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1807., of hopes for the union and harmony they felt in
common with all their fellow Catholics. On that day (12th January, 1807) a numerous Catholic meeting at the Star and Garter, Essex-street, took place, when John Keogh, Esq. having been called to the chair, it was resolvedl, " That this appears to us a proper period to present a petition to Parliament, on the part of the Roman Catholic inhabitants of this city, and that five persons be wow chosen by ballot by this present meeting, to wait upon the secretary of the Irish government, to know, whether it be the intention of his Majesty's ministers to support a bill this present session of Parliament, for the relief of the Catholic body." Upon a ballot the following gentlemen were chosen : Lord French, John Keogh, William Murphy, Matthew O'Connor, qud Jolin Lube, Esqrs. They then resolved, " That the five persons appointed by ballot should wait upon the Secretary, as speedily as possible, and that this meeting do adjourn to Saturday the 17th inst. to receive the report. Several gentlemen having expressed their wishes, that the Peers and Sir E. Bellew should attend at the next meeting, letters were addressed to them by the Secretary accord
ingly: More Ca. . Ou Saturday, the 17th of January, 1807, anotholic meet- ther Catholic meeting was holden at the Star and
Garter, Essex-street, when John Ignatius Burke
the meeting came to the following resolutions : 1807. “ That we feel the sincerest satisfaction in the manner, which our deputation have conducted themselves in their interviews with Mr. Elliott." At that meeting, the Secretary was specially instructed to write to the peers, urging their attendance in the most pressing manner, as well as the country gentlemen at the next general meeting, as nothing decisive had yet taken place; their attendance was most desireable in the discussion of a measure, that involved the interest of all. For, although the resolutions of the meetings in Dublin were ouly on the part of the city, yet it was ' . generally the case, that the capital mostly influenced the cor duct of the different parts of Ireland. Letters were accordingly dispatched to thein on that day.
On Saturday, tlte 24th of January, 1807, a Ca- R-solution tholic meeting was convened at the Star and Gar
Dale Parliament, ter, Essex-street, when it was resolved : 1. “ That the a petition to Parliament, on behalf of the Catholics of Dublin, be prepared and laid before our next meeting, to be held on Saturday the 7th of February next. 2. That twenty-one persons be appointed as a committee to prepare such petition. 3. That our Secretary be instructed to give immediate notice of our next meeting, on the ith of February, to the absent noblemen and country gentlemen, and to assure them, that their attend. ance will give general satisfaction. 4. That Mr. Dillon, Mr. Plunket and Mr. O'Gorman be authorized to wait on such noblemen and country gen.
1807. tlemelocire of that have their assis
1507. tlemen as are in town, to make known to them
the desire of that meeting to promise unanimity and their desire to have their assistance on the 7th of February, for that great object to the Catholics of Ireland. '5. That the Committee appointed in pursuance of the foregoing resolutioui, be also empowered to communicate to the principal Roman Catholic gentlemen of the different counties of Ireland, the proceedings of this meeting on the subject of a petition. *
* It has latterly been a prevailing fashion with several Protestants as well as Catholics to inveigh against the intemperance and rashness of Mr. Keogh's speech at this meeting: even to consider it calculated to agitate, and strongly impregnated with scilition. An anonymous (and very able) writer, announcing himself a Protestant barrister, has gone (as it appears to the author) the unwarrantable' and unfounded lengths of saying, (p. 61), " that Mr. Keogh's speech at the Catholic meeting justly “ excited the indignation of the niajority of the Irish Catholics : " and if the Irish executive had soberly considered the circum
stances, in which that gentleman stood, and the degree of pas “ litical reputation be enjoyed amongst his brethren since the “ year 1798; they surely would never have regarded bim as the " spokesman of the Irish Catholics ; yet Mr. Ponsonby, I up“ derstain), visited and confidentially consulted with this gentle.. “ man” A strong mark of Mr. Ponsonby's discretion : and a porterfol presumption, that if he failed in satisfying the Catholic miod, it was not from ignorance of what would answer their expectations,: It becomes an historical duty once more, to rę. peat, that the confidence of the great body of Catholies in Mr. Keogh, their trusty, powerful and successful friend and guar. dian was not then abated : that his own zeal for the cause had not been weakened by age, cooled by public or private solicitation, or extinguished by failure or resistance." That undaunted manliness, which had, in 1793, forced from the stubborn subtiliry of the wily Pitt those valuable rights, which the addressers
