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almost equal to the full contents of Ireland | viction which has, during ages, influenced was forfeited by the rebellions of Desmond the conduct of the parliaments of England and Tyrone in the reigns of Elizabeth and and Ireland, and has guided the actions of James I. and by the rebellions in 1641 and the most eminent men of those countries, 1689. Most of the protestant titles in that and of the mass of the people. For what country are derived under those forfeitures, purpose ? To uproot every thing which has and grants from Elizabeth and James ; the been deemed solemnly sanctified and settled ; Irish acts of settlement and explanation in to unsettle the church, the influence and the reign of Charles II. and grants by Wil- property of the protestants, and to elevate liam and Mary, and the English statutes the members of the Roman catholic persuaof their reign, and that of Queen Anne. sion upon the depression of those of the Roman catholics still settle those estates as protestant. It is supposed, by some perif they were in possession of them, to per- sons, that the length of time which has petuate, to those who are to succeed them, elapsed since making the grants of the forthe idea that those estates had once belonged feited estates, imposes insuperable difficulties to their families, and might be again enjoy- in the way of Roman catholics establishing ed by their descendants, if the claim to their titles ; and that since the relaxing laws them were persevered in, thus to stimulate of 1779 and 1781, Roman catholics have to keeping up the claim. In 1644, the con- acquired so much property under the titles to federate Irish Roman catholics demanded, the forfeited estates, that, in maintaining their " that there should be a revision of all for- own rights, they must defend the titles to feitures, &c. and grants from the crown from the forfeited estates, and that the Roman 1588, (eighty-six years) by a free parlia- catholics have solemnly disciaimed all title ment."--In 1689, a bill passed the parlia- to the forfeited estates. The repeal of the ment of Ireland to repeal the acts of settle- Irish acts of settlement and explanation, ment and explanation. Not many years ago and of the English acts of William III. and maps of the Irish forfeited estates were Anne, relating to forfeited estates, would industriously circulated on the continent, annul all the protestant titles founded on an indication that some important object them, and expose the possessors to all the was looked at for attainment, and that it hazard, uncertainty, litigation, and expense was desirable to conciliate foreign catholic which might be brought upon them by oppotentates, with a view to the success posite claims, whether maintained by true of that project. Since the union it has or by false evidence. Dispossession and ruin been openly avowed, “ that the revolution would be the consequence to individuals; to ‘was an ușurpation, the exclusion of Roman the public, the result would be unsettling catholics from seats in parliament on excess the property and power of the country. The of the power of the legislature, that the old estates of inheritance acquired by Roman Roman catholic proprietors never had of- catholics since the relaxing laws are as yet fended, that the confiscations were unjust, inconsiderable. The religious zeal of Roman and that the present possessors held by usur- catholics holding leases under the forfeited pation, and ought to be dispossessed." Why? titles, would induce them to think that it Truly to produce unanimity, cordiality, and the inheritances were restored to the famiaffection between the several sectaries in Ire- lies of the ancient proprietors, Roman caJand. Thus no length of time and enjoy- tholic tenants, assuming the merit of having ment can sarctify title, no concurrence of aided the restitution, might be sure of ha. circumstances can preclude re-assumption ; ving their leases confirmed by landlords of attainders, acts of parliament, purchases, their own persuasion. Thus neither the settlements, long possession, prescription, inheritance nor the derivative interests would are to be inefficient in giving title. The protect the protestant titles against the varimost solemn'acts of the legislature, and of ous incentives which might combine to decourts of justice, done whilst the transactions feat them. The present laws, aided by a were recent, and the evidence existing, protestant government and protestant constiwhich have been acted upon and enforced tution, do protect them. Any other produring successive ages; titles created under tection would be ineffectual.
