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finest energies. Liberty must beenjoyed in whole, not in part; she must shine with a full orb, and her least obscuration was scarcely less felt than her total eclipse. Every good is great or little from comparison; relative depression is, therefore, slavery—protestant ascendancy is catholic misery. What, then, it might be asked, did the catholics want? he would answer in one word— Liberty: what many of the most brilliant characters of antiquity had died for, and without which no honorable man would wish to live. He would be understood to mean, however, only that chastised liberty, which was founded on, and regulated by law; not that political mania, which had so strongly seized a neighbouring country, and produced there such melancholy effects. He refuted the assertion, that the catholics should be admitted to the elective franchise, agreeably to the principles of the constitution; but that they ought to be excluded from the senate. The constitution, he showed, required, that they should be admitted as well to the one as to the other. The duties of parliament required all the wisdom, all the talents, and all the integrity of the land; what then could be said of a law, which excluded three-fourths of that wisdom, integrity and ability, from the senate house? He did not allude to their numbers by way of intimidation; it was an argument to their pity and to their justice, not to their fears. In a good cause, no number would be too great to contend with; but surely three millions of men were too, too many to be excluded from the benefits of freemen. If the clause proposed was rejected, the bill would confer nothing but a conge d'elire, and would be alike insulting to the catholics and protectants. The house could not grant what would give union, if they did not grant all the privileges of the constitution. To assert they could, would be to contravene the first principles of reason; but let them place the catholics on equal ground with their fellow-subjects, and then nothing internal nor external could injure the peace or the security of the country. The adoption of the clause would raise the country to rank, splendour and dignity, among nations." This was more than the minister chose to effect: the detaching the catholics from the friends of reform, was the object of bis concessions. The clause was resisted, and negatived by a majority of 96, 69 voting for it, and 163 against it.
In the debate of the 27th, the bill was violently opposed by the ascendancy phalanx, and several fruitless attempts made, to limit the elective franchise. On the 7th of March, the bill was read a third time, passed, and ordered to the lords.
During its progress through the house of lords, few alterations were made in it; but the loyalty of the catholic body was acknowledged. Lord Portarlington said, he was one of the committee lately appointed by their lordships to enquire into certain alarming events of late prevalent in this country, and if he was not fully convinced, that the catholic body had no concern whatever in the disturbances created by some of their communion in the north, he should never give to this bill the support he now gave it, by voting for its committal. On the 20th of March, the bill was read a third time, passed, and returned to the commons; and on the 9th of April received the royal assent. The state of the catholics since remaining unchanged, the perusal of this act will make the reader acquainted with the extent of the relief it conveyed, and the qualifications necessary for obtaining such relief.
"Whereas various acts of parliament have been passed, imposing on his Majesty's subjects professing the Roman Catholic religion, many restraints and disabilities, to which other subjects of this realm are not liable; and from the peaceable and loyal demeanour of his Majesty's Popish or Roman Catholic subjects, it is fit that such restraints and disabilities shall be discontinued: be it therefore enacted, by the king's most excellent majesty, &c. that his Majesty's subjects, being Papists, or persons professing the Popish or Roman Catholic religion, or educating any of their children in that religion, shall not be liable or subject to any penalties, forfeitures, disabilities, or incapacities, or to any laws for the limitation, charging or discovering of their estates and property, real or personal, or touching the acquiring of property or securities effecting property; save such as his Majesty's subjects of the Protestant religion are liable and subject to; and that such parts of all oaths as are required to be taken by persons in order to qualify themselves for voting at elections of members to serve in parliament; and also such parts of all oaths required to be taken by persons voting at elections for members to serve in parliament, as import to deny that the person taking the same is a Papist, or married to a Papist, or edu. cates his children in the Popish religion, shall not hereafter be required to be taken by any voter, but shall be omitted by the person administering the same; and that it shall not be necessary, in order to entitle a Papist, or person professing the Popish or Roman Catholic religion, to vote at an election pf members to serve in parliament, that he should at, or pre* vious to his voting, take the oaths of allegiance and abjuration, any statute now in force to the contrary of any of the said matters in any wise notwithstanding.
