Page images
PDF
EPUB

ways injure any person whatsoever, for, or under the pretence of being heretics: and we declare solemnly before God, that we believe that no act, in itself unjust, immoral, or wicked, can ever be justified or excused by, or under pretence or color, that it was done either for the good of the church, or in obedience to any ecclesiastical power whatsoever.

3d. We further declare, that we hold it as an unchristian and *impious principle, that “no faith is to be kept with heretics." This doctrine we detest and reprobate, not only as contrary to our religion, but as destructive of morality, of society, and even of common honesty; and it is our firm belief, that an oath made to any person, not of the Catholic religion, is equally binding, as if it were made to any Catholic whatsoever.

4th. We have been charged with holding, as an article of our belief, that the Pope, with, or without the authority of a General Council, or that certain ecclesiastical powers, can acquit and absolve us, before God, from our oath of allegiance, or even from the just oaths and contracts entered into between man and

man.

Now, we do utterly renounce, abjure, and deny, that we hold or maintain any such belief, as being contrary to the peace and happiness of society, inconsistent with morality, and, above all, repugnant to the true spirit of the Catholic religion.

5th. We do further declare, that we do not believe that the Pope of Rome, or any other Prince, Prelate, State, or Potentate, hath, or ought to have, any temporal or civil jurisdiction, power, superiority, or pre-eminence, directly, or indirectly, within this realm.

6th. After what we have renounced, it is immaterial, in a political light, what may be our opinion, or faith, in other points, respecting the Pope: however, for greater satisfaction, we declare, that it is not an article of the Catholic faith, neither are we thereby required to believe or profess“ that the Pope is in“fallible," or that we are bound to obey any order, in its own nature immoral, though the Pope, or any Ecclesiastical power, should issue or direct such order ; but, on the contrary, we hold, that it would be sinful in us to pay any respect or obedience thereto.

7th. We further declare, that we do not believe that any sin, whatsoever, committed by us, can be forgiven at the mere will

of any Pope, or of any Pricst, or of any person or persons whatsoever; but, that sincere sorrow for past sins, a firm and sincere resolution, as far as may be in our power, to restore our neighbor's property or character, if we have trespassed on, or unjustly injured either; a firm and sincere resolution to avoid future guilt, and to atone to God, are previous and indispensable requisites to establish a well-founded expectation of forgiveness; and that any person who receives absolution without these previous requisites, so far from obtaining, thereby, any remission of his sins, incurs the additional guilt of violating a sacrament.

8th. We do hereby solemnly disclaim, and for ever renounce all interest in, and title to, all forfeited lands, resulting from any rights, or supposed rights, of our ancestors, or any claim, title, or interest therein ; nor do we admit any title, as a foundation of right, which is not established and acknowledged by the laws of the realm, as they now stand. We desire, further, that, whenever the patriotism, liberality, and justice of our countrymen, shall restore to us a participation in the elective franchise, no Catholic shall be permitted to vote at any election for members to serve in Parliament, unless he shall previously take an oath to defend, to the utmost of his power, the arrangement of property in this country, as established by the different acts of attainder and settlement.

9th. It has been objected to us, that we wish to subvert the present church establishment, for the purpose of substituting a Catholic establishment in its stead: Now, we do hereby dis- · claim, disavow, and solemnly abjure any such intention; and, further, if we shall be admitted into any share of the Constitution, by our being restored to the right of elective franchise, we are ready, in the most solemn manner, to declare, that we will not exercise that privilege to disturb and weaken the establishment of the Protestant religion, or Protestant Government in this country.

Signed by order, and on behalf of the General Committee of the Catholics of Ireland,

EDWARD BYRNE, Chairman. RICHARD M'CORMICK, Secretary.

APPENDIX-No. II.

At a meeting of the Sub-committee of the Catholics of Ireland,

EDWARD BYRNE, Esq. in the chair,
Resolved, That the following letter be circulated :

