« PreviousContinue »
which were received with the utmost applause throughout the kingdom; and the friends of
« Resolved unanimously, That the independance of Judges is equally essential to the impartial administration of justice in Ireland as in England, and that the refusal or delay of this right to Ireland, makes a distinetion, where there should be no distinction, may excite jealousy where perfect union should prevail, and is in itself unconstitutional and a grievance.
6 Resolved (with eleven dissenting voices only, ) That it is our decided and unalterable determination to seek a redress of these grievances; and we pledge ourselves to each other and to our country, as freeholders, fellow citizens, and men of honour, that we will, at every ens ting election, support those only who have supported us therein, and that we will use every constitutional means to make such our pursuit of redress speedy and effectual.
“ Resolved with one dissenting voice only.) That the Right Honorable and Honorable the Minority in Parliament, who have supported these our constitutional rights, are entitled to our most grateful thanks, and that the annexed address be signed by the Chairman, and published with these resolutions.
66 Resolved unanimously, That four members from each county of the province of Ulster, (eleven to be a quorum) be, and are hereby appointed a committee till next general meeting, to act for the Volunteer corps here represented, and, as occasion shall require, to call general meetings of that province
* Resolved unanimously, That said committee do appoint nine of their members to be a committee in Dublin, in order to communicate with such other Volunteer associations in the other provinces, as may think proper to come to similar resolutions, and to deliberate with them on the most constitutional means of carrying them into effect.
Resolved unanimously, That the committee be, and are hereby instructed to call a general meeting of the province, within twelve months from this day, or in fourteen days after the dissolation of the present Parliament, should such an event sooner take place.
- Resolved unanimously, That the Court of Portugal have acted towards this kingdom (being a part of the British Einpire) in such a manner as to call upon us to deelare, and piedge ourselves to each other, that we will not consume any wine of the growth of Portugal, and that we will, to the utmost extent of our influence, prevent the use of said wive, save and except the wine at present in this kindom, until such time as our exports shall be received in the kingdom of Portugal, as the manufactures of part of the British Empirc.
their country rejoiced at the temper and firmness of their proceedings, and were gratified with that liberal benevolence and toleration, which convinced the Catholic, that the supposed hatred of the Pro. testant of the North existed only in the minds of the malevolent. To divide and conquer had been too long the odious policy of Government; that of Dun. gannon was to unite and be victorious. No 934317)
Within five days after the passing of the Dur. gannon resolutions, when the Roman Catholic Bill was in the committee, Mr. Gardiner, who introduced the Bill, said, "He was happy to find that liberal spirit of toleration which had originated in that House, had so universally diffused itself throughout the whole Kingdom; and he rejoiced,
«Resolved (with two dissenting voices only to this and the following resolution,) That we hold the right of private judgment in religion, to be equally sacred in others as in ourselves.
" Resolved therefore, That as men and as Irishmen; as Christians, and as Protestants; we rejoice in the relaxation of the penal laws against our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, and that we conceive the measure to be fraught with the happiest consequences to the union and prosperity of the inhabitants of Ireland.
To the Right Honorable and Honorable the Minority in both
Houses of Parliament. • “ My Lords and Gentlemen,
« We thank you for your noble and spirited, though hitherto ineffectual efforts, in defence of the great constitutional and commercial rights of your country. Go on :--the almost unanimous voice of the people is with you, and in a free country, the voice of the people must prevail. We know our duty to our Sovereign, and are loyal. We know our duty to ourselves, and are resolved to be free. We seek for our rights, and no more than our rights; and, in so just a pursuit, we should doubt the being of a Providence, if we doubted of success.
Signed by order,
WILLIAM IRVINE, Chairman.
that where ill-nature had supposed prejudices wouki prevail, benevolence was seen to flourish. The delegates at Dungannon had manifested, that the people of the North were as forward to grant toleration, as the Catholics would be to receive it.”
