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place them on a level with their fellow prietors of Ireland.-[Hear, hear!)- I am subjects, are much stronger and more de- desirous of repeating the fact, because if cisive proofs of the integrity of their prin- it be thought that I overstate it, I am deciples than can be manifested by any oath sirous to be contradicted, that I or declaration whatsoever : apd that, in sort to the proofs with which I am proaffection to his Majesty's sacred person vided. I repeat, therefore, that the Peo and government, in zeal for the cause and tition expresses the sense of a decided mawelfare of the country, in detestation of jority of the Protestant proprietors of Irethe views and designs of any foreign power land, both landed and commercial. I against the dignity of the crown, or the feel it right further to explain, that this welfare or independence of the kingdom, Petition, although most respectably and the English Roman Catholics yield to no numerously signed, by no means conportion whatever of his Majesty's subjects; tains the names of all those Protestants and praying, that the House will take into who are favourable to Catholic Emancipaconsideration the penalties and disabilities tion on principle; and I wish, with the utto which the English Roman Catholics are most confidence in the fact, to mention still subject, and grant them such relief as the reason why the names of several who shall in their great wisdom be deemed are favourable to it on principle, do not expedient.” Ordered to lie on the table. appear to this address. A great number
of Protestants in Ireland did entertain a PETITION FROM THE PROTESTANTS OP notion that it would be proper, in any Pe. IRELAND IN FAVOUR OF THE ROMAN CA- tition presented to parliament, to include THOLICS.] Mr. Maurice Fitzgerald, knight conditions and securities. A large pro. of Kerry, rose and said :-Sir; I am charge portion, therefore, declined affixing their ed with the Petition which is to be present- signatures, because it did not comprize ed to this House from the persons whose the stipulations they required to be innames are signed thereto, being Protestant serted.' I wish further to state, that many land-owners in Ireland. Some circum. of those whose names are affixed, do not stances that have occurred regarding it, desire Catholic Emancipation uncondi. render it necessary that I should trouble tionally ; but it appears to all who have the House with a few words. I would signed, that it was not a proper matter to first take the liberty of stating why it has be mentioned in a Petition, but that it devolved upon so insignificant an individual ought to be left to the wisdom of parliaas myself, to present one of the most im- ment; there are numbers who would portant Petitions that can be brought under willingly have added their signatures, if the consideration of parliament. It may those conditions had been inseried. Many be known that the member for Dublin, at who expressed themselves decidedly fawhose suggestion this Petition was first set vourable to the object in view, bave reon foot, was immediately afterwards fused to sign it, on account of the violence obliged to leave Ireland, and it devolved of the recent differences between the Irish upon me to undertake the task he reluc- governinent and a part of the Catholic tantly resigned, and to be instrumental in body.--I think I bave now stated enough its progress, and I am consequently in to entiile this Petition to the serious conpossession of circumstances important to sideration of parliament. I have, however, be known, previous to the approaching to add, what I am sorry to be obliged to discussion of the Catholic Question. The mention, that against the Petition iconPetition is from the Protestant proprietors ducted in the most moderate manner, in. of Ireland, and is perfectly unprecedented tentionally guarded against the slightest not only in amount of property, belonging imputation of an attempt to agitate the to individuals, who have annexed their public feelings) all the influence that could names at any former time to a Petition on possibly be used by the Irish government this subject, but it is the first instance of has been directed. (Mr. W. Pole said any general application on the part of the - No, no;" very audibly across the House.) Protestants of Ireland on behalf of their Toe righi hon. gentleman says No; and Catholic fellow-sulsjects. To establish having so asserted, I feel myself bound to the importance of the Petition, it is suffi go into proofs of the fact." I say again, cient for me to state what, without an ap- notwithstanding this contradiction, that proach to exaggeration, I may confidently the influence of government has been most assert, that it expresses the senurnents of a notoriously and indecently directed against decided majority of the Protestant pro- the Petition I hold in my hand. The office (VOL. XXII.)
