Loyal Address

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXXVI

Tone had already obtained considerable influence by his political pamphlets, which had an immense circulation. There can be no doubt that he was tinctured with republican sentiments; but it was impossible for an Irish Protestant, who had any real sympathy with his country, to feel otherwise: it had endured nothing but misery from the monarchical form of government. The Catholics probably, were only prevented from adopting similar opinions by their inherent belief in the divine right of kings. In 1791 the fears of those who thought the movement had a democratic tendency, were confirmed by the celebration of the anniversary of the French Revolution in Belfast, July, 1791; and in consequence of this, sixty-four Catholics of the upper classes presented a loyal address to the throne.

The Catholic delegates met in Dublin in December, 1792, and prepared a petition to the King representing their grievances. It was signed by Dr. Troy, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, and Dr. Moylan, on behalf of the clergy. Amongst the laity present were Lords Kenmare, Fingall, Trimbleston, Gormanstown, and French. Five delegates were appointed to present the petition, and they were provided with a very large sum of money, which induced those in power to obtain them an audience. They were introduced to George III. by Edmund Burke. His Majesty sent a message to the Irish Parliament, requesting them to remove some of the disabilities; but the Parliament treated the message with contempt, and Lord Chancellor FitzGibbon brought in a Bill to prevent any bodies from meeting by delegation for the future.