then rose. He said, that it now remained for him to discharge his duty, by bringing under the consideration of the House the subject of the petitions which the House had just heard, and on behalf of the Protestants and Roman Catholics of Ireland, to call the attention of the House to the relative state of both; a state which, on the one hand, justified an imputation of harshness and oppression, and, on the other, excited a feeling of that injustice and oppression, which, if it were suffered to continue, must in its consequences prove equally dangerous to the party which oppressed, and to the party which suffered. His object was, to attain an end of public good by doing an act of public justice. It was such an act of justice, as, he was persuaded, would lay the foundation of ultimate concord, for concord was the necessary consequence of justice. He believed it would be received with the warmest feelings of gratitude and satisfaction, though this was in his judgment an inferior and secondary consideration. To suppose that he brought forward this question, merely as a palliative to allay temporary discontents, and to get rid of accidental ill-humours, would be not only greatly to undervalue the measure, but wholly to misconceive its bearing. The Roman Catholics of Ireland had nobly disentitled themselves to the supposition of its being a measure to allay discontent. Determined as they were to persevere in their efforts to obtain redress of grievances and restoration of rights, they were equally determined never to seek them but as the result of wisdom and justice in the legislature, in which they knew that they could not be ultimately disappointed. That there did exist among them an eager desire for immediate redress, and instant restoration to the freedom which their fellow-subjects possessed, he should be ashamed to deny. That there was felt by them that sickness 962 of the heart which arose from hope deferred, and which called urgently for a remedy to be administered, he did not deny. But he was not so sick and silly a zealot as to believe, that the immediate effect of the measure which he urged would be to remove every feeling of uneasiness excited by a long course of irritation and injustice. No measure which he could propose, or the legislature could adopt, would operate as a charm. By applying an instant remedy the discontent would not instantly cease. The waves were heard to roll for some time after the tempest had ceased. But these were not the questions for parliament to inquire into. It was their duty to consider whether any injury had been, done to any portion of our fellow-subjects; whether any grievances had given rise to discontent, and if so, to remedy them; whether any injuries had been done, and if so, to endeavour, by their removal, to obliterate the remembrance of them? If long continued injuries had produced discontent, the more was their (shame, and the more regret would be felt by every honourable mind, that no attempt had been made to remove them. The longer any institution of society, pressing heavily upon the interests and rights of the community, was suffered to exist, the deeper it struck; and if it was found that such an institution pressed not merely upon individuals, not merely upon bodies of men, hut upon the greater part of the population of a most important part of the empire, the evil became so crying and unjust as to impose upon them the absolute necessity of taking immediate steps for its removal.
Before he proceeded to the main argument, he wished to call the attention of the House to some loose and general objections which had, from time to time, been made to the measure, on the ground of its being imperfect in some of its details. It was said, for instance, that the Catholics were not aggrieved to the extent to which they complained; that the plan which had been proposed was inconsistent or dangerous; objections were taken to some of the offices proposed to be left open, and to some of the oaths proposed to be retained; and it was urged, that the friends of the measure were not themselves agreed as to the nature of the conditions or securities which should accompany the measure, or whether any conditions or securities should accompany it at all. This was, in his judgment, not a fair, not a manly, 963 not a candid manner of meeting the question, Was the question itself fit to be entertained? Did justice plead for it? Did the constitution sanction it? Did policy demand it? If it were contended, that it ought to be rejected because it was impolitic or because it was uncalled for by the demands of justice, he should then understand the argument; but objections, grounded upon the particular form and mode of the question were neither fair, nor manly, nor just. If he shewed that a great public grievance existed, and that a great public good would be effected by applying a remedy to it; if he shewed this, and any man told him that he admitted his principles, but would not agree to his plan because there was something weak in its details, he would ask such an individual, whether it was fair or manly thus to shelter himself in the privileges of neutrality? Would it not be more manly and consistent to come forward and suggest something better—instead of wrapping himself up in the immunities of neutrality? If the measure were not bad, it must necessarily be good. We come forward, with no theoretical speculations—no innovation upon the constitution—no untried experiments no attack upon existing establishments—we come forward under the constitution itself, on the part of millions of his majesty's loyal subjects, humbly petitioning parliament that they may be admitted to enjoy those privileges which their ancestors enjoyed, and supposed that they had bequeathed as an indefeasible inheritance to their posterity. Such were the claims of his majesty's Roman Catholic subjects—claims which were founded upon, and recognised by, the true spirit of the British constitution, and which ought, if opposed at all, to be fairly met, and not by an attempt to crush the plan submitted to the House, merely on the ground of objections to some of its details.
What he meant to propose was, a committee for the purpose of adjusting the difficulties of those details. He apprehended that no person was prepared to say that there was no practicable plan, no possible method, of reconciling the claims of the Catholics with those difficulties, and with the interest of the Protestant portion of the community. Still less could any man wish that there should be any insurmountable obstacle to the attainment of so desirable an object. If there were any man capable of harbouring such a 964 wish, he would not condescend to argue, with him. He, himself, entertained very confident expectations that such a plan was practicable—an expectation that was not a little increased by the recollection, that within the last few years a majority; of that House had agreed to a committee, and that very lately a majority of that House had come to a resolution, by which the measure might have been carried, had it not been for the gross indiscretion of those who called themselves the friends of the Catholics. If such was the disposition of parliament at a time when the political horizon was threatened with storms, which the nation had happily weathered—if they were willing to make such concession at a period of great public danger and dismay, surely no objection could now be made to the measure on the score of apprehension. It could not be forgotten by any generous and grateful mind, that no portion of our countrymen had more distinguished themselves, or contributed more to that happy issue, which had restored peace and tranquillity to the country, than his majesty's Roman Catholic subjects. They had fought the battles of the country; and shed their blood in its cause, with a prodigality which proved them worthy of the privileges from which they were unjustly excluded. He did not anticipate, then, any thing like hostility; certainly nothing of rancour, in the discussion of this question. Something of prejudice, he feared, he should have to encounter. When he said prejudice, he did not mean to use that word in a harsh sense; if prejudices existed, they sprung from an origin so noble, and connected themselves with feelings so immediately growing out of the struggles which had been made in this country for civil and political freedom, that they deserved to be called by a better name. If prejudices were entertained, he was persuaded that they were such prejudices as were accessible to argument, and which, if not assaulted by violence, would yield to the voice of reason. He believed that even in the minds of those who opposed the measure, some latent anxiety existed to adopt it, and that they opposed it only in obedience to what they conceived an imperious and paramount duty. It could not be doubted that there was a growing feeling in its favour, both in that House and in the country, and therefore he was satisfied that he was not likely to be encountered by any thing more than that fair and reasonable oppo- 965 sition, which was perhaps due to the full consideration of the rights and interests of the Protestant part of the community.
The question before the House admitted of three distinct considerations. It might be considered as a question of religion, as a question of the constitution, and as a question of policy. He feared he should have to call more largely upon the patience of the House than he could wish. It was a subject which had often been considered in all its parts, and which must be familiar to the members of that House, though many of them had never heard it discussed within the walls of parliament. Upon the first part of the subject, namely, the religious bearing of the question, he did not think he was called upon to say a great deal, because it had been distinctly admitted, that if the interests of the state did not require the exclusion of his majesty's Catholic subjects from the privileges of their fellow subjects, it would be unjust to exclude them merely on the score of religion. It was admitted in direct terms by a right rev. prelate in another place, that, as far as this was a mere question of religion, there was no pretence, if reasons of state did not interfere, for excluding them on the ground of their religious opinions. This being admitted, he thought he might be dispensed from the necessity of any further consideration on this part of the subject; but, as a Protestant called upon to subscribe the declaration of the 30th of Charles 2nd, he could not forbear making a few observations upon the extent and bearing of that declaration, although they might not particularly apply to the claims of the Roman Catholics. Looking at this merely as a religious question, was it contended, that the interests of religion required any pledge from persons admitted to the privileges, offices, and franchises of the state. Any religious pledge was calculated to impress an opinion, that religion was only an instrument for state purposes. What was the inference from the necessity of giving a pledge, but that for the enjoyment of privileges of state, certain religious opinions were required? Now, all religions, as religions, were in this respect equal. AH religions were equally true in the estimation of those who respectively professed them. If in this country the interests of true religion required tests and political restrictions, the interests of true religion in a Catholic country required tests and political restrictions; the interests of 966 true religion in a Mahometan country required tests and political restrictions; the interests of true religion in a Pagan country required tests and political restrictions. That many who had taken up the question on trust, maintained the necessity of pledges and restrictions on religious grounds, might be conceived; but that any person maintained on principle that there was any pledge or test necessary but as a matter of state, he very much doubted. Why not require, if religious faith was necessary before one became a member of the state—why not require that a Protestant should give pledges of his faith? Why should he not be required to declare his faith in God, his faith in a Redeemer; his faith in a future state of rewards and punishments? No man was required to declare his belief; he might believe nothing; for all that was required was negative. Nothing positive was submitted as a test. It was all abhorrence and antipathy. Nothing positive was required to be believed.
Again, if it was not positive belief that was required, but denunciation of what was believed by others, why was it only the Catholics that were denounced? Why was there no denunciation of those who believed not the divinity of our Lord? Why was there not a denunciation of the Jews, of the Mahometans, of Pagans? Why was it sufficient to abhor the Roman Catholics, who believed all that we believed, and only differed from us by believing something more? He might be an infidel, he might believe in Jupiter, in Osiris, the ape, the crocodile, in all the host of heaven, and all the creeping things of the earth, and be admitted to all the privileges of the state, for the statutory abhorrence was limited to those who believed all the great principles of religion. Why was the doctrine of transubstantiation a particular topic of denunciation and abhorrence? Beyond the objections which had been urged to that great measure, the necessity of which he was now endeavouring to enforce, beyond all those, to some of which he had adverted, it was asserted, that the Roman Catholics held the doctrine of actual transubstantiation; that there was an actual presence, at the sacrament, of the body of our lord in the bread, and of his blood in the wine. He could only say, ft it were so—if such a doctrine were really held, it must be held in direct contradiction to the words of our Saviour and 967 the dictates of common sense; for if men knew the elements before them to be bread and wine, it must be impossible that they could be the body and blood of the Redeemer. But what was the fact The Roman Catholics (to whom it might surely be permitted to know what they did or did not believe) affirmed that they did not believe this actual transubstantiation, because they admitted that it was clearly impossible for the same body to be in two places at one time. In candour, however, he must admit, that in a sense the Roman Catholics did believe in the transubstantiation, in a certain sense they did hold the doctrine; but what that sense was, it was impossible for him to say. And here he would observe that, not knowing, he would not attempt to describe it; for, to assume that it was that which it had been erroneously represented to be, a transubstantiation, in its nature opposed to common sense, was just as reasonable as if he should say that it was six foot high, or of a red colour. Those were not the opinions of queen Elizabeth upon this subject—a subject which might be a fair one, indeed, for polemical discussion, but was not a proper object of legislative interference or political jealousy. Certain it was, that queen Elizabeth prohibited her chaplains from preaching about it in public; and they thought that she was too good a judge of polemical matters, or that she had too shrewd a sense of the interests and welfare of the state, not to pay the most implicit deference to her commands. He would take the liberty of reading a short extract upon this point from Burnet's "History of the Reformation." There, he said, the chief desire of the Queen's council was, to unite the nation in one faith; and the greatest part of the nation continued to believe in such a presence (that is, the real presence). Therefore it was recommended to the divines to see that there should be no express definition made against it. "The Queen and her council studied (as bath already been shown) to unite all into the communion of the church; and it was alleged that such an express definition against the real presence might drive from the church many who were still in that persuasion." So that it might be, as a mere speculative opinion, not determined upon, but upon which every man was at liberty to indulge the impressions of his own mind. This, then, was really the 968 opinion of queen Elizabeth, whom be might call the great foundress of the Reformation. There was, surely, no want of sincerity in her belief: no one would impute such a want to that great woman, for she more than once hazarded her life and her throne in the defence of that belief. But she was profoundly acquainted with the true policy of the state; and she said, that although her own mind was made up on the subject, she would not make windows to look through into the hearts of her subjects, nor would she suffer them to be made by others. ACT cordingly, queen Elizabeth altered the Liturgy, as it then stood, and had existed from the reign of Edward 6th, and excluded from it that part which denied the real presence. And so the Liturgy stood now; for the fact was, that in our communion service, at this moment, there was nothing which in terms did deny that doctrine, or which could even exclude a conscientious Roman Catholic from participating in it. The House might be told that this was, perhaps, an intended encouragement on that queen's part to the religion of the Church of Rome. They might be told that she did this to let in idolatry, as it were, by such a portal. He did not, however, believe that any body who stood up for the high church principles of the present day, would venture to tell queen Elizabeth, if she were present, that he was a better Protestant than herself. It was a proceeding contrary to the spirit of religion, an outrage upon the doctrines of Christianity, an insult upon reason, an offence against piety, to say that they were called upon to give foul names to those who were not agreed with ourselves upon a subject of such a nature.
