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12th SITTING—April 23, 1793. Sir Thomas Esmonde, Bart., in the chair.
The Chairman of the Committee of Honorable Engagements, presented their report, which, being received, was then read, and the following resolutions were agreed to :
1. Resolved, That the sum of £ 1,500 be made up, and presented to Mr. Tone, as a testimony of his services, and of our gratitude, together with a medal, bearing a suitable inscription, value, thirty guineas.
2. Resolved, That the Honorable Simon Butler, to whom the Catholics of Ireland are indebted for the very able Digest of the Popery laws, the introduction prefixed thereto, and the notes annexed to their petition to his Majesty, be requested to prepare a summary of the Popery laws, now in force, and that the sum of £ 500 be given for the same.
3. Resolved, That the further sum of £500 be lent to William Todd Jones, Esq. making, together, the sum of £1000 sterling
4. Resolved, That the third further sum of £500 sterling be lent to William Todd Jones, Esq. provided there be funds to countervail the same after the positive engagements of the General Committee be discharged.
5. Resolved, That Counsellors Tone and Lynch be requested to prepare a proper certificate of the declaration and oath required to be taken to enable Catholics to vote at elections for Members of Parliament, having been so taken ; and that Counsellor Lynch do wait on Lord Clonmell, in order that his Lordship may prevent the officers of his Court from requiring improper fees for giving a legal certificate.
6. Resolved, That James Nangle, Esq. be the Chairman of this committee to-morrow. Mr. Teeling proposed a resolution respecting the Defenders; which was received, and referred to the Committee for Honorable Engagements.
It was then declared that the chair would be taken at 11 o'clock to-morrow, and that the question of the dissolution should be the order of the day. And then the committee adjourned.
Note of the Editor.–The debate of this day is lost.
13th SITTING—April 24, 1793. James Nangle, Esq. in the chair. The order of the day was read, That the question of dissolution should be first taken into consideration, namely, That it is not wise and expedient for this Committee, after having despatched all business, to dissolve. Resolved, That the consideration of the said question be postponed.
Notes of the Debate. Mr. Nangle in the chair.
Fitzgerald. Recommends unanimity, (vide resolutions:) moves the question of dissolution.
Hamill. Seconds. If dissolved, let us use plain language : Arts to divide us. To one party is said, “Will you join Republicans and Levellers ?” There are none such. To the other, the Catholics have sold you, and left you in the lurch. Nothing can effectuate complete emancipation, but union with our Protestant brethren. Principle of reform recognized by Parliament, ergo not disrespectful and necessary to show our Protestant brethren that we have not deserted them.
Sir T. French. Not delegated by the body to speak on this question ; not authorized. If reform takes place, it must shut out the Catholics forever, for Government will manage it so. Sentiment of constituents. Agitation of public mind has hurt credit. Reform will aggravate all this. County Galway thinks complete reform complete confusion. If people think it a factious and seditious measure, they will oppose it, and publish Crown and Anchor resolutions. Dungannon is now put down; gentlemen are going about courting support, which is very unfair.
Dr. Ryan. If you lay down the Catholic question, you must take up that of reform. The remnants of the Popery code are not enough to interest the people. Men will not exert themselves to make such a man a Judge, or such a man a Member of Parliament. You must lay aside your own question, because you are not supported by your own people, nor other parties. If you act as a sect, it may be doubtful, but if you dissolve, you must speak for reform. The elective franchise does not give you sufficient weight, as it can operate but on sixty-four members. Better become capable to be members yourselves. You must di
rect your fire against the Monopolists; ceasing to be a sect, it is, from our numbers, more particularly our interest. If reform is obtained, the penal code goes down at once; (most beautiful description of liberty!) What prevents you from coalescing with your Protestant brethren? Nothing! Not religion. It is the spirit of the present times to let religion make its own way by its own merits. No possibility of reviving controversy. Not disrespectful to Parliament, who have recognized the principle of reform, and certainly not prejudicial if we agree to dissolve. In reform, all distinctions fall at once. (Attack on ecclesiastical establishments and tythes ; choice good.) Separation from England. Either regards the King or British influence. Every man ready to defend the King, but as to influence it is a different question. Friend to a fair and equal connexion with Britain. No friend to a mere Catholic interest, nor desirous to see Catholic Ascendency succeed Protestant Ascendency. Let us lay down the little character of a sect, and take up the character of a people.
