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that country, and the opinions of the king, and beneficial to the
entertained by them, he could whole empire. It had been his
say that the petition contained deliberate conviction that there
the public sentiments of the great could be no sympathy of feeling,
body of the Roman catholics of Ire- and no establishment of concord
land. A similar petition had been between the two countries, till
presented in that house the year this question should be set at
before last. On that occasion the rest. He had always been alive
prayers of the petitioners had to the desire of fame, and showed
come forward to that house with in the various actions of his life
all the eloquence, with all the ex- that love of the approbation and
perience, with all the authority of esteem of the wise which clung to
the late Mr. Grattan. In now every aspiration of a good man,
undertaking the duty devolved while on earth. But never man
on him, he felt his heart melted had treated with more absolute
with public sorrow and private re- disdain the hollow and faithless
gret with which he had followed to popularity which is obtained by
the grave that great man, by whose subserviency, and preserved by
confidence he had been lionoured, dereliction of principle. He had
by whose wisdom he had been never, therefore, urged the great
encircled, by whose example he measure which he had so cordially
had been guided. After the warm espoused but on terms by which
and unrivalled eloquence with it could be reconciled to the Pro-
which he had been lamented in testant interest of the country.
that house, and after the distin- He (Mr. Plunkett,) in following
guished honors with which the his steps, was actuated by the
justice and liberality of English- same spirit. In that spirit he
men had accompanied his remains now moved for leave to bring up
to the tomb—for at his death, as this petition.
during life, he had been the bond Mr. Dennis Brown seconded
of union between the two coun- the motion.
tries—after these tributes to his The petition was brought up,
virtues, tributes as distinguished and ordered to be printed.
as they were merited, he would Mr. Plunkett afterwards

not disturb the solemnity of his sented a similar petition from
obsequies by his feeble praise and four parishes in Dublin, and
unavailing sorrow. Yet he could another petition of the same kind
not avoid to mention his name from the city and county of Wa-
now when presenting this petition. terford.
The subject was one on which he Mr. Plunkett, having resumed
(Mr. Grattan) had deeply and his place, said it now remained
earnestly meditated; it had taken for him to perform his duty as a
early and entire possession of his member of that house by bring-
mind, and held that possession to ing forward a motion relative to
the last hour of his life; he would the petitions which he had pre-
have willingly laid down his life sented. He desired to be con-
in advocating the rights and liber- sidered as calling for an act of
ties which he believed to be due the legislature in behalf both of
to the Roman Catholic subjects catholics and protestants, as



beseeching the earnest attention of and instant restoration to the parliament to the situation which, freedom to which their fellow-subon the one side, justified accusa- jects possessed, he should be tions of hardship and oppression; ashamed to deny. That there and, on the other, excited a con was felt by them that sickness of sciousness of injustice; and which, the heart which arose from hope if it should continue, would prove deferred, and which called urin its consequences equally fatal gently for a remedy to be adminand disastrous to the party who istered, he did not deny. But he inflicted, and to the party who was not so sick and silly a zealot suffered the injury. His object as to believe that the immediate was public good. He desired to effect of the measure which he obtain that object by doing an urged would be to remove every act of public justice. If the feeling of uneasiness excited by a prayer presented was founded in long course of irritation and injusjustice, he was sure of its being tice. No measure which he could ultimately conceded, because he propose, or the legislature could was sure that the result of justice adopt, would operate as a charm. conceded would be public good. By applying an instant remedy He was sure that the immediate the discontent would not instantly result of the concession would

