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any apprehension of hazard to the most timorous politicians, I am, &c. &c. J. T. * Dublin, Nov. 1, 1804.
STATE OF I R EL A. N. D. Sir, –In my last letter (see p. 673,) I pointed out the necessity of the Catholics of Ireland applying to Parliament for redress of their grievances. I shall now endeavour to prove, that the admission of them into Parliament cannot be attended with any danger to the constitution. By the act of Union, the constitution of Ireland is ipso facto the constitution of Great Britain; and, as it is on all sides agreed, that this constitution was established by Magna Charta, and confirmed by the Bill of Rights, it only is to be consiered, with reference to these two great palladia of liberty, whether, in discussing the claims of the Irish Catholics, or the claims of any other portion of his Majesty's subjects. As the Parliaments of these realms were composed entirely of Catholic members, from their first institution until the introduction of the Protestant religion, and of both Catholics and Protestants for a considerable period after the reformation; the enjoyment, by the Catholics, of the franchises of sitting in Parliament is clearly a right granted by Magna Charta, and acknowledged under the reign of Protestant Kings. In what manter, then, did the exclusion of them from Parliament occur : By certain Acts of Parliament, passed by the powerful influence of the Protestant party, and upon no other principles than those of party and of bigotry. But, even admitting that the virulence of the Catholic religion, and the political power and views of the See of Rome, rendered the exclusion of the Catholics necessary to preserve the constitution ; it will be necessary to prove, in order to justify the continuance of the exclusion, that the cause which first rendered it requisite still continues to exist. Mr. Burke says, “ they who are excluded “ from votes (under proper qualification in“ herent in the constitution that gives them) “ are excluded from the British constitu“tion." (Letter to Sir H. Langrishe, p. 15.) And surely, they who are excluded from sitting in Parliament, are equally excluded from the constitution: yet, the only answer that can be made to the question why Catholics should suffer this grievance, is, because the Parliament about two centuries ago, apprehended that the liberties of these realms might be destroyed by the influence of the Pope 1 So that, because the Pope issued a Buli against Henry VIII. and, because the iguorance and superstition of
those days rendered the ** religion
the constitution was justifiable by circum
stances, to continue the infraction must be unjust, if the circumstances are totally altered. That the circumstances of Great Britain and those of Ireland, in respect to the Catholic question, are not only altered, but have undergone a complete revolution, is a notorious and incontrovertible fact, Why, therefore, should not the spirit of the constitution operate, or should the Catholic continue to be suspected of disloyalty to his King, or the power be afforded him of feel. ing just cause of complaint at being excluded from his constitutional franchises But the restoration of these franchises to the Catho' lics is not only become essential, because of this entire alteration in the state of the political circumstances of these realms, but in consequence of as great a revolution in the sentiments and principles of the followers of the Catholic religion. In proof of this position, we have the opinions of the sacred fa. culty of divinity of Paris, of the Universitie; of Douay, Louvain, Alcala, Salamanca, and Valladolid, given in 1788, in answer to the Queries of Mr. Pitt. They expressly deny that the Pope, or the Cardinals, or any body of men, or any other person of the Church of Rome, hath any civil authority, civil power, civil jurisdiction, or civil pre-eminent” whatsoever in any kingdom; or that they, or any of them, can absolve or free the subjects of the King of England from their oath of allegiance. (Vide. Letter of Lord Petre," the fishop of St. David's; and other work) In the declaration and protestation of the English Catholics, made in 1789, and sign by 1500 of the chief Catbotics in the king; dom, by all the lords and gentlemen, on 200 of the Catholic clergy, is the following exposition of their sentiments on the * subject.——“ We solemnly declare, that “ neither the Pope either with or without * “general council, nor any prelate, nor */ “ priest, nor any assembly of prelate: ot “ priests, nor any ecclesiastical power Y. “soever, can absolve the subjects of "
“ rectly or indirectly affect or interfere with ,
“ the independence, sovereignty, laws, con** stitution or government thereof; or the “ rights, liberties, persons or properties of “ the people of the said realm, or of any of “ them save only and except by the autho** rity of Parliament, and that such an as“ sumption of power would be an usurpa“ tion. We do solemnly declare, that nei“ ther the pope, nor any prelate, nor any priest, nor any assembly of prelates or “ priests, nor any ecclesiastical power what“ soever, can absolve us or any of us fom, “ or dispense with the obligation of any “ compact or oath whatsoever.”—In respect to the Catholics of Ireland, the following declaration which was adopted by the general committee in 1792, and subscribed by the whole body, is so ample and satisfactory a document of their religious and political sentiments, one of so great importance to the question of emancipation, and so very applicable to the present state of things, that I cannot refrain from inserting an exact copy of it.