On this occasion Mr. GRATTAN, with a mind as liberal as it was enlightened, always the decided friend of every measure which tended to abolish those political distinctions, which retarded the progress of the country towards civilization and liberty; and seeing the safety of Lreland in the union of its inhabitants, thus spoke :- o w ang but
“Sir, 6I object to any delay which can be given to this clause ; we have already considered the subject on a larger scale, and this is but a part of what the clause originally contained. We have before us the example of England, who four years ago granted Catholics a right of taking land in fee; the question is merely whether we shall give this right or pot, and if we give it, whether it shall be a ecompanied by all its natural advantages. Three years ago, when this question was debated in this House, there was a majority of three against granting Catholics estates in fee, and they were only allowed to take leases of 999 years; the argument then used against granting them the fee, was, that they inight influence elections. It has this day been shewn that they may have as effectual an influence by possessing leases of 999 years, as they can have by possessing the fee; at that time, I do declare, I was somewhat prejadieed against granting Roman Catholics estates in fee, but their conduet since that period has fully convinced me of their true attaehment to this country. When this country had resolved no looger to crouch beneath ihe burthen of oppression that England had laid upon her--when she armed in defence of her rights, and a high spirited people demanded a FREE TRADE, did the Roman Catholics desert their countrymen? No, they were found amongst the foremost. When it was afterwards thought necessary to assert a free constitution, the Roman catholics displayed their public virtee; they did not endeavour to take advantage of your situation; they did not endeavour to make terms for themselves but they entered frankly and heartily into the cause of their country; judging by their own virtue that they might depend upon your generosity for reward But now, after you have obtained a free trade; after the voice of the nation has asserted her independence, they approach this House as humble suppliants, and beg to be admitted to the common rights of men. Upon the occasions I have mentioned, I did earefully observe their actions, and did then determine to support their caase whenever it came before this House; and to bear a strong testimony of the constitutional prin ciples of the Catholic body. Nor should it be mentioned as a reproach to them that they fought under the banner of King James, when we recollect that before they entered the field, they extorted from him a Magna Charta, a British constitution.
“In the reign of Charles II. a committee, consisting of Papists Protestants, and Presbyterians, were sent from this country to prosecute Lord Stafford; we find them perfectly agreeing in the object of their mission; and indeed, when men begin to differ upon principles of religion, it is because they have no other great object to engage their attention; we cannot give the people of Ireland a common faith, but we can give them a common interest.
6 In 1779, when the fleets of Bourbon hovered on our coasts, and the Irish nation roused herself to arms, did the Roman Cathos lies stand aloof? or did they, as might be expected from their oppressed situation, offer assistance to the enemy? No-they poured in subscriptions for the service of their country, or they pressed into the ranks of her glorious Volunteers.
"It has been shewn that this clause grants the Roman Catholies no new power in the state; every argument therefore which goes against this clause, goes against their having leases for 999 years--every argument which goes against their having leases of 999 years, goes against their having any leases at alland every argument which goes against their having property, goes against their having existence in this land.
6 The question is now, whether we shall grant Roman Catholics a power of enjoying estates, or whether we shall be a Protestant settlement or an Irish Nation? Whether we will throw open the gates of the temple of liberty to all our countrymen, or whether we will confine them in bondage by penal laws? So long as the penal code remains, we never can be a GREAT NATION; the penal code is the shell in which the Protestant power has been hatched, and now it has become a bird, it must burst the shell asunder, or perish in it.
« In Holland, where the number of Roman Catholics is comparatively small, the toleration of their religion is an act of mercy to them; but in this country, where they form the great bulk of the inhabitants, it is an act of policy, an act of necessity, an act of incorporation. The question is not, whether we shall shew merey to the Romon Catholics, but whether we shall mould the inhabitants of Ireland into a people ; for so long as we exclude Catholics from natural liberty and the common rights of men, we are not a people ; we may triumph over them, but other nations will
triumph over us. If you love the Roman Catholie, you may be sure of a return from him ; but if you treat him with cruelty, you must always live in fear, conscious that you merit his just resentment: Will you then go down the stream of time, the Roman Catholic sitting by your side, unblessing and unblessed, blasting and blasted ? Or will you take off his chain, that he may take off yours? Will you give him freedom, that he may guard your liberty,
6 In Ireland, as connected with England, the indulgence we wish to give to Catholics can never be injurious to the Protestant religion; that religion is the religion of the State, and will become the religion of Catholics, if severity does not prevent them: Bigotry may survive persecution, but it never can survive toleration. But gentlemen, who speak of the enormities committed by Catholics groaning under a system of penal laws, do not take into account the enlightening and the softening of men's minds by toleration, nor do they consider that as they increase in wealth, they will increase in learning and politeness.
“I give my consent to the clause in its principle, extent, and boldness I give my consent to it as the most likely means of obtaining a victory over the prejudices of Catholics, and over our own-I give my consent to it, because I would not keep two millions of my fellow subjects in a state of slavery; and because, as the mover of the declaration of rights, I should be ashamed of giving freedom to but six hundred thousand of my countryinen, when I could extend it to two millions more.”
The exertions of this distinguished patriot, were not to be relaxed in the cause of his country. Within tho octave of the great civic festival, held at Dungannon, Mr. GRATTAN, as the herald and oracle of his armed couutrymen, once more addressed the House of Commons,
6 After the ample discussion in this House, of the great qnes. tion of right, the 19th of April, 1780, and the universal reprobation the assumption of the British Parliament, to bind this kinzdom, then received, I had been silent on the subject, if that Par. liament had not since that time continued its tyrannical and un. constitutional assumption, by enacting several lairs to bind Ireland, which I have in my hand, as also a proclamation in the Irish Gazette, where the execution of a British statute is eyforced : Measures that evidently shew that the British nation, so far from relinquishing the claim of usurped authority in this kingdom, have