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his object is that every thing should be con-
ceded to the catholics; let me ask the hon.
gent. (Mr. Grattan) who supported the mo
tion last night with such a splendour of elo-
quence, what effect this is likely to produce
upon the catholics themselves? When the
hon. member, or the hon. mover of the
question, talk of the effect of disappointing
hopes that have been raised, I trust they have
over-rated and exaggerated it. But one of
these gentlemen did state, that amongst the
possible causes of a religious feeling having
mixed and operated in the late rebellion,
might be enumerated the hope held out by
lord Fitzwilliam, that the claims of the cart
tholics would, be taken into consideration
They allege the disappointment of that
hope as one of the causes that might have
tended to produce the rebellion. If that be
their conviction, what must they think who
wish to go into a committee upon the peti
tion, and yet are of opinion that they still
reserve to themselves the freedom of reject-

which is to conciliate one part of his majes-
ty's subjects, care must be taken not to
shock the feelings of a much larger class of
the community. Under such circumstances,
when such an opinion has been given by
another branch of the legislature, we are
bound to take it into our consideration in de-
ciding upon the line of conduct we ought to
adopt, because this is a subject in which no
man can act wisely or prudently who acts
entirely from his own views or his own feel-
ings. It is his duty to his country, to the
catholics, and to the community, to look at
it in a combined point of view, to consider all
the probable effects of carrying it (if it were
practicable) with such a strong sentiment
prevailing against, or of failing to carry it,
may produce. Upon this part of the sub-
ject there is one point on which I wish to
say a few words. It has been urged by some
gentlemen, that we ought to go into a com-
mittee, whatever we may resolve to do at
last; and some of the minor grievances un-
der which the catholics are said to labouring it altogether, or of rejecting it in its
most important parts? I submit this to the
consideration of the house shortly, but dis-
tinctly; it rests upon grounds so obvious and
so strong, that it will be taking up your
time unnecessarily, to debate upon them,
I submit this with a wish that the measure
will be brought forward and carried with any-
thing like a general concurrence. But, the
circumstances which rendered it impossible
for me to urge and press it then, make it
impossible for me to urge and press it now
feeling as I do, that to press it, and to fail,
or to press it and even carry it with such a
strong opposition, are alternatives, both of
them so mischevious, that it will be difficult
to decide between them. Seeing, sir, what
are the opinions of the times, what is the
situation of men's minds, and the senti-,
ments of all descriptions and classes-of the
other branch of the legislature, and even the
prevailing opinion of this house, I feel that
I should act contrary to a sense of my duty,
and even inconsistenly with the original

have been pointed out, upon which it is said
there can be no difference of opinion on the
propriety of granting them relief-such as
the circumstance of catholics engaged in a
military life coming over to this country, and
who are thereby exposed to the operation of
the test act, which they are not at home.
Another circumstance which has been men-
tioned is, that the catholics in the army are
not only to be allowed to have mass per-
formed, but they are compelled to attend
protestant worship. Sir, I contend that
these points are much too unimportant to
induce us to go into a committee upon a pe-
tition which embraces the whole of this im-
portant subject, and which excites the hopes
and fears of all the subjects of the united
kingdom.—I again repeat, that I do lament
that this subject has now been brought for-
ward; I lament for the sake of the catholics
themselves; I lament for the general interest
of the country, that gentlemen have thought
proper to agitate this subject at this moment..
That gentlemen have a perfect right to ex-ground upon which I thought the measure
ercise their judgement upon this subject I ought to be brought forward, if I counten
do not deny; I do not complain of their anced it under the present circumstances, or
conduct; I only lament that they have felt if I hesitated in giving my decided negative
it their duty to bring it forward at this pe- to the house going into a committee.
riod, and under the present circumstances;
when, if they were to succeed, the conse-
quences would not be such as we all desire;
and if they fail, they may be such as we
must all regret. And now, sir, let me ask
the hon. gent, who has brought forward the
present motion, and who fairly avows that

