, paragraph by paragraph. The Chairman reported progress, and begged leave to sit again.
Mr. Harvey Hay in the chair. Moved, That a committee be appointed, to whom the two addresses be referred, and that they
be requested to report at two o'clock to-morrow. The following gentlemen compose the committee: Messrs. Hamill, Devereux, Edward Hay, M'Cormick, J. J. M'Donnell, Dr. Macneven, and Dr. Ryan.
2. Resolved, That a committee of seven be now appointed to examine the accounts of the Sub-committee, and report at 10 to-morrow morning, what sums appear owing by the same. The committee consists of the following gentlemen: Sir T. French, Messrs. Warren, Mansfield, Arthur, Fitzgerald, Teeling, and Capt. Sweetman, of Wexford. The committee then adjourned till to-morrow at 10 o'clock. :
Notes of the Debate.
Mr. Harvey Hay in the chair-Report of delegation read.
Edward Sweetman, of W. Object of deputation to obtain total emancipation. Relief obtained incomplete. Necessary to show why this happened so. Report necessary to be more full, and show the cause of failure.
Lynch. Impossible to be done under two or three days.
Braughall. Impossible for delegates to know the cause. Private motives of men in power unknown. Speeches of members of Parliament, containing their motives, sufficiently public. Recommends unanimity. Elective franchise will infallibly and speedily produce what is withheld, unless we destroy it by disunion. No doubt the delegates will readily explain any difficulty, which they are able to do, in debate, if specifically pointed out.
Geraghty. No powers of negotiation given to delegates, but to Sub-committee, who will report.
Teeling. If report contains all that the deputation have to say, well and good ; if not, they will doubtless say so, and communicate all that they know.
E. Sweetman. Necessary for Catholics to know what communications have been held with Dundas and other men in power ; otherwise, they are incompetent to know whether the deputation have done their duty. The demand of Catholics was total, why is their relief partial?