HC Deb 23 February 1813 vol 24 cc692-4

Petitions against the Claims of the Roman Catholics were presented from the citizens and inhabitants of Chester, the inhabitants of Leeds, the archdeacon and clergy of York, the gentry, clergy, &c. of eastern division of Kent, the archdeacon and clergy of Huntingdon, the inhabitants of Rye, the ministers, &.c. of Chobham, the inhabitants of London and Westminster, the inhabitants of St. Dunstan's in the East, the inhabitants of Billingsgate, the rector, &c. of St. Olave, the Protestants of Donegal, the Protestants of Meath; the inhabitants of Aberystwyth, the gentry, clergy, &c. of Denbigh, the Protestant noblemen, &c. of Cavan, the inhabitants of East Grinsted, the burgesses of Ruthin, the Protestant noblemen of Downe, and the aldermen and burgesses of Bodmin. All which were ordered to lie upon the table.—Petitions were also received from the Roman Catholics of Ballinakill, Queen's county, and Limerick, in support of their Claims.

On presenting the Petition from London and Westminster,

Sir W. Curtis

said, he had to present a Petition from more than 60,000 inhabitants of this metropolis, against what was called Catholic Emancipation. The persons who had signed this Petition, could read and write too.

Mr. Christopher Smith

said, that it was the custom at the place where the Petition lay for signatures, to ask any one who presented himself to sign, whether he had read the Petition, and if he answered in the negative, to recommend him to read it before he signed; and he did not doubt that the greater part of those who signed it had read it.

Sir J. Shaw

said a few words on the same side.

Mr. Baring

said, that the meeting in pursuance of the resolutions of which this Petition had been drawn up, was convened in the most obscure manner possible. As half a dozen people at the Crown and Anchor would come forward with, "We the people of England;"—so this Petition, the signatures to which had been obtained by placarding the walls of taverns, and other disgraceful methods, was brought forward, as the Petition of the cities of London and Westminster. In so large a city a Petition on any subject would by such means get a long string of names; but it was much to the honour of the city of London, that it had not joined, by any public act, in the senseless cry which had been raised, he was sorry to say, principally by the clergy.

Sir W. Curtis

said, the meeting was publicly convened, and attended by persons of consequence, and that 90 out of 100 signed it in the room where the meeting had been held.

Sir F. Burdett

said, that as to Westminster, a numerous meeting which had been held in Palace yard had come to resolutions in favour of the Catholic Claims.

Lord Milton

asked sir W. Curtis whether notice had been given, that Petitions lay for signatures at the Churches in London during divine service.

Sir W. Curtis

said, he was sorry he could not speak to the fact.

Lord Milton

reprobated the practice of applying the Churches, and the time allowed for divine service, to purposes merely political.