Mr. Windham rose and spoke in substance, as follows: Sir, I consider the question now before the house, as one naturally and immediately the consequence of the legislative union established between Great Britain and Ireland, and one to which the catholics of freland were certainly taught to look for


ward in the course of all the arguments urged in favour of that measure; both in and out of parliament. I think, and have long thought, it is that measures which alone the great union of protestant and catholic can be brought about: When the proposition for the union was first brought forward, I had strong objections to the measure; and I was only reconciled to it upon the idea, that all disabilities attaching on the catholics were to be removed, and that the whole po-And so long as they exist, there never wal pulation would be united in interests and be wanting an outcry against the claims of affections. Believing this to be the case, sir, the catholics. I should be glad to know and finding that impediments were started to what public question that ever came forward this measure much stronger than I was pre- in this house has had in its favour such uni

insisted on; if no measure is ever to pass in Eparliament which has not the unanimous sense of the country in its favour, prejudice and passion may for ever triumph over reason and sound policy. But, sir, as long as a catholic remains in these countries, such objections will exist. They are founded upon the very essence of opinions, which you can never remove from those minds, on the very first principles of which they are rooted.


pared to apprehend, I relinquished the ad-nimity, that there could be no objection to it? While we have to encounter prejudice and oppose confederacy, how is it possible that truth and reason can be victorious with unanimity? But to say that this house is to be deterred by popular clamour or prejudiced objections from exercising its fair judgment,

ministration, because I thought the measure indispensable to the safety of this empire; and I have seen nothing since to change my opinion on that point. The right hon. gent. has avowed that his opinion was then the same; and surely if it was expedient in 1801; if the circumstances of the country is tantamount to a declaration that no disor>then imperiously called for its adoption;ders can be removed, no abuses corrected, surely it is still more loudly called for by no tyranny subdued. I therefore must resist the circumstances of the present moment; and deprecate such arguments coming from and I know of no alteration that has taken the righ hon. gent. against this motion, as place in the circumstances of the empire unparliamentary, unconstitutional, and danthat can be truly said to render it less expe- gerous. But, sir, I know of no reason dient now. The right hon. gent., in every why that measure which his majesty's mithing which he has offered as argument nister is of opinion was expedient, and ; against the question itself, has referred to ought to have been done four years ago, and times past; but how those arguments can may be done hereafter, ought not to be done apply to the present day he has not stated. now and as to any danger that can arise The right hon. gent. has said that many per- from bringing forward the question now, as sons are averse to the measure, that the is alledged without the chance of success, the clergy and the nobility are opposed to it, only mischief T can apprehend is from the and that the public mind is not unanimous in refusal, which must recoil upon ministers its favour. Why, sir, if the catholics are themselves, as the cause of it. The whole - to be told they must wait until all the ob- of the right hon. member's speech upon this jections which passion, or prejudice, or ig-subject is indefinite, full of mystery, and, norance, or caprice may suggest, are per- to me at least, not clearly intelligible. The fectly silent; and that no man is to be found right hon. gent. has talked of expediency as in or out of parliament opposed to their distinct from right. But the claim of the I wishes, I am afraid their hopes of success catholics is not set up upon what is termed a must be postponed to a very distant day in- fantastical claim of right, but a plain and deed: but, sir, I am not aware of this very common right to an equal share and partielgeneral sentiment of the leading clergy, the pation in the benefits of the constitution unnobility, or the public at large, against this der which they live. I am myself disposed measure; unless we take the speeches ut- to rest the principal part of the claim upon tered in this or another house of parliament, expediency, without excluding rights Bet opposed by other speeches, at least equally the right hon. gent. will hear only of expestrong and independent, for that general diency. But this sort of attack upon princisentiment; or unless we consider the decla- ples of right cannot be maintained. - Nights, vrations of a few individuals, in different in the strictest sense of the word, as employquarters of the kingdom, or a few newspa- Ped by the right heit. gent, no where exit: per publications from prejudiced authors, as but even on the ground of right as a chim expressive of that general sentiment. But of nature, the cathole petition, F say $ sif arguments drawn from such sources are founded in justice." They state that what