But, if polemics were interested in the settlement of this question, why were states and legislatures to interfere with it? Why was a question of this abstract and undefined character to be made the cause of the exclusion from the common rights of their fellow countrymen, from the personal privileges and honours attainable by the rest of the nation, of so large and important a class of the great community? Then it was said, that while this doctrine was maintained, Christianity was in terror. But this was a libel on Christianity—a reflection upon its truth, and a denial of its efficacy: for it went to say that its mighty ends were not obtained; it went to show that after the 969 lapse; of 1800 years from the period at which the bipod of the Saviour was shed in the great expiatory sacrifice, nothing had been effected, but that the greater part of Europe should, at this day, be lost in abominable idolatry. But what had taken place, in fact, with respect to the Roman Catholics of Ireland? What had the government done? Why, in Ireland, it was well known that they did admit Roman Catholics to a participation of certain privileges: they might be grand jurors, and they might be magistrates. Now, let the House observe the necessary inconsistency which followed as a consequence; they made the grand juror or the magistrate take an oath, in a Christian country, that he was one of these idolaters: before they returned him, they made him swear that he was a Roman Catholic; so that the act of his appointment bore, that being an idolater, he was vested with powers intended for the preservation of the peace and welfare and good government of a Christian land. But they had done much more; they had permitted these idolaters to build schools, and to teach children; they had formed alliances with these idolaters; they had established them even in Canada. He hoped that if what he was now saying should get to the ears of a learned and right reverend person at the head of our religious establishment—and for whom he always wished to speak with the consideration and even affectionate respect which was due to his character, and to his office—he would not, in another place, when opportunity should offer, suffer this matter to remain any longer in such a state of misconception as that in which it had long been.
He should now proceed to consider the question before them as it regarded the constitution. What he meant to contend for upon this part of the subject was, that the constitution intended to admit, and that justice as well as policy required them to admit, every person, performing the duties of a liege subject, to all the franchises and privileges of the state. Such an admission he considered as their right; and that right, he should maintain, had not been touched even by the Reformation, previous to which it had not been questioned. It was a right acknowledged, without doubt and without hesitation, until some events and some peculiar circumstances had rendered it necessary, in the opinion of the government of 970 the country, that limitations and restraints should be imposed upon it, during the existence of those agitations which ensued soon after the Reformation. Since then we had formally acknowledged that these causes no longer existed; therefore still to preserve such limitations and restraint—if that acknowledgment were true—was manifest injustice; it was more—it was an outrage on a constitution which had intended that every subject should enjoy that equal right. The dangers under which an infraction of that right had been considered expedient to be made had long ceased: the principle, however, was still in operation. The time was now come when it was absolutely necessary that they should sift and examine this principle; its importance admitted of no delay, and the necessity of determination of no compromise. It was a principle which was not to be got rid of by devices, but which must be stated and discussed; and if it was to be defended, and could be sustained, they must be prepared to adopt, and to act upon it.
This was what was to be done. But they had first to inquire whether it was proper, constitutional, or equitable, upon a point of doctrine, to exclude so many of his majesty's liege subjects from the right of being admitted to the franchises and privileges and offices of the state, which were open to all other classes of subjects. Now here the question, as it affected the Roman Catholics, must be—"Are they, or are they not, the liege subjects of the king?" No one disputed that they were. What shut them out, then, from this general right? Nothing beyond this, that he had ever heard of—they asserted a spiritual supremacy in the pope. Now, when men came forward with a desire to have a positive law repealed, they must be prepared to show upon what grounds the law had proceeded, and why its repeal was expedient. The whole of this he could not do. True it was, indeed, that the causes which had produced that law were now done away with. But, independently of this, a principle of the constitution which required this exclusion was found out. If there was such a principle, so independent of all that had been stated, it must have existed before the law against the Roman Catholics was framed. If so, until the passing of the act of supremacy, every man in the kingdom, almost, must have done an ille- 971 gal act; because, before that statute, which was enacted in the reign of Henry 8th, the spiritual supremacy of the pope was always admitted in England. He claimed it with regard to the disposal of benefices; and though the kings of England frequently contended that point with him (not always, by the by, successfully), his supremacy as head of the church was never questioned until that period. If the acknowledgment of that supremacy was contrary to a principle of the constitution or to the laws at that time, then the great body of illustrious nobles who secured the liberties of their country by their unshaken intrepidity and their fear-Jess perseverance were but rebels; then was Magna Charta gained by the illegal proceeding of a band of traitors; then were the barons of England not establishing freedom, but violating the constitution. Those gallant barons who were so well entitled to assert their liberties did not think fit to refuse the acknowledgment of tin's spiritual supremacy.
But then, it would be said, that after the act of supremacy, it was, that the circumstances occurred which made it proper to impose upon those who acknowledged that supremacy to reside in the pope certain restraints and exclusions. Surely, in the agitation of a question like the present, they would not lose sight of those circumstances. They would remember what they were; they would recollect the situation of Europe, and the designs of Spain, and they would perceive how entirely different were the principles upon which the policy of imposing such restraints on those who persisted to acknowledge the supremacy of the pope might be pleaded then from any defence of them which would be offered now. He would, however, very shortly explain himself upon this subject of spiritual supremacy. The Roman Catholics acknowledged all the principles of the constitution; they acknowledged and obeyed the statute laws; and therefore it was almost needless to say, that they did not attribute to the pope any absolute power, or any temporal authority as interfering with that constitution and those laws. They vested him with no authority which could, in the slightest degree, affect those considerations. The supremacy which they acknowledged in the pope was purely spiritual. The pope exercised a sort of influence among them in cases of conscience; if a person, for instance, 972 was doubtful upon some particular case' he referred himself to the pope as possessing such a spiritual supremacy; and he decided upon it. So with respect to marriages. It was held by our church, that persons within certain degrees of affinity were entitled to marry: the Roman Catholics said they were not. We held that such a marriage was lawful; they maintained that it was a sort of sin; and, perhaps, might pass a special censure upon the parties, as guilty of such a species of sin. But they did no more: the Roman Catholics did not deny, nor attempt to deny, the legality of that marriage: they did not deny the rights of that marriage, as affected the husband, the wife, or the children. The Roman Catholics held, neither that there was a spiritual, nor a temporal, nor any other jurisdiction on the part of the pope, with respect to the constitution of this country; and even with regard to their own sect, they disclaimed all such jurisdiction or supremacy, excepting only in matters of conscience. It was, therefore, with extreme regret that he had heard, in another place, a right reverend prelate, eminent for his learning and ability, lay down the doctrines which he held upon the subject of the spiritual supremacy of the pope. That right reverend prelate admitted, that looking at this as a mere religious opinion, he had no uneasiness about it, nor any doubt, so far as applied to what might happen at any future time. But as the Roman Catholics allowed to the pope that spiritual authority which the Protestants of the established church allowed to the king, (and which the Protestants of the Scottish church acknowledged in no earthly power whatever), the right rev. prelate inferred that there was a deficiency of what he called their civil worth? Upon this he finally determined "that their present exclusion was expedient and proper." This sort of argument was an example of that which Mr. Locke described, as "seeing a little, presuming a great deal, and so—jumping to a conclusion." The right reverend individual inferred, it should seem, that there was a difference between the spirital authority acknowledged by the protestants, in the king, and that which was held by the Roman Catholics to reside in the pope; and he inferred that it was impossible but that the spiritual authority allowed to be vested in the pope should be more dangerous and more extensive than that 973 which was conceded by Protestants to the sovereign. Surely some reasons should be alleged, some argument made out, of a graver character than this, in order to warrant the drawing of such a line of demarcation between two classes of his majesty's subjects, as puts one of them out of the pale as it were, excluding them from all participation in the most valuable privileges of the rest of the people. With respect to what was said about the non-orthodox divines in Scotland and England, and their disabilities, it did much credit to ingenuity and to the faculty of drawing nice distinctions. The same individual had observed that "they did not amount to quite an exclusion." This was a strange situation to be sure: he (Mr. Plunkett) supposed that they must be placed in a sort of limbo—half-way between admission and exclusion. However this deficiency had arisen, it was now discovered that the known deficiency of civil worth in the Roman Catholics was, in principle, that deficiency which of necessity put them out of the enjoyment of this right. Now, by this principle of civil worth, it was very clear that a man might shut out persons of the highest merits: he might shut out all those who were most eminently deserving of admission; and he might let in those who were the most worthless and the most unfit. If this new-fangled phrase of "civil worth" was to be repeated, with a view to keep the Catholics out, it might be well to know what it meant. It did not include all that had immortalized the worthies of English history; neither did it include the little accidents of birth, education, and virtue, nor the mere immaterial requisites of justice, probity, and honour. All these were shut out of civil worth: he must suppose that they were, because the persons who possessed them all were shut out from this right of admission to the franchises of their fellow-subjects; while the man who was destitute of them might be admitted, on the contrary, by denying the civil worth of the others. The constitutions of theory, and those of nations, were very different. Those of men were not mere pedantry and extravagance, for, for all practical purposes, they must be of necessity very distinct from the fanciful inventions of mere schoolmen; and therefore, when they thus heard, for the first time, of a system which might shut out every thing that was good, at the 974 same time that it admitted every thing which was bad, they might be very sure that it was an idle and a sickly dream, for which the constitution furnished not the slightest foundation.
