HC Deb 01 March 1810 vol 15 cc651-2
Sir John Newport

presented a Petition of the catholics of the county and city of Waterford, setting forth, "That notwithstanding the several Petitions which had, on former occasions, been respectfully laid before the House, praying a repeal of the penal statutes affecting their body, have not hitherto been attended with success, they now conceive, from the extraordinary circumstances which have occurred, that they not only are warranted, but that it is become an imperative duty again to appeal to the tribunal of the House; and that the enjoyment of freedom, well understood, is the best security for national independence; from it alone can spring that enthusiasm, which, at the present important and momentous crisis, is essential to the defence, perhaps to the existence, of the empire; and that the petitioners cannot be charged with any political delinquency, on the score of religious tenets no objection can be made to their claims; whereas foreigners of their persuasion, without connection or property in the country (of whose sincerity and loyalty the petitioners entertain no doubt), are admitted to posts of trust and honour, from which the petitioners are excluded; and that this political anomaly, this inversion of things, is unnatural as it is unaccountable; nor is it less so that catholics of the 19th century should be deemed unworthy to enjoy the great charter of liberty which those of the 13th obtained and secured, and which forms the pride and boast of Englishmen of the present day; and that, with glowing admiration, the petitioners beheld the names of their country shine conspicuous in the annals of glory in foreign climes; their valour can only be equalled by their fidelity; they cannot lament the hard fate that refused them protection and encouragement; under the banners of a British King they would emulate them in the field of fame, but would wish it to be in the service of the land of their birth and their affections; and that the loyalty and devotedness of such of their communion as have been admitted to fill inferior situations only in his Majesty's service stand unimpeached, and are not surpassed by any other denomination of his subjects; this consideration alone, as affording a pledge of what their conduct would be in the higher offices in the state, should silence the adversaries of their claims, and must, the, petitioners humbly conceive, have due weight with the House; and that they approve, in all its parts, of the Petition to be preferred by their brethren the catholics of Dublin, and pray the House, that they may be considered as united with them in their temperate and constitutional demands; and therefore praying the House, to take into their most serious consideration the nature, extent and operation of the aforesaid penal laws, and, by repealing the same altogether, to restore to the catholics of Ireland those liberties so long withheld, and their due share in that constitution which the petitioners, in common with their fellow-subjects of every description, contribute, by taxes, arms and industry, to sustain and defend."—Ordered, to lie upon the table.