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ducive to their welfare; and accordingly we shall immediately prepare bills to carry into execution the desires of his majesty's people, and his own most benevolent purposes.
"That, gratified in those particulars, we do assure his majesty, that no constitutional question between the two nations will any longer exist, which can interrupt their harmony; and that Great Britain, as she has approved of our firmness, so may she rely on our affection.
"That we remember and do repeat our determination, to stand and fall with the British nation.
"That we perceive with pleasure the magnanimity of his majesty to disclaim the little policy of making a bargain with his people; and feeling with pride the confidence he reposes in the good faith, generosity and honour of the Irish nation, we answer with all humility, that his majesty entertains a just sense of our character. Common interest—perpetual connexion—the recent conduct of Great Britain—a native affection to the British name and nation, together with the constitution which we have recovered, and the high reputation which we possess, must ever decide the wishes, as well as the interest of Ireland, to perpetuate the harmony, stability, and glory of the empire. Accordingly, we assure his majesty, that we learn with singular satisfaction the account of his brilliant successes in the East and West Indies, gratified at one and the same instant in our dearest wishes, the freedom of Ireland, and glory of Great Britain.
"That we cannot omit expressing our gratitude to his majesty, for appointing the duke of Portland to the government of this kingdom.]
"That we are convinced his representations were faithful, vigorous, and beneficial. We are acquainted with his character, and relying on his upright and frugal administration, make no doubt that a free people, and uncorrupt parliament, will unite to give a constitutional chief governor decided support.
"That we have presumed to lay before his majesty our genuine sentiments on the change of our situation. His majesty will receive them as the voluntary unstipulated tribute of a free and grateful people."
This Address, after some debate, was carried by 211, four only opposing it. No wonder it should; for the objections to it were nugatory. Whatever further could be done for Ireland, might and ought to have been done by the Irish parliament and people, unrestrained, as they now were, by any interference of England.
The exulting temper of the nation was manifested in the remainder of the session of parliament, and the Addresses of the Volunteers. Fifty thousand pounds was voted to Mr. Grattan, for his patriotic exertions, and £ 100,000, to raise seamen. The Habeas Corpus act was enacted; the Sacramental Test abolished; the Judges rendered independent; the Mutiny-bill limited; Poyning's law repealed; the Bank of Ireland established, but with an illiberality, as surprising as unjust, amid the triumphs of Ire
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land, for no catholic was allowed to fill the humblest station in it. The unrepealed English laws, affecting Ireland, received the sanction of the Irish legislature; by which the catholics were first deprived of seats in parliament, by an Irish statute. A bill, for the further relief of Roman Catholics, also received the royal assent. By it, they were enabled to purchase or take by grant, limitation, descent or devise, lands, tenements, or hereditaments, and dispose of them by will or otherwise, descendable, deviseable and transferable, as the lands of Protestants. The penalties for being present at, or celebrating mass; for keeping a horse above five pounds value; compelling them to make good losses sustained by the depredations of privateers; and the prohibitions of inhabiting the city and suburbs of Limerick; of being schoolmasters, or private tutors, were repealed. The guardianship, care and tuition of their children, was restored to them. This bill was introduced by Mr. Gardiner (lord Mountjoy), and ably supported by Mr.Walshe, Mr.Grattan, Mr. Forbes, Sir Hercules Langrishe, and Major Hely Hutchinson, whose opinions, at this day, are interesting.
Mr.Gardiner observed, that as the penal laws then stood, it was impossible for any man, who had not the statute-book by rote, to know exactly what disqualifications catholics laboured under; he therefore wished to have this single law relative to them, that their rights and their incapacities being exactly defined therein, they might upon every occasion resort to it, for the governmeat of their conduct. It had been said, that papists were safe from penal laws, so long as the generous and merciful disposition of their countrymen disdained to put them into execution; but no law ought to remain on the statutebook, which was not executed; if it was too bad to be executed, it ought to be expunged. He divided the indulgence, which he thought ought to be granted to Roman Catholics, into five heads: the first, respecting their enjoyment of property; the second, the free exercise of religion; the third, regarded their education; the fourth, marriage; and the fifth, self-defence. He then proceeded to consider the clauses empowering Roman Catholics to take, purchase, and enjoy. To this it was proposed by other members to add, "to have, hold, and inherit estates in fee-simple, except advowsons, and lands to which a right of making seneschals was annexed, or any burgage or borough-right, by which members might be returned to serve in parliament."
Mr.Walshe. The subject now before the committee is, in my opinion, of the first magnitude; it is a subject of the very last importance to this country, and merits a very serious discussion indeed. The question now is, whether Ireland shall stand as a powerful, as a respectable, and as a flourishing kingdom, in the eyes of all the world; or whether we shall continue in our present impotent and impoverished situation; distracted and divided among ourselves, with at least two millions of our countrymen and fellowsubjects living in a state of absolute vassalage, incapacitated from serving themselves, or from serving their country.
The bill on your table is, for the relief of your majesty's Roman catholic subjects of Ireland. I think I may then say, with propriety, that it is a bill for the relief of at least two millions of our countrymen, loyal to the constitution, and loyal to the prince. They have proved themselves such, on some very trying and recent occasions. For I will not go back to Magna Charta, to enquire what religion the barons were of, who won that great charter of our liberties—those barons, who won that constitution, which is at once the envy and admiration of the world—let it be for the gentlemen who oppose the bill to say, that they were not Roman catholics. I cannot conceive upon what principle of sound policy, or upon what idea of constitutional liberty, the present heads of a bill can possibly be opposed.
These heads of a bill tend to a repeal of the popery-laws of this kingdom; a code of laws, I am bold to say, the most sanguinary, the most persecuting, that ever appeared in the statute books of any free country; a code of laws, the very existence of which, at this day, is, in my opinion, a reproach to the good sense of parliament.
These heads of a bill look to this great object, that of uniting in cordial affection, and in interest, all classes and all denominations of men in this country. This bill wishes, that every individual in this kingdom should be interested in its