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doubt could be entertained of his ability to carry such a measure through the two Houses of Parliament, although he might not succeed in carrying a bill, which could not be perfected without the concurrence of all the three branches of the Legislature. That although the measure petitioned for might not then bé attainable in toto on account of certain objections, yet the adopting and sanctioning of a bare principle of expediency by both or either of the Houses of Parliament could not break in upon scruples supposed to exist in a high quarter, or offer any violence to conscience in that regard. That on the contrary, it would tend powerfully to facilitate the final adoption of a measure, which he himself had at heart and deemed politic and expedient, whenever the proper time should arrive for proposing it. That to have obtained a recognition of those liberal principles, upon which he had acted, and by which he had acquired such a commanding influence upon the public mind, would greatly forward his views and policy by ensuring ultimate success to the measure. The minister still persisted in declining to present the petition, even for that subaltern purpose. He positively asserted, that at that moment with all the strength of Government he could not carry such a vote or resolution. That he could not entertain any measure, which should tend to a discussion, where the adoption was impracticable. That such a proposition would inevitably produce a discussion, and that every such discussion must be highly injurious to the state. That as he could not carry the
measure, he must decline undertaking to propose it. For should the declaratory vote or resolution be carried, it ought to be immediately followed up by an effectual adoption of the measure. The deputies respectfully submitted to Mr. Pitt, that a declaratory vote by its very nature waived the immediate adoption of the measure, and rested it upon the assertion of a principle, to which they resorted, when the temporary difficulties should have been removed: and they strongly insisted upon the operative precedent of a declaratory vote in Parliament in favor of the abolition of the slave trade. The Minister barely repeated, that he could not carry the measure, and that at any rate he could not consistently with his sense of his duty take any step, which could produce a discussion of the subject.
Close of the i: As Mr. Pitt had so inflexibly declined acceding
and Mr. to either of the two first propositions, the depuPitt's ulti-ties urged him still more anxiously upon a third. They assured him, that the Catholics were determined to cling to him and to his Majesty's Government, as long as they could: that they should with extreme reluctance be forced to separate themselves and their 'cause from him, to whom they had ever looked up as to their patron and most powerful supporter. That so far were they from wishing in any manner to embarrass Ministers, they had preferred to embarrass their own cause and clog its progress, than subject themselves to such an imputation. They therefore proposed to him, that if he would introduce their pe
tition, and lay it on the table of the House of 1805. Commons, they would authorize him to state to the House, that they did not press the immediate adoption of the measure prayed for. In a word, they were earnestly bent upon his presenting and countenancing their petition, and obtaining the notice and regard of Parliament. They assured him, that the entertaining of the petition at all, though it should be rejected or postponed, would be far more grateful to their feelings, than utter neglect and disregard. That they wished to be made known to their fellow-subjects in England, hoping, that the more they should be known to them, the better would they be liked. That his compliance with their request would defeat the attempts of those, who endeavoured to persuade the Catholics, that they had been deceived and duped by the Union. And in order to induce him to this last proposition, they informed him, that their instructions to introduce the petition were imperative upon them, and they endeavoured to impress him with a sense of the advantages he would have in being himself the introducer of the petition, by which he would keep the subject exclusively in his own hands, and preserve the gratitude and support, and command the energies of the Catholic body in all the measures of his Government. Should he persist in declining this last proposition, the petition would inevitably be introduced by some other member, who would bring. on a discussion certainly less agreeable, and probably more injurious, than if regulated and mode
rated by himself. Mr. Pitt, without noticing any of those observations, drily repeated his negative determination: he remarked, that he should feel less personal embarrassment at the discussion, if it were occasioned by any other person than himself. He neither threw out a suggestion for their applying to any other channel, nor gave any ground for presuming, that the introduction of the petition through any ministerial member would be likely to soften his opposition. For he very explicitly declared, that he should feel it his duty to resist it. The only advice he condescended to offer, was to withdraw their petition altogether, or at all events to postpone it. The deputies being still desirous to leave a door open for some arrangement, which might keep alive the hope of Mr. Pitt's countenancing their cause, entreated him to allow himself a day or two to reflect upon the subject of their conference, and hoped he would then favor them with his ultimate commands: they suggested, that were he in that instant to decide so firmly against them, it might appear to the Catholic body, that their cause had been prejudged, even before he had seen their deputies, or communicated with a single Catholic gentleman upon the subject. That this would cast an ungracious cloud over their cause, which they flattered themselves he would not wish for even in that moment they were unwilling to consider it utterly bereft of his countenance and support, as they knew it had his kind wishes and approbation. Mr. Pitt assured them, he had not decided upon the instant: he had read
and attentively considered their petition, had been regularly apprized of all their proceedings, had very fully revolved the whole matter in his mind, and had well deliberated and finally decided the course he should pursue. He had given them the fixed result of that decision.
as their heads appeared the most eligible members
Under the assurance of Mr. Pitt's (consequently Catholic deof all the ministerialist's) decided opposition to the ply to Lord, Catholic petition in every form, the deputies held and Mr. several meetings, to arrange their future steps for carrying their instructions into full effect: the result of which was to apply to Lord Grenville and Mr. Fox. They gave credit to Lord Grenville for the sincerity, with which he declared the necessity of carrying the Catholic question to have been the real cause of his retiring from office in 1801, and as he had not returned to power with Mr. Pitt, they anticipated his steadiness to their cause. With him they reckoned as sure friends, Lord Spencer, Mr. Wyndham, and some other members, who had formed a part of Mr. Pitt's former administration, and had resigned with him and upon one common principle. In the liberal policy and inflexible integrity of Mr. Fox, the deputies were sure at all times, and under all circumstances of cordial support, as well from him as from all his true friends. They considered the then coalesced party of opposition to comprize an assemblage of the leading characters in point of talent, rank, influence, political virtue and experience: and therefore Lord Grenville and Mr. Fox