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L E T T E R
A PEER OF IRELAND,
ο Ν Τ Η Ε
PE N A L L A W S
PREVIOUS TO THE LATE REPEAL OF A PART THEREOF, IN THE SESSION OF THE IRISH
PARLIAMENT, HELD A.D. 1782.
Charles-street, London, Feb. 21, 1782.
A M obliged to your lordship for your communi
cation of the heads of Mr. Gardiner's bill. I had received it, in an earlier stage of its progress, from Mr. Braughall; and I am ftill in that gontleman's debt, as I have not made hin the proper return for the favour he has done me. Business, to which I was more immediately called, and in which my fentiments had the weight of one vote, occupied me every moment since I received his letter. This first morning, which I can call my own, I give with great chearfulness to the subject on which your lordThip has done me the honour of difiiing my opini
I have read the heads of the bill, with the amendments. Your lordship is too well acquainted with men, and with affairs, to imagine that any true judgment can be forined on the value of a great measure of policy froin the perulal of a piece of paper. At present I am much in the dark with regard to the state of the country, which the intended law is to be applied to *. It is not easy for ne 10 determine whether or no it was wise (for the take. of expunging the black letter of laws, which, menacing as they were in the language, were every day fading into disuse) solemn'y to re-afirm the principles, and to re-enact the provisions of a code of itatutes, by which you are totally excluded from the PRIVILEGES OF COMMON-WEALTH, from the highest to the lowest, from the most material of
The sketch of the bill sent to Mr. Burke, along with the repeal of some acts, re-affirmed many others in e e: I rete. altered afterwards, and the claufes re firmişthe inc.pacinios lefe out; but they all still exilt, and are in tuli torce.
the civil professions, from the army, and even from education, where alone education is to be had.
Whether this scheme of indulgence, grounded at once on contempt and je ilousy, has a tendency gradually to produce something better and more liberal, I cannot tell, for want of having the actual map of the country. If this should be the case, it was right in you to accept it, such as it is. But if this should be one of the experiments, which have sometimes been made before the temper of the nation was ripe for a real reformation, I think it may poslibly have ill effects, by disposing the penal matter in a more systematic order, and thereby fixing a permanent bar against any relief that is truly substantial. The whole merit or demerit of the measure depends upon the plans and dispositions of those by whom the act was made, concurring with the general temper of the Protestants of Ireland, and their aptitude to admit in time of some part of that equality, without
never can be felLOW-CITIZENS. - Of all this I am wholly ignorant. All my correspondence with men of public importance in Ireland has for some time totally ceased. On the first bill for the relief of the Roman CATHOLICS of Ireland, I was, without any call of mine, consulted both on your side of the water and on this. On the present occasion, I have not heard a word from any man in office; and know as little of the intentions of the British government, as I know of the temper of the Irish parliament. I do not find that any opposition was mace by the principal persons of the minority in the house of commons, or that any is apprehended from them in the house of lords. The whole of the difficulty seems to lie with the principal men in government, under whose protection this bill is supposed to be brought in. This violent opposition and cordial support, coming from one and the same quarter, appears to me something mysterious, and hin