On the 7th of February, according to adjourn. 1807. ment, the Catholics met at the Star and Garter, Further re
petition, of had cringingly thrown under his feet, still invigorated the vete- the Catho. rån, and 'rouzed him into action against official shifts and insin- lics at large. cerity. We follow not the anonymous barrister, in attributing the opposition, (as he does p. 20), to the cold blooded, temporizing, timid, left handed policy of Mr. Ponsonby. It is an undoubted fact, that at the meeting of the 24th of January, 1807, the real, genuine feeling of the bulk of the Catholic body at that time, was strongly expressed, and that it lasted till the meeting of the 7th of the ensuing February, over which Lord Fingall pre sided, because that speech of Mr. Keogh was published by tlie special desire of that last meeting. It is submitted to the reader, to speak for itself. It certainly throws strong light upon the mysterious movements of the government at that intricate and important crisis, and is an illustrative document of the times'it refers to
*** Before I enter into the business of the day, it may be well 'to satisfy this meeting and the public, that there is no inanner of · foundation for a report so industriously circulated, that the Den,...
putation appointed by the Catholics of Dublin, to wait upon the Irish government, háil been treated with insult.
Youş deputies had three interviews with the Secretary, Mr. Elliott : at two of which the Chancellor was present. I do not know any man in society, whose manners are more remote from insult or disrespect than those of Mr. Elliott: that gentleman was remarkably polite and attentive to your deputies.
Of the Chancellor it must be unnecessary to speak. Born and . spending his whole life in the midst of us, he is personally known to many of the gentlemen present. His character is .: known to all. He is incapable of any action unbecoming his high birth, polished manners, and his superior and elevated mind. Whether the Catholics are relieved, or their shackles continued, I am persuaded neither the Chancellor nor Mr. Ellioit will ever treat with insult or disrespect any deputation from the Catholics of Dublin.
It is true, they held out no comfort : ho assurance, that the . British minister intended to bring forward any bill for our relief;
1907. Essex-street. When the Earl of Fingall was called
to the chair, they resolved, “ That this meeting,
yet I am persuaded, those gentlemen sincerely wish the repeal of these laws, which disqualify the Catholics; because they know the state of this country, and that such repeal, beyond all other measures, is essential to the Empire and to the Throne. But the Irish government must be, in a certain degree, the organ of the British cabinet.
We are now to consider, whether the Catholics of Dublin ought to petition Parliament for relief. Your determinarion diay decide the fate of the Catholics of this day, and that of their posterity; but whatever you resolve upon will be liable to censure. If you petition, you will be arraigned as rash; if you decline it, you will be deemed pusillanimous.. Strong objections, I own, nay be urged against either decision. In a choice of difficulties, I thought it unworthy to shrink from ibis question; and therefore, ill as I am in health, I have come among you to take my full share of the responsibility or odium of it: if odium shall hereafter be attached to your decision. . Should I be so unfortunate this day, as to propose a resolution, which may prove injurious to the Catholics, I trust I may ex• pect some indulgence from my fellow-sufferers, for whose interests I have taken an active part for the last twenty years. When they reflect, in that period I never supported one measure, which the Catholics had cause to regret, nor one, which had not finally a considerable degree of success.
I have given this question all the consideration I am capable of, and before I sit down, I will propose a resolution, “ that a
“ petition to the Imperial Parliament, ou behalf of the Catholics ." of Dublin, be prepared, and submitted to our next meeting on " this day fortnight.”
To enable us to judge dispassionately of this measure, I will state fairly the strong objections urged against our Petition: and by those, who affect to be friends to the present government.
They assert, that the majority of the cabinet are avowed friends to the questioạ; but that it will embarrass them, if now brought before Parliament. That they expect our silence, and to :