SIR: This letter, with the plan which accompanies it, is transmitted to you by order of the Sub-committee. You will perceive that the object of this plan is to procure a fuller attendance of country gentlemen, to assist, by their advice and influence, the measures adopted by the Committee to procure for the Catholics the ELECTIVE FRANCHISE, and an equal participation in the benefits of the TRIAL BY JURY. You will please to lose no time in submitting this to the respectable Catholics of your county. You will please also to inform them, that several respectable independent country gentlemen, lately in Dublin, had frequent consultations, for the laudable purpose of re-uniting to the Committee Lord Fingal, and the other gentlemen who had withdrawn themselves from it. These country gentlemen had the satisfaction to find, that the General Committee on one side, and the gentlemen who had entered into separate addresses on the other, mutually regretted their division; which they saw was used by the opponents of the Catholics, as a pretext for withholding from our people the elective franchise, and an equal participation of the benefits of the trial by jury. It is on all sides agreed, that, if the Catholics are all united in this just and reasonable request, essential to the very existence of our people, there will be a certainty of success. It depends, then, on ourselves, whether we shall be freemen, or slaves! We say, essential to the very existence of our people ; for, as the rage for electioneering interests increases, our wealthy farmers must either pay beyond the value for lands, or resign them to Protestant freeholders when out of lease ; our poorer yeomanry will, of course, be expelled, and driven into beggary. Let us all, then, speak with one voice, and supplicate the legislatare for justice--and we shall receive it.

These independent country gentlemen have received from Lord Fingal, and the gentlemen who have acted with him, the most positive declarations, that they will never again enter into any act to oppose the General Committee in their endeavours to obtain the emancipation of the Catholics; and it is determined, that all former differences in opinion shall be buried in oblivion on both sides.

The Committee had decided to send some of their body to propose to the counties to appoint the Delegates to the Committee, of whose attendance there would be a certainty; and our Chairman had actually left Dublin, with intention to go through great part of Ireland for this purpose ; the independent country gentlemen, as before mentioned, took up the same idea themselves, (before they knew the Committee had determined upon it,) and they and Lord Fingal and his friends, all agreed in pressing such a measure on the Committee, as an additional means of reuniting them to the body.

Lord Fingal, his friends, and the country gentlemen before mentioned, seemed at first inclined that the present Committee should be dissolved; an opinion, however, which further reflection on the various difficulties resulting from such a measure, the doubts entertained of the competency in the Committee to dissolve itself, and the consideration that a dissolution must necessarily occur early in 1793, induced them to forego.

The plan enclosed, sanctioned by the General Committee, by these independent gentlemen, and by Lord Fingal and his friends, is recommended to your zeal to have carried into immediate execution in your county.

Signed by order :
RICHARD M'CORMICK, Secretary.

On the manner of conducting the Election of Delegates.

It will be of great importance, in the present state of our affairs, that the Delegates be chosen in such a manner as to make it appear evident, that the nomination of such Delegates is authorized by all the people. But as it might be imprudent to call a meeting of all the Catholics of a county, for the purpose of

proceeding to such an election, it is therefore suggested, that one or two of the most respectable persons in each parish be appointed electors, at a meeting to be held at such private house in the parish, as may be most convenient to the inhabitants. These several electors, so appointed, may meet at any central place, for the purpose of choosing from one to four (as it may appear most expedient to them) of their own residents as Delegates to the General Committee; no one to be eligible who shall not solemnly promise to attend his duty in Dublin, when required to do so by order of the Committee, or at least, who shall not pledge himself to attend in his turn. It is also suggested that, in addition to the RESIDENT Delegates, each county do appoint at the same time, as associate Delegates for such county, one or two (as it may appear best to the clectors) RESIDENT inhabitants of Dublin, whose business it shall be to keep up a regular correspondence with colleagues in the country, and to inform the county through them, of all proceedings in the General Committee, at such times as the county Delegates shall be absent. It is to be understood that attendance on the part of the county Delegates will not be required, except on important occasions. In this, however, they are to study their own convenience; if they all come often, we are persuaded that the Committee will derive satisfaction and profit from their presence and advice.

As soon as the gentlemen of your county, shall have appointed Delegates, it will be necessary to call their attention to the first great business which shall probably engage the General Committee, viz: An humble application to our gracious Sovereign, submitting to him our loyalty and attachment, our obedience to the laws, a true statement of our situation, and of the laws which operate against us; and humbly beseeching, that we may be restored the ELECTIVE FRANCHISE, and an equal participation in the benefits of the TRIAL BY JURY. We have the FIRST AUTHORITY for asserting, that this application will have infinite weight with our gracious Sovereign and with Parliament, if our friends are qualified to declare, that it is the universal wish of EVERY Catholic in the Nation. To enable, therefore, your Delegates and the General Committee to succeed in your behalf, it will be necessary that the meeting en

Vol. 1.-56

« PreviousContinue »