Of what avail those acts, and infinitely branched out and would the disclaiming of Roman catholics be diversified for most valuable considerations, if they acquired power to enforce their are now, when the evidence is lost or mis- claims, when they have already, since their laid, to be presumed unfounded, contrary supposed disclaimer, though not yet possessto the light of history and to that con- ed of sufficient power to establish their de
mands, revived their claims to the forfeited tion accordingly assembled in that year : estates? How have their stating specific there never was any doubt that it sat as a objects, as exclusive of all others, in various Roman catholic convention, and it most cer. transactions of the year 1792, prevented un- tainly was the organ for expressing the then qualified demands in 1794, and down to the real objects of the Roman catholics. It represent period ? If the Roman catholics solved that “ the objects of their pursuit were to obtain restitution of the forfeited | were merely admission to the bar, county estates, the country would be ruined. If they magistracies, serving on juries, and voting failed as to that their main object, concili- for members of parliament out of freeholds ation would not be the result of concession. of 201. per annum.” The claims made by This country never can, consistently with the convention extended, in the instances any principle of policy or common sense, of admission to the bar and county magisgive way to the claim of restitution. That tracies, beyond the objects pointed out by is a great object looked at as the result of Byrne's letters of summons; but neither power. Separation then of Ireland from his letters nor the resolution of the convenGreat-Britain would, whilst any expecta- tion in any respect related to the avowed or real tion was entertained of procuring restitu- objects of the conspiracy at that time formed tion, be the only means of obtaining an ob- for the rebellion which took place in 1798 ; ject otherwise unattainable. That expectation nor did they include any claim to the great must be repressed by a prompt and decided offices of the state, or parliamentary repreresistance, demonstrating the determination sentation. The equivocal expression of of the state to direct the whole of its force * catholic emancipation" was not adopted in opposition to the attempt. It has been therein. Those could not have been real said that “ the measure, if adopted, would ingredients in the plan of insurrection then secure the country against future rebellions, formed, nor were they in any respect conconciliate the Roman catholics, and inse- sistent with the nature of that plan, which parably unite them and the protestants.” proposed not merely to alter the constituTo judge of this reasoning it is necessary to tion, but to form an entirely new one.
In advert to the objects which the rebellion of 1792, Sweetman, with some other traitors, 1798, and its off-shoot, that of 1803, look- was a member of the convention ; he took a ed at. And here, my lords, I shall brief- distinguished lead in defending the defenly take a review of some leading facts, ders of that day; but such of the members and of the motives which led to the rebel- of the convention as were loyal looked only lion of 1798, as they have been disclosed to such objects as were within the reach by those who best knew them, the leaders of possible attainment, and such as were of that insurrection. In 1791 the society traitors had separation and independence, of united Irislımen was established ; its ob- not catholic concessions, in contemplation. jects were evidently rebellious ; it aimed at In the same year a petition froni the inhabithe entire overthrow, not merely any ima- tants of Belfast to the house of commons of gined improvement, of the existing consti- Ireland was preferred, praying a repeal of tution. This is demonstrated by a letter all the penal and restrictive statutes against from Tone directed to a person in Bel- Roman catholics ; but it did not state that fast, and containing the resolutions which " the petitioners were Roman catholics." were afterwards (with a small variation) Afterwards, in the same year, a petition adopted in the public declaration of the was presented from the Roman catholics, Dublin society of united Irishmen, upon praying a removal of some of the civil the gth of November 1791 ; in that year incapacities under which they laboured, and
and 1792 the foundation of the rebellion of a restoration to some share in the elective | 1798 was laid. In 1792 Tone published in franchise.” Before the convention broke
favour of independence, and separation of up, it appointed a permanent committee. Ireland from England. In the same year, In 1793 petitions from the Roman Catholics Edward Byrne, an eminent Roman catholic were presented to the house of comnions of priest, issued letters to the several parish Ireland, referring generally to a variety of priests of Ireland, directing that delegates severe and oppressive laws inflicting disshould be elected by their several pa:ishes qualifications. In the same year more was to sit in a Roman catholic convention ; his granted by the parliament of Ireland than letters stated, that “ serving on juries and the Roman catholic resolutions of 1792 had the elective franchise were the objects to be claimed, and the liberality of parliamert discussed by the convention.” The conven- exceeded the full extent of those claims. In