of sheriff, a place of most sacred trust, and are several parts of Ireland, to which, from of the utmost importance to the due dis. accidental circumstances, the Petition was tribution of justice, has been tampered not sent; but where, had it been otherwith. Persons who had been promised to wise, it would have met with very extenbe made sheriffs for the ensuing year, have sive support. In some parts many signabeen set aside, because the individual re- tures have been obtained which have not commending one of them had signed the been affixed to this Petition; for, by letters Protestant Petition. I say, that another I have received to day, I find that since I person who was actually understood to be quitted Ireland, several copies of it have appointed, did signify to the Irish govern been signed most respectably in the county ment, that having also signed the Petition, of Down, which is more peculiarly a Pro. he apprehended he should be deemed an testant district. Under these circumimproper person to fulfil the duties, as his stances I feel myself authorized, not only predecessor was rendered incapable on a to beg permission to bring this Petition similar account. I know that individuals up, that it may be laid upon the table, but possessing public situations, I will not say to recommend to the House to receive it directly, but indirectly, received menaces with serious attention, as containing the from the government, that they should for- decided sentiments of the uninfluenced feit their places if they favoured the Pe- and independent part of the Protestant tition. I know, too, that the partizans of proprietors of Ireland. government have held out threats to people, Mr. Wellesley Pole.--Sir; after what has if they suffered the Petition even to re- fallen from the right hon. gentleman, I main in their houses; the terrors of in. cannot avoid offering a few observations to flicted vengeance have been used in the the House. As the right hon. gentleman most undisguised manner for the avowed has stated that the Petition was signed by purpose of defeating the Petition. Under a great majority of the Protestants of Ireall these circumstances it stands a proud land, I am not disposed to dispute the proof of the rapidly extending liberality assertion; but I am much surprised, notof the Protestants of Ireland in favour of withstanding; and it is the first time I Catholic Emancipation. It is to me an have ever heard, that the majority of resiextreme gratification to state, that the most dent Protestants in Ireland were supposed numerous signatures are obtained from the to be favourable to the claims of the Canorth of Ireland, the inliabitants of which tholics. I know, indeed, that great pains are peeuliarly Protestant. I am the more has been taken to promote signatures; but proud of it, because it shews a change of I can assure the right hon. gentleman, that opinion in the only part of Ireland for if the zeal of the Protestants had been merly most opposed to this measure : it is equally excited for a different purpose, a change to be well considered by his Petitions of a very different description Majesty's ministers, because it proves that would be sent in from a very numerous the Protestants as well as Catholics are now body of the Protestants of Ireland. The united in the cause. I have said that it is statement, however, which called me up signed very numerously; but the names was, that the government of Ireland bad are not nearly so numerous as they would interfered to obstruct the success of the have been, 'if the Petition had been Petition, and particularly, that they would circulated ainong the lower classes. not appoint a sheriff who was known to In several districts the signatures only have signed the Petition. I happened to of persons of considerable property are be in Ireland at the period when the idea affixed to it, a circumstance very much of the Petition was first suggested at a to be regretted ; because, in a case like dinner given to the friends of religious li. the present, it would have been desirable berty in Dublin, last December, but I to have ascertained thus unequivocally the never heard till now of the interference of sense of the middle, as well as the higher government to oppose the progress of such order of Protestants. The persons who à Petition. On the contrary, their object had the management of it were, however, throughout has been to allow the Catholics desired to apply only for the signatures of to proceed by Petition as long as they persons of landed property; and although thought proper to confine themselves to it is swelled by the names of several that constitutional course of proceeding, thousands, it is not, for this reason, of such and also not to interfere with the Protes. magnitude as it would otherwise have ap- tants in any steps they might take in fa. peared. I should remark also, that there vour of the Catholics. With regard to the appointment of a sheriff, I would be I have also ascertained, from authority glad if the right hon. gentleman would which I cannot doubt, that individuals explain the allusion he has made. I was have boen threatened, by the agents of much surprised to hear such a charge the Irish government, with the loss of their made against the noble duke, who is at the situations, if they should sign the Petition. head of the Irish government; and I ve I shall not mention their names, because rily believe that no man can think it pos- that would involve them in the very sible that the duke of Richmond would danger with which they were threatened, lend himself to such a purpose. I do not and would invite oppression towards them. know what the right hon. gentleman I know an instance, and could prove it, of meant by the exertions of the partizans of a person extremely friendly to the meagovernment against the Petition ; but I sure, who had agreed to keep the Petition know that no suggestion has been given in his house, in a county town, during the by the Irish government to that effect; assizes, for signatures. and in the county which I have the ho- On the gentleman, to whom he gave the nour to represent, and where it might be assurance, calling on him on the following natural to suppose such influence would day, he said-—" Sir, since I saw you, I be exerted; I appeal to my hon. colleague bave been threatened with the loss of my (Mr. Parnell) to confirm my assertion, office, if I shall suffer the Petition to rethat no such interference has been at- main in my house.” Various other intempted. Let the right hon. gentleman stances of the most unwarrantable interthen come forward, and manfully make his ference, was quite notorious in many charge, and call for documents to prove it, parts of Ireland. instead of dealing in vague assertions, Mr. W. Pole.— I protest I know nothing which I believe, upon the honour and of the circumstance of the sheriff of Carlow. conscience of a gentleman, he is not borne Dr. Duigenan. I maintain that the Peout; and I am persuaded that the Irish tition has been smuggled about for signagovernment would spurn such attempts as tures in a clandestine, underhand manner. are ascribed to them. If I was called on Not one-third of those who had signed it, to give my opinion on the subject before knew any thing of its contents. I have you, I would say that I wish the Petition not read it; but from the cowardly way to be read, and that its merits should in which it was handed about, I do not undergo a full and fair investigation; but believe it contains the names of one hunI do not think it fair in the right hon. dredth part of the Protestant property of gentleman to make such charges without Ireland. It is easy for members to make better foundation for them.