He spoke in the hearing of sound and enlightened lawyers, men versed in the history of the constitution, and he feared hot their contradiction when he broadly asserted, that by the original and fundamental principles of the constitution, the sovereign possessed the unlimited right of selecting to all the offices of state from all his subjects, for it was that power that made it a monarchy, and that every freeborn subject possessed the right of being selected, for it was that distinction that constituted it a free monarchy. These are the privileges of the subject—privileges not given by the Crown, not given by the legislature, not resulting from any particular law; but flowing from those original sources from whence king, legislature and law have been derived, he meant the pure and pristine fountains of the British constitution. The doctrine of exclusion, as applied to a natural born subject, was at variance with its principles. Those who maintained it had neither the authority of the wisdom or the experience of those illustrious men, who, in the periods of its formation, traced the development of its principles. Such were not the opinions of lord Bacon; and in support of that part of his argument he would beg the attention of the House, while he read an extract from the works of that superior being. In commenting on the rights of a natural born subject, he says, "The fourth and last degree is a natural born subject, and he is complete and entire; for, in the law of England there is nil ultra; there is no more subdivision, no more subtile distinction beyond those; and therein it seems to me that the wisdom of our law is to be admired both ways, both because it distinguisheth so far, and because it doth not distinguish farther; for I know that other laws do admit more curious distinctions of this privilege; for the Roman law, besides jus civitatis, which amounts to naturalization, has jus suffragis; for though a man were naturalized to take lands of inheritance, yet he was not enabled to have a voice at the passing of laws, or at election of officers; and yet further they have jus petitionis, or jus ho-norum; for although a man had a voice, yet he was not capable of honour, or office; but these are the devices com- 975 monly of popular or free estates, which are jealous whom they take into their number, and are unfit for monarchies. But by the law of England the subject that is natural born, hath a competency or ability to all benefits whatsoever." These were the opinions of that great philosopher and illustrious man. It was the right of the natural born subject to be capable of being selected to all the trusts and offices of the state; it was the right of the sovereign to possess the power of that selection without exclusion. The capacity to select in the sovereign and to be selected in the subject was the distinction of the free monarchy of England. Exclusion was an upstart republican principle of modern growth. It invaded the prerogatives of the crown—it wrested the sceptre from the king's hand—it was only to be recognised in those lawless associations founded on a principle of exclusion, where loyalty was dared to be made a condition, depending on the continuance of that exclusion which proscribed millions of the king's subjects.
But it was said, that those principles were altered at the Reformation. There had been no portion of the vulgar history of this country more falsified than that of the Reformation. The very act of Supremacy, enacted by Elizabeth, demonstrated the false inferences which were drawn from that great epoch. That act was passed with the view of distinguishing between those Catholics who were loyal and attached to the throne, and those who were disloyal and disaffected. All that Elizabeth required, was the same authority, right, and rule, over her subjects, as was possessed by her predecessors. She would suffer no foreign power to interfere with their concerns. She avowed no desire to intermeddle with her subjects in point of conscience, but she exacted those oaths as the tests of loyalty. This avowal was incorporated in the 5th of her reign, and was made the law of the land. In its very recital it states, "whereas the Queen is otherwise sufficiently assured of the loyalty and good disposition of the barons and nobles, be it therefore enacted that they shall be exempted from the operation of this act." These words, "otherwise sufficiently assured," were evidence, that the very measure then contemplated was, at the time, considered as an extended test of loyalty. It was notorious, that Catholics continued, after that act, to sit and vote in parliament. Here then, was 976 an act of the legislature, and the declaration of the sovereign, opposed to the objections on which exclusion was founded. Were they not sufficient to set at rest all those idle cavils respecting Catholic disqualification being co-existent with the Reformation? If any man still doubted on that point, let him read the letter of Walsingham, the minister of Elizabeth, to M. Pettit. In that letter, that minister stated that it was not in regard to the conscience that his royal mistress interposed; that she was not one of those who wished to have a window to look into the heart; that her object was to explore not the reasons of conscience, but the pretexts of faction. That holding a strict vigilance over the interference of foreign states with the concerns of her subjects, and aware of the plots and machinations directed against her throne, she had never changed her opinions; but as times and circumstances changed, she had applied her royal wisdom to meet such change. Now, that was all he wished on the present occasion; he sincerely prayed that the reigning sovereign, as the greatest of his predecessors did, would apply his royal benevolent, and religious wisdom, to meet I the change that time and circumstances had now produced. For the first eleven years after the passing of the Act of Abjuration, Roman Catholics attended in the churches to receive the sacraments. The highest offices of state were filled by them during the reign of James 1st, Charles 1st and down to the 30th of Charles 2nd. The English history proves, that during those very reigns, consequent to the Reformation, an indifference of promotion to trust and dignity with respect to Catholics and Protestants existed. Was it not too much, then, with these proofs from history, to contend, that the exclusion of Roman Catholics was the principle of the constitution, as altered at the Reformation? Nay the very year before the enactment of the disqualifying statute, the 30th of Charles 2nd, sir Solomon Swale, a Roman Catholic and a member of parliament, was expelled that House—he was expelled that House—for what? Not because he was a Catholic, but because he was a Popish recusant convict. The argument was to be found in the debates of that time. It was reported by sir Robert Sawyer, that sir Solomon Swale had convicted himself by not being duly qualified. The resolution inserted on the Journals of that House stated the same disqualifica- 977 tion. That expulsion took place the year before, the 30th of Charles 2nd. The very title of that act was persuasive to the same point. It went to disable Catholics from sitting in either House of Parliament, to disable them from continuing to do that which they before did.
Having, lie trusted, established the original principles of the constitution, he had now brought them down in safety to the 30th of the reign of Charles 2nd. At that period the king was more than suspected of being a papist. An opportunity was too likely to be afforded, where the power of selecting or of rejecting per sons to high situations, would be exercised to the imminent danger of the liberties of the people. The functions of the throne were paralysed: there appeared no safety to the preservation of the constitution, but in transferring the spirit of the rule to the exception. Nay, the very act itself, and the declaration shew, that it was at the period considered as a substitute for a bill of exclusion. If the statesmen of that day could have succeeded in carrying the latter measure, such an act would never have been proposed. Would any man pretend to say, that an act passed under such circumstances as that of the 30th of Charles 2nd, was contemplated by our ancestors as that fundamental and inalienable law, which under no times or changes was ever to be repealed? That it was an exception to the principle of the constitution the act itself demonstrated. It might be asked, why was it not repealed when the circumstances in which it originated had ceased to possess influence? The answer was easy; it was this, that it was not until the reign of the late sovereign, that the apprehensions of a popish succession disappeared. King William continued the act upon a special ground. It was stated by Burnet, who rested the propriety of its continuance on the ground of the king not being a Protestant. But what was done at the Revolution? Was that act declared fundamental and inalienable? No such thing. The great patriots of that day took far better security for our establishment in church and state. They declared that the king of these realms should be always a Protestant, and that if he was not, he forfeited the throne. There was not a hint in the whole of the history of the Revolution as to the act of Charles 2nd being considered fundamental and inalienable. What occurred a few years after, in the 978 reign of Anne? In the 4th and, 5th of that reign, in an act of parliament empowering lords justices to exercise the functions of government in the event, of the queen's demise, a clause was inserted forbidding the repeal of the Act of Uniformity. What security was there taken against the repeal of this fundamental and inalienable law of the 30th of Charles 2nd? It was true that a clause was proposed in parliament to be inserted in the act of Commission to prevent its repeal, as well as that of the Test Acts. What became of the proposition? It was rejected. This was the law, which, in those times, it was considered almost a sacrilege to mention, without considering it as one of the barriers of the British constitution. When the Act of Union between England and Scotland took place, the respective church establishments were protected by fundamental and unalterable securities. Did any man in either country venture to propose the 30th of Charles 2nd as one of those securities? In the House of Lords the Test Act was proposed, but the proposition was rejected. In the articles of Union, the act of the 30th of Charles 2nd, was mentioned. But how mentioned? that it should continue "until parliament in its wisdom should otherwise provided' Was not that sufficient to prove, that the legislatures of both countries, England and Scotland, considered its continuance or repeal a question open to the deliberations of the United Parliament? They wisely anticipated, that a time would arrive when the tide of privilege might be permitted to run freely and unrestrained into the constitution.
How was this act disposed of at the period of the union with Ireland? It was allowed to continue until the United parliament should take that subject into their consideration, I this night (said Mr. Plunkett) most seriously call upon that united parliament to direct its attention to its consideration. Backed by the original principles of the constitution, by the object and scope of the course of our history from the Reformation to the Revolution—backed by the concurrent declaration of the legislatures of England and Scotland on the first union, and of the parliaments of England and Ireland on the last—backed by the unimpeached loyalty, the unquestionable integrity of our Catholic fellow-subjects recorded in the enactments of the legislature, and guaranteed by their own oaths—backed by the numerous con- 979 cessions of the last fifty years—by that spirit of Catholic conciliation which presided during the late reign, and which, if the arguments in favour of exclusion were at all tenable, would have been so many outrages on the principles of the Constitution-backed by the memories of the great lights and ornaments of that reign, of Dunning, Pitt, Fox, Burke, Sheridan and Windham—backed, I say, by the name of every man who possessed buoyancy enough to float down the stream of time;—I feel that I have made out—I had almost said that I have established—the position that I sought, triumphantly. But when I look around me, and reflect on those whom I miss, and who were present when I last had the honour of addressing the House on this question, I am checked. When I reflect that since that period we have lost Whitbread, the incorruptible sentinel of the constitution—that we have lost the aid of the more than dawning virtues of Horner—that we had then Romilly, whose mature excellencies shed a steady light on his profession, on his country, and his nature—that Elliot, the pure model of aristocracy—that the illustrious Ponsonby, the constitutional leader of the ranks of Opposition in this House, revering alike the privileges of the Crown and the rights of the subject,—are no more:—but above all, when I dwell upon that last overwhelming loss—the loss of that great man in whose place I this night unworthily stand: and with the description of whose exalted merits I would not trust myself;—God knows I cannot feel any tiling like triumph! Walking before the sacred images of these illustrious dead, as in a public and solemn procession, shall we not dismiss all party feeling, all angry passions, and unworthy prejudices? I will not talk of triumph: I will not mix in this act of public justice any thing that can awaken personal animosity. I do submit, however, that I have established the point with which I started. I believe that many members are present, who have never by their vote given an opinion upon this subject; many who have entered the House, anxious to be informed, and, if not deterred to render justice if justice shall appear to have been withheld. I trust that they will not allow themselves to be dictated to by any man who may get up and assail their ears with such phrases as. "the glorious principles of the constitution"—"the sacred principles of the Reformation," without showing that they 980 have either been infringed or violated Will they not require that these historical facts should be met and disproved by historical facts? Are the Catholics to be dismayed by one who gives them words instead of reasons, and who deals in gratuitous assertions instead of substantial arguments?
