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our glory. The objects for which we are contending are sufficient to rơuse the energies of every one who is sensible of their value. But can we expect that the catholics will make the sacrifices for which we call upon them, unless they are cordially attached to the constitution, unless this attachment is founded upon an equal participation of its benefits, and unless they are alive to those feelings of pride which arise from every man's being equal in the face of the law? These are the grounds on which I propose that the obnoxious restrictions shall be removed. I hope that I have not argued the case with any improper vehemence, and that I have not departed from that tone of temperance and moderation which I proposed to observe in setting out, and with which it is my wish that the present question may on both sides be discussed. Should your lord ships concur in the motion which I shall have the hos nour to submit to
will contribute much to the safety of the empire, by uniting and knitting together the hearts of all descriptions of people. If it is your lordships' opinion that it would be going too far to grant the prayer of the petition to its full extent, I hope that you will at least manifest a disposition to lend a favourable ear to the petitioners, by going into a come mittee upon the subject. At all events, the discussion, if conducted with temper, may be productive of bencfit. I am most happy that the catholics of Ireland have applied for redress to the parliament of the United Kingdom, and I trust they will coincide with me in the opi. nion which I confidently entertain, that the period is at no great distance when their application will be successful. It is no small satisfaction to observe, that the hostility which was formerly felt to their claims is in some quarters decaying; and the probability is, that cre long it will be altogether extinguished. What I am now about to add, it is unecessary for me to address to the respectable characters whose names I see at the top of the list of subscribers to the petitions, but I wish I could be heard by the whole population of Ireland. I hope they will continue to look for the gratification of their wishes to the United parliament, socure ibat in the end they will not be disappointed. For if they are foolish enough to turn their eyes to another quarter, and to look to France for relief, they may rest assured that not only will they eventually fail of attaining their object, bu! they will bring upon
themselves a train of the heaviest calamities that any na. tion ever suffered. Let thein view the states of the con. tinent, crushed into one mass of oppression, subjected to one common yoke, and groaning under a tyranny far more merciless than the world ever witnessed, rendering the situation of each individual state ten times worse than that of the worst governed coun!ry in Europe previous to the French revolution; and let them reflect, that there is not one of these nations whose sufferings are not light as a feather in comparison with those which would be inflicted upon them, were they once to fall into the power of France. Religious persecution, commercial ruin, and political degradation, would be accumulated upon them, their hopes would be extinguished, and their pr spects shut up for ever In order to save the country from these calami. ties, union is of all things to be recommended. This union it is certainly the duty of the legislature to promote; but it may be promoted still more effectually by a conviction that every individual, however low his rank and however obscure bis situation in society, is as much interested in the safety of the whole as the opulent and the powerful; and therefore wha ever may be the decision of this evening, I hope it will have no effect in discouraging any class of men from employing their utmost exertions to defeat the purposes and resist the attacks of the common enemy. I shall now conclude, my lords, with moving, that your lordships may go into a committee to take into consideration the petitions of the Roman-ca. tholics of Ireland.
Viscount Sidmouth began by observing, that he was not inclined to lay much stress upon that part of his noble friend's speech, which alluded to the period at which the present momentous question was again submitted to the deliberation of parliament; because he did frankly acknowledge, that his mind was not capable of imagining a time at which it would be right and expedient to accede to he claims of the cathulics of Ireland : at the same time he would take occasion to observe, that were he in the number of those who approved of the claims of that body, he should yet totally disapprove of their urging such.claims at such a crisis as the present. He thought the very time injurious to their object; for pressing such claims at such a crisis, and particularly too when they could not have been ignorant of the success of such an application, was enough to excite a general suspicion of the purity of the motives of the petitioners themselves; at the same time he wished it to be distincily understood, that he was far from supposing that if such suspicion was entertained, it would be warranted. He thought otherwise, and had every reliance on their zeal, loyalty, and public spirit. But still coming forward at such a time, did look something like a stipulation, as if a sailor or soldier was to bargain for the discharge of his duty by claiming certain privileges. With respect to the petition itself, there had been too much said to identify its ohject with the wishes of the Irish people: yet what was on the face of the petition? Three millions of people carnestly soliciting that two or more of their body might be privileged to sit in that house? It was no such thing; it was nominally the catholic body claiming general privilegss. But it was in reality a few individuals, claiming in their name objects of private ambition ; and therefore did he think the object of the petition narrow, selfish, and circumscribed. If their real wish was to relieve the present abject condition of their countryinen, let them try to emancipate them from