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    The Irish Bill was read a second time in the House of Lords on the 23rd of July. It was strongly opposed by the Duke of Wellington, as transferring the electoral power of the country from the Protestants to the Roman Catholics. Lord Plunket, in reply, said, "One fact, I think, ought to satisfy every man, not determined against conviction, of its wisdom and necessity. What will the House think when I inform them that the representatives of seventeen of those boroughs, containing a population of 170,000 souls, are nominated by precisely seventeen persons? Yet, by putting an end to this iniquitous and disgraceful system, we are, forsooth, violating the articles of the union, and overturning the Protestant institutions of the country! This is ratiocination and statesmanlike loftiness of vision with a vengeance! Then it seems that besides violating the union Act we are departing from the principles of the measure of 1829. I deny that. I also deny the assumption of the noble Duke, that the forty-shilling freeholders were disfranchised on that occasion merely for the purpose of maintaining the Protestant interests in Ireland. The forty-shilling freeholders were disfranchised, not because they were what are called 'Popish electors,' but because they were in such indigent circumstances as precluded their exercising their[353] suffrage right independently and as free agentsbecause they were an incapable constituency." The Bill, after being considered in committee, where it encountered violent opposition, was passed by the Lords on the 30th of July, and received the Royal Assent by commission on the 7th of August.

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    The anti-Gallic spirit was at the same time made violent use of to crush opinion at home. It is true that there was a foolish zeal on behalf of the French Revolution in a certain portion of the British public, which ought, by this time, to have been cooled by the too obvious nature and tendency of that Revolution; but this might readily have been prevented from doing harm by a fair exposure of the folly of the admirers of so bloody and dishonest a system as that of the French Jacobins. But it was more in accordance with the spirit of Government at that time to endeavour to crush the freedom of the press and of speech, under cover of the repression of a Gallic tendency. The persecution began in Scotland.

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