I may be unreasonable in my demand upon the patience of the House, but there is one part of the subject yet remaining to which I feel it necessary to advert. There are many who really think, and some who affect to think, that great dangers may result from concession to the establishment. I declare solemnly that if I could enter into that opinion—if I could see any thing of peril to the church or state—dear to my heart as are the interests of my fellow men, I would abandon these long-asserted claims, and range myself with their opponents. I therefore earnestly entreat the dispassionate attention of gentlemen to this part of the question. And here I must particularly apply myself to the right hon. member for Oxford (Mr. Peel), and I assure him that in selecting him, I do it with all the respect due to his talents, to his acquirements, to his integrity, and to his high principles as a statesman and a gentleman. I am well aware that there is no member likely to be more influential on this subject; and I may add, that there is no person whose being confirmed in what I must call unfounded prejudices is likely to work more serious injury to the country. Do I mean to say that the established church is not in any danger? No. But I say, that the danger, whatever it be, exists at this moment. It consists in the great disproportion between the population and the establishment—it lies in the narrowness of the basis; and I defy the art of man to find any other remedy than to take care that the interests of the population are connected with the state. The right hon. gentleman asks "What security can you give if we adopt this measure?" I reply, "Every security that we possess if we do not adopt it, and a great deal more." I say that concession cannot augment the danger: nay, I will go farther and assert that it is roost eminently calculated to diminish it. Now, what is the danger as represented by the right hon. gentleman? And mark here that I state no danger; I give merely what was suggested by the right hon. gentleman.—It is this—that there is a large majority of 981 the people of Ireland of a religion different from that of the establishment. My own opinion is, that that majority is larger than is usually supposed; but it is sufficient for me that there is such a disproportion as to produce danger. Further, the right hon. gentleman says, that that majority in Ireland principally contributes to the support of the clergy of the establishment, and entirely support their own church: that for spiritual purposes they are necessarily under the control of a foreign power, uncontrolled by the state; and that their own clergy possess an extensive influence over their feelings, prejudices, and passions, and that that clergy is appointed by its head, without the interference of the sovereign of this country. In addition, it is argued that this majority has been ejected by those who are now in possession of the establishment, and not ejected, as in England at the Reformation, by the force of public opinion, but by the strong arm of power, thereby unavoidably leaving behind discontent and irritation. Since the right hon. gentleman made that statement a new circumstance has occurred; namely, that some of these persons have now the command of our fleets and armies—that is, they are admitted to the possession of substantial power in the state: they are gradually advancing in numbers and wealth, and they are admitted to these important privileges by virtue of oaths. If, then, (the right hon. gentleman contended) the Roman Catholics are true to the principles of their nature—to their passions, sentiments, and impulses—if they are like ourselves, and governed by the same motives, they cannot be faithful to their oaths. According to his notion, then, these persons are admitted into the heart of the state, upon oaths by which they will not be bound, so that they enter tainted with the odious crimes of hypocrisy and perjury. In addition to all this, they are excluded from the remaining privileges of the state by oaths, and by oaths only. This forcibly ejected majority is not less than four or five to one; and I ask the right hon. gentleman—I ask any man interested in the welfare of the establishment—whether this is a condition in which matters should be left? Is this the bed of roses—the heap of Elysian flowers on which he is disposed to take his repose? Indeed, the manner in which he argued the question is most dangerous: he says, that if the Catholics are true to the reli- 982 gion they profess, true to their prejudices and passions, they must aim at the subversion of the establishment. If, then, they are bound to aim at its subversion, I hope we are equally strongly bound to aim at its support: all are bound to do so, as we regard our property, our lives, our liberty, and the connexion between the two countries. On the other hand, they are urged forward to its destruction, not only by every feeling of their nature, but by the awful sanction of religious obligation.—Thus Catholics and Protestants are in a state of interminable hostility: we are bound to support our establishment to our last gasp, and they to their latest breath are bound to attempt its destruction. Thus are we lashed together, for ever struggling and never in security.
Yet, cried the enemies of concession, "Would you come forward to disturb this state of blessed tranquillity? Let us remain in our delightful condition of ease and safety!" Let me ask whether they have a right to leave the country in this condition? If I could view the question as the right hon. member for Oxford looks at it, I would at once abandon all intention of legislation; not in the hope that I should bring back the freedom, the glory, and the security of our ancestors, but because I should think they were doomed to perish. I should retire from the question, not like him to a state of rest, but of torpor—not to repose, but to that insensibility which is the prelude to dissolution. I do not believe that the right hon. gentleman sees all the consequences to which his argument leads: in his view, toleration would be an act of suicide, not of liberality; and if, as he maintains, it be a necessary principle of their religion to pull down our establishment, we must on our part strive to pull down their faith: if this serpent of division be engendered under their altars, we must overturn those altars: if this spark of animosity be cherished and fed by their religion, we must extinguish that religion. This duty—this principle of intolerance which we impute to them, recoils with fearful increase upon ourselves; it resolves itself into the pure, unmixed, sublimated spirit of religious bigotry, and nothing else. It is really a great consolation to me, that in resisting this argument I at the same time vindicate the Roman Catholics from a frightful imputation cast upon them and upon the Protestants. On the part of the Roman Catholics, I will be bold to say, that they 983 harbour no principle of hostility to our establishment. The precedent of the Scottish Union, formerly referred to by the right hon. gentleman, has really no application to the case: the Presbyterian religion was established at the Reformation; it was incorporated in the act of Union, and makes part of the fundamental law of the land. The reverse is the fact with the Catholic faith; and every rational Roman Catholic feels himself no more at liberty to attempt the subversion of our establishment, than to entertain the unworthy purpose of depriving an individual of his property. He knows that the same principle gives him and us life, liberty, and property; and he wisely prefers the Protestant establishment in an unimpaired state, to a Roman Catholic establishment in a subverted one. He is bound by the oath he takes, both as a man and a Christian, not only not to make the attempt, but to resist it, if made in any other quarter; and if indeed the oath were, as is contended, so contrary to the principles of his religion and his nature, it would be as unjustifiable in the legislature to impose it as it would be disgraceful in a Catholic to take it. I ask the right hon. gentleman on what authority he takes upon him, in opposition to the assertions, to the oaths of the Catholics, to brand and burn this stigma upon their foreheads? What have they said or done since the period of the Revolution to show that they mean to touch the establishment? This is answered by the assertions, that it is no matter what they swear; let them swear what they will the Catholics must break their oaths and our establishment must be endangered. The right hon. gentleman maintained, that he was authorised by his views to exclude them from this state on principles that would make them unworthy of and state. I cannot find in the large volume of human nature any principle which calls upon the Roman Catholic to subvert that state by whose laws he is protected, merely that the heads of his priests may be decorated with a mitre; and the right hon. gentleman must excuse me if I say, that he equally mistakes the institutions of man and the principles of human action. The alliance between church and state depends upon principles of the highest kind, and its consequences are beneficial to any man who professes any religion. The Catholic does not indulge the chimerical notion of heaving the British constitution from its basis, that his 984 priest may wear lawn sleeves and a mitre. If, however, he is excluded from the privileges of the state merely on account of his religion:—if he is made an invidious exception in a country which permits the talents and virtues of all other men to advance them to the highest honours: and if this exception extend to his posterity—"nati natorum et qui nascentur ab illis," they will indeed have a sufficient motive to aim at the destruction of that state which heaps upon them only so heavy a load of injustice.
What then is the difference between us? If the House consent to the committee, one suggestion I should make would be, that the intercourse between the Roman Catholics of these realms and the see of Rome should be under the inspection of the state, and that it should be applied to spiritual purposes only. What is the remedy of the right hon. gentleman? To leave that intercourse as it is. I propose, in the next place, that, in the appointment of bishops and clergy, effectual means should be given to the Crown of being assured of the loyalty of the person selected. What is the remedy of the right hon. gentlemen? To leave it exactly as it is. He is strangely satisfied with the existence of these evils; he seems enamoured with the perfection of his danger, and to his utmost resists every attempt to mitigate it. But my third and last remedy, in comparison with which the rest are trifling, vain, and nugatory, is, to incorporate the Roman Catholics with the state, that their interest may be our security; to rivet them as it were to the state, and through the state to the establishment. I would unite the Catholic by every affection and every good feeling of his nature—by every motive that can operate upon his heart and head—by every obligation that can bind his conscience, and every argument that can convince his understanding; not so much by adding to his power as by removing every offensive exclusion—every unworthy distinction. Now what is the object of the right hon. gentleman? To leave him as he is. Gracious heaven! To have the great majority of the people of Ireland bound by every law of nature to aim at the subversion of the state; for to me the subversion of the state is the subversion of the establishment! I do not propose here to strike the shackle from his limbs, for he is free; but to remove the brand 985 from his forehead, for he is stigmatised. I would not have him a marked man and a plotting sectary, but would raise him to the proudest rank that man can attain—to the rights and privileges of a free born subject. Do not I entreat you, as sincere friends to the Protestant establishment, reject this appeal for justice and grace. Do not drive your Roman Catholic brother from your bar a discontented sectary. Do not tell him who wishes to be a friend, that he is, and ought to be an enemy. The power of all men depended upon their numbers, wealth professions, upon their interest in commerce and manufactures, and upon their rank in your fleets and armies. These are, and have been, the imperishable materials of political power since the foundation of the civilized world: gold and steel are the hinges of the gates of political power, and knowledge holds the key.
The right hon. and learned gentleman proceeded to assure the House that the hatred of the Roman Catholics would never increase because they were admitted to the privileges of the state. The cry of the meanest individual from the remotest corner of the country, when supported by truth and justice, found an echo in every honest heart within the walls of parliament and within the limits of the empire; and, in all conflicts between governments or large divisions of the people, that party ever succeeded on whose side truth and justice took the field. Victory belonged to those only who ranged themselves under this invincible standard, and the enemy who resigned it lost all the terror of his arms. One word more on this point, and he had done. Did the right hon. gentleman mean that concession should never be made?—that the penalty should for ever be inflicted?—that Ireland should remain as it were a moral jungle only (it for the abode of beasts, and men like beasts? He would probably answer no: he was compelled so to answer, because he could not refuse to admit that restriction was an evil. He maintained, however, that there was a point at which concession must stop. The state of the Catholic generally, according to the bill of 1793, was such as could not now be reconciled to just policy or sound reason. Was it right that he could appoint to any office in a corporation, and yet not be eligible to fill the lowest? Was it reasonable that he should be admitted to the consti- 986 tuency, by being qualified to vote for a member of parliament and yet be declared ineligible as a candidate? If the intention of the Catholic was to subvert the church and constitution, why was he permitted to vote for members of parliament? If his intention was not to subvert either, why was he not competent to be elected? This view of the subject would show that it it was neither politic, rational or wise to leave the Catholic in the situation in which he was placed by the act of 1793, and that the right hon. gentleman had no good ground for wishing to continue him in that situation.
There was still one point which he could not pass over.—It was one that, besides its importance in relation to the empire at large, had a personal claim on himself—he alluded to the situation of the Catholic at the bar. He was admitted as member of that profession, but its power and honours were refused him: he was invited to display his talents and information in a public theatre, and every person bound to him by religion and affinity was gladdened at his progress; but, after advancing into honourable character in his profession; when his heart beat high with hope, and the prospect of success ought to have opened on his talents and attainments, he was obliged to stay short; his hopes were dashed to the ground; his manly and useful ambition was checked; he saw many of his friends who had started with him in the race, pass by him on the way, and he was left in a state of gloomy, hopeless despondency at the outer door of the temple, not allowed to step over the threshold to acquire any of those honours which invited his more fortunate competitors and thus his fate finally disheartened every person connected with him by affinity and religion, who had been delighted by the promise of his outset. Was it right to hold out hopes in this manner, only to produce a more cruel disappointment? Was it wise to turn the honest and useful ambition of the Catholic into disgust and fruitless despair? Was it politic thus to sow the seeds of discontent and disseminate them so lavishly throughout the country? He knew many Catholics in the profession, and he knew them to be as loyal and as much attached as any men could be to every part of the constitution. He knew them to be actuated only by such motives as honest and well-affected subjects could avow, 987 and he felt the disgrace which was inflicted on the bar by their exclusion from its honours. For the Protestant part of that bar, and on its behalf, he besought the House to rescue them from the stigma of this odious monopoly, and to give to talents and honourable exertions their fair reward.
