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The general committee, in testimony of their gratitude to the king for this most important concession, presented the following address to the
that have been made to the Catholics since 1793, it
may well to enumerate here, as in any other place, the various disabilities to which they are still liable.
Education. They cannot teach school, unless they take the oaths of 13 & 14 Geo. III. c. 35. They cannot take Protestant scholars, or be ushers to Protestant schoolmasters by 32 Geo. III. c. 20.
Guardianship. They cannot be guardians, unless they take the oaths of 13 & 14 Geo. III. c. 35. If ecclesiastics, they cannot, under
any circumstances, be guardians; nor can any Catholic be guardian to a child of a Protestant, by 30 Geo. III.C. 29.
Marriage. — If a Catholic clergyman marries a Protestant and a Catholic, unless the marriage has been previously solemnized by a Protestant clergyman, the marriage is null and void, and he is liable to a penalty of 5001. by 33 Geo. III. c. 21. § 12.
Self-defence. — No Catholic can keep arms; unless he possess a freehold estate of 101. per annum, or a personal estate of 3001. If so qualified, he must further qualify himself by taking the oaths of 13 & 14 Geo. III. c. 35. (unless he has a freehold estate of 1001. per annum, or a personal estate of 10001. by 33 Geo. III. c. 21.]
Exercise of Religion. The Catholic clergy must take the oaths of 13 & 14 Geo. III. c. 35. and register their place of abode, age, and parish (S). No chapel can have a steeple or bell, and no rites or ceremonies of the religion or habits of their order are permitted, except within their several places of worship, or in private houses, by 21 & 22 Geo. III. c. 24. $6.
Property. — The penal laws are in full force in respect to landed property against all Catholics, and all Protestant purchasers from Catholics, when the Catholic proprietor has omitted to take the qualifying oaths of 13 & 14 Geo. III.!
“ The Catholic guilty of such omission, not merely risks the s total loss of his landed property, but is immersed in foment“ ing litigation. His lands and tenements, and all collateral “ securities made and entered into for covering or protecting " them, become discoverable: and may be sued for and reco“ vered from him by any Protestant discoverer. The disco
verer, so vested with this property, is enabled to find it out by
every mode of inquisition, and to sue for it with every kind sis of privilege (8 Ann. c. 3. $ 27. and 30.) Not only are the
Lord Lieutenant, to be by him transmitted to his Majesty.
“ courts of law open to him ; but he may enter (and this is “ the usual method,) into either of the courts of equity. He may
file his bills against those whom he suspects to be pos“sessed of this forbidden property, against those whom he
suspects to be their trustees, and against those whom he sus“ pects to be privy to such ownership, and oblige them, under “ the guilt and penalties of perjury, to discover, upon oath, “ the exact nature and just value of their estates and trusts, “ in all particulars necessary to affect their forfeiture. In such “ suits, the informer is not liable to the delays which the ordi
nary procedure of those courts, throws in the way of the “ most equitable claimant: nor has the Catholic the indulgence " allowed to the most fraudulent'defendant, that of plea and
demurrer. He is obliged to answer the whole directly upon “ his oath: and the old rule of extending benefit and restrain
ing penalty' is by this law struck out of the antient jurisprudence.” (Statement of the Penal Laws, p. 307.)
Franchises. - No Catholic can hold any of the offices enumerated in $ 9. of the act here inserted, of 33 Geo. III. c. 21.
Catholics cannot sit in parliament. They cannot vote at elections for members without taking the oaths of the 13 & 14 Geo. III. c. 35. and of 33 G. III. c. 21. They cannot vote at vestries where the question relates to building or repairing churches. The salary of the clerk, or the election of churchwarden, by $ 4. 33 Geo. 3. c. 21. They cannot be barristers, attorneys, or professors of medicine on Sir P. Dunne's foundation, without taking the oaths of 13 & 14 Geo. III. c. 35. and of 33 Geo. III. c. 21.
Catholic Soldiers. - By the mutiny act, if they refuse to frequent the Church of England worship, when ordered to do so by their commanding officer, shall, for the first offence, forfeit 12d.; and, for the second, not only forfeit 12d. but be laid in irons for twelve hours; and by the 2d section, art. 5. of the articles of war, the punishment even extends to that of death.
