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convention in the metropolis; a meeting I conceived to be dangerous to the conftitution; that however, the grand jury had not acceded to my wishes, or agreed to any refolutions; that I have never confulted, or even communicated to government what I have done; and, that on points that I conceived the conftitutional intereft of Ireland concerned in, I difclaim the idea of confulting government; that I am perfectly affured that grand juries were fuperior to the influence of any government. I wave the difcuffion of reform, or of the Roman Catholics; when that important, question comes forward, I hope that the Protestant power and government will be preferved.

The Right Hon. the Provoft of Trinity College. I declare that I have never heard any fpeech from the throne, one excepted, which has given me fo much fatisfaction as the prefent. I alude to that part of it, in which his excellency has mentioned that he had it in particular command from his majefty, to recommend fuch measures as may be most likely to cement a general union of fentiment among all claffes and defcriptions of his majefty's fubjects, and a ferious attention to the fituation of his majefty's Catholic fubjects with wifdom and liberality. I think this part of the fpeech reflected the highest honour on the fovereign, the minifters in whom he confides, and the lord lieutenant who delivered it; I confider it as the harbinger of peace and of liberty, the cement of our fociety and the union of four millions of men into one nation.

The exception to which I intend to allude was the fpeech of 1782, delivered by one of the most revered characters in Britain, and one of the most


amiable men upon earth, which declared the freedom and independence of our legislature. I confider this speech as a fequel to that, and that a free legiflature implied the freedom of its object, and of all bodies of men for which it was to legiflate. The right hon. patron of that meafure (Mr. Grattan) never intended to exclude from the benefit of it, three-fourths of his fellow fubjects. With what juftice could we have complained of the injuftice of binding us by the acts of a legiflature where we were not reprefented, if we were determined to perfevere in exerting that power ourfelves? Such countries alone are worthy of liberty as are ready to diffuse it for the happiness of mankind; thofe of a contrary defcription are unworthy of that bleffing, and will not keep it long; union could only be effected by repealing thofe laws which were complained of, by a great 'majority of our people as injurious to their common law rights; among thofe laws I confider the act of the ift of the late king, excluding the Roman Catholics from voting for members to fit in parliament.

I think the legislature had no power to make fuch a law. Thofe perfons were part of the con-. ftituents who had elected the Houfe of Commons, who concurred in making it, and one of their firft acts was to exclude from the right of the election, part of those conftituents by whom they were elected, and whofe reprefentatives they were; nor had they any right to deprive their fovereign of the affiftance of a majority of his fubjects of the exercife of this franchife I affirm this to be. unjuft, and declare, that in my opinion no conftitution could be happy, or deferve to be fo, which was founded in an act of flagrant injuftice.


The proceedings in 1782 were a renovation of the old conftitution of Ireland, to which the Roman Catholics, as well as the Proteftants were entitled; and that exclufion was more fevere against the Catholics, becaufe the benefits obtained in the yera 1782, particularly the independence of the legiflature,, and the repeal of Poyning's law, were what the Catholics contended for in the years 1743 and 1788.

No man disapproves more warmly than I do, of the means then used for the acquifition of those objects; but these were proofs that this clafs of men were lovers of liberty, and friends to the conftitution of their country, from the benefit of which they ought not to be excluded. With a Proteftant King, and a Protestant House of Lords and Commons, I think neither the church nor the state will be in danger. I am convinced, it will be found fo in experience, and that the world would be hereafter furprized, that any difficulty had been made in reftoring them to the rights of franchise. I remember all the ftruggles that had been made for the laft thirty years, for the emancipation of the Catholics.

In every one of thofe inftances great alarms. were raifed throughout the kingdom, and it was boldly afferted that thofe innovations, as they . were then called, would fubvert the Proteftant government and Proteftant religion. But what was the fact? Not one of thofe laws, against which a clamour had been raised, has ever proved in the smallest degree prejudicial to either. The firft of those attempts was to allow them to extend lands by eligit, or in other words, to allow those people to make use of the fame benefits for reco

very of their juft debts, that other fubjects were intitled to. The bill however, after the most violent oppofition, paffed both Houfes of Parliament, but upon a reprefentation to Lord Hardwick, who had been Lord Chancellor, that the law would be be prejudicial to the Proteftant religion, and to the connection between the two kingdoms, the bill was stopped in England.

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It is but justice to the memory of that noble earl to fay, that the fubject was afterwards explained to him, that he was concerned for what he had done, and promised his affiftance if the bill should be again tranfmitted. The Catholics were very much alarmed at this disappointment, but were then affured that they had this right by common law, and that no act of parliament had deprived them of it. The question was afterwards brought before Lord Lifford, who expreffed his furprize that any doubt could have been ever entertained of their right to iffue eligits; and yet this fubject had been confidered in parliament as, of a moft alarming nature, and as highly prejudicial to the church as well as to the ftate in Ireland. The next attempt was to allow them to take mortgages. The object of the bill for that purpofe was founded on the cleareft principles-for the benefit of Proteftants, to enable them to borrow money at moderate intereft, and that the Catholics fhould give the best fecurity for their good behaviour, by lending their money on lands. This bill, after great oppofition, paffed the Houfe of Commons, but was rejected by the Lords.

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The act giving them liberty to purchase the inheritance of lands, raifed a great outcry; it was altered in the commons to a liberty to take leafes.


for 999 years, at a renewal rent; and passed in that form with great difficulty.-The Catholics were dejected; but were affured, as the reverfion would be no advantage to the Proteftant feller, and as the term for years would not bring fo much money to him as the fale of the inheritance; that all persons would be agreed, on the experience of thofe facts, to give them liberty to purchase inheritances.

Such was the event; and thofe laws which were reprefented as highly injurious to the Proteftant intereft and religion, have never been attended. with any prejudice to either. By investing their money in these purchases, the Catholics gave to the ftate and to the kingdom, the beft poffible fecurity for their attachment to both. When we look back on thofe tranfactions it is inconceivable how it could have entered into the heart of man to object to any of those measures, or that any understanding could be fo weak as to be impreffed by fuch objections.

But those prejudices have not been confined to this body of men only. When any relief has been attempted to any religious fect, it was clamoured against as an innovation injurious to the Proteftant intereft. We all remember the numerous publications against the repeal of the facramental teft, in fupport of which I have encountered very ftrong oppofition. The act for confirming the marriage of diffenters by their own clergy has been alfo very ftrongly oppofed, and predictions of the most fatal confequences were made; but what has been the event? Has any one inconvenience been felt by any of thofe laws in any part of this kingdom? I think not, and mention these feveral inftances as cautions to gentlemen not to fuffer their minds to be impreffed by any ill confe

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