1794 Tone traitorously corresponded withing that event, point out the want of Roman the government of France, and in the catholic representation, or of the right to month of April in that year, the traiterous hold every species of office as grievances consultation in Newgate took place, an in which the rebellion was calculated to revasion of Ireland was then planned, and the dress. Thus. at the first formation of the reasons for it, and to induce the French to plan of rebellion, the Roman Catholics had invade, were digested. Neither catholic re- not made the claims which are now brought presentation, nor the capacity to fill the forward, and at the final execution of that great offices of the state were objects allu- plan the Roman catholic claims were not in ded to, though Tone, who was one of the the contemplation of the conspirators ; in conspirators at that meeting, was an accre- the intermediate steps they were used meredited agent of the Roman catholics : nor was ly as pretexts. In the month of August the establishment of the pope's supremacy, 1798, a report of the committee of the house though Dr. Troy's pastoral letter had been of lords of Ireland stated, that M-Nevin published before that time. In December on his examination said, “ It was not in1794, an address to a nobleman who speedily tended to have any religious establishment, afterwards was sworn in chief governor of and that the mass of the people in Leinster, Ireland was signed by several Roman catho- Munster, and Connaught did not care for lics, and amongst others by Sweetman, reform or catholic representation.” Those M-Nevin, and M'Cormuck, desiring in were the principal Roman catholic provinces. substance the repeal of all laws which re- On the 23d of July 1803 the last rebellion strained Roman catholics from the possession broke out ; it was formed on the same prinof power; thus laying aside the limited ciples as the former rebellion.-Adverting claims contained in Byrne's letters of sum- to the befcre-mentioned chain of facts, and mons, in the resolutions of the convention to the several reports made by the commitin 1792, and in the Roman catholic petition tees of the houses of parliament in Ireland of the same year, and claiming equality in in 1793, 1797, and 1799, it appears, that every respect with the protestants. In April the real objects which the two rebellions 1795, the convention passed its resolution sought to attain, were the annihilation of in favour of Tone : Lewins and M-Nevin tithes ; the lowering of rents; an equal diswere at that time members of it. The tribution of property ; the levelling all the speeches in the convention (as communi- ranks and orders of the state ; separation of cated to the public) breathed separation of Ireland from England; the destruction of Ireland from Great-Britain. At that period the monarchy; and the establishment of a those rebels, who had taken the lead in the democracy on the principles of the late convention, marked its proceedings as em- French republic. The Roman catholic claims bracing the real objects of the plan which were not objects sought by the two rebel- . had been formed for the destruction of the lions : had those claims been formerly cemonarchy : however, this observation does ded, they would not have prevented those not include the Roman catholics in general, rebellions ; were they to be now conceded, nor indeed all of the delegates. Between every motive which led to those rebellions June 1795 and January 1796 a traiterous would still exist to conduce to further recorrespondence was carried on between the bellion. Few of those who were embarked society of united Irishmen and the executive in these rebellions had any interest in estabdirectory of France, to procure an invasion lishing the Roman catholic claims. A pamof Ireland ; and upon the 21st of December phlet published by a late respectable Roma 1796 the invasion was aitempted by Hoche. catholic nobleman suggested that the mis On the 12th of May 1797 a report was made of the people could be little benefited by the by the secret committee of the house of lords adoption of such a measure as that which of Ireland, which states, that “ parliamen-is now proposed, they being already capable tary refurm and Roman catholic emancipa- of every thing which their situations card tion were held out by the united Irishmen entitle them to, and that probably not more as a pretence, and to seduce persons not ap- than ten on the part of Ireland bould sit in prised of their intentions." Upon the 23d the house of commons of the united empire, of May 1798, the first rebellion broke out; nor more than one in the house of peers, neither the proclamation which had been nor more than forty or fifty be candidates fa prepared by the Sheares's to be issued upon offices of rank, trust, or emoly ment. Tlus the breaking out of the rebellion, nor the the numbers to be gratified by an immedicte other transactions preceding or accompany- gift are so few, that the monciliation to me attained must be equally circumscribed ; zard. The fluctuation of property in a comthere being few capacitated to be candidates, mercial country, and of the relative numbers: the with-holding the objects claimed is felt of persons composing the several sects, conby few; there are few to complain of in- nected with the known perseverance of the jury, few to acknowledge and be thank- Roman catholic body, renders it unsafe to ful for favours conferred. Hence a con- trust to their not being able futurely to do cession productive at this day of small con- injury because at the present day they are ciliation of the Roman catholics, of great unable, not being possessed at present of dissatisfaction on the part of the protestants, sufficient political weight and influence.