No part, scarcely, in fact, of the penal code is repealed, but all of it is now the law of the land, and in full force against those Catholics who have not qualified themselves for relief from its violence, by taking the oaths of 13 & 14 Geo. III. c. 35., and of 33 Geo. III. c. 21.
Most Gracious Sovereign, We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects the Catholics of Ireland, animated with sentiments of the most lively gratitude, beg leave to approach your Majesty with our sincere and heartfelt thanks, for the substantial benefits, which, through your Majesty's gracious recommendations, we have received from the wisdom and liberality of Parliament.
Impressed with a deep sense of your Majesty's goodness, we reflect, that, in consequence of this last and signal instance of your royal favour, the disabilities under which we and our ancestors so long laboured, have, in a considerable degree, been removed, the constitutional energy of three-fourths of your loyal subjects restored to their country, and themselves enabled to testify, in a manner more useful to your Majesty's service, their devoted attachment to your person, family, and government. Restored as we now are, to such valuable privileges, it shall be our duty, as it is our inclination, to unite in support of our excellent constitution, as established in King, Lords, and Commons : A constitution revered by us for its excellence, even when secluded from its blessings, and from which every advantage we derive becomes a new tie of fidelity and attachment.
Permit us, most gracious Sovereign, to express our unfeigned satisfaction, that, to a Monarch endeared to us by so many proofs of clemency, belongs the glorious distinctions of being the first to begin that work of emancipation, in the accomplishment of which, we humbly hope, your Majesty will enjoy the gratification of seeing your whole people united in the bonds of equal law and liberty.
May your Majesty long continue to reign in the hearts of your faithful subjects, dispensing, as common father to all your people, the inestimable blessings of freedom, peace, and union.
Although this act declared that Catholics might - hold any military office or employment, as its
powers could not extend out of Ireland, and as all Irish Catholic soldiers, sailors, and officers, were úniformly employed on services out of Ireland, it was represented to the government, that, in order to give it any useful effect in this respect, the English act of 1 G. I. which prohibits Catholics from filling any military situation, should be repealed. In answer to their application, the Catholics were informed by Lord Hobart, that such a measure would be immediately adopted, and the letter of the secretary of state was shewn to them, containing the promise of the English government. In the house of lords, when, upon the debate of this act, Lord Farnham proposed an amendment to the clause relating to the military officers, by rendering its operation conditional, until England should pass a similar law, the Chancellor, Lord Clare, opposed it; “ for," said he, “ it could not “ be supposed that his Majesty would appoint a “ man to such a post until the laws of the empire “ should fully qualify him to act in every part of .“ it. It was more than probable a similar law to “ this would be adopted in England before the
lapse of two months, and on this ground the “ amendment would be wholly unnecessary.'
Fourteen years, however, were allowed to pass by without any attempt being made to pass such a law in England; and when the Cabinet, in 1807, sought to rescue the plighted faith of their predecessors from well merited reproach, they were accused of an attempt to subvert the established church, and driven from the councils of his Majesty.
• Plowden's Hist. of Br. Empire during 1792 and 1793.
! In the course of this year, a most unequivocal proof was given of the liberal sentiments which prevailed throughout the Protestants of the North of Ireland, in regard to their Catholic fellowcountrymen. At the meeting of the convention of delegates, which was held in February at Dungannon, and in which the counties of Antrim, Down, Londonderry, Tyrone, Donegal, and Monaghan, were fully represented, they passed resolutions in favour of the absolute necessity of a reform in parliament, including the unqualified admission of the Catholics. The Synod of Ulster also (a body consisting of the whole dissenting clergy of the North, and the Presbytery of Dublin, together with a lay delegate from each parish) presented an address to the Lord Lieutenant, in which they expressed their satisfaction at the admission of the Catholics to the privileges of the constitution.
These occurrences are of vast importance in forming a correct view of the opinion of the Irish Protestants upon this question ; because the Presbyterians being in numbers fully equal to the Protestants of the Church of England, it leaves but a small number of the whole people adverse to the Catholic. claims, even if all these Protestants were, as they certainly are not, hostile to emancipation.
During this session, another subject occupied the serious attention of the upper house of parliament. Disturbances had broken out, and out„rages were committed in the county of Louth, and the neighbouring counties of Meath, Cavan, and Monaghan, by persons of the very lowest rank in life, associated under the name of defenders. This