assertions of matters of which they are toMr. Maurice Fitzgerald. The right hon. tally ignorant. I can speak positively as gentleman having called on me, I name, to the north of Ireland, and from thence without hesitation, the county to which I the signatures, I know, were very insignialluded, it is Carlow. I have no doubt of ficant, those from the misguided men of the fact, and I shall restate it. The nomi- the county of Down excepted. nation of sheriff had been promised to a Mr. Parnell. The right hon. and learngentleman of large fortune in that county: ed doctor has stated to the House not only he had announced the promise to his a correct opinion, “ that it is exceedingly friend, who took measures preparatory to easy for members to make assertions of his appointment, quite notorious in the matters, of which they are wholly ignocounty. But, on the foriner signing the rant,” but he has likewise afforded the Petition, the Castle immediately super-strongest possible illustration of it in his seded the first engagement, and named the his own speech; he having told the House second on the list. That gentleman re- in the first sentence, that he never had plied, that as he, also, had signed the Pro- read or seen the Petition. The assertion, testant Petition, government would pro- therefore, of the learned doctor, " that bably consider him an unfit sheriff, and this Petition does not speak the sense of begged to decline. Government refused; the majority of the Protestants of Ireland," but on learning that the sheriff would, if a cannot have any weight, when placed in requisition was made to him, call a county opposition to that of the right hon. genmeeting on the subject, they acquiesced in tleman who has presented it, and who has bis resignation; and a third person was had every opportunity of knowing the true appointed. I should be glad that an en- purport of it, and on whose veracity the quiry were made into these facte.
most implicit reliance may be placed.
But if there existed any doubt on this never abused its patronage, nor commiited point, it may easily be cleared up by its faith for great popular concessions. looking back to the divisions in the two That the agents of government did, by last Cai holic Petitions, in both of which a their command, use every exertion to considerable majority of Irish members defeat the liberal and patriotic efforts of voted for the prayer of them. This is in the Protestants of Ireland in favour of their itself a decisive proof that the Protestants Catholic countrymen, is as true, as the asof Ireland are favourable to the claims of sertion of the right hon. gentleman who the Catholics.
has presented their Petition, that it speaks In respect to what has been said by the the sentiments of a decided majority of the learned doctor, as to the manner in which Protestants of Ireland. signatures to this Petition have been ob- Sir George Hill.-I deny that governtained, he is equally unfortunate in his in- ment interfered either one way or the ference; for, if instead of the quiet, dis- other. It will be my duty to present tointerested mode, pursued by those who morrow a Petition from the Catholics of were the advocates of it, similar acts of the county and city of Londonderry, a energy and influence had been resorted great body of the inhabitants of which is to, to those which distinguished the ene against Catholic Emancipation. mies of it, in the place of thousands, who Mr. Hutchinson.-Sir; the insinuation now appear as parties to it, the signatures that the Protestants of Ireland are of ten times their number could readily friendly to the Catholic claims, is as unhave been acquired. As to the Petition of candid, as from the Petition now presented, the corporation of Dublin against the Ro- it appears to be wholly unfounded; and man Catholics, no man the least acquainted one cannot but be anxious to learn the with that corporation, and the influence of circumstances, from which gentlemen congovernment over it, by means of the de. sider tbat they are justified in arguing to pendance of most of its leading members this effect. I should be glad to know upon the pleasure of government for the whether, from any thing lately passed in lucrative places they hold, can allow that Ireland, it is fair or just, by mere conjecit deserves the smallest weight whatever. ture and assertion in debate, to try to do Let the House recollect lord Wellington's away the impression which this Petition in act for establishing a police in Dublin, and behalf of the Roman Catholic claims, is so they may judge from that how far this well calculated to produce, not only in the corporation can have any claim to an in- House, but throughout the empire. I addependant opinion. As to any endeavours mit, with shame and regret, that there of the chief secretary to obtain from that may exist a disposition, nay, perhaps, an corporation this adverse Petition, it is un- ardent wish, in certain quarters, to excite fortunate for him that some how or other, such an hostility ; but I know not any his conduct, as explained by himself, is so language sufficiently strong, with which very different from that which vulgar to, reprobate such an object; and be it minds, judging from common appearances, remembered, that the attempt to deny the have conceived it to be ; for there cer- importance of this Petition is made on a tainly did exist circumstances which question, involving the happiness and wellooked very much like an attempt on his fare of several millions of subjects. Acpart to controul the proceedings of this quainted as I am with the history and probody the first time the Petition was pro- gress of these claims, nothing can surprise posed to them. But though the right hon. After every fuul and false charge, gentleman may himself have acted with so every serious and every