—“Whereas certain opinions and “ principles inimical to good order and go** vernment, have been attributed to the Ca“ tholics, the existence of which we utterly “ deny; and, whereas it is at this time pe. “ culiarly necessary to renounce such im“ putations, and to give the most full and “ample satisfaction to our Protestant bre“ thren. We hold no principal whatsoever “incompatible with our duty as men, or as “subjects, or repugnant to liberty, whether “ political, civil, or religious. Now we, “ the Catholics of Ireland, for the removal “ of all such imputations, and in deference “ to the opinion of many respectable bodies “ of men and individuals, annong our Protestant brethren, do hereby, in the face of “our country, of all Europe, and before * God, make this our deliberate and solemn “ declaration.—-I. We abjure, disavow, “ and condemn the opinion, that princes ex“ communicated by the pope and council, “ or by any prelate, or priest, or any eccle“siastical power whatsoever, can absolve the “...subjects of this kingdom, or any of them * from their allegiance to his Majesty King “George the III who is by authority of Par
liament the lawful King of these realms. —II. We abjure, condemn, and detest as impious, the principle that it is lawful to murder, destroy, or any way to injure any person whatsoever, for or under the pretext of their being hereticks; and we declare solemnly and before God, that we believe that no act in itself unjust, immoral, or wicked, can ever be justified by or under pretence or colour, that it was done either for the good of the Church, or in obedience to any ecclesiastical power whatsoever.—Il I. We further declare, that we hold it an unchristian and impious principle ‘ that no faith is to be kept with hereticks,' this doctrine we detest and reprobate not only as contrary to our religion, but destructive of morality, of society, and even of common honesty; and it is our firm belief that an oath made to any person not of the Catholic religion, is equally binding as if it were made to any Catholic whatsoever.—IV. We have been charged with holding it as an article of our belief, that the pope with or without the authority of a general council, or that certain ecclesiastical powers can acquit and absolve us before God from our oath of allegiance, or even from the just oaths and contracts entered into between mån and man. Now we do utterly renounce, abjure, and deny, that we hold or maintain any such belief as being contrary to the peace and happiness of society, inconsistent with morality, and above al", re. , pugnant to the true spirit of the Catholic religion —V. We do further declare, that we do not believe that the pope of Rome, or any other foreign prince, prelate, state, or potentate, hath or ought to have any temporal or civil jurisdiction, power, superiority, or pre-eminence, directly or indirectly within this realm.——WI. After what we have renounced it is immaterial in a political light, what may be our opinion or faith in other points respecting the pope. However, for greater satisfaction, we declare that it is not an article of the Catholic faith, neither are we thereby required to believe or profess that the “ pope is infallible,” or that we are bound to obey any order in its own nature immoral, though the pope or any ecclesiastical power should issue or direct such order, but, on the contrary, we hold that it would be sinful in us to pay any respect or obedience thereto.—VII. We further declare, that we do not believe that any sin whatsoever committed by us can be forgiven at the mere will of the pope, or of any priest, or of any person or persons
** whatsbever, but thot sincere sorrow for
“past sins, a firm and sincere resolution as *
neighbours property and character, if we trespassed or unjustly injured either; a firm and sincere resolution to avoid future guilt, and to atone to God, are previous and indispensable-requisites to establish a well founded, expectation of forgiveness, and that any person who receives absolution without these previous requisites, so far from obtaining thereby any remission of his sins, incurs the additional guilt of violating a sacrament.— .VIII. We do hereby solemnly disclaim, and for ever renounce all interest in and title to all forfeited lands, resulting from any rights or supposed rights of our ancestors, or any claim, title, or interest therein, nor do we admit any title as foundation of right, which is not established and acknowledged by the laws of the realm as they now stand. We desire further, that whenever the patriotism, liberality, and justice of our countrymen shall restore to us a participation in the elective franchise, no Catholic shall be permitted to vote at any election for members to serve in Parliament, unless he shall previously take an oath to defend to the utmost of his power the arrangement of property in this country, as established by the different acts of attainder and settle. ment.—IX. It has been objected to us that we wish to subvert the present Church establishment, for the purpose of substituting a Catholic establishment in its stead. Now, we do hereby disclaim, disavow, and solemnly abjure any such intention, and further, if we shall be admitted into “any share of the constitution, by our being “ restored to the right of elective franchise, “we are ready, in the most solemn manner, “ to declare that we will not exercise that “ privilege to disturb or weaken the esta
“ blishment of the Protestant religion, and
“Protestant government of the country.” (Vindication of the Catholics, published by the General Committee, p. 27.) From these premises, Mr. Cobbett, we are enabled to argue, that whatever reason there might exist for disqualifying the Catholics from sitting in Parliament, that there does not now remain the smallest vestige of those circumstances, and those doctrines, which render the political power of the Catholic body obnoxious to their Protestant brethren. In regard to Ireland, the Union has placed the policy of concession beyond all the objections which were formerly made to it, and the Puulic declaration of the Catho
far as may be in our power to restore our.