But it was asked where concessions should stop? He answered, concessions should stop when there was a necessity that exclusion should still exist; but that necessity should be clearly made out, and the difficulty which attended it would be more than compensated by the result; for wherever the necessity was clearly shown to exist, there the exclusion conveyed no insult. If the Catholic saw the reason, he was bound to submit, as the Protestant would be, whose law, which should be nothing but the supreme reason of the state, placed him of necessity under civil restrictions. Exclusion so originating could not brand the object of it; it might be felt as an inconvenience, but not suffered as a dishonour. It was for the purpose of seeing how far this necessity existed that he called upon the House to go into a committee. If the House did go into that committee, it was his design to propose that the declaration against transubstantiation should be removed from our establishment; and also to submit some alteration in the oaths of abjuration and supremacy. On behalf of the Protestant population, he would propose a measure for their security, and a pledge of the loyalty of the Catholics. There were many modes by which this object might be obtained, but that was not the time for considering any of them. The feeling which he wished to see acted upon was this—on the part of the Protestant, not to ask the Catholic for any thing in the way of security which necessitity did not require; and on the part of the Catholic, not to refuse any thing which, consistently with his principles and conscience, he could give, although it might appear to him unnecessary. It was this mutual feeling, and this alone, which could lead to the removal of prejudice, the abandonment of irritating or extravagant propositions, and produce final and complete conciliation.—The right hon. and learned member, who had been heard throughout with the most profound attention, only interrupted by frequent cheers, concluded, amid peals of acclamation from all parts of the House, by moving, 988That this House do resolve itself into a committee of the whole House, to consider the state of the laws by which oaths or declarations are required to be taken or made as qualifications for the enjoyment of offices, or for the exercise of civil functions, so far as the same affect his majesty's Roman Catholic subjects; and whether it would be expedient, in any and what manner, to alter or modify the same, and subject to what provisions or regulations.
said, that nothing but the mode of argument pursued by the right hon. member, and the direct personal interest which he took in a mode of attack so novel and unusual, induced him to rise at that early period of the debate. He was aware that he should justly incur the charge of presumption by following the right hon. member under other circumstances, but the necessity of defending himself on an occasion when he was so directly assailed, would be his apology to the House. He knew well, that under any circumstances, his adversary would be an overpowering antagonist, but under the present, when he replied to a speech which he (Mr. Peel) had made four years ago, and which he, having the power of tearing it to pieces then, by that extraordinary faculty of reasoning which he possessed, chose to leave unanswered until that night, when, besides his great talents, he had every other advantage, the difficulty was beyond calculation increased; but whatever the disadvantages might be he was resolved to attempt a reply to the, right hon. gentleman, who had ushered in his arguments by reference to the opinions of so humble an individual as himself. In attempting to follow him, he would first allude to that subject with I which the right hon. gentleman, had pre faced his powerful speech, when he paid that feeling and eloquent tribute to the memory of the departed senator under whose auspices this question had been first brought before the English parliament. He felt it his duty to state, that all which that eulogium said of the late Mr. Grattan, had his full and heartfelt concurrence. There was not a word of it to which he did not fully subscribe. It might seem presumption in him to follow the orator who had so well characterised departed worth, and arrogate to himself the right of praising so great a man. 989 He had not, like the right hon. gentleman, enjoyed with the subject of his eulogium those early habits of intimacy—he had not maintained with him that political relationship—that unity of public object—that necessitudo sortis, as it was expressed by an elegant writer, which tended to draw so closely the alliance of the intellect and the heart. Though such was not his knowledge of the late Mr. Grattan, he knew him, sufficiently enough to be able to concur in every thing which his eloquent friend said of him, and felt that he had not exceeded the strictest truth in bearing testimony to the lustre of virtue and of talent by which he was so eminently distinguished. He wished to convince those who were not so well acquainted with him, that a feeling of affectionate regard had not made him estimate too highly the merits of that ornament of his country, nor had he been seduced by the partiality of private friendship to over-rate the splendid qualities of his character. As to his conduct, whether in public or private life, there was no one who admired him more than he did. He was going to say, that he was his political opponent; but he could not with propriety make use of that term. They had differed, indeed, on that unfortunate question; but they were in nothing else so much, at variance as to be political combatants. But whether in opposition or not, there was in Mr. Grattan that mild dignity which obtained him universal respect, while, to quote his own expression, his "desperate fidelity" to his cause gained him universal admiration. But of all his great qualities, none was more apparent than his readiness to give up whatever interfered with his public duty, and even to sacrifice a part of his reputation, where a great public principle required it—a quality which had justly been described as the peculiar characteristic of great minds. But, while the country had to lament the loss of Mr. Grattan, he must be allowed to say, that the great question which the vigour of his mature genius, the decline of his life, and even his departing breath, had advocated, met with a congenial supporter in the person of the right hon. gentleman, one fit to be the successor of the eloquent and intrepid statesman who had preceded him, and one, than whom no man was more worthy to wield the arms of Achilles.
He would now proceed to remark upon 990 the arguments of the speech which had called him up; but he begged leave to premise, that if any gentleman supposed he rose to express an unqualified satisfaction at the state of things as they now existed, or that he was ready to take a temporary advantage, not of argument but of prejudice, and, like a skilful disputant, to turn to his own account whatever, not reason, but prejudice, could call to his aid, he laboured under a great mistake. He had never viewed the question but as a choice of evils; nor had he been ever satisfied with the alternative proposed; but it had grown out of the anomalous state of society, which he found pre-existing. He had selected that which he thought the best mode of remedying the evil, under the actual circumstances, without, by any means, looking on it as perfectly satisfactory. He had never thought the mode absolutely good in itself, but as a refuge from greater evils. This statement was not new, he had expressed it before. When the right hon. gentleman said, that he (Mr. Peel) was so pleased with the state of this question as it had been left in 1793—when he alleged that he was so delighted with the situation of things, could he think that he contemplated the subject with unqualified satisfaction? Did he suppose that he viewed it with perfect complacency? No: he (Mr. Peel) never could hear those names mentioned which were ranged in authority against him, as they had been cited in this instance, and feel altogether satisfied. He did not stand there to take any sophistical advantage of the arguments of his opponents. It was not the love of victory, but the sincere desire to state his honest conviction, which made him come forward; and if he could be actuated by any sordid and base spirit of opposition, he would be ashamed, with those great names against him, to look that House in the face. The authorities which had been referred to, made it the paramount duly of every man to examine the grounds of his opinion, and to ascertain that no interested views, no ideas of visionary danger, no irrational hostility to a great class of his fellow subjects, influenced his decision. But if, after such a close and scrutinising examination of their own motives, he and his friends found it necessary still to retain their opinions, he would trust to the liberality of the right hon. gentleman for doing them the justice to suppose, 991 that it was in the fair and candid exercise of a free judgment concerning matters most important to the religion of the state, that they ventured to differ from him and the great authorities which he had cited. He must repeat, that there was no alternative but that which he had pursued.
The right hon. gentleman had declared, that every subject of the realm had a right to office; and in order to furnish ground for excluding him, it was necessary to show, from the circumstances of the country, some great and paramount danger. On this point he was at issue with him: he was decidedly of opinion that it was not the right of any subject to enjoy every office; and if he erred in this opinion, he had the consolation of erring with men whose names ought to have great weight with that House. When the right hon. member applied his principle as an argument for the removal of the civil disabilities under which the Catholics laboured, he had a right to consider to what extent that principle might be enforced, and therefore he must say, that if it was to be taken as an argument for conferring on the Catholics a capacity for office, there was no reason why it should not admit the various classes of Dissenters to the enjoyment of the same right. Under any circumstances, but particularly after the principle laid down by the advocate of the Catholics, if a permanent right of this kind was acknowledged in the one body, one equally permanent and co-extensive must be recognised in the other. This being taken as granted, what would be the inevitable consequence? Why, it would be necessary to repeal the Test and Corporation acts; not to modify, but to destroy their operation by a total and unequivocal repeal. On this point he had greatauthorities who dissented from the right hon. member, or at least who were hostile to the consequences which flowed from his argument. With him on this subject were Mr. Pitt, Mr. Burke, and, he believed, Mr. Windham. When a proposition was made in 1791 to repeal the Corporation and Test acts, Mr. Pitt said, they were the bulwarks of the church of England, and denied the soundness of the doctrine of Mr. Fox, which was that which the House had just heard. Mr. Burke resisted the repeal, though not on the same grounds; he said, that on two former occasions, when the repeal of those acts was proposed, he staid away from the House because his mind was not 992 made up on the subject; but he stated in 1791, that although he would have voted for the repeal ten years before, he saw then in the existing circumstances of the country, sufficient cause to induce him to vote against it. Thus it was evident that Mr. Burke, whose authority was so high, had seen something in the conduct of the Protestant Dissenters which made him apprehend danger, and caused him to deny the permanent right of eligibility to office in that class of our fellow-subjects.—He had that night heard another authority quoted, as being favourable to the removal of the disabilities which affected the Catholics. He meant Blackstone; but he would ask the noble lord who had cited Blackstone, and who stated, that he had law as well as religion on his side, whether he had read the chapter which contained the passage he had quoted, and which had been written with so different an intention? The learned commentator on the laws of England, when he said a time might arrive when it would not be amiss to review and soften those rigorous edicts, alluded to the penal laws as distinct from the excluding statutes; and he went on to say, that there were two acts, the Corporation and Test acts, which were the bulwarks of the church against perils from Non-Conformists of all denominations, and under the last of these the Catholics were excluded from office; but a note of the commentator upon the learned judge, stated, "That now by the statute 31st Geo. 3rd, chap. 32nd, which may be called the Toleration act of the Roman Catholics, all the severe and cruel restrictions and penalties enumerated by the learned judge are removed." Thus it was evident, that Blackstone only meant the penal statutes inflicting a punishment, and not the excluding ones, which only disabled from office.
But the right hon. member had declared it to be alien to the spirit of the constitution, that any liege subjects of the realm should labour under civil disabilities. He had alluded to times antecedent to the era of the Reformation. Arguments, however, drawn from such a period had no weight with him; he could not allow them to affect the present establishments of the state. It should be recollected that before the Reformation, the Catholic religion was the established religion of the state. The imperfect state of civil information, the arbitrary principles entertained by the sovereign, but above 993 all, the circumstance of the Catholic religion being the established one, made references to that period lose all consideration with him. But the fact was, the present situation of the Catholics began with the Reformation. The 1st of Elizabeth required every one in office to take an oath, which asserted, that not only no foreign state had a jurisdiction or dominion in this realm, but also that the queen had supremacy and dominion as well in ecclesiastical as temporal matters. The 5th of Elizabeth required the same oaths, and the admission of spiritual as well as temporal power of the queen. Would the Roman Catholics of the present day take that oath? If they would not take that oath, why, he would ask, were they less objects of jealousy than the Roman Catholics of that day? Did any one think that the object of that statute was not to exclude the persons not taking that oath from power? In the course of the debates upon the repeal of the test against transubstantiation, it was argued that no Roman Catholic had sat in parliament from the reign of Elizabeth to that of Charles the 2nd, because the oath of Supremacy was effectual. If that were the reason of preventing any Roman Catholic from sitting in parliament, it would be now rather too much to say that there was no intention to exclude.