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they ask is founded on political expediency; and the policy and expediency of acceding to their petition, is only rebutted by alieging, that to grant their claims would be at tended with the greatest danger to our protestant establishments in church and state. What this danger is, from the best consideration I have been able to give to the subject, I am utterly at a loss to discover; the onus of proof lies upon those who plead that danger. But, looking to all the dangers; as well these which those who oppose this motion plead, as those which there may be any reasonable ground to apprehend, I think that to grant now the claims of the catholics is by much the less dangerous policy to pursue. For the present, however, I shall not trespass on the attention of the house by arguing the question further; I shall content myself with entering my solemn protest present petitioners to this house The against the species of argument urged by" public offices and honours, whether high his majesty's ministers against this petition," or low, great or small, shall be given to and declaring my firm resolution to persevere "natural-born Hungarians, who have dein this object, which I consider as best cal- "served well of their country, and posseses -culated for the safety of that very protestant "the other requisite qualifications, without establishment to which it is said to be inimiIcal, and I have the strongest hope, anxiety, and confidence, that the period is not far remote when this house will see the justice and sound policy of conceding this salutary, wise, and beneficent measure.

vinists, and Lutherans; many of the Greek church, and many Jews. Often had even Mahomet been called in to the aid of Calvin, and the crescent glittered on the walls of Buda. At length, in 1791, at the most violent crisis of disturbance, a diet was called, and passed a decree, by which they secured the fullest and freest exercise of religious faith, worship and education ; `ørdained that churches and chapels should be built for all sects without description; that the protestants of both confessions should depend on their own spiritual superiors alone, freed from swearing by the usual oaths, namely by the holy virgin Mary, the saints, and chosen of God." And then, sir, came the great and leading clause, granting, in the fullest extent, every point which is in the utmost contemplation of the




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Sir John Newport.-Sir, though I naturally feel solicitous (feeling and thinking as I now and always have done upon this subject) to assign my reasons for the vote I shall this night give on a question of such vital importance to the empire in general, and Ireland in particular; yet even under this impression, the lateness of the hour I will prevent me from trespassing more than a few short minutes on the attention of the house; nor should I now have risen but for the purpose of viewing this subject upon the untrodden ground of an example, so precisely opposite in all its circumstances, and bearing so directly on the temperate requests of the petitioners, as to call forcibly for your notice. It is the result of an experiment fairly tried upon a great nation, possessing above seven millions of inhabitants, varying most widely in their religious tenets, convulsed by the difference of those tenets, and the restrictions founded upon them during many centuries; yet at length procuring internal peace and tranquillity, and external strength and respect, by the sacrifice of those restrictions. The nation, sir, was Hungary; of her seven millions of

any respect to their religion." This, sir, was the policy pursued in an Hungarian diet, consisting of nearly 400 members, in a state whose form of government approaches more nearly to our own than almost any other in Europe, with a Roman catholic establishment of great opulence; adopted, too, at a period when it was to be subjected to the severest trial as to its social and political effects. It has passed that fery ordeal it has undergone a trial of fourteen revolutionary years, equal, in fact, to the trial of a century less disturbed and agitated: and what have been its effects? When the French advanced in their course like a torrent, within a few days march of Vienna, the Hungarians, before so divided, and so disaffected to each other, rose en masse, as it is termed," in the sacred insurrection," to preserve their sovereign, their rights and liberties: and the apprehension of their approach dictated to the reluctant Buonaparté the immediate signature of the treaty of Leoben. Such, sir, have been the effects of such a measure in Hungary. The Romish hierarchy in Hungary exists in all its former splendour and opulence. Never has an attempt been made to diminish it: and there, almost alone in civilized Europe, at least in that quarter of it, have revolutionary principles failed of making the smallest successful inroad. Does this case, or does it not, as I have stated, bear directly on the nhabitants one half were protestants, Cal-case of the catholics of Iresand? Has a VOL. IV.