might lay a foundation, when the political Their unremitting zeal in pursuit of political mi importance of the Roman catholic body be- influence and authority, their implicit sub
came more considerable, for hazarding the mission to one ruling and foreign power to: safety of the state, and exposing it to the the exclusion of the supreme authority of the persevering efforts of unremitted zeal, gui- state, their being all governed by one comded by one common principle, and one all- mon principle, and firmly linked together by ruling influence. It may be imagined by one general rule of action, render it not wise some, that though the mass of the Roman to intrust them with power upon a supposicatholics have no interest in the objects tion that, because it might at the commenceclaimed, it may be proper to concede them, ment be inconsiderable, it could not herein order to win over those persons of rank after be rendered dangerously great. Sixty-> and property who have the power of in- four of the Irish members of the house of fluencing the great body of the Roman ca- commons sit for counties, and many of the tholics. The lower orders have been in other thirty-six for open boroughs. The fluenced, not by the respectable and loyal priests must have considerable weight in inmembers of the same religious persuasion Auencing the elections, as between protest(who have an interest in the claims now set ant and Roman Catholic candidates; and up), but by factious demagogues of various were Roman catholics eligible to parliament, persuasions, who aimed at rebellion, not at probably at a period not very remote the rereform, or catholic claims, and would have presentation on the part of Ireland would be been equally active in disseminating rebel- completely Roman Catholic. That body of lion, if any concession had been made short men would enjoy a great part of the Irish of annihilating the monarchy. It cannot be patronage. Who can measure the influence. expected that the mass of the lower orders of a body of men so constituted? who can of the Roman catholics should cease to be foretel what they might effect by a junction actuated by those interested motives which at a critical moment with other bodies of have heretofore influenced their conduct, inen, standing in need of their assistance, because of a concession being made to some and ready to make them a proportionate reof the higher orders, of privileges not to be turn of favour and supnort? To conciliation enjoyed by the mass of the people; in which and unanimity there sust be two parties they have no interest, and by which their the Roman catholics, and all the protestants conduct has not heretofore been guided. of the entire empire; and their mutual conIt has been argued, that the influence which currence will scarcely be obtained by holda the measure under consideration would con- ing out to the Roman catholics the possibi-. fer, at present must be small, probably lity that, by unremitting perseverance on never can be great, and therefore there their part, the laity may be restored to the cannot be any danger ; or if any, it must forfeited lay property, their ecclesiastics to be remote. In the reign of James II. both the church lands, the supremacy of the pope houses of parliament were protestant, yet be established, and a Roman catholic ascenthe other branch of the legislature was dancy be substituted in the place of the pronear succeeding against them both, in testant ascendancy, and by conveying to the the establishment of popery:
James II. protestants the idea that whatsoever the Roprofessed to intend for the Roman Catho- man catholics gain, the protestants must. lics “ only an equality of privileges ;" lose.