He would pass over the reigns of Charles 2nd and James 2nd, and come to the period of the Revolution. On the doctrines professed and acted upon at that period he would rely, that no such unqualified right of the subject to office as that contended for by the right hon. gentleman had been recognised. He relied on the authority of the greatest names in stating, that there was a clear distinction between toleration and power, and between laws which imposed penalties and those which only excluded from civil offices. At the Revolution it was never supposed any man could regard such exclusion as a disgrace; nor was it believed that such exclusion rendered him unfit for the purposes of civil society. It was not because such a principle was maintained at the Revolution, that he thought it ought now to be upheld; if his own conviction of its propriety did not go along with it, he should not advocate it on that account. If it was mentioned in the Bill of Rights even, he would disclaim it, if founded in injustice; and he would claim on the part of the legislature of the present 994 day, the right to repeal if. When he referred to the Bill of Rights he did so for the purpose of showing that it acted upon the principle of exclusion, which was recognised at the Revolution. He had heard in the last week from an hon. and learned member opposite a warm and just panegyric upon king William whom that hon. and learned gentleman (sir J. Mackintosh) had described as the advocate of toleration and liberality. He had heard that hon. and learned gentleman ridicule the charge of illiberality made against king William. To the justice of that eulogium he would subscribe; but he would beg leave to ask what were the opinions of that prince in 1687, when he was consulted upon the Test and Corporation acts. It was proposed to him, if he would consent to the repeal of those acts, that king James would do all in his power to secure to him the throne; that his friends would be put into power. But what was the opinion of this person who was held out as the advocate of toleration and liberality? Did he admit the unqualified right of every subject to office? Did he think it necessary to exterminate the religion, or that he fixed a badge of infamy upon Roman Catholics because he did not admit them to power? Hear his own words, in the letter which king William had written in the year 1687, before he came to the throne, and before he was fettered by a party anxious for the exclusion of Roman Catholics. The letter said, "If his majesty thought fit further to desire their highness's concurrence in the repeal of the penal laws they were ready to give it, provided always that the laws which shut out Roman Catholics from parliament and I all places should remain in full vigour; but their highnesses could not agree to; the repeal of the Test laws, which were enacted for the security of the Protestant religion against the attacks of the Roman Catholics; and in this, they did not think they could be said to carry any severity against Roman Catholics, as the qualification for a member of parliament was a declaration, before God and man, that he; was for the Protestant religion." Could any distinction between penalties for the: profession of a religion and exclusion from parliament, be more clearly expressed? I He hoped the House would not infer from this, that he subscribed to all the doctrine contained in that letter; as he only quoted it as an authority in contradiction of 995 the argument of the right hon. gentleman. King William further stated, that he would be glad to sec some; good reason for repealing those laws, which were enacted for no other purpose than that, of preventing the Roman Catholics from overturning the state, as these laws inflicted neither fines nor punishment, and only excluded from power those persons whom the experience of every day showed it would be dangerous to trust, since all persons in public employments more or less favoured the advancement of the religion which they professed." He would ask nothing more than the authority of ting William for the vote which he should give, provided he saw there were rational grounds for that opinion. But there were other opinions on which he would infinitely more rely, to show that the principles of the right hon. gentleman had not been recognised by the British constitution, and that it was not admitted by those most competent to judge. The right hon. gentleman said, "Do you find in the Bill of Rights any exclusion?" He would ask the right hon. gentleman—Do you find in the Bill of Rights any unqualified right to office? Did not the right hon. gentleman find that in the three first articles of that bill it was stated, that James had arrogated to himself a dispensing power? He knew it was perfectly consistent with the principles of these men to call into question that dispensing power, even if it were exercised in dispensing with bad laws, and he did not therefore draw any argument from it. He only wished to show that in the recital of the Bill of Rights the dispensation of the laws which excluded Roman Catholics from power was noticed.
He must now, even at the risk of wearying the House, call their attention to the authority upon which he mainly relied. Soon after the accession of king William an act was passed, tolerating the Protestant Dissenters, and this was sanctioned by men who entertained no extravagant opinions of Louis 14th or the power of the pope. An attempt had been then made, by introducing an act of Occasional Conformity to exclude those Dissenters. The Test act only required conformity at the time of entering into office, and it was only necessary once to take the sacrament in order to comply with that act, and after entering into office, the person might go to a meeting-house. This act for Occasional Con- 996 mity passed the House of Commons in 1702, but it met with great opposition in the House of Lords. A conference took place, and managers were appointed by the Lords and Commons to conduct that conference, the Lords opposing, on the ground that it trenched upon toleration. He would beg leave to mention the names I of those appointed by the Lords. He thought their authority would have weight with that House—lords Peterborough and Halifax, the bishop of Salisbury, the duke of Devonshire, and John lord Somers, were appointed by the Lords; and he should now beg the House to weigh I well the arguments of these men. Did they think the church in danger? In the year 1705, he would quote the words of I a resolution agreed to by these men. He quoted it merely to shew that they had no apprehensions from the power of the pope or of Louis 14th:—It stated, that "the church of England, as by law I established, which had been rescued by William 3rd, of glorious memory, was then in a most safe and flourishing I state, and whoever insinuated the contrary, was declared an enemy to the queen, the church, and the kingdom." At that time, the very distinctions which he had that night been urging were drawn between penal laws and laws of exclusion.
The right hon. gentleman proceeded to argue, that if the doctrine which was then admitted were allowed to be correct; namely that it was proper to exclude from office such as entertained sentiments not in accordance with those of the established church, he had a right to apply it to the present case, and to use it as one ground of objection to the present motion. But, independently of that objection, he wished to know how far the right hon. member wished to push the principle which he had that night advanced, as also the reason which he had for applying an oath as a test to those who, he was well aware, were not allowed by their principles to take it. A certain class of dissenters would not take an oath at all; and the legislature had permitted their declaration in all civil cases between man and man, to have the same validity as an oath. The House would see that he was alluding to that loyal and respectable part of the community the Quakers. Now, the House required of them the same oath upon admission to office as it did of the Roman Catholic; and their inability to take it had acted upon them 997 as an exclusion from office. He was not putting any fictitious case; circumstances had occurred, in which their refusal to take the usual oaths had disqualified them from discharging duties to which they were otherwise fully competent. A Quaker had actually been elected a member of that House, but he had not been permitted to sit in it, because he would not take the usual oaths. Now he would ask the House whether, in the case of the Quaker, they had any fear of his being influenced by the pope or by any other foreign power? He was sure that the House entertained no such fears; on the contrary, it was well known that the society of Friends exhibited in their conduct a pattern of every thing that was virtuous and amiable. In saying so, he meant them no flattery; he only did them the justice they deserved; and he was glad to have an opportunity of bearing his testimony to the generous manner in which they devoted their time, their money, and their labour, to the furtherance of every humane and charitable object. If, however, the Roman Catholic were admitted to a seat in parliament and to other offices, in the way proposed by the right hon. member, so also must the Quaker; and the principle which would be asserted by such an admission would lead to the introduction of such innovation upon the British constitution, that he, for one, must be permitted to oppose it. In doing so, he trusted that the House would not consider him as acting upon any intolerant or bigoted prejudices. He could assure the House that he was actuated by no such motive. He opposed the present motion, because if it were granted and danger should originate from it, the evil done would be irremediable. The present motion was, to introduce into the Statute book a new set of laws, conceding privileges and granting rights to those who did not now possess them: as such it was entitled to their most serious consideration. The House should recollect that they were legislating for posterity; and he, in doing so, could not shut his eyes to the danger in which such a proposition as the present might possibly involve the country.
He would admit, for the sake of argument, that none of the dangers against which the present penal laws were intended to guard the community at present existed; but, was it altogether certain that no others would arise in the lapse of 998 years? Acting as a legislature, he was I obliged to look at the history of the past; and reverting to it, not for the purpose of re-kindling the smouldering ashes of religious animosity, but for the purpose of directing himself with regard to the future, what was the result which it placed before him? He would shortly inform them. For the penal laws enacted in the reign of queen Elizabeth he found that the claim made by the pope to a supremacy over the kingdom was the alleged cause. No such claim, and consequently no such cause, at present existed. In the reign, of Charles 2nd no danger was apprehended from the pope; but much danger was apprehended from a king indifferent to all religion, and who had among his counsellors a lord Arlington and a Bennet. In the reign of James 2nd the ground alleged for the penal laws then enacted was a king attached to the Roman Catholic religion, and doing every thing in his power to promote it. In the reign of William, the danger was of another species. There was no apprehension of the pope; there was no desire on his part to maintain king James against king William; on the contrary, it was said, in one of the histories of that day, that whilst he was giving to the ambassadors of James chaplets and indulgences for his master, he was giving money nominally to the emperor, to assist him in his wars against the Turk, but in reality to support William in his newly-acquired kingdom. In the reign of Anne, the penal laws were justified by the danger arising from the policy of Louis 14th who was doing all he could to destroy the power and prosperity of England, and who was acting in concert with a dangerous and discontented domestic faction If, then, at five different periods, there had been five different dangers against which the penal laws were enacted as securities, how could he be certain that other dangers might not arise, even though he did not at that period see them, against which it would be necessary to use similar precautions?
The right hon. gentleman then proceeded to state, that it had been asked of him and other gentlemen who supported the same opinion on this question as himself, what had the state to do with religion, and why did it interfere with the direction of men's consciences? The state, he was ready to grant, had no concern with religion, when religion had no 999 concern with the state. But in making laws to govern this moral and religious country, was he to exclude from his notice all considerations of religion? Was he to be told that he was not to meddle with any measures that were calculated to affect men's consciences? Was he to be informed that such interference was unnecessary, or that it had never been previously exercised? If so, how stood the fact with reference to the past? Was it from the pages of the history of England that hon. gentlemen had gleaned their information? or from those of Scotland? or from those of Ireland? or, last of all, from those of the three constituent parts of the empire collectively? Where was it that they found that among the motives which influenced men as political members of society, religion was not one? It could not be in this country: for what was it then which induced the right hon. gentleman, in bringing forward the present motion, to proclaim his attachment to the church of England? Why did he think it necessary, in order to guard himself against all misrepresentations, to declare that he believed the church of England to be pure and holy, and most wisely established? Why, except that he saw the great importance which was attached to such declaration, and the great influence which religion possesses over the minds of our countrymen? was he to be told, that he ought on so momentous a question as the one then before the House, to leave out of his consideration the influence which religion was certain to exercise even upon affairs of a temporary nature?
The next topic to which he should refer was, the observations which the right hon. gentleman had made upon the speech which he had delivered upon this question in 1817, in his place in parliament. He must complain, that that speech had not been fairly treated, inasmuch as the right hon. gentleman had forgotten to State that it was made with reference to the bill introduced into that House in 1813. That bill was founded on a resolution of the House declaring that it was expedient to go into a committee to deliberate upon some modification of the present penal laws that would be productive of satisfaction and conciliation to all classes of his majesty's subjects. A great part of what he had said in 1817 was in reference to that bill; and his principal objection to it was, that the arrangement 1000 which it proposed was not calculated to produce satisfaction and conciliation among all classes of his majesty's subjects. If he were asked what were the dangers which he apprehended from the passing of that bill, he would refer to the bill itself, of which full three-fourths was occupied in taking securities against apprehended dangers. He would put it to the candour of the right hon. gentleman, and would call upon him to state whether he thought that if that bill had been persisted in which he had said gave political power to the Catholic on conditions to which he thought that the most zealous Protestant could not object, and to which the most inimical Catholic could not refuse to accede, it could have been carried into execution in Ireland. Would greater difficulties have been found in carrying its enactments into effect among the Protestant or the Catholic part of the population? That right hon. gentleman had even called upon the House to suspend the usual course of legislation, and to wait until it knew whether the Roman Catholics would or would not acquiesce in its provisions. Was he right in stating that, if they had done so, the Catholics themselves would have prayed for the rejection of the bill? Was there not a general feeling of disapprobation excited against it, not only among the clergy, but even among the laity? Did they not say that they would prefer to labour under their present disqualifications rather than accept emancipation upon such terms as were then offered to them? Had not the House the authority of the pope, that the Catholics could have accepted them without incurring his disapprobation? And yet notwithstanding such a declaration from such a quarter, was not the bill itself considered as most objectionable by the Roman Catholics of Ireland? After such a steady refusal, originating from an honest and praiseworthy attachment to principle, of advantages which they had long wished to acquire, would he be justified in excluding from his consideration, the influence which such a religion must exercise upon the minds of those who professed it?