The waves were heard to be general satisfaction; he was roll for some time after the temsure that it would be received pest had ceased. But these were with gratitude. But that was a not the questions for parliament secondary consideration, although to inquire into. Their duty was he by no means undervalued it. to consider whether injustice had If any supposed that the object been done to any portion of the was to allay temporary discontent, people, and if so, to atone for it or to get rid of accidental ill-will, - whether grievances still oppreshe not only mistook the impor- sed them, and if so, to remove the tance of the subject, but he mis- grievances ; — whether injurious understood its object. He would restraints were still imposed on beg leave to say that the catholics them, and if so, to obliterate those of Ireland had nobly entitled restraints. If there were no disthemselves to the disuse of this content on the part of the sufargument, founded on their sup- ferers, the more our shame to sufposed disaffection, when this fer the injustice, the grievances, question came before parliament. and the restraints to remain, and Determined as they were to per- the more imperative our duty to severe in their efforts to obtain remove them. They knew that redress of grievances and restora- injustice, grievances, and injurious tion of rights, they were equally restraints were in their nature determined never to seek them calculated to excite discontent, but as the result of wisdom and and they ought therefore to rejustice in the legislature, in which move them. But they were not they knew that they could not merely the grievances and injuries be ultimately disappointed. That of individuals, they were not there did exist among them an merely the injuries and grievances eager desire for immediate redress, of bodies of men; they were injuries


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and grievances inflicted on question with objections to the
great portion of a most important plan, the form, or the detail, was
part of the empire; therefore they not fair, manly,

were bound not to loose a moment “What right have you"- Mr.
in taking steps to apply a remedy. Plunkett proceeded -“what right
There was one part of the subject have you to neutrality on such a
to which he begged to call the question? Why don't you come
attention of the house before he forward to assist us? Why don't
should proceed to the arguments you remove the objections which
on which he founded his motion. you are so sensible of? Why
It had often been objected that don't you



the obscurities the terms on which the claims of which mislead us? What right the Roman catholics were pro- have you to wrap yourself up posed were imperfect; that the in neutrality on a question which, plan was not consistent; that if not bad, is necessarily good ?" the friends of the measure were The question could not be viewed not agreed as to the extent to by any one as indifferent. The which it should be carried, or the petitioners came forward to desecurities by which it should be mand the attention of parliament guarded. For instance, it had —not as an invading army; they been objected that some had of- asked for no untried experiment, fered to concede points which or any innovation on the entrenchothers considered to be as impor- ments of the constitution, or on tant as those retained ; that some the constitution itself; but milhad agreed to restrictions which lions of loyal subjects came forothers regarded as quite as in- ward petitioning, humbly and retolerable as those proposed to be spectfully, to be admitted to the abrogated; that, in short, the rights and privileges which had friends of catholic emancipation been possessed by their ancestors, were not agreed upon any definite that they and their posterity might mode of effecting their object. enjoy them according to the Now this way of meeting the known and approved constitution question he considered as not of the country. On this ground fair, pot manly, not candid. They let them be fairly met. What he called for concessions which justice was now to propose was to refer required, which the constitution the petitions which he had preadmitted, and which policy war sented to a committee for arrangranted. If you show the requesting the mode in which the desires to be unfounded in argument, he expressed in them could be comyielded the question; but if you plied with. No man in that house object to the form of the measure, could be prepared to say that. or to the detail of the terms, he there was no plan for reconciling would say it was not fair, manly, the claims of the catholics and or candid to meet the question so. the apprehensions actually felt, Be it wise or not, the question he would admit, by the protestants was of deep and vital importance of the country. If there was any to the country. If it was not man capable of wishing that there a public mischief, it was a great could be no such plan, he would public good. To meet such a not condescend to argue with him.


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He would assume, then, that ed themselves with feelings so there might be such a plan. He intimately associated with the was not a little supported in the struggles of our ancestors, both conviction of his own mind on that for civil and religious liberty, that point, by the fact that the house they claimed every respect and of commons of a former parlia- attention; but as they were homent had agreed to resolve itself nourable in their origin, he hoped into a committee; that there had they were in their nature accesbeen very nearly a majority of sible to truth and reason. They persons inclined for the admission were prejudices which, if not of Roman catholics to parliament; rudely assailed, could be fully saand that, if not for the gross tisfied. He believed that there misconduct of the friends of the was a great anxiety in the house measure, it would have been car to concede their claims to the Roried. The time to which he al man catholics, unless they supluded was a time when this coun- posed it to be their imperious duty try was reeling to its centre by to refuse. It was impossible for the agitation of a storm which him to mistake that this was the had shaken every other state in feeling of the house, or not to Europe to its foundation. He perceive that it was a growing could not think that any who had feeling. Fully assured that he at that moment of peril support. was not likely to encounter any ed this question, could now with- thing but fair and respectable ophold his support.

