HL Deb 01 February 1828 vol 18 cc93-4
The Marquis of Londonderry

said, he wished to offer a few words on the subject connected with the Roman Catholics of Ireland. As a friend to them and to their cause, it was impossible for him to see without anxiety the public journals teeming with such monstrous resolutions as those which had been submitted to an assembly of persons calling themselves the meeting of the Roman Catholics of Ireland. Their lordships would recollect, that a bill had been passed to put down such associations. Notwithstanding that bill, these associations continued to exist, and a resolution had been laid before them of so extraordinary a nature, that it was impossible for him not to allude to it; for if that resolution was actually the resolution of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, he, as one of their sincerest friends, would declare, that instead of making him hope that their cause would advance, it would give him reason to wish that it might not. Precisely the same sentiment he had expressed two years ago. He had then said, that if he thought the Catholics of Ireland would, by intimidation or threat, endeavour to carry their object, he would be the first to oppose them. The resolution to which he had alluded was as follows:—"Resolved; that we feel it a duty we owe to the Irish people to declare, that we shall consider every Irish member of parliament an enemy to the freedom, peace, and happiness, of Ireland, who shall support, either directly or indirectly, any administration of which the duke of Wellington, or any individual professing his principles, is the head or contriver; and we call on all counties, cities, towns, and parishes in Ireland, to act upon the spirit of this resolution." Now, he must look upon this resolution as a complete threat; but he believed that the Catholics of Ireland would not approve of it. He was sure that a better spirit prevailed amongst them. If such proceedings, however, were suffered to continue, they would be the means of prejudicing the cause of the Catholics in the eyes of their friends. He was convinced that the resolution would have no effect on the conduct of any person, and that every member would join with him in reprobating it.

Lord Clifden

said, that no man was less disposed than he was to countenance such proceedings, but still he thought that some allowance ought to be made for the use of intemperate language. He agreed, that many things which had been said by members of the Catholic association had displeased the friends of their cause; but their lordships ought not to look at a great public question under feelings excited by the intemperate harangues of this man or of that. The king of the Netherlands had entered into an arrangement with the Pope, respecting his Catholic subjects. Why could not we do the same? It was not to be wondered at, if intemperate language should break forth from a people whose hopes had been deferred for seven and twenty years. It was not in human nature to put up with such injustice.