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1807. which imposed checks upon the consciences of in

dividuals. Dr. Paley, and all other modern write ers of respectability concurred, that such restraints and exclusions, as he was about to remove, ought only to be enforced against religious opinions, when it was manifest, they were inconsistent with the necessary order and subsistence of government. If it were now necessary to state, that the connection, which formerly existed between the religion and the politics of the United Empire had ceased, and therefore those restrictions, which were applicable only to their politics, and not to their religion were rendered unnecessary, he should feel no difficulty in making that statement, and in maintaining it by unanswerable argument. If this were allowed, the proposition necessarily followed, that at the present season of difficulty and danger, when it was desirable to unite every heart and hand in the cause of the country, it was unwise to. exclude from that union so large a portion of the people, as the Catholics. of Great Britain and Ireland, amounting in number to nearly a fourth of the whole population of the empire, and to prevent them from sharing in the danger and the glory of their countrymen. The fact, was, that at that very moment a great proportion of our sol. diers and sailors (particularly of the latter) were Catholics, and it was fitting, that Parliament should sanction by right, what was already allow

lural) conclusion, that wherever legislative union had succeed,ed in planting British popularity, there had it never failed to ex. tinguish Irish patriotism.

ed by connivance? By tire law, which passed in the 1807. Parliament of Ireland, in 1793, Catholics were als lowed to hold commissions in the army, and to enjoy those privilégės in Ireland, which it was the object of the bill he meant to propose to communicate generally to the Catholics of this country.

The bill would go to admit persons of every relia e gious persuasion, to serve in the army and navý,

without any other condition, but that of taking an oath particularised in the bill. Of course, if

this indulgence were granted to Catholics, it was S unnecessary to state, that there could be no objec

tión to grant it to any other sect of dissenters from
the established church, unless some specific dan-
ger could be shewn, which he did not at present .
see. The provisions of the bill would therefore
extend to persons of all religious persuasions. What
had particularly drawn the attention of his Majes-
ty's government to the subject, was the strange ano
malý, which existed in consequence of the act

passed in Ireland, in 1793, by which the Roman it Catliolics in that country were enabled to hold

commissions in the army, and to attain any rank
(except commander in chief of the forces, master
general of the ordnance, or general of the staff.)
The effect of this permission so granted to the Ca-
tholics in Ireland was a striking incongruity, for
if a Catholic, who was by law qualified to serve
in the army of Ireland, should be brought out of
that country by any circumstances, which der
manded in this country the presence of the regi.
ment, in which he served, he would be disquali-

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1807.

fied by have only this alt to the law, at

1807. fied by law from remaining in the service, and

would have only this alternative, either to continue
in the service contrary to the law, and thus sub-
ject himself to the penalties and forfeitures conse-
quent thereon, or to relinquish a profession, in
which lie had risen to the rank, which he might
hold, either by the sacrifice of his fortune, or more
probably by a succession of meritorious services,
such as proved him qualified to defend the prospe-
rity and assert the honor of the country. So ab-
surd an inconvenience must be remedied. The
inconveniency was seen, when Great Britain and

Ireland were separate nations, and had separate . parliaments, and when the act of 1793' was pro

posed in the Irish parliament, it was declared, that
a similar proposition should be made in two : i
months, by the Parliament of Great Britain. This
was distinctly promised ; Lord Clare in the House
of Peers, and Lord Buckinghamshire in the House
of Commons distinctly stated, that it was the in-
tention of his Msajesty's government, with all con-
venient dispatch, to prepare a similar bill in the
British Parliament. The measure, which he was
about to submit to the judgment of the House,
was calculated to remove the inconvenience, and
to reconcile the incongruity complained of, and
at the same time to maintain the faith of the Bri-
tish government, by redeeming the pledge, to
which he had alluded. There seemed to be no
objection to the measure, as a necessary conse-
quence of the act of 179 3,and as a redemption of

the pledge given at that period. The only objec. 1807. tion started, appeared to be by those, who thought the proposed measure, by going farther than the act of 1793, established a new principle of concèssion, which ought not to be acceded to. It would now therefore be necessary for him to state in what the two measures differed. The first difference was, that the proposed measure went to permit persons of every religion to serve in the navy as well as in the army. When the Irish act was passed, it was distinctly stated, that in the bill to be submitted to the British Parliament, leave'to serve in the navy would be included, and the only reason, why it was not included in the Irish act was, that Ireland had no pavy. - The same principles, which induced his Majesty's ministers to propose the adoption of a similar law for the two countries, induced them to propose the abolition of restrictions. Consistency. For no. thing could be more incongruous; than the consequences of these restrictions, which might be at: tended with considerable inconvenience to the service. A Catholic might, by the Irish act, rise through the regular gradation, and become a field officer; he might become a inajor, a lieutenantcolonel; a colonel; in this last capacity, he might have the command of a corps equal in number tơ that frequently under the orders of officers of a superior rank. He might shew himself eminently qualified for a situation of greater trust; he might distinguish himself to such a cegree, as to be called upon by the voice of the army and the peo

1807., ple to fill that situation ; but it would be impose

sible to create him a major general! This was a great discouragement to the Catholic officer. It was a great disadvantage to the country, which by such restriction, 'might lose the services of many brave and skilful men. And, after all, it must be considered, that the proposed measure oply enabled his Majesty to appoint such persons to situations of high importance. This appointment must depend upon the executive government, which would, of course, be discreet in the exerçise of its power. In addition to the advantage of enabling the country to avail itself of the whole extent of its population, without any of these restrictions, which operated merely to keep up a spirit of discontent, and to damp that ardour, which might otherwise be so successfully directed to the public service, the proposed measure, iş addition to these things, provided for all, who should enter into bis Majesty's service, the free and unrestrained exercise of their religion, as far as it did not interfere with their military duties. Perhaps it would be said, that this might be accomplished in another way, by giving directions to that effect; but he was apprehensive, that this çould only be partially done besides, the insecu fity and instability of such a mode of proceeding would deter the Catholics from entering the army, and would furnish to those, who might be desirous of preventing them, sufficient means of persuasion. Let them have full security in the shape of a clause in an act of parliament; let them have the sang

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