But the right hon. member had insinuated, that he had accused the Roman Catholics in a body, of perjury and disloyalty. He begged leave to say that he had done no such thing. It had always been his wish to discuss the present question with calmness and temper, and no 1001 man could be more unwilling than he was to condemn large bodies or' men on account of the violent language adopted from interested motives by some of their members. There might be some obliquity of intellect in him that prevented him from seeing the propriety of yielding to the wishes of his Catholic countrymen, but he could assure the House that there was no hostility to them in his bosom. Indeed he should be guilty of the utmost ingratitude and illiberality, if he could include any set of men from whom he had received such assistance as he had done from the Catholics in Ireland, in any one sweeping charge of disloyalty or perjury. Allowing them, however, to be as loyal as any of their Protestant countrymen, and to be equally as incapable of falsehood and perjury, he still must maintain the doctrine advocated by lord Somers, that it was only reasonable that persons who were to be intrusted with high office, or with legislation, should give security for their attachment to the doctrines of the reformed religion. He did not charge the Roman Catholics with being less able to discharge their social duties with propriety than other individuals; but he was sure that if he were to be acting upon the same principles as those for which he gave them credit, and to be placed in the same situation with regard to the established religion of the country, as they were now placed, he could not feel an attachment to that religion which had displaced his own, or refrain from a wish to replace his church in the proud situation which it had formerly occupied. Was there any thing, then, in the doctrines of the Catholic religion, or any thing in the past behaviour of its professors, which was calculated to exempt them from that suspicion which he owned that he himself should have deserved had it been his fate to have lived in a Catholic country?
But though these apprehensions might be entertained, this he would admit, that so little was he satisfied with the present condition of Ireland, so anxious was he to remove all causes of dissension, both political and religious, from her inhabitants, that if he thought that the present measure would act, he would not say as the panacea to her distresses, but as an operative to restore that concord which he was anxious to restore to her, all his fears of danger to the church would give way, and he would be the first to hail the 1002 success of the present motion, as a happy omen of future happiness and tranquillity. The right hon. member he was sure, would observe that he had admitted the state of Ireland to be a dangerous state; for he was well aware of the political animosities which prevailed in it, and the religious jealousies which distracted its inhabitants, and no man could reprobate more than he did the existence of any system within it which tended to promote the interests of one class of men at the expense of those of another. On this point he believed that justice was done him even by those whose claims for emancipation he felt himself bound, upon principle to resist. For he could not review the past history of England and Ireland; he could not revert to the gallant struggle for mastery which had long been carried on between them, he could not recollect the perpetual transfers of power, the repeated confiscations of property, and the constant bickerings between the Catholic and Protestant interests of the country, without thinking that they were sufficient to produce that degree of animosity between the contending parties, which the right hon. member had attributed to the penal laws alone. He trusted that the progress of mutual refinement, and civility among the inhabitants of Ireland would lead to that general harmony among them, which he should vainly hope to see attained by the relaxation of that penal code, which it was the object of the right hon. gentleman to repeal. There might, indeed, be other causes, besides religious animosities which were calculated to retard the growing unanimity of the people of Ireland. There might be commercial and other laws, which had alike a tendency to keep alive popular fermentation. Admitting such to be the fact, it might be said, why then resist this single act of concession, this step towards the attainment of a more general spirit of harmony among the different classes of his majesty's subjects? His answer was, that he did not concur in the anticipation of such a result; he did not think that the repeal of the laws affecting Roman Catholics would harmonize contending and conflicting feelings. He did not wish to touch prospectively upon the consequences of intemperate struggles for power; he did not wish to use language which might be construed into a harsh interpretation of the acts and objects of men who pursued a career of ambition; but he must say this 1003 that if parliament admitted an equal capacity for the possession of power, between Protestant and Catholic, in this empire, they would have no means of considering the state of the population, of securing that equal division of power, which was, in his opinion, essential to the stability of the existing form of government. The struggle between the Protestant and Catholic would be violent, and the issue doubtful; if they were to be sent forth together as rival candidates, with an equal capacity for direct parliamentary representation, so far from seeing any prospect of the alleviation of points of mutual difference, he could only anticipate the revival of animosities now happily extinct, and the continuance, in an aggravated form, of angry dissensions now happily gliding into decay and disuse. [Hear, hear.] If the consequence of this alteration of the constitution should be accompanied with an alteration in the duration of parliaments—if, instead of sitting for seven years, they were to sit but for three, then again would the more frequent collision of Protestant and Catholic furnish a still greater accession of violent matter to keep to alive domestic dissension, in every form in which it could be arrayed against the internal peace and concord of the country.
These were his honest sentiments upon this great important question. They were uninfluenced by any motive but an ardent anxiety for the durability of our happy constitution. He spoke his own sentiments, without attending to the apprehensions of others, for he had taken no pains to collect what might elsewhere be the feeling of persons who thought upon this subject. Much had been said, both upon this and another subject, of the opinions which prevailed out of doors. Of these, or of the impressions which they diffused, he was perfectly careless; and upon that point he should say, that if this bill succeeded, and eventually revived hostile feelings among the people of this country against the concessions which it involved, he for one should not appeal to that angry Spirit, if it arose against the principle of this bill. If the people of England became roused by its success, he should deprecate on to as well as he had done upon any other occasion, an appeal to their excited passions upon the wisdom or the justice of the measure. Against such appeals he should always set his face, believing, as he did, that the deliberative wisdom of parliament 1004 was better calculated to weigh maturely the important bearings of any great question, than the general opinions of parties elsewhere. If bethought the claims contended for were formed to promote the good of the state, the whole voice of England out of doors should not dissuade him from admitting the necessity of their adoption. It was because he thought the motion not calculated to promote any good purpose, that he was prepared to oppose it to the utmost of his means. His opinions and his duty here coincided and upon them he meant consistently to act. Upon this occasion he had declined resorting to any influence to counteract the fair consideration of this question. He had been, it was true, consulted about the means of opposing it, and he now solemnly declared that his advice was expressed rather against than for petitioning to impede the bill. He had told the parties by whom he had been consulted, that he cared not for their petitions; he valued them not; for, in his view, the House of Commons were fully competent to decide upon the whole merits of the case, unaided by external assistance. He thought they required no illumination from without, to enable them to form a sound decision upon whatever question was submitted to their consideration. This being his opinion, he had given no encouragement to counter-petitions upon this great question. He could most conscientiously assure the House, that no result of this debate could give him unqualified satisfaction. He was of course bound to wish that the opinions which he honestly felt might prevail; but their prevalence must still be mingled with regret at the disappointment which he knew the success of such opinions must entail upon a great portion of his fellow-subjects. If, however, on the contrary, the motion succeeded, no man who heard him would more cordially rejoice if his predictions proved unfounded, his arguments groundless, and that the result should exemplify the sanguine expectations of the right hon. mover, and give an increased confidence to all classes of his majesty's subjects, in that interesting country in which such union and harmony was most desirable.
§ Sir James Mackintosh
said, that if the right hon. gentleman who had just sat down felt he had reason to allude to the disadvantages he laboured under in having to follow so powerful a speech as that of the 1005 mover of this great question; if that right hon. gentleman thought lie had reason to complain at being called upon to rise immediately after the great display of the prodigious talents of Ins right hon. and learned friend, who had often been ad-mired for his commanding powers, never so greatly exercised as upon that night, when he had shewn himself to be the greatest master of eloquence and reasoning now existing in public life, how much more was he (sir J. M.) entitled to crave their indulgence, when it was his duty to follow in expressing a coincidence of opinion with a man who had exhausted every l part of his subject. He was not sure that under such circumstances, and in the exhausted slate of the side of the question which he meant to advocate, he should have intruded himself upon the attention of the House, were it not for some of the concluding observations of the right hon. gentleman who had just spoken. Were it not for these observations, he should not perhaps have seized this his first opportunity of delivering his sentiments in behalf of the great cause of religion, of liberality, of wise policy, of national unanimity, and, indeed, of national security. The right hon. gentleman had framed the greater part of his speech by assuming, that certain propositions had been laid down by his right hon. and learned friend, which he had never uttered, and by encountering other propositions which he had mistakenly attributed to him. His right hon. friend had laid it down as a general principle, that, by the law and constitution, every Englishman was of common right entitled to admissibility, not to admission to the privileges of the state. He had, however, never contended for it as an unqualified principle,—as one which was open to no exception or reservation. All his right hon. and learned friend had contended for was this, that every Englishman had a common right not to be disabled from an admissibility to the attainment of the distinctions conferred by the state. And in laying down this broad principle, so far from putting it free from exception or qualification, his right hon. and learned friend had justly and forcibly ridiculed the pedantry of those metaphysical politicians, who had attempted to reduce the system of legislation to the fixedness of an abstract science. His right hon. and learned friend's arguments deduced from his positions, were principally expressive of his sense of the injustice of continuing these 1006 restrictions, and of the visionary danger which was apprehended from their removal. The right hon. gentleman Opposite (Mr. Peel), in reply to the powerful reasoning of his right hon. and learned friend, had urged the danger to be apprehended from adopting such a course, and had enlarged upon what he called the successive dangers which at all times operated to prevent the adoption of such a measure both before and since the accession of the House of Hanover. But the right hon. gentleman had forgotten that this series of successive dangers uniformly arose from the prevalence of one apprehension, namely, the domination of a Catholic party at home, connected with some foreign powers, and acting in hostility to our own institutions. So that the succession of dangers alluded to by the right hon. gentleman ought rather to be described as one continued danger, which occasionally became more apparent from the influence of particular circumstances. The opinions of Catholics were then used as a test, with reference to the foreign influence complained of. So it was at the time of the danger apprehended from Philip 2nd; so it was in the time of Louis 14th; afterwards, during the reign of Mary, queen of Scots, and downwards to the time of the Pretender. But the danger in all these cases was one and the same, and alike imminent and urgent, and required from the lawyers who framed these is abilities the great exception which they felt themselves then authorized to make in the case of the Catholics. But this exception, and indeed every deviation from the broad principle of equal admissibility, was, as his right hon. and learned friend; had said, enacted upon grounds professedly; temporary, and with a limitation which the right hon. gentleman opposite had, in the whole course of his argument, studiously overlooked. The statesmen at the time of the Revolution were providing against what appeared to them to be great present danger: against that alone were they protecting themselves; and yet the right hon. gentleman, who appeared anxious to follow their example, thought he was doing so, by advocating a continuance of a part of these laws, not because he could see any present danger, but because he thought there might possibly arise some remote danger to the existing establishments of the state. The I statesmen of the Revolution acted upon one undeviating principle of exclusion, 1007 arising out of a danger which they deemed to be palpable and immediate; while the right hon. gentleman was prepared to make permanent that which was originally meant solely for a specific and temporary purpose. With respect to the petition which had been presented from the English Catholics, he called the attention of the House to the fact, that they tendered a declaration which went the whole substance of that required by the act of queen Elizabeth, an act in the reign of that zealous queen deemed to be a sufficient test of the loyalty of Englishmen. The right hon. gentleman had laid great stress upon