lics herein quoted, should put to rest all those very unfounded, and very illiberal imputations which are so frequently cast upon them. It should no longer be the reproach of the days in which we live, that threefourths of our follow subjects in Ireland, and a great number of them in England are actually excluded from the constitution. The original secure, and uninterrupted enjoy. ment of it by all classes of the community, as formerly intended, and for a long tinie experienced, should be restored to every inhabitant of these realms, and those laws which ordain a principle so repugnant to the
principles of our liberties, the principle of
exclusion, should no longer be permitted to disgrace the whole code. The most timid have no reason to apprehend any danger from such a measure, and every one who can understand the spirit, and appreciate the value of our constitution, must be persectly sotisfied that the restoration of its blessings to all those from whom they have been taken, must increase the numbers of its zealous stipporters; and thus form the best defence of it against the attacks, whether of an internal or external foe. Z. Liverpool, Oct. 24, 1804.
SUMMARY OF POLITICS.
JR 1sh PAPER-Mos Ey.—The first article in the present sheet is a letter from my cot: respondent I. T. upon the subject of Irish paper-money, and in answer to my remark. in p. 665, upon his formerletter, which will be found in p. 623. From that letter, it appeared, that, with a view of relieving Ireland from the evils and dangers attendant upon a depreciated currency, Mr. Fostes, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, had given the Irish Bank Directors a choice of two plans, the former of which was, “for “ the forming of a fund in London, on which the Bank of Ireland might draw, in com: petition with the usual dealers in “” change, and that, for the forming of th: fund, a loan should be made to the Book of Ireland, by the government, to of expense." The other plan had ". contemplation, the making of all Bank of Ireland notes payable in notes of the Bank of England. These plans having been ". jected by the Irish Bank Directors, tho gentlenen were, for such rejection, severely censured by I. T. It now appears that! misunderstood him as to one point. I " garded both the plans as having been P" posed to the Bank Directors by Mr. Foo whereas, the latter was not officially P* posed to them, and was merely a sugges" of the writer, on whose letter 1 was "
menting; but, this mistake, though necessary to be noticed here, is of no importance as to the arguments made use of on either side. --Entertaining opinions different from those of I. T., I thought it necessary to express them, upon the following grounds: It appeared to me, 1... that the plans proposed would not, if adopted, answer any good purPost: ; 2. that the Irish Bank Directors were not the proper persons to blame for the evils attendant on the depreciation of the currency of ireland ; and, 3. that the persons composing what is called the Irish governonent were as little, and even less, blameable for these evils than the Bank Directors were. --- In the present letter, which it is neces. sary to peruse, and which is worthy of a very attentive perusal, I. T. seems to think he must have gotten the better of these my objections, which, indeed, were so briefly stated, that, though they appeared powerful to me, they might, by others, well be regarded as by no means difficult to be over. come; and, if the reasons, which I shall now be able to advance, be thought inade. quate to justify an adherence to the opinions before expressed, I beg him to believe, that this adherence does, in no degree, proceed from a reluctance to acknowledge either his triumph or my own defeat.--—The feasibibility of the plan of a fund in London, whereon, the Irish Bank might draw, in competition with the usual dealers in exchange, was made to rest principally upon a successful example of the Bank of Scotland, by which such a plan, “ under similar circumstances," was formerly adopted. But, of what I. T. means by “ similar circumstances," it were much to be wished that we had been provided with an explanation. That, as far as relates to an exchange constantly against one country, though the degree might differ, the circumstances alluded to were similar, no one can deny. But, it is evident, that, in forming a fund for the purpose of retrieving a losing exchange, much must depend upon the amount of the sums exehanged, which again must depend upon the amount of the quantity of paper that the party on the depreciated side has on float ; and, though I have no document whereon to found a precise statement of the amount of the paper of the Scotch Bank, I think I may venture to say, that, in proportion to the amount of the currency of Great Britain, at that time (about thirtyfive years ago), it was not more than a twentieth part of what the Bank of Ireland Paper now is in proportion to the currency of the United Kingdom, Here, then, is, at the very threshold, a very material dissimi
larity in the circumstances.