Edward Sweetman and Macnevin. Second him.
Lynch. No reform without a general revolution of opinion and of property. (Heard very coolly.)
Teeling. To postpone this consideration.
Edw. Sweetman. Against delay. Unite, according to his Majesty's recommendation, with your fellow subjects.
0. O'Conner. Heartily for the motion. It has been said no reform, for the Catholics are satisfied; a false assertion, and most unworthy of the Catholics.
Dr. Ryan. It is more peculiarly the Catholic interest. We are sent here to accomplish Catholic emancipation; no means but by reform. If property is to be affected, must the abuses be therefore eternal ? This is the language of the Castle. They say to Reformers,' “ Catholics have sold you,” to produce perpetual division. Administration will first divide, and then ruin you, when you have deserted and disgusted your only ally. Remember great services of Belfast.
Fitzgerald. Unworthy of the benefits we have received, if we do not use them for the liberty of our country.
Dr. Daly. Difficulty of the friends to constitutional reform to frame a plan, from their doubt as to the sentiment of Catholics.
Question put and carried, with one negative (Sir Thomas French.)
14th SITTING—April 25, 1793. James Joseph Macdonnell, Esq. in the chair. Mr. Teeling, from the Committee of Accounts, reports the schedule.
1. Resolved, That the same be printed for the use of the members.
2. Resolved, That a deputation be appointed to wait on the Duke of Leinster, to request his permission to place the statue of his Majesty, voted by this Committee, in the lawn of Leinster house, and that this deputation do consist of the following gentlemen, Mr. Fitzgerald, Capt. Sweetman, and Mr. Mansfield.
3. Resolved, That John Comerford, Esq. be continued our Treasurer, and that every county delegate, together with seven delegates resident in Dublin, to be chosen by ballot, be now appointed to superintend the collection and application of money, in pursuance of the said resolutions, and for no other purposes whatsoever; and that it be our instruction to said delegates to transmit to each delegate an account of the money received and expended, as soon as the objects for which they are appointed shall have been accomplished, and that five be a quorum.
4. Resolved, That the delegates to his Majesty, having refused furnishing any account of their expenses on that commission, which must have been considerable,
5. Resolved, That a piece of plate, value one hundred guineas, be presented to each of the five delegates, who presented the petition of the Catholics of Ireland to his Majesty, and that a suitable inscription be engraved thereon.
6. Resolved, That the following gentlemen be requested to sit for their pictures, in order that the same may be placed with those already voted. Sir Thomas French, Mr. James Edward Devereux, Mr. Christopher Bellew, and Capt. Edmund Sweetman, of Wexford.
LETTERS From the United Irishmen of Belfast during the year 1793. DEAR EQUAL: We had a meeting of Belfast this day, which was numerously attended, for the purpose of addressing his Majesty for his gracious interposition in favor of Catholic emancipation. We were unanimous. I was Secretary. The ... prepared a paper which blew hot and cold to his Majesty at the same time. We thought a compliment ought not to be mixed with complaint, and adopted one quite simple but very loyal. County Down meets on Monday. I mean to attend and let you know the result as soon as convenient.
SAM. NEILSON. January 19, 1793.
DEAR SIR: Yesterday assembled at Antrim, delegates from thirty-five volunteer companies of this county, representing above two thousand men, and unanimously agreed, 1st. To associate all the volunteers of the county into one body, and recommend similar associations to the volunteers throughout the kingdom, preparatory to a union of the whole. 2d. To appoint a committee for one year, who are to have the sole direction of the volunteers of the county, and fix on a mode of exercise; determine the time and place of reviews; appoint Generals, and fix the quantity of ammunition, accoutrements, and stores necessary for each corps. 3d. To a circular address to all the volunteers of the county ; and they agreed not to publish any resolutions, and recommend the same to all volunteers.
Many corps had got no intelligence of the meeting. From what information we could obtain, there are sixty corps in the county, who amount to about three thousand men, and will be five thousand before midsummer. The gunpowder bill excited universal indignation. We are taking effectual steps to provide the necessary articles and stores for volunteers. Opposition are acting from fear of the people. They will repent, perhaps, when too late, for Government certainly only mean to humbug them. Farewell.
R. S. February 12, 1793.