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even to those unhappy persons, an hearty support in effectuating the peace of the empire, and every opposition in an attempt to cast it again into disorder.
When that happy hour shall arrive, let us in all affection recommend to you the wisdom of continuing, as in former times, or even in a more ample measure, the support of your government, and even to give to your administration some degree of reciprocal interest in your freedom. We earnestly wish you not to furnish your enemies, here or elsewhere, with any sort of pretexts for reviving quarrels by too reserved and severe or penurious an exercise of those sacred rights which no pretended abuse in the exercise ought to impair, nor, by overstraining the principles of freedom, to make them less compatible with those haughty sentiments in others which the very same principles may be apt to breed in minds not tempered with the utmost equity and justice.
The well-wishers of the liberty and union of this empire salute you, and recommend you most heartily to the Divine protection.
This Letter is addressed to Mr. Pery, (afterwards Lord Pory,) then Speaker of the House of Commons of Ireland. It appears, , there had been much correspondence between that gentleman and Mr. Burke, on the subject of heads of a bill (which had passed the Irish House of Commons in the summer of the year 1778, and had been transmitted by the Irish Privy Council of (to ?] England) for the relief of his Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects in Ireland. The bill contained a clause for exempting the Protestant Dissenters of Ireland from the sacramental test, which created a strong objection to the whole measure on the part of the English government. Mr. Burke employed his most strenuous efforts to remove the prejudice which the king's ministers entertained against the clause, but the bill was ultimately returned without it, and in that shape passed the Irish Parliament. (17th and 18th Geo. III. cap. 49.) In the subsequent session, however, a separate act was passed for the relief of the Protestant Dissenters of Ireland.
Y DEAR SIR, - I received due course your
two very interesting and judicious letters, which gave me many new lights, and excited me to fresh activity in the important subject they related to. However, from that time I have not been perfectly free from doubt and uneasiness. I used a liberty with those letters, which, perhaps, nothing can thoroughly justify, and which certainly nothing but the delicacy of the crisis, the clearness of my intentions, and your great good-nature can at all excuse. I might conceal this from you; but I think it better to lay the whole matter before you, and submit myself to your mercy,- assuring you, at the same time, that, if you are so kind as to continue your confidence on this, or to renew it upon any other occasion, I shall never be tempted again to make so bold and unauthorized an use of the trust you place in me. I will state to you the history of the business since my last, and then you will see how far I am excusable by the circumstances.
On the 3rd of July I received a letter from the Attorney-General, dated the day before, in which, in a very open and obliging manner, he desires my thoughts of the Irish Toleration Bill, and particularly of the Dissenters' clause. I gave them to him, by the return of the post, at large; but, as the time pressed, 1 kept no copy of the letter. The general drift was strongly to recommend the whole, and principally to obviate the objections to the part that related to the Dissenters, with regard both to the general propriety and to the temporary policy at this juncture. I took, likewise, a good deal of pains to state the difference which had always subsisted with regard to the treatment of the Protestant Dissenters in Ireland and in England, and what I conceived the reason of that difference to be. About the same time I was called to town for a day; and I took an opportunity, in Westminster Hall, of urging the same points, with all the force I was master of, to the SolicitorGeneral. I attempted to see the Chancellor for the same purpose, but was not fortunate enough to meet him at home. Soon after my return hither, on Tuesday, I received a very polite and I may say friendly letter from him, wishing me (on supposition that I had continued in town) to dine with him as [on ?] that day, in order to talk over the business of the Toleration Act, then before him. Unluckily I had company
and was not able to leave them until Thursday, when I went to town and called at his house, but missed him. However, in answer to his letter, I had before, and instantly on the receipt of it, written to him at large, and urged such topics, both with regard to the Catholics and Dissenters, as I imagined were the most likely to be prevalent with him. This letter I followed to town on Thursday. On my arrival I was much alarmed with a report that the ministry had thoughts of rejecting the whole bill. Mr. M’Namara seemed apprehensive that it was a determined measure; and there seemed to be but too much reason for his fears.
Not having met the Chancellor at home, either on