"The Honorable Gentleman had asked if any assurances had been given to the Catholics, "and had read a paper said to have been published by Lord Cornwallis. The substance of that paper Mr. Pitt avowed, and that he wished it "to be known, as soon as possible to the Catholics " and to the country, and had therefore purposely "written to Lord Cornwallis. As to the particular "expressions in the paper he knew nothing of them, having never seen it before it was pub"lished. He denied, that any pledge had been given to the Catholics, either by himself, Lord "Cornwallis or the Noble Lord near him (Castle"reagh). The Catholics might very naturally "have conceived a hope, and he himself had always thought, that in time that measure would "be a consequence of the union, because the diffi"culties would be fewer than before."

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*Although Lord Grenville tenderly avoided any discussion of the question of Catholic emancipation, yet he more frequently and more explicitly mentioned his opinion upon it, than Mr. Pitt. His words on the 20th of March in the debate upon the state of the nation were pointed. "Without "that point (viz. Catholic emancipation) attained, he thought "the union would be a base lifeless measure: and not being "able to bring it forward in the way, which he conceived "essential to its success, he thought in common with his colleagues, that they should retire from situations, which they "could not fill in their own opinions to the advantage of their country." There cannot be a stronger argument for repealing the Act of Union, than that for the first ten years, the very life blood of that measure has been drawn off, and the body consequently paralyzed or inflamed. Such was the consistency, such the sincerity of the men, who in the same breath pledged their


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pledge to


Impenetrable was the obscurity, which hung 1801. about this transaction. It remained mysterious to Mr. Pitt's all, who could not consider the causes assigned for the Cathoresignation adequate to the effect. The pride of lics. Mr. Pitt, the sympathies of some and the fears of others of his friends cautiously restrained them from touching upon the real causes of their abdication, despondency and apprehensión. The written document speaks for itself. It was never contended, that the original paper was in the handwriting of Mr. Pitt. He is said to have dictated it to Lord Castlereagh. But Mr. Pitt's avowal of the substance and Lord Cornwallis's assertion, that he received it from Mr. Piit, settle the substantial authenticity of its having been a written communication between Government and the Catholics of Ireland. Although Mr. Pitt, and Lord Grenville in Parliament and Mr. Dundas (now Lord Melville) perhaps more cautiously out of Parliament, proclaimed their inability to carry the Catholic question, as the true and only cause of their resignation, yet they were too experienced in political intrigue, not to resume the grand coup de spectacle for that theatre, on which the delusion was principally intended to be played off. Mr. Pitt and Lord Castlereagh committed to paper, and concerted with Lord Cornwallis, that he also should express in writing the pretended sentiments of the leading friends to the Catholic claims, in order,

own and called upon their Peers for their support of Ministers, who professed implacable hostility to the question of Catholic emancipation.


that the Irish people should be induced by this insidious legacy to give credit to the Pitt Administration, for having sacrificed their places to their sincerity in the cause of the Catholics. Deception of some sort seems to have been intended by the suppression of dates and names, and the omission of all clerical formality in the transmission of the document. Many were at the time deceived and some still refuse to admit, that such delusion has been practised upon them. Immediately after Mr. Pitt's resignation,* his Excellency sent for Dr. Troy, the Catholic Arch-Bishop of Dublin, and Lord Fingall the first Catholic Nobleman of Ireland on the same day, though they attended him at separate times, and in the presence of Lieutenant Colonel Littlehales delivered to them the following written declaration; desiring

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* So confident was the party, that Lord Cornwallis had been the faithful tool of the British cabinet in carrying all its designs into effect in Ireland, and so steadily was that cabinet bent upon continuing the same system of proscription and division, that Lord Cornwallis was strongly and repeatedly urged to continue in his Government. His retirement however was the winding up of the piece; and the test of his sincerity in emancipating the Catholics, whom he left as he found them, and of his detestation of the Orangemen, who had incredibly encreased in numbers strength and influence under his administration.

About this time namely 25th of February 1801 Lord Cornwallis appointed his confidential friend and favourite Colonel Edward Baker Littlehales, whom his Excellency had brought over with him to Ireland to be under secretary in the military department, in the room of William Elliott Esq. who had resigned that office. Mr. Elliott had been long trained to and was ever active in forwarding Mr. Pitt's system upon Ireland.

at the same time, that they should be discreetly 1801. communicated to the Bishops and principal Catholics, but not inserted in the newspapers. Within a short time after, they found their way into the English and Irish prints.

Pitt's pledge

"The leading part of his Majesty's Ministers Copy of Mr. finding unsurmountable obstacles to the bringing to the Ca forward measures of concession to the Catholic tholics body, whilst in office, have felt it impossible to continue in administration under the inability to propose it with the circumstances necessary to carrying the measure with all its advantages; and they have retired from his Majesty's service, considering this line of condact, as most likely to contribute to its ultimate success. The Catholic body will, therefore, see how much their future hopes must depend upon strengthening their cause by good conduct in the mean time: they will prudently consider their prospects as arising from the persons, who now espouse their interests, and compare them with those, which they could look to from any other quarter: they may with confidence rely on the zealous support of all those, who retire, and of many, who remain in office, when it can be given with a prospect of success. They may be assured, that Mr. Pitt will do his utmost to establish their cause in the public favor, and prepare the way for their finally attaining their objects. And the Catholics will feel, that as Mr. Pitt could not concur in a hopeless attempt to force it now, he must at all times repress with the same decision, as if he held an adverse opinion, any unconstitutional conduct in the Catholic body.


The Reign of George III.

1801. Under these circumstances it cannot be doubted, that the Catholics will take the most loyal, dutiful, and patient line of conduct; that they will not suffer themselves to be led into measures, which can, by any construction, give a handle to the opposers of their wishes, either to misinterpret their principles, or to raise an argument for resisting their claims: but that by their prudent and exemplary demeanour they will afford additional grounds to the growing number of their advocaets to enforce their claims on proper occasions, until their objects can be finally and advantageously attained."


Lord Cornwallis du.

Such was Mr. Pitt's pledge or promise, which falls certainly within Lord Hollands meaning of a written communication between the agents of Government and the Catholic body. That of Lord Cornwallis was under the following title-viz.

"The sentiments of a sincere friend to the Catholic claims. If the Catholics should now proceed to violence, or entertain any ideas of gaining their object by convulsive measures, or forming associations with men of Jacobinical principles, they must of course lose the support and aid of those, who have sacrificed their own situations in their cause; but who would at the same time feel it to be their indispensable duty to oppose every thing tending to confusion. On the other hand should the Catholics be sensible of the benefit they possess, by having so many characters of eminence pledged not to embark in the service of Government, except on the terms of the Catholic


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