« PreviousContinue »
naL His Lordship pressed upon their consideration what appeared to be little thought of; that they
James Ryan ',
James Nowlan, jun.
Denis T. O'Brien
J. M. Grainger
R. S. Keatinge
had a population of from three to five millions of fellow subjects to legislate for, who professed and were firmly attached to the Roman Catholic relir gion, and who therefore for every purpose of Government and legislation were to be treated as Roman Catholics (such as they had been brought up and chose to remain). To obviate the argument for the necessity of all the high offices civil and military being enjoyed by those, who professed the religion of the State, he instanced^ that, within his own time he had seen the principal offices of the law filled by men, who had been educated in the Presbyterian religion, (Lords Mansfield and llosslyn, Lord C. Baron Mac Donald, and Sir William Grant) and he could in like manner enumerate persons pf the highest distinction in the army and navy, who did not profess the religion of the State. Dissenters were not excluded from Parliament. The Scotch Peers and Members, and many others were not of the established religion*. Long said his Lordship, had he sought that opportunity of bringing forward such a petition: and finding, that the Catholics began to grow impatient, when nothing had been clone towards redeeming that pledge, which had been formerly given them, he thought it expedient to bring forward the measure at once: and he thought that season of all others the most favourable for introducing it. He moved that the House should resolve itself into
* King William Tvas a strict Presbyterian.
a Committee of the whole House to take the peti- . 18 tion into consideration. Lord Hawkesbury sharply anaigned; Lord Grenville fbr launching into all that Undue, heat:, and intemperance, which he had set out with disclaiming. In reply,, the noble Secretary of State was directly charged with being guilty of the grossest misrepresentation; and an appeal was-made to the House, whether Lord Grenville in any one instance had recourse to topics of the inflammatory nature, with which he had been'charged. He had spoken of no triumph, but that of reason, which would ultimately prevail. Take off', said Lord Grenville, the chains of religious thraldom, and you; will directly find, that in all political views you gain subjects, and in every social view you gain''friends.
Lord Hawkesbury openly admitted, that no ef- Loh forts had been spared by himself'and the respect-t,„'T. able Nobleman, who was in the Lieutenancy of Ireland, to prevent the question from being agitated in that juncture. He complained, that after all," that had been done, to point out to the petitioners the right line of their duty, they had thought proper to commit tlw:ir interests to a party avowedly hostile to his Majesty's Government. The country, said the noble Secretary, as to all sentiments-, all views, all feelings had of that great question, the sense of that country and of the reflecting part of the world are decidedly against it. He warned their Lordships not to lodge political power in the hands of the unworthy: and reminded them, that from the time of the Roman
180.5. Catholics having been excluded from every priviWv^/' iege, to the period of renewing concessions to them, although two serious rebellions had raged in Great Britain, Ireland was uniformly tranquil; and it was only since the concessions made to the Catholics, that rebellion had again begun to shew her head in Ireland. He warmly urged the impossibility of maintaining the glorious fabric of our Constitution in Church and State without a Protestant King, Protestant Counsellors, Protestant Parliament, Protestant Judges, and Protestant Corporations. He heartily opposed the motion. mti«>of , Hit; Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland,
Cumber- . y . ® „ J , .'
land. was anxious in the very first instance to give his decided opposition to the motion before the House, and to urge every resistance in his power to a measure subversive of all the principles, which placed the House of Brunswick upon the throne of these realms.
Forispen- Earl Spencer observed, that Lord Grenville had in an irresistible manner anticipated all he had to urge for the motion. By former relaxations they had wisely enabled the Roman Catholics to obtain property, and encouraged them to cultivate education, and to cherish the sanguine hope, that the same loyalty and good demeanour, which had obtained for them "past indigencies, would speedily procure for them all that remained to place them . on a level with their countrymen and fellow subjects. The refusal to remove the remaining re-r strictions cast upon them a foul stigma. Having granted to the great mass of the lower orders of
the Catholic Irish the elective franchise, and all 1805
the privileges and immunities appropriate to their situation, it became madness to refuse to the Catholic Peer and Gentleman, whose rank, education and property attach them to the Constitution and Government, and entitle them to their Lordihips confidence, the privileges and immunities, which belong to their more exalted and important rank in the community.
LordSidmouth was astonished to find the noble viscount Baron, who had distinguished himself in the year 1790, by resisting the Dissenter's petition for repealing the test act, and since that by combating doctrines, which led to all the calamities, under which a great portion of the people was actually suffering, and he feared long would suffer, now taking so opposite a course, that would introduce all the innovating principles, against which he had . formerly made so noble and successful a stand. There was no instance of Catholics and Protes* tants dividing political power without infinite mischief to the country • witness the unfortunate James II. who was at once the patron and victim of the project. He said, Lord Clarendon attri- . buted the Irish rebellion of 1641 to tlie admission of Catholics into Corporations, and he painted with all the strength of his imagination the prospective honors of a popular election, wherever a Catholic should propose himself the candidate against a Protestant. The rest of his Lordship's speech, which was long and warm, contained uo