lose. The number of Roman catholics is to that equality would have occasioned the be considered in relation to the whole emdownfall of the protestant religion: it was pire. In ascertaining the class of persons in therefore resisted. The resistance was ulti- whom the power of the state is to be rested, mately successful; but the danger having property, rank, respectability, talent, knowapproached too near, the success of the re- ledge, judgment, and congeniality of prinsistance was attended with difficulty and ha- ciples which those of the state, are more to
be attended to than numbers. If numbers tholic clergy. Their notions as to the power and physical force unaccompanied by politi- of legislation are directly opposed to each cal weight and influence, whilst they can be other, and here the most efficient part of brought into action only in opposition to, and the legislature is popular, and elective; under the controul of the laws, and of the hence a way might be opened by admitting systematic authority of the state, are to ex- Roman catholics into parliament, and the cito apprehension, how much more serious great offices of the state, towards investing cause of alarm would there be, if the same them with a dangerous influence. physical strength were aided by political session of inferior offices gives some inweight and influence, moulding and shaping Auence, but does not transfer the sovereignty the laws so as to give a free and uncontroul of the state. It is true that Scotch presbyed course to such conjoined force? Let it be terians sit in parliament, but they take the understood that political power to unsettle same oaths, and sign the same declaration the state is unattainable, and the dangerous as protestants; they give the same tests of consequences of pursuing projects of innova- fidelity and allegiance, and submission to tion in violation of the law, and in opposi- the supreme authority of the state, as protion to the protestants of the empire, and all testants of the established church, As to the honest and loyal men of the Roman ca- the Scotch noblemen and gentlemen who in tholic persuasion, will not be risked. The the course of the debate have been described church and the state are necessarily connect- as having held some of the great offices of ed, each giving support to the other. Ro- the state with honour to themselves and beman catholics hostile to the one, cannot nefit to the public, they were protestants, have the same attachment to the other as and had taken the usual gaths, signed the protestants have, whose tenets are not hos- declaration, and received the sacrament actile to either. Notwithstanding that the cording to the usage of the church of Engmonarch must not only be but must always land. The adoption of the innovation now have been protestant, were his advisers proposed would new-model the constitution, (upon whose judgment he is to act) to pos- would violate the principles of the reformasess principles not congenial with those of tion, the revolution, the act of settlement of the state, the constitution must gradually the crown, and the two acts of union; (and the more dangerously, because perhaps might substitute the pope's supremacy in imperceptibly) be impaired. In this coun- the place of his majesty's, might discontent try tests were adopted gradually, and in the loyal protestants, who have preserved succession, with great and progressive cau- and strengthened the connexion between tion first as to corporation offices, then as Great Britain and Ireland, without contentto offices held under the state, then as to ing the Roman catholics; might unsettle both houses of parliament, and then as to the lay and ecclesiastical property of Ireland, the throne, each successive regulation being might revive all those mischiefs which the adopted from conviction that it was a ne- revolution was cal lated to redress, and cessary addition to the then existing regu- might destroy the present establishment in lations. To annul all those regulations church and state. would be a most hazardous experiment. Lord Hutchinson.-My lords: in the course Are Roman catholics to be admitted into the of this debate, the catholic hierarchy, the English share of representation? If not, priests, the catholic religion, have been treated upon what principle can they be excluded with the most unqualified censure, and with from thence, if not also excluded from the an asperity which I little expected to find in Irish share ? Are any other sectaries to be this enlightened assembly. It is one of the excluded, though they do not uphold a misfortunes of the catholic cause, that, comforeign dominion, and nevertheless Irish posing as they do the great inass of the inRoman catholics, who maintain the su- digent population of Ireland, they are liable preme jurisdiction of a foreign spiritual to every misrepresentation; the crime of authority, to be admitted : In Roman ca- the individual becomes the offence of the tholic countries the general tenor of the sect; the highest man in the community is laws is conformable to the Roman catholic made answerable for the conduct of the religion. The power of the government lowest : the religion itself is censured for is somewhat despotic; to support that there the commission of those very acts which it is a strict alliance between the church and reprobates and condemns.-Many allusions state : there can be no such alliance between have been made to the late rebellion. a protestant government and a Roman ca- Whatever that rebellion might have been, it