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the only national religion of Corsica, and all others 1805. tolerated : and that Parliament should concert the discharge of the functions of the Bishops with the See of Rome. His Majesty also in the year 1794 appointed Mr. Mac Donald a Roman Catholic Priest, Chaplain to a Catholic Fencible Regiment raised in Great Britain..
Lord De Blaquiere opposed the motion as calcu- Lord De lated to injure the highest interests. It would either produce union, happiness and peace, or deluge the streets with blood..
Mr. C. H. Hutchinson supported the motion Mr. C. H. and vindicated the character of his traduced coun- Mr. Hawtrymen. Mr. Hawthorne lamented, that the ques- Sir W. Doltion should be agitated without a prospect of suc- ben. cess; he however would vote for the motion : convinced, that the compliance with the prayer of the petition was essentially necessary to the peace and repose of Ireland, the stability of the Union between the two countries, and the safety and security of the Empire at large. Sir W. Dolben opposed the motion. He admitted, that the balance of talent and ingenuity were in favor of the peti. tion : but the force of argument and public principle against it.
Mr. For closed this important debate with his Mr. Fox. · reply. As to the time of bringing forward the petition, he had no defence to offer, whatever imputation might be brought against him. There was no time of his life, when, if any sort of men applied to him to support a petition in favour of religious liberty, he would not comply with their
1505. request. If Mr. Pitt's opinion were to be follow
ed, and if every thing were to be considered a party trick, as he had termed the bringing forward that measure, because it was not expected to be attended with success, the constitution would be rendered singular indeed, and the whole of his (Mr. Fox's) life would have been in repugnance to his opinions and the constitution of his country: He pointedly remarked, how materially Mr. Pitt's conduct differed in 1805 from what it had been in 1801. Yet he would have the Catholics believe, he still retained all the same opinions and sentiments in their regard now, that he had accepted of place, as when he declared, that on that account he could not hold it. But when the Catholics had been forced to believe, he had changed his mind as well as his conduct, they went to Mr. Fox, and because they had done so, they were charged (most unhandsomely) with having made themselves the allies of a party. What was to become of the constitution, if independent members of that house, representatives of the people of England, the first nation on earth, were to be excommunicated in their political capacity for the performance of a duty adverse to the sentiments of those ministers, whose conduct they condemned: if millions were to be stigmatized as allies of a party, because they applied to such members for the establishment of their undoubted rights, privileges and immunities civil and religious, denied to them by those ministers, who ought to be foremost in granting them What could be more fatal, than the well founded
conviction of above three fourths of the population 1805,
Mr. For lamented he could not have the benefit Mr. Fox
1805., ed him for his argument. He admitted that some
respectable bodies had differed from him in opinion, but he did not admit, that the sentiments of the public were adverse. The claims of the Catholics were not only consistent with the principles of the constitution, but consonant with its vital spirit. The crisis demanded that toto certandum est corpore regni, which could not be, when so large a portion of the corpus regni was deprived of the privileges, which they ought to enjoy, and without which, to them the country was nothing. They boasted, that they should be able to make exertions against the enemy, which the subjects of arbitrary power could not be expected to make, because they were fighting for laws, that were their own laws, for a constitution, that was their own constiution, for those rights and sacred immunities, which no other country under heaven possessed the advantage of fighting for. This applied not to the Catholics, who possessed not those advantages. Government was thus reduced to the expectation of no other, than comparative exertion from that body. Nay, worse : In the debates two years ago, when the Secretary of War (Mr. Yorke) brought in a bill for raising an army en masse, after he had detailed the advantages of it to Great Britain, he very intelligibly observed, that it was not thought expedient to extend the plan to Ireland. In the levy en masse in England, they looked to the best security, because the people were generally admitted to their constitutional rights. In Ireland, where they were
excluded from them they saw danger. In debat- 1805. ing the bill for promoting our military force and national defence, when a statement was made of the military force then in Ireland, a circumstance was referred to, and passed then without observation; that certain corps of the army were of peculiar utility to the country, because there were no Irish among them, and on that ground they reckoned two or three regiments as valuable as four or five. Apply that, said Mr. Fox, to England, or to any other country, that is well governed. Will any · body say, that our military force was strong, because it consisted of foreigners ? Or that it was weak, because it was composed of Englishmen? He enlarged much upon this ground, and reduced it to this syllogism. Every man is to be depended upon in proportion, as he is interested in the constitution : but Englislımen are most interested in this constitution, therefore Englishmen are inost to be depended upon. Applied to Ireland, the minor would be, but Irishmen are the least interested in the constitution, and the conclusion'would necessarily be, therefore, Irishmen are the least to be depended upon. He then considered the arguments of those, who spoke, as if the maintenance of the doctrine of the Church of England were necessary to sit in Parliament, and to enjoy place. The Dissenters differed from the Establishment in doctrines as much, if not more, than the Catholics did. Here they sit in Parliament, and in Ireland they were admissible to places; for there was no Test Act. In the reign of Ann, bills of occasional con- ,.