"If. Provided always, and be it further enacted, that all Papists or persons professing the Popish or Roman Catholic religion, who m.iy claim to have a right of voting for members to serve in parliament, or of voting for magistrates in any city, town corporate, or borough, within this kingdom, be hereby required to perform all qualifications, registries, and other requisites, which are now required of his Majesty's Protestant subjects, in like cases, by any law or laws now of force in this kingdom, save and except such oaths and parts of oaths as are herein before excepted.
"III. And provided always, that nothing herein before contained shall extend, or be construed to extend to repeal or alter any law or act of parliament now in force, by which certain qualifications are required to be performed by persons enjoying any offices or places of trust under his Majesty, his heirs and successors, other than as herein after is enacted.
"IV. Provided also, that nothing herein contained shall extend, or be construed to extend to give Papists, or persons professing the Popish religion, a right to vote at any parish vestry, for levying of money to rebuild or repair any parish church, or respecting the demising or disposal of the income of any estate belonging to any church or parish, or for the salary of the parish clerk, or at the election of any church. warden.
(£ V. Provided always, that nothing contained in this act shall extend to, or be construed to affect any action or suit now depending, which shall have been brought or instituted previous to the commencement of this session of parliament."VI. Provided also, that nothing herein contained shall extend to authorize any Papist, or person professing the Popish or Roman Catholic religion, to have or keep in his hands or possession, any arms, armour, ammunition, or any warlike stores, sword-blades, barrels, locks, or stocks of guns, or fire-arms, or to exempt such person from any forfei. ture, or penalty inflicted by any act respecting arms, armour, or ammunition, in the hands or possession of any Papist, or respecting Papists having or keeping such warlike stores, Jftve and except Papists, or persons of the Roman Catholic religion, seized of a freehold estate of one hundred pounds a year, or possessed of a personal estate of one thousand pounds or upwards, who are hereby authorized to keep arms and ammunition as Protestants now by law may; and also, save and except Papists or Roman Catholics possessing a freehold estate of ten pounds yearly value, and less than one hundred pounds, or a personal estate of three hundred, and less than one thousand pounds, who shall hare at the session of the peace in the county in which they reside, taken the oath of allegiance prescribed to be taken by an act passed in the thirteenth and fourteenth years of his present Majesty's reign, entitled An act to enable his Mqjestg's subjects, of whatever persuasion, to testify their allegiance to him; and also in open court, swear and subscribe an affidavit, that they are possessed of a freehold estate, yielding a clear yearly profit to the person making the same, of ten pounds, or a personal property of three hundred pounds above his just debts, spe. cifying therein the name and nature of such freehold, and nature of such personal property, which affidavits shall be carefully preserved by the clerk of the peace, who shall have for bis trouble a fee of six-pence, and no more, for every such affidavit; and the person making such affidavits,and possess. ing such property, may keep and use such arms and ammunition as Protestants may, so long as they shall respectively possess a property of the annual value of ten pounds, and upwards, if freehold, or the value of three hundred pounds, if personal, any statute to the coutrary notwithstanding.
"VII. And be it enacted, that it shall and may be lawful for Papists, or persons professing the Popish or Roman Catholic religion, to hold, exercise, and enjoy all civil and military offices, or places of trust or profit under his Majesty, his heirs, and successors, in this kingdom; and to hold or take degrees, or any professorship in, or be masters, or fellows of any college, to be hereafter founded in this kingdom, pro-' vided that such college shall be a member of the University of Dublin, and shall not be founded exclusively for the education of Papists, or persons professing the Popish or Roman Catholic religiou, uor consist exclusively of masters, fellows, or other persons to be named or elected on the foundation of such college, being persons professing the Popish or Roman Catholic religion, or to hold any office or place of trust in,.