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for introducing their petition to Parliament. The
functions of the Catholic deputation. Catholic pe- .On the 25th of March 1805*, Lord Grenville
, and Mr. Fox in the House of Comville to the mons, presented the Catholic petition t. When
tition presented by Lord Gren
Lords, and i Mr. Fox's to the Com mons.
the conference between the deputies and Lord Grenville and Mr. Fox took place on the iSth of March, and on the next day they gave notice in their respective Houses of their inten-, tions to present the petition on the 25th of that month.
+ The prayer of which was to the following effect, viz. “Your petitioners therefore most humbly presume to express their earnest, but respectful hope, that this Honorable House will, in its wisdom and liberality, deom the several statutes now in force against them no longer necessary to be retained, and that his Majesty's loyal and dutiful subjects, professing the Roman Catholic religion, may be effectually relieved from the
it had been read and moved by Lord Grenville in the house of Lords, that it should lie on the table, Lord Auckland rose with precipitancy, and observed with some warmth, that as far as his ears could catch the tenor of it, it went to overthrow the whole system of Church and State : and if the prayer of it were to be granted, he should soon see a Protestant Church without a Protestant congregation, and a Protestant King with a Popish Legişlature. He expressed great anxiety, that the question should be calmly and fully discussed, summoned the Reverend Bench to arm themselves for the combat, and desired, that the result of the discussion might be an irrevocable decision upon the question, and set it at rest for ever. Lord Hawkesbury and Lord Redesdale expressed their general objection to the petition, and Lord Chancellor ELdon ohjected to the Duke of Norfolk's motion for its being printed. In the House of Commons. Mr. Fox observed, that through the course of his Parliamentary duty, he had never risen with more satisfaction, than he then did, to present a petition from the great body of the Catholics of Ireland, praying to be admitted to an equal participation of all the benefits of the Constitution with the rest of their fellow-şubjects. Whatever were its merits, of
operation of those statutes; and that so they may be restored to the full enjoyment of the benefits of the British Constitution, and to every inducement of attachment to that Constitution, equally and in common with their fellow-subjects throughout the British Empire. ,; hii ... ,.;, . , ;
" And your petitioners will ever pray, &c."
1805. , which he should then say nothing, he was happy,
: that it offered the most satisfactory proof, that the body of Irish Catholics sought to remedy the grievances they felt, by no other than legal' means. Having read the petition, and moved, that it should lie on the table, Mr. Cartwright lamented, that it should have been brought forward at a time, when the Catholics as well as every one else knew, that there was an insurmountable objection to the attainment of their object; to which the feelings of the people of Ireland were much alive, ‘and upon which therefore there could be no discussion without endangering the tranquillity of the country. Mr. Fox observed, that the insurmountable obstacle' had not been specified; he could therefore then say nothing to it: whenever he should hear what the obstacle was, he should be ready to state his opinion upon it. For the conveniency of the Irish Members, an early day in May was appointed for the discussion, as the
Spring Assizes would then be over.. . Ļord Aber. Much Irish matter was in the mean time presJudge Fox. sed upon both houses of Parliament; in so much,
that it became a general complaint, that more of their time was devoted to Irish, than British concerns, by which the labour and attendance of the Members were insufferably increased. In the House of Lords, the Marquis of Abercorn pre sented new petitions from Mr. Hart, and from Mr. Armstrong and other Jurors of the County of Fermanagh, and from Mr. Irwin the Sheriff of the samé County. He also adverted to the heads
or particulars of the charges, which he intended. 1805. . to prefer against Judge Fox. The substance of them was nearly the same, as of those, which he had submitted to them last Session. They then were 7 in number, and he had now reduced them to 5: because two of them were too trivial, and founded in misconception : another of the charges he had new methodized, though it remained substantially the same: and what he had last Session termed heads of complaint &c. against Judge For, he then simply termed particulars of the conduct of Judge Fox. The Chancellor reminded him, that by the 1st of his present Majesty, no Judge was. to be removed or called upon to answer for his conduct, but in consequence of an Address to his Majesty from Parliament to that effect. It became therefore a matter of the utmost delicacy and importance, what papers were laid before the house, and how that house exercised its delicate powers in that regard.' Beset on all sides with difficulties as Lord Abercorn was in the prosecution of Judge Fox, it appears manifest, that he rested his ultimate success upon his personal influence with Mr. Pitt, who still directed every Parliamentary movement. - A report was then current, that Mr. Pitt conscious, that his influence in the House of Commons was on the decline, had been induced to dissolve the Parliament, which was called Mr. Addington's Parliament, though Mr. Addington affected to have exercised no treasury influence in its election. The Marquis had sufficient interest to secure the
1805., progress he had made, and in order to ensure
himself against the disheartening operation of recommencing his labours, he procured an Act to be passed, “to continue the proceedings in the “ House of Lords, touching the conduct of Luke “ Fox, Esq. one of the Judges of the Court of “ Common Pleas, in that part of the United “ Kingdom called Ireland, notwithstanding any “ prorogation or dissolution of Parliament.” These most extraordinary proceedings against Judge Fox brought forth the Duke of Clarence to call upon the house to exercise their constitutional duty on the occasion. His Royal Highness most properly suggested, that the initiation of the business should have proceeded from the other house: for the house of Lords being juridically but a Court of Appeal, could entertain no original proceedings, except in the case of impeachment by the Commons House of Parliament. He moved therefore, that the Committee appointed to sit on the next day upon the subject, should be postponed for 6 weeks. The Motion was *negatived
by a majority of 9. Case of
.. The same Session of Parliament produced anoJudge Jolin.
ther Act affecting the case of Judge Johnson, also a.Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Ireland, Its title in great part bespeaks its meaning. “An “ Act to amend 2 Acts of the 13th and 14th
* The prominent opposers of the Motion were Lords Limerick, Westmoreland, Hawkesbury, and Sidmouth; the chief supporters of it were Lords Carlisle, Spencer, and Grenville.