Again: when the fund was 'ormed for the relief of Scotland, the Scotch paper had never been at an open discount, much less at a discount of ten per centum. At that time the whole of the paper currency in the kingdom did not, I belieye, amount to more than a sixth or seventh part of the gold in circulation; whereas, now the gold does not amount to more than about a twentieth part as much as the paper does. All pap-r was then, upon demand of the bearer, in-tantly convertible into specie; now, all bonks are by law shel. tered against the effect of such demands. The quantity of paper having become too great in Scotland, the gold would naturally go away; it would inevitably be drawn from the bank, and the exchange would, of course, be turned against Scotland, and to the very great injury of the bank while, on the contrary, no good can, in consequence of an excess of paper issues, be drawn from the Bank of Ireland. Thus, it appears to ine, that all the prominent circumstances of the two cases are entirely dissimilar; and, therefore, until we are furnished with some argument other than that which is founded on the successful experiment of Scotland, in the instance alluded to it seems rather hasty to blame the Irish Bank Directors for declining to adopt the plan proposed to them. ---. To the other plan, that of making Bank of Ireland notes payable in notes of the Bank of England, I still object as hazardous to the property of the people of Great Britain, and, consequently to the internal tranquillity of the country. I expressed, not a deliberate opinion, but a mere conjecture, that this plan would communicate to the less depreciated paper of Great Britain a share of that greater depreciation which the paper of Ireland has experienced. “No," says I. T.
“ the measure could not cause a depreciation
“ of the Bank of England paper, unless it “ operated to augment the quantity of bank “ paper in Great Britain, a circumstance “ impossible. The measure must contribute to diminish the quantity of irish paper, and, as the Irish paper will not come to “ Great Britain, the new market opened for “ the Bank of England paper will have the “ direct effect of restoring the value of this latter.” Why, then, this is not merely a wise measure. That is an appellation that falls very far short of its merits. It will, if this description of its effects be correct, make Bank of England paper equal in value to guineas, and Bank of treland paper equal in value to that of the Bank of England 1 This is no measure of mortal make it is a miracle: or, at the very least, it is the phi
losopher's stone; for it is what we have all been in search of for several years past. If I. T. can make this appear, Napoleon may dismantle his flotilla; for the funding system is immortal. But, in that very circum;
stance which I. T. regards as “impossible," I think I perceive not only a possibility, but . a probability, and, if I were to say a certainty, my words would not outstretch the,
dictates of my mind. From I. T.'s speaking of a “tiew, market" for the English paper-money, by the means of which market its value is to be restored to the old standard, he must necessarily suppose. that, in consequence of the measure making Bank of Ireland paper payable in paper of the Bank of England, no addition would be made to the quantity of the latter; and, thus we have, at last, a schtime for exporting our bank notes To produce much effect in diminishing the quantity of Irish bank paper, there must be a corresponding quantity of English paper exported to Ireland, or, it is clear
that the Bank of Ireland must at once stop. payment, and, in that case, a repeal of the
“rest, iction law," as it is at once gravely and humorously called, would be a preferable measure. How the Bank of Ireland is to obtain English notes where with to answer the demands of the holders of their paper is a question which we need not now discuss; but, if it were to obtain a sufficiency of it, does I. T. think that it would be obtained in consequence of its having been first withdrawn from circulation in England 2 This, I am
sorry to say it, does really appear to be his.
notion. But, surely, a very little time bestowed on reflection must have convinced a person of his understanding, that it is utterly impossible to diminish, in any considerable degree, the quantity of paper now in circulation, without destroying the whole papersystem, of which, when not convertible into specie, a.d especially when connected with a funding system, a consian: increase is the vital princis le. The inconvertibility is produced by a want of specie ; this want instantly produces some degree of depre
ciation in the paper; the depreciation in
the paper raises the price of commodities; the rise in the price of commodities demands a further increase of paper; this fur
ther increase produces a further deprecia
tion; and thus it goes on, and must go on, till put an end to by the total annihilation of the paper, and which annihilation would only be hastened by an attempt to arrest
o How would
Irish Bank paper driven out of circulation,
there, would come to England: that we should pour them some of our strong negus in exchange for some of their weak negus, and that thus our beverage would be of the same quality in both countries. No: I never for one moment imagined that Irish bank notes would get into circulation here. I imagined, and I think 1 was not mistaken, that, in whatever degree the Bank of Ireland should pay in Bank of England notes; in whatever degree the Irish paper should, by this measure, be diminished; in whatever degree the currency of Ireland should, by this means, be restored, and the Irish people relieved; in that same degree proportionately the English paper must be aug": mented, the English currency further degraded, and the people of England further distressed. Why so, seeing that no addition would, from this cause, be made to the amount of the paper circulating in England? The additional paper money made in Threadneedle Street, in consequence of this measure would all go to Ireland, and would, of course, have no more effect on the currency in England, than if it never had been made.—From I. T. in whom I think I can trage the author of a very able performance which appeared about a twelvemonth ago, I should have expected, upo this subject, views, very different indee. from these.' I should have thought that * could never be necessary to remind him. that the influence of an augmentation of the quantity of currency is not confined", the country in which such augmentato" takes place. He must, upon reflect”. perceive, that, if the currency of any " nation of Europe be augmented, it produo"
To lessen the quantity of paper in Eng-.