Page images
PDF
EPUB

be inclined to place in him. But we all know the influence which religion has uniformly had upon the political government of every nation in Europe, and it is in this point of view alone, in which I will ever confider the claims of the Catholics in this houfe. If there be a claufe in the ftatute book which reftrains their religious worfhip if there be a clause which renders their cha racters, their perfons, or their property lefs fecure than the characters, the perfons or the properties of Proteftants, let it be repealed; but if any man can be fo wild as to look to a total repeal of the Popery laws of this kingdom-if any can be fo wild as to defire to communicate the efficient power of a free Proteftant, to a great majority of the people of Ireland profeffing the Popish religion, I do not fcruple to say that it is an abfurd and a wicked fpeculation-I am fatisfied that fo long as the nature of men continues to be what it is, it is utterly impoffible that a zealous Catholic can exercife the efficient powers of government in fupport of a Proteftant establishment in Ireland, or in fupport of her connexion with the Proteftant empire of Great Britain, and therefore, if I am the fingle man to raife my voice against fuch a project, I will refift it.

It is not to the people who profefs the Catholic religion, that I look upon this occafion, it is to the principles of that religion, to which I know they are zealously and fuperftitioully devoted. The influence which thefe principles have had upon the political government of every nation in Europe for centuries. If unfortunately for this country, we fhall ever be induced to make fo fatal an experiment, we may reft affured, that

the

the maintenance of a Proteftant establishment, and of our connexion with Great Britain, must once more be put to the iffue of the fword, and whenever the subject recommended to us from the throne, fhall come into debate, I will ftate without referve the grounds upon which I have formed that opinion; I trust however, that no degree of lenity, or rashness, or timidity will ever induce the parliament of Ireland to yield her beft fecurity, for the peace and profperity of the country committed to their care; whatever events may arife, I will perfevere in defending the prefent conftitution of this country, and tranfmitting it to pofterity, and in fo doing, I am satisfied, that I fhall prove the best friend of the people of Ireland, whether Protestants or Catholics.

Lord Donoughmore made a few obfervations on what the lord chancellor had said.

HOUSE OF COMMONS.

JANUARY 10.

THE EARL OF TYRONE in the fpeech with which he prefaced his addrefs to the King, in this houfe, delivered himfelf as follows, refpecting that part of the fpeech from the throne which concerns the Roman Catholics:

The

The principle upon which this fubject is recommended, viz. That of strengthening and cementing the union of all defcriptions of fubjects in Support of the eftablished conftitution, muft meet the unanimous approbation of this houfe. No man can object to this principle; and if liberality to our Roman Catholic brethren is likely to promote the fuccefs of it, our adopting this line of conduct towards them must be ultimately wife.

The conduct of those perfons with whom I have the honour of being connected, has been that of uniform indulgence to the Catholics, until the requifition which was made in the laft feffions of parliament, refpecting the elective franchife. They refifted the claim at that period, because they imagined that the conduct of certain men of that body did not allow, at that time, a favourable difcuffion. I confefs I perfectly agree in the propriety of the conduct of my connections at that period, and would have fupported them; I also cannot diffemble my fentiments, that the conduct of the Roman Catholics during the laft fummer, had not been conciliatory. As however, their fituation has been recommended from the throne, on a principle grounded in wifdom, I think it impoffible for parliament to decline inveftigating the fubject in the fulleft manner; in doing fo, my conduct will be guided by the great end recommended by his majefty, the fupport of the established conftitution; and if in the difcuffion of the Catholic fubject, it fhall appear, that liberality towards their claims can unite them, fo as to make a common caufe in fupport of the conftitution, I fhall feel myself bound in duty, and in policy, to concur in fuch measures as may

be

be brought forward in their favour, on that fpecific principle, and for that great end.

I truft, that if this line of conduct fhall be adopted by the houfe, that the Roman Catholics will not be backward in affording every poflible affurance, which can be made on their parts, that their difpofition to unite in affection with us is fincere, and that a liberal conduct on the part of the Proteftants, will produce in them fentiments of moderation, of content, and of gratitude.

In prefuming to defire the house to concur in the fentiments recommended from the throne, I do not confider that they will be pledged beyond the mere principles contained in that recommendation.

I shall certainly confider myself obliged by it to difcufs the fituation of the Catholics, but pledged to conceffion only conditionally. If in the difcuffion it shall appear, that liberality of conceffion will procure additional ftrength to the established conftitution, I fhall feel myself bound to adopt that line of policy. If, on the contrary, it fhall appear, that no difpofition to conciliate on our part, is likely to engage the Catholics in a firm fupport of our conftitution and establishments; I fhall then confider myself as open to adopt any other line of policy which the wifdom of the houfe may fuggeft.

The hon. Mr. Wesley faid, in regard to what has been recommended in the speech from the throne, refpecting our Catholic fellow-fubjects, he could not reprefs expreffing his approbation on that head, he had no doubt of the loyalty of the D Catholics

Catholics of this country, and he trufted, that when the queftion would be brought forward refpecting that defcription of men, that we would lay afide animofities, and act with moderation and dignity, and not with the fury and violence of partizans.

The Right Hon. John O'Neill declared, it gave him much pleasure to obferve, that the speech recommended to the attention of parliament the fituation of the Roman Catholics. The loyalty and good conduct of that people were rapidly removing the prejudices of the conftituent body and there could be no doubt, that his majesty's recommendation would have infinite weight not only with parliament, but with all ranks of perfons.

Col. Blaquire.-Every man has, I believe, here a right to represent any matter that may appear to him as a tendency to disturb the peace of this house; and I must confefs that in my mind, I think there is great reafon to apprehend it. I read a printed paper about a fortnight or three weeks ago, and I have read it fince, ftated by the friends of the Roman Catholics, which ftrikes me to be a declaration to the approach of civil bloodfhed betwixt the Roman Catholics and the Proteftants, and I think the paper plainly indicates my affertions; and I beg leave to repeat a part of this refolution; but first I must say, that this paper writing was a refolution from a fociety compofed of fome of the first men in this kingdom, and I could not help obferving, with fome furprise, that I read the name of a perfonage of the highest quality, to have prefided on that day at the meeting, a perfonage eminent for his candour, and be

« PreviousContinue »