futile objection, much discretion, as not to be personally had been over and over again made and implicated in any plan for defeating the repeated, Parliament were at length object of the friends of the Catholics, it gravely assured, that even the Catholics by no means follows that any part of the did not desire emancipation; but when charge of the right hon. gentleman, who this impudent and foolish assertion was has presented their Petition, is unfounded ; about to be denied by the united Catholic for we all know, from the history of the voice, the refutation was sought to be Union, by the subsequent explanations of a proved by most unconstitutional attempts noble lord opposite, how effectually the io silence tliat voice. And now that the government of Ireland may wield its in- Protestants of Ireland, who, for a long Huence at the same time that the first mi- season, had been cruelly hallooed against nister of it may conscientiously assert he the Catholics, had discovered the artifice,
and were voluntarily rushing forward to lean short-sighted wicked policy had save their common country and the empire, spread desolation and wretchedness. I by declaring their readiness to renounce a am compelled to admit that my right hon. monstrous monopoly, and their anxious friend has indeed rejoiced, nay, even exwish to secure and enhance all their bless- ulted at this happy revolution of sentiings, by sharing them with their country. ment in the Irish Protestant mind-of that
crime he has been guilty, and in that of. Now, when the Protestants themselves fence I wish to be included as having presented the olive branch, and were for fully participated ; but I positively deny healing those wounds which a' wicked that he has said one word in condemna. policy had studiously inflicted, there were tion of any part of Ireland, much less any not wanting those who would prevent the thing calculated to influence one district accomplishment of this great and good against the other. True he has stated, that work; and in the face of the evidence af. even in the north, in parts of which at one forded by the Petition, would anxiously period, a disposition unfriendly to the Ca. conceal from the parliament and the tholics, had with great industry been exthrone, the actual state of the public mind cited, and kept alive ; that even there, no in Ireland. I will not underiake to say such feeling at present manifested itself: the exact proportion of Protestant pro- but he has said nothing reflecting upon perty, represented by the signatures to the north, nothing disrespectful of the this Petition ; much less shall I venture Protestants, nothing to irritate, but much to declare how particular Protestant in- to appease and to harmonize in the warm dividuals, or some Protestant districts still expression of his heartfelt joy at the part feel on this great question ; but this I the Protestants bad taken at such a crisis ; may and do assert in the most unqualified and surely every honest man must be demanner, that a complete change of senti- lighted at the intelligence-every true ment among the Protestants, favourable to | Irishman disposed to exult at the bright the Roman Catholic claims, has happily prospect which this happy revolution of taken place, particularly since the Union : sentiment opens to his country, while nor is it too much to assert, that the Pro- every real friend to the peace, power and testants of Ireland are now generally stability of the empire must anticipate the friendly to that measure; nay, even anxi. happiest results from such a union. They ous for its speedy accomplishment. When who seem disposed, at any risk, to keep the infatuated, determined, hostility of alive amongst their countrymen a diffethe present administration to this question rence of opinion on any subject, they is considered, ibere cannot be a doubt, prove their conduct was questionable at that had ministers felt there existed ge- such a moment. It had been argued as if nerally in Ireland, or in any part of that a defiance to collect counter Petitions had country, a hostile anti-catbolic feeling, been thrown out, but no such defiance had they would have done any thing in their been given. Though I flatter myself that power to have drawn forth a declaration any attempt to create disunion in Ireland of such sentiment: not having made the would now be vain-that the counter Peattempt proves their conviction that any titions which some gentlemen seem dissuch would have been vain ; that is, it posed to threaten, could not be obtained, proves that they are well assured, that the still I am little disposed to dare
any man Protestant feeling is now friendly, not to the trial, for I cannot easily forget how hostile, to the Catholic cause.
severely my unfortunate country has sufGentlemen seem sorely vexed and dis. fered, and for centuries, in consequence of pleased, that the member for Derry should the too successful machinations of disturbhave expressed pleasure and satisfaction, ed and angry spirits; and I am far from when presenting this Petition; that he denying that the power, (I had hoped not should have exulted in the existence of the will) to do mischief still remained, such a document, and have ventured to though í rejoice to think that any such congratulate bis country, that at length noxious influence is very much lessened, every class and sect appeared disposed to and thank God, is likely very speedily to make common cause for Irish interest, become altogether inefficient. The peothat all internal feuds were about to cease ple of Ireland are beginning to think and that the infernal fume of divide et im- to act as one man, and I caution ministers * pera' could no longer be played with to beware how they influence, or permit to success, where for centuries a machiave be influenced, such a population. The