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them so invaluable an heritage.
They have learnt by experience,' said some other petitioners last year from two parishes close to Clonegal, that the exclusion of seven millions from their rights and privileges, has been the source of perpetual discord and discontent.'-(Votes, 1827, p. 632.)
"I have now placed before you a singular contrast between the Roman Catholic as he was before you gave him a draught of political power, and as he was in the first hour of enjoying it; and, on the other hand, the Roman Catholic as he is, now that, having obtained what then appeared his object, he asks, dissatisfied, for more. I ask you to tell me what you have gained in the loyalty and good order, and affectionate submission of your Roman Catholic subjects, by all your concessions? Are you authorized by your experience of the past, to expect that your future concessions, if you yield more to their claims, will be attended by more favourable results ? The claims of the Roman Catholics in the beginning were humble and obscure; they are now shrouded in clouds and darkness; and it is hardly possible to say to what extent they may aspire :
Parva metu primo; mox sese attollit in auras
"I correct myself: this is not strictly the case; they have looked down from their cloud, and have
shown their fronts openly, and told us at once what it is which they demand. They demand open, absolute, unqualified emancipation.
"So much for the progress of demand among the Roman Catholics, whether priests or laity, individuals or in bodies. I will now consider the language of their supporters in Parliament. The House will recollect that, from the commencement to the close of the reign of our late excellent king, measures were continually in progress to meliorate the civil condition of all his subjects. The Roman Catholics shared largely in these benefits. One by one, as has well been said, each link of the penal chain was loosened, every manacle unfastened, and the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland went forth without fetters among the people. I will not detail the history of the acts of 1772 and 1778. I will go on at once to the proceedings of 1782. Then was brought into the Irish House of Commons the first great Bill for the relief of the Roman Catholics. It was moved by Mr. Gardener: he said, that he limited his claims on their behalf to five points, the object of his wishes and his hopes, but not of his expectations or plan, since he thought that he perceived a spirit so hostile to the concession of the fifth, that he excluded it from the bill which he subsequently brought into the Irish Parliament. The five were as follow:-the first related to their right of property; the second to the exercise of their religion; the third to the
education of their children; the fourth to their marriages; and the fifth and last, to their right to carry arms the last, the right of self-defence, was the one which Mr. Gardener thought it imprudent to press. Not a whisper was then heard about the elective franchise, not one word about eligibility to Parliament; not one word about the army, the navy, corporations, the Cabinet, or the Crown. Even on the first point, that of property, what was the language of Mr. Grattan? He said, three years ago, when this question was debated in this house, I do declare I was somewhat prejudiced against granting to the Roman Catholics estates in fee; but their conduct since that period has fully convinced me of their true attachment to the country. I give my consent to the clause in its principle, extent, and boldness.'-(Irish Debates, vol. i. p. 257259.)
"If Mr. Grattan, in 1782, thought himself a bold man in granting to the Roman Catholics the measure of 1782, what must he have thought of his own boldness.- I ask, what opinion we ought to form of it-on finding himself, within ten years afterwards, urging their claims to an almost unqualified emancipation?
"In the same debate, Mr. Grattan said, on the first clause about popery; It is a clause of union and incorporation; it says, Countrymen, that have been so long separated from us, we hold out our hands to you; we are willing to
become one people; we are willing to grant you every privilege compatible with the Protestant ascendant.' * At that time Mr. Grattan was not ashamed of the words, or of the things signified by the words Protestant ascendancy.' Such was the limitation, without which Mr. Grattan was not prepared at that time to think of granting any boon to the Roman Catholics. But what said Mr. Grattan in 1793? He must be a visionary politician, who imagined that after what had been granted to the Catholics, they could long be kept out of the State: for (added he) the barrier which you have now erected cannot stand; it is in vain keeping out of the offices of the state, the men whom you have admitted into the Constitution.'-(Irish Debates, p. 363, March 4, 1793). It is said that I allow no change or modification from enlarged experience or deeper reasoning. I deny the charge. But I say, that in elementary questions of civil government, the principles are permanent, and ought not to be
* Definition of Protestant ascendancy by a high constitutional Irish Whig in 1792-" By Protestant ascendancy (said Mr. Sheridan, cousin of R. B. Sheridan) he meant a Protestant king, to whom only being Protestant we owed allegiance; a Protestant house of peers, composed of Protestant lords, spiritual in Protestant succession, of Protestant lords temporal with Protestant inheritance; a Protestant house of commons elected and deputed by Protestant constituents; in short, a Protestant legislative, a Protestant judicial, and a Protestant executive, in all and each of their varieties, degrees, and gradations."-Irish Debates, vol. xii. p. 135.
hastily embraced, or as hastily exchanged; and I ask, if there be no security in the language used by the advocates of the Roman Catholic claims in 1782, against a change of opinion, not merely in their successors, but even in themselves, in 1793; what security have we against any change of opinion in the honourable member for Westminster, or in his successor, only ten years hence, on this most important of all political questions? Having granted in 1793 what was then considered so much, and is now considered so little, what security have we, that, if we shall grant still more in 1828, the same parties may not again turn round upon us and say, 'you have done nothing, you have given nothing, you have left the Roman Catholic as an insulted and degraded being; he still cannot be Lord Chancellor; he still cannot be king. The heir apparent is the only person in the kingdom who must sacrifice his couscience or his inheritance! What security have we, that we shall not be called upon to release the suffering millions' from the payment of tithes to a Protestant priest, or perhaps, to make Protestants pay for a Roman Catholic church there, and then surrender the whole island to the religion of the people?'
"In 1792," (says Mr. Peel,) "the Roman Catholics came forward, and asked to be rendered capable of holding the office of magistrates, and of enjoying the elective franchise. They wanted, they said, nothing more; and those persons