the real evils that oppress them; let them endeavour to emancipate their peasantry, whether protestant or catholic, from the boudage of ignorance; and let them exert themselves particularly to emancipate the catholics from the bondage of bigotry. Such was the emancipation that country really stood in need of; and until that sort of emancipation had first taken place, we deceived ourselves grossly if we imagined that we could, by any concessions of the nature now demanded, create that identity and sympatlıy with the cause of England, which was so desirable in a crisis like the present, and which the late unhappy rebellion proved it would not be very practicable to inspire. Civilization was the great bond of society, and in the order of things in this country, religion was identified with the principles of the constitution; the safety of the one secured the other, and what Lazarded either was a danger conimon to both. History proved this; in the rebellion of Cromwell, the church must be assailed before the state could be beaten down, and democracy reared upon its ruins. In the same manner in the reign of the second James we found arbitrary power seconded by popery, and indeed in all ages popery had been the band. maid of tyranny. Such melancholy facts gave rise to the policy that found it necessary to establish certain barriers for the safety of the church. His noble friend had asserted, that the penal code was directed against the house of Stuart. He begged leave to deny that position, and insisted that it was directed rather against the principles which had so wholly influenced the conduct of that un. fortunate family, and to the noble resistance then made to such conduct, and to which we at present owe the enjoyment of our rights. But it had been objected, that the opinions that gave rise to the penal laws had long since ceased to exist. He could wish for better evidence of this than mere assertion, but he feared the evidence was all on one side ; in the last speech of the late earl of Clare to the Irish parliament, that noble lord stated, that there were then holding in the very heart of the country several consistorial courts, sitting by virtue of a papal commission, and under papal authority; and yet were we gravely to be told of the catholics denying foreign influence and interference? He was unwilling to recur to old topics of dissension, but when he was asked to put the power of the country into such hands, he could not avoid recurring to past times. He could not forget the rebellion of 1645, or the year 1689. He was aware such retrospection might be offensive to the generous feelings of many of his hearers; but the question itself opened the page of history, and he could not shut his eyes; he must see what was there recorded, and take the prudent lesson it afforded. Something had been said of the dangerous consequences that might result from the rejection of the present claims. He would himself stand forward and vindicate the catholic body from such an insinuation, and he was confident, that when the day of trial did come, they would not be found wanting ; but if he was deceived, if they were such a set of men as to desert the cause in which they were engaged on account of the refusal of their claims, would any man say, that such men were fit to be entrusted with power? When Poland became a republic, the grand object at that time was to preserve it by an intimate union with the grand duchy of Lithuania : one seventh of the inhabitants were catholics; it was determined to conciliate them by every possible means, and accordingly all the powers of ibe state were made accessible to all christians of whatever persuasion; this boon was extended to the catholics in the year 1572, and in 1660 the protestants were reduced to solicit from them what they had before gratuitously conferred. It had been pretended, the pope had no temporal supremacy; it was admitted, however, he had spiritual ; and in his experience, whether of nien or books, he never could make out the difference, or understood that there was in fact any diffrence between them. Acquiescing in the present claims, would be taking a step blindly and in the dark. Their lordships could not divi e whit wonld be the result or what the machinations of a designing priesthood. James the Second, notwithstanding his many and great defects, was generally admitted to be a man of conscientious scruples ; and yet, after a solemn declaration of his intention to preserve the protestant church in violate, he was persuadel by a priest to wave his oath, and enter upon those measures of exclusion and intolerance, which ended in the perpetual exclusion of him and his descendants from the throne of these realms. Another objection he had was, that he did not think that even were the present claims .complied with, the catholics would stop here. They had been told in 1793, that if what was then asked was acceded to, the catholics would sit down satisfied and grateful. The many claims since made were a proof how far they had done so. He still thought the object of the petitions selffish and confined, and asked what advantage was likely to result froin lords Kenmare and Fingal having seats in that house. Their real misery was not the deprivation of those lords ; by the ignorance and bigotry in which they had been brought up, they looked exclusively to their priests; and this, generally speaking, was productive of no good consequences. And here he thought that government would act wisely if they relieved the peasantry from the double burden of paying their own and our clergy. The clergy of the Irish church should have every where such ad establishment as would teach the lower orders to look up to them with respect; but in what state did that es. tablishment at present appear to be? Out of 2000 benefices, there were not more than 1000 glebe hones; nay not so much. (lere Lord Grenville rose to correct the statement of the noble viscount. He said it was even worse than his lordsbip bad represented it; for there were 3000 parisles, not 2000 bencfices, and not one half the number of glebe houses.) Lord Sidmouth resumed, with asking Vor. Ill,--1803.