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able to do. He said he should not be glad
to have the ability to do it, and he should be
ashamed to have the wish; but, it-was with
regret that he adverted to the opinion of a
learned gentleman opposite (Mr. Ponsonby)
who, in answer to what he called the ca
lumnies of the hon. and learned doctor's
speech yesterday, had said that the hon, doc
tor himself was a contradiction of those ca-
lumnies; that they could not be true, and
that the Irish were not of the sanguinary
temper which had been misrepresented, was
proved by the hon, and learned doctor's
walking the streets of this metropolis in safe-
ty. He said he would not call such an opi-,
nion as this a hint, for it was in truth, very:
broadly expressed, nor was it necessary to
notice it, farther than by saying, it reminded
him of a familiar and ludicrous story of the
quaker and the mad dog. "I will not beat
thee nor kick thee, but I will turn thee out
and give thee an ill name." He was sure,
however, that the learned doctor would still
continue to walk the streets in safety. Het
said, he could not agree with the hon. gent.:
who introduced the petition; and who had
represented the catholics as having given
support to the union, and as having for that
reason a right to claim the object of their
petition. He said, on whatever ground their
claims might be founded, they could not be
founded on that, for it was well known the
support they gave the union was a very poor.
one. He would tell the house what it was
It would appear in three instances, which he
would mention without any remark: first, :
however, wishing the house to recollect,"
that the public affairs of the catholics had
been used for many years to be conducted
by a select com.nittee, consisting of gentle-
men the most distinguished in the catholic
body for their property, principles and ta
lents, and in number about sixty. Of these
the late lord Kenmare was at the head. A
most amiable and respectable nobleman.
Who was at the head of it now, he did not.
know. He said, when the union was first
proposed to the house of commons of Ire-
land, it was scarcely considered enough to
be debated; it was defeated; for, though it
was indeed carried through the house by the
accidental majority of a single voice, this
was defeat sufficient to induce the prudence
of government to postpone it to the next ses-
sion of parliament. On this occasion how
did the catholics act? It was an occasion sa
important that they could not have been in-
different to it, and must have had an opinion
one way or the other; but they kepialust


R man catholic potentate, not the least attached to his religion in Europe, set you such an example, and given you decided proof of its great and happy effects, by such a trial? And do you, a protestant legislature, fear to submit your religion to a similar test? Will you eternally keep up the wall of proscription, when they have thrown it down? This, sir, affords a direct refutation of the assertion made in the petition from the city of Dublin, (see p. 218) which states that the Roman catholics are at present placed upon a footing of political power not enjoyed by any other dissenters from the established religion in any other state of Europe. Convinced as I am, sir, of the wisdom and sound policy of acceding to this petition, I shall give my most cordial assent to the motion of the hon. member who so ably introduced this debate.

Mr. Maurice Fitzgerald (knight of Kerry) protested, that the conviction upon his mind upon the present question was, that if the decision was not certain, he would anticipate the most fatal and dangerous consequences arising from it. One point only he wished to direct the attention of the house to. He had uniformly supported this measure, while he had the honour to sit in the Irish house of commons, and gave his vote for the union of the two countries, with the conviction on his mind, that the present measure would immediately follow. His only hope at present was, and he implored the house most earnestly, that if they should refuse to go into a committee upon the petition, the gentlemen of this country particularly would obliterate from their minds the gross and scandalous calumnies which had been thrown out against the catholics of Ireland, and which would only be cast back with increased disgrace upon the fabricators. He spoke as a man of candour, and he again hoped the gentlemen of England would not be led away by such foul calumny and virulent abuse.

