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tJMk population, let them not give offence to another part of it, whose loyalty and attachment had long been undoubted. He should disguise the truth, if he did not say the prevailing opinion against the petition was strong and rooted. He applied to Mr. Grattan, the splendour of whose eloquence he extolled, to answer, what would be the result of agitating the question. The supporters of it had contended, that if there were any circumstances arising out of religious opinions, which inflamed the Catholics in the rebellion of 1798, they were solely attributable to the disappointment of those hopes of emancipation, which Lord Fitzwilliam had encouraged. The anticipation of the like consequences, made him lament the agitation of the question at that moment. He should therefore act contrary to all sense of his duty, and inconsistently with the original line he had marked for his conduct, were he to countenance that petition in any shape, or to withhold giving his negative to the proposition for going into the Committee. Mr. vvynd- Mr. JFyndJiam considered the question to be a natural and immediate consequence of the legislative Union; and one, to which the Catholics of Ireland were certainly taught to look forward in the course of all the arguments used in favor of that measure, both in and out of Parliament. He had long been convinced, that by that measure alone the great union of Protestant and Catholic could be brought about. He had originally strong objections to the measure of Union, and he became reconciled to it only upon the idea, that all disabi
lities attaching on the Catholics were to be re- 1805moved, and that the whole population would thus become united in interests and affections. But finding impediments raised to the measure stronger, than he had apprehended, he relinquished the Administration, because he thought the measure indispensable to the safety of the Empire: and he had seen nothing since to make him change his opinion. Mr. Pitt had avowed, that his opinion was then the same: and surely if it were expedient in 1801, it was incalculably more so, at that moment. No great measure could be expected to be adopted unanimously, especially if any religii ous prejudices were to be combated. He denied the fair sense of the British nation to be against the measure; and lamented, that a factitious cry had been raised against it by some interested and dependent persons and mercenary newspapers. He deprecated and solemnly protested against Mr. Pitt's arguments as unparliamentary, unconstitutional and dangerous: and professed his firm resolution to persevere in that object, which he considered best calculated for the safety of that very Protestant establishment, to which it was said to be inimical: he had the strongest hope, anxiety and confidence, that the period was not far remote, when that House would see the justice and sound policy of conceding that salutary, wise and beneficent measure.
Sir John Newport rose to submit to the House a ^ John very strong case in point, which would put the Newi*ort
VOL. II. L
matter in a new light, and open untrodden ground of precedent. The States of Hungary resembled our constitution more closely, than any other centinental establishment. They formed a population of above 7,000,000, and had for centuries suffered all the evils of being divided by religion, distracted by the difference'of their tenets, and restrictions on account of them. At length in 1791, at the most violent crisis of disturbance, a Diet was convened, at which a decree was passed, by which full freedom of religious faith, worship and education was secured to every sect without exception. The tests j and oaths were rendered unobjectionable to any native Hungarian, be his religion what it would: and then came the clause, which gave them pret ^ cisely what these petitioners have in contemplation. T;hat "the public offices and honours, whether ** high of low, great or small, should be given to "natural born Hungarians, who had deserved well "of their country and possessed the other requi,c site qualifications, without any respect to their I "religion." That Diet consisted of nearly 400 members, with a splendid civil establishment for the Roman Catholic religion. The measure was adopted in a most critical moment, and it had successfully passed an ordeal of 14 revolutionary years, equal in fact to the trial of a century less. disturbed and agitated* That falsified the assertion made in the petition from the city of Dublin, that the Irish Catholics were placed on a footing of political power not enjoyed by any other Dis
senters from the established religion in any other vJj^^, State of Europe.
Mr. Maurice Fitzgerald supported the motion : Mr. M. and solemnly declared, that when he voted for ,usc' Union in the Irish Parliament, it was in view and contemplation of that measure: for no man could deny, that the impression then made on the Catholic mind, was, that Ministers as well as Opposition were in favor of their claims. They expected of course, that much more attention would be paid to them now.
Colonel Archdall asserted, that the bulk of thecoionei Roman Catholics was not anxious about the result of the question: if the cause were a good one, it had been very ill conducted: and he gave the motion his decided negative.
Hon. H. Augustus Dillon denied, that the ques- Mr.Miion. tion involved a party measure. It affected the safety of Ireland and the vitality of the Empire. The hearts of the Irish people had been alienated
i by martial law and the suspension of the habeas corpus act, and by other severities and oppressions. Were that measure allowed to pass, such expedients would cease to be necessary, and the mass of
| a brave and grateful people would present a firm, an iron bulwark for the protection of the country against the designs of the enemy.
Mr. Shaw said, that painful as it was to him to Mr. staw. oppose the motion, he must do it in obedience to the instructions of his constituents (the citizens of Dublin). With them he was embarked in one
1805. bottom. He deprecated any idea hostile to the interests of his Catholic countrymen, or doubtful of their loyalty: yet he would remark, that the petition certainly held out an indirect threat, that if the prayer of it were not acceded to, the enemy might not look in vain for the aid of disaffection should the occasion offer. He wished all civil distinctions to be done away in his country: but that could only be, when the Catholic should be relieved from the odium and suspicion derived from his foreign connections and influences, and when the directing head of his Church should not be the instrument and slave of that sanguinary despot, who is the implacable foe of the constitution and liberties of the Empire. Mr.H.Ad- Mr. Hiley Addington attempted to explain a quotation made by Mr. Fox from a speech of his brother (Lord Sidmouth) on a former occasion: and added, that this was a call for a revolution in the repeal of some of the wisest laws of the land. Mr. J. u- Mr. John Latouche differed from a great part of touche. cons^ituents jn supporting the motion: being
convinced, that it would tend to confirm the esta- Wishment, and strengthen the. foundations, upon which the security of the Empire rested, sir j. cox Sir John Cox Hippesley by way of meeting the Hippeiiey. 0bjections of those, who opposed the motion upon the ground of its incompatibility with the coronation oath, mentioned, that the constitution of Corsica, as ratified by his Majesty, stipulated, that the Roman Catholic religion in all its evangelical purity (such were the words of the act) should be