The house, position on the ground that there he trusted, would abide by the was in the question something sentiments on which it had then dangerous to the constitution and acted. It could not be forgotten establishments of the country, he by any candid or generous mind, should now proceed to show that that no portion of the people had such apprehensions were unfoundbeen more distinguished for zeal ed. It was to be considered as a and valour, in the defence of the question of religion, of constitucountry, than the catholics. They tion, and of policy. He feared he had fought our battles; they had should trespass longer on the atshed their blood with a pertina- tention of the house than would city of self devotion for the li- be justifiable or right. The quesberties and privileges of the British tion had been often canvassed, constitution, which showed that but certainly not in this parliathey were worthy to enjoy them, ment, and there were perhaps He apprehended, then, nothing many hearing him who had never of hostility, certainly nothing of heard the question discussed withrancour, against his motion. There in these walls. He would treat might be something of prejudice the subject as shortly as it was opposed to him. When he said possible for him; but still he prejudice, he begged to be under- feared he should trespass more stood to mean nothing hurtful to largely on the attention of the the feelings of any individual or house than he was warranted class of persons. The prejudices to do. On the religious consider. opposed to him were derived from ation of the question he was not an origin so noble, and connect- called to say much. If the 1821.

E question

question involved no consideration restrictions. That many, who dangerous to the state, it was had taken up the question on injurious to exclude from civil pri- trust, `maintained the necessivileges merely on a religious ty of pledges and restrictions consideration. Great credit was on religious grounds, might be due to a right rev. prelate (we conceived; but that any person believe the present bishop of Pe- maintained on principle that there terborough) who had fairly ad- was any pledge or test necessary mitted that the exclusion was not but as a matter of state, he very to be justified on religious grounds, much doubted. Why not require, but that the being of certain reli- if religious faith was necessary gious opinions was a reason for before one became a member of excluding on political considera. the state-why not require that a tions. This statement having protestant should give pledges of been made in presence of the his faith? Why should he not be right rev. bench, who had ex- required to declare his faith in pressed no dissent, he might pass God, his faith in a Redeemer, over that part of the question; his faith in a future state of rebut the repugnance of the 30th wards and punishments ? No of Charles the second, to christian man was required to declare his charity, and to christianity in belief; he might believe nothing; general, made it impossible for for all that was required was nehim to forbear from offering a gative. Nothing positive was few observations, though they submitted as a test. It was all might not strictly apply to the abhorrence and antipathy. Noquestion as immediately before thing positive was required to be the house. Any religious pledge believed. Again, if it was not was calculated to impress an positive belief that was required, opinion that religion was only an but denunciation of what was instrument for state purposes. believed by others, why was it What was the inference from the only the catholics that were denecessity of giving a pledge, but nounced? Why was there no that for the enjoyment of privileges denunciation of those who believed of state, certain religious opinions not the divinity of our Lord ? were required? Now all religions,as Why was there not a denunciation religions were in this respect equal, of the Jews, of the Mahometans, all religions were equally true in of Pagans? Why was it sufficient the estimation of those who re. to abhor the Roman catholics, spectively professed them. If in who believed all that we believed, this country the interests of true and only differed from us by bereligion required tests and poli- lieving something more? He tical restrictions, the interests of might be an infidel, he might true religion in a catholic coun- believe in Jupiter, in Osiris, in all try required tests and political the host of heaven, and all the restrictions; the interests of true creeping things of the earth, and religion in a Mahometan coun be admitted to all the privileges try required tests and political of the state, for the statutory abrestrictions ; the interests of horrence was limited to those true religion in a Pagan coun who believed all the great printry required tests and political ciples of religion. Why was the


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