Mr. Archdall said, as the subject was so much exhausted, he should not enter into the discussion at large, but rose only to justify, if he could, the opinion on which he should give his vote, and to advert to some opinions which other gentlemen had given, and from which, very respectfully, and, indeed, reluctantly, he confessed he must dissent. In this he should avoid every thing which could irritate the catholics; it was sufficient for Lim if his conviction compelled him to oppose their petition. He never would affront their feelings, which no neither wished nor was

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1029] PARL. DEBATES, MAY 14, 1805. on the Roman Catholic Petition." [1030 and kept silence, which might be interpreted concession gradual; because, all which is either way; they said nothing, and they did right, cannot always be done at once. He nothing, and this was the first instance of said, the embarrassment of the question was such support as they gave to the union. The not what more was to be done, but that at union, however, was still going on; but present we could do nothing; that in this while it was uncertain which way it would point of view, the catholics had a good cause go, the catholics at last broke through their badly conducted: A cause which the prosilence, and one of their select committee testants had contributed to make good, and came with a message to some of the gentle- which the catholics had conducted badly. men who conducted the opposition to the By this he did not mean that the catholics union, which message in substance, and he were bad subjects, for he believed them to believed in words, was this, if you, gen- be loyal; nor that they were bad men, for tlemen, will now join us insisting on our he believed them as good as the protestants; emancipation, we will join you in opposing nor that this was a bad petition, for it was the union." Those gentlemen thought it very well and respectfully worded; nor yet best to decline this overture, and this is the that their cause was badly conducted by: second instance of the support which the being placed in the hands of the honourable catholics gave to the union. But the next gentleman opposite. He said, that when session of parliament was now approaching, the catholics were once determined to apply and this great measure of the union had now to that house at that time, which was all the been so much considered, that addresses in badness of conduct which he meant to men its favour came from every county in the tion, and when the king's minister had dekingdom. 'Among the signatures of the pro-clined to interfere, there certainly was no testants to these addresses, appeared the sig-interference more powerful or proper for natures of many catholics; catholic noble- their purpose than that which they had soli-' men, and catholic clergy, and some catholic cited from the hon. gentleman, who, he said,' individuala sent addresses from themselves, was so much distinguished every where as a But, was there any address in favour of this friend to religious and civil liberty, whose measure from the catholic body? No! Was temper invited confidence and good will there any address from the select committee? from every body, and whose talents' comNo! Was there any summons, notice, or manded every body to respect him. What advertisement for any public meeting under he thought bad in conducting this petition any denomination, where the influence of was, that it should be introduced at this time respectable catholics, individually or collec- by any interference or from any motive? he?? tively, might have been of use in promoting thought it bad to risk the importance of the the union? No such thing! In spite of this, precedent, for though in such a case the however, the union passed into a law in par- precedent could not be repeated often enough|| liament, and this was the third and the last to become a habit, still it was bad to famiinstance of that support which is boasted to liarize the people of England to the circum-Al have been given by the catholics to the union. stance of the house of commons putting a How far, on this ground, their claims could negative on any request from the catholic be entitled to success, he would leave the body of Ireland. He said, it was still worse' house to judge. He said, there were other to risk the importance, or if gentlemen chose, grounds, on which at another time, those of the misrepresentation of its being said, claims might appear more probable to suc- that the catholic body was exhibited in the ceeds for, recollecting the concessions which house of commons, as the ally of a party. C were made to them in the year 1793, and at He said that the parties in the house of com-' the express recommendation of government, mons were fit only to contend with each in which he had concurred with many gen- other, that the catholic body should look to tlemen then present; recollecting that they neither of them, and neither of them should had pledged themselves in an address almost look to the catholic body. The hon. gent. unanimous to the crown, that they would said, that for such reasons as these, and for consider on such measures as should tend to others which might be mentioned, without unite in sentiment all descriptions of his entering into a religious or political disquisimajesty's subjects; recollecting, that to car- tion of the question, he should concur with ry this purpose into effect, how much there the right hon. gent. on the floor in declining was still to do, he thought the catholics had to refer it to a committee. 4. 5 good cause to expect that more would be done. He said it might be wise to make


The hon. Henry Augustus Dillon professed his determined support to the petition,

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