the danger which, in his opinion, must arise from the repeal of the statute of the 30th Charles 2nd, and had loudly declared, that to repeal that law would be to alter the whole frame of the British constitution. When the right hon. gentleman attached so much constitutional importance to the act of Charles 2nd, it was right to refer back to its origin, and to the circumstances which called it forth. Now, with reference to the history of that act, he would say, that no law which had ever been promulgated sprung from a more infamous origin; that no law ever flowed from so foul and impure a source; that never had a law been passed under circumstances of so detestable and infamous a nature, as those which attended the enactment of that statute which the right hon. gentleman seemed to revere, as if it were the great charter of the constitution. He had taken pains to refer to the Journals for the history of this statute. It had been passed on the 2Sth of October, 1678; and it was curious to see how the House had been occupied just before it adopted that act—to see in what manner it had prepared itself for grave deliberation—with what equanimity and temper it commenced the work of legislating for the exclusion of a great portion of the subjects of this kingdom. Would the House believe that, during the whole of the day preceding the enactment of this bill, the House had been busily occupied in the examination of Titus Oates? It was after this preparation, that the bill so praised had passed: when the minds of members were intoxicated with the flagitious perjury of that detestable and atrocious miscreant, whose shocking crimes had not only brought disgrace upon the country which he had duped, but had sacrificed the lives of so many innocent and deserving characters. In that manner had 1008 the bill been passed; and it furnished a melancholy instance of the facility with which the legislature was brought to enact severe laws, and the difficulty always I manifested to have them revoked, even when their injustice was apparent. Here was an instance in which one abandoned and remorseless miscreant, an outcast from the human race, was able to inflame that House—to delude it at a moment when it contained the greatest patriots and the wisest men, some of whom shed their blood, and others had lived, for the deliverance of their country at the Revolution. Yet this single, foul, and wretched perjurer was able to hurry through a measure of exclusion against millions of his fellow subjects, which it took twenty years of all the genius and patriotism of England to struggle against in the hope of undoing. Thus twenty years of the labours of such men were unable to undo the falsehoods which it only took this wretch a single morning to utter. Who, then, could say that such an act was entitled to the weight which ought only to belong to measures deep and well digested for the public welfare? It was not a little singular that the right hon. gentleman should have arrayed the authority of William 3rd upon this occasion in support of his argument. No monarch had ever been more calumniated by an ungrateful posterity than that sovereign. It was true that a paper had been confided, by the prince of Orange, to the private agent of James 2nd. It was no less true that James was anxious for the repeal of the test law; as he wished to have had as many Catholic officers as possible in the ranks of his army, to assist in the accomplishment of his ulterior designs. James had two laws before him, one of which he thought he might have repealed. Had he, instead of attempting the repeal of the Test law, tried that of the Habeas Corpus act, there was every chance of his succeeding; for the people had not then had long experience of those frequent suspensions of that act which now rendered it so valuable to Englishmen! King James preferred, however, to repeal the Test law, and he failed in his attempt. King William formally declared that he would resist the repeal of the disabling laws, although he was ready to concur in a remission of some of the penal. And he added this very remarkable expression, that "if the remission of the penal acts were found to succeed, their king might subsequently consider of the 1009 repeal of the disabling laws." Bishop Burnet, indeed, who must have had excellent opportunities of knowing the fact, had stated that king William was a greater favourite of the Catholics than any other English monarch who ever sat upon the throne; he secured for them toleration, and protected them from the then existing severity of the law. The right hon. gentleman had referred to the debate upon the Occasional Conformity bill, but he was not justified in deducing from it any thing except this—that these laws were then the subject of constant evasion, just as they had been since George 1st's indemnity act. The right hon. gentleman had praised in becoming terms the character of lord Somers, and he hoped that any thing which might fall from him (sir J. M.) would not weaken the authority of that great man with the opposite side of the House. But the right hon. gentleman had strangely mistaken the acts of those times, when he inferred that, because their ancestors had wisely guarded against an existing danger, they meant to enact for future ages a perpetual exclusion bill. The right hon. gentleman was most unfortunate when he quoted the case of the Quakers, as being analogous to that of the It man Catholics; they were, he said, admitted upon their own test in civil cases, but rejected upon it in criminal. This was, however, a singular, and he must be permitted to say, rather an absurd analogical argument to justify the exclusion of the Catholics. The right hon. gentleman wished to impress upon the House, that the one exclusion was not greater than the other. But did he recollect that I the disabilities attaching to Quakers in; criminal cases, to which he alluded, could I not so much be said to affect themselves as the parties who required their evidence? As the right hon. gentleman had introduced the case of the Quakers, by way of illustrating the state of the Catholics, he should beg leave to pursue it for a similar purpose. Of all the sects which had sprung up in modern times, none had at the commencement excited more apprehension and disgust than the Quakers, yet none had shown in their subsequent intercourse with society more mild or benignant habits. They had alarmed all the authorities of the state at the commencement, by declaring all war unlawful, and by refusing to give in the courts of justice that test of veracity which was l afforded by every other class in society. 1010 They had by such acts set a precedent of disloyalty to their country, whose invasion they would not repel, and whose laws they would not uphold. These acts naturally enough tended to alarm society, but yet experience of the conduct of that sect showed that their habits were not only harmless, but that they were a highly praise-worthy, respectable, and useful class of persons in the state. What was the objection to the Catholics? That they entertained opinions which, in their remote operation, might possibly under fancied circumstances affect the state. It was shamefully declared in the petition of the archdeaconry of Leicester, that the Catholics hold a mental reservation by which they could annul their tests. He was shocked at this imputation upon a religion which had been that of Christendom for ten centuries—which had been professed and believed by sir Thomas More, by Fenelon—and yet it was the religion which could boast of such names, that was pronounced by the clergy of Leicester to be capable of tolerating such immoral evasion! Such an imputation he believed to be a gross outrage upon any set of Christians, and subversive of all society: is was a libel upon the Christian religion. If he had been present when the petition from Leicester was brought up, he would, if he stood singly, have divided the House against the reception of so gross a libel. With his consent, that petition should never have remained upon the table, for it was a disgrace to the country, and to the age in which we lived. The right hon. gentleman had throughout his speech laid a great stress upon securities, but he had throughout evaded the real question, and contrived to dazzle and bewilder it with details, which he ought to have known it was useless to discuss before the leading principle was settled. With respect to the influence which the emancipation of the Catholics would have on the established religion, the question was, would the established church be endangered by that measure? He was of opinion, that the danger to the church would be diminished by emancipating the Catholics. He appealed to the experience of history to show, that emancipation had always been the best security for the established church. Was it to be argued, that by giving to the better orders of the Catholic people, motives for adhering more strongly to the constitution, the legislature would endanger the constitution? If the door 1011 to office, to public honours, were thrown open to them, would they then begin to assail the institutions under which they would derive those honours? When Catholics sat in that House, were conspiracies fostered by Catholic members of parliament? No for the conspiracies were certainly fostered out of doors. Was the rebellion of 1611 encouraged or promoted by Catholic members of parliament? No; it found its supporters in quite another description of men—it was provoked by the severe and odious administration of lord Strafford. Again, were the English Catholic peers—were the English Catholic members of parliament, the persons who promoted the gunpowder plot? That plot was hatched in the immediate neighbourhood of that House, but the Catholic gentlemen who sat in it were guiltless of that transaction. There was, indeed, a plot—a real Popish plot; but it was a plot in which the king was the greatest conspirator. The Catholics who sat in that House had not abused the privilege. But even if they had—even if the Catholics, two centuries ago, in unsettled times, were betrayed into the commission of unworthy acts, their conduct would furnish little argument against the claims of the Catholics of the present day to the honours and advantages of that constitution which they so nobly defended in every quarter of the globe. The right hon. gentleman seemed to treat the numbers of the petitioners with great contempt. But, with him, numbers made a very material difference. Numbers should never be slightingly regarded: they were a nation's wealth, properly used; its greatest danger, if misgoverned or ill treated. The House had been told, that great peace and harmony prevailed in Ireland, notwithstanding the laws of exclusion. That circumstance alone was a strong argument for the removal of the restrictive system; for it was a proof that the people of Ireland were resolved to remain peaceable in spite of the irritation under which they laboured. The claims of the Catholics appeared to him to be strong, because they were founded on justice and on the principles of freedom—to be irresistible, because they were not only reasonable and just in themselves, but because they came from millions of men whom it was wise to conciliate, and whom it would be madness to provoke. The right hon. gentleman had talked of former wars, of confiscations of property, 1012 and of commercial jealousies; but in enumerating the causes hostile to the happiness and peace of Ireland, he had omitted to notice the laws of exclusion—a cause which poured fresh venom into all the others. It had been the misfortune of Ireland, from the first moment of her intimacy with this country, to be goaded and tormented by perpetual distinctions and divisions among her people. First, there was the distinction, unavoidable, but not therefore less painful, between the conquerors and the conquered; then came the distinction between old proprietors and new proprietors; next, the distinction of Englishman and Irishman; but the great distinction of all, the distinction which had served to keep alive every other contention, which had produced the dreadful insurrection in the reign of Elizabeth, and which had prolonged the miseries and retarded the civilization of Ireland, even to the present hour—that distinction was the distinction of Protestant and Papist—a distinction which animated political differences with that burning hatred peculiar to religious fanaticism. The laws from which the present motion sought relief had impeded the progress of Ireland's civilization, had condemned her brilliant and valuable talent to obscurity, and had reduced her to that state of civil dissension which ever had been, and ever must be, a state of weakness. The laws which the House was now called upon to abolish were the trophies which one body of the people of Ireland had erected over the defeat and degradation of another body: they were the brands which for a long course of ages, had been imprinted upon the foreheads of an immense mass of population, and those marks of degradation parliament was now once more called upon to efface. At such a crisis it was impossible not to advert to the intended visit of the sovereign to the country in question. His majesty would be the first king who, for a period of four hundred years, had entered Ireland in the way of peace. Henry 2nd, Richard 2nd, William 3rd, had visited Ireland; but they visited it as conquerors. Most singularly unhappy had been the fortune of that country. William 3rd, the preserver of England, was the conqueror of Ireland; the conqueror, perhaps, in a just and necessary war—but still the conqueror. He emancipated Holland, England, Europe; but he came a conqueror to Ireland. It de- 1013 pended upon the conduct of the House of Commons this evening, not whether his majesty should he received in Ireland with respect and cordiality, for that no doubt he would be, but whether he should, upon his first visit, enter that country as the benefactor of his people; it depended upon the decision of that House whether the king, upon his projected tour, should meet a flattering and short-lived popularity; or, whether he should land in Ireland as a guardian and a father, bearing to his oppressed and disunited subjects the invaluable blessings of the British constitution.
said, he could not but consider any law in the nature of exclusion, directed against so valuable a body of men as the Catholics of England and Ireland, to be a most intolerable grievance. In England, the Catholics were not in sufficient numbers to be dangerous, while their steady loyalty and patient obedience under the hardships to which they had been subjected gave a pledge for their good conduct when those hardships should be at an end. If the Catholics of Ireland were more numerous, the political arrangements of that country called still more loudly for the change; for no kingdom could be equitably ruled under laws which, of themselves, drew a line between the governors and the governed. Admitting, for the sake of argument, that disaffection to the government prevailed, he would ask, was the present system calculated to diminish it?
apprehended it to be a fixed rule of the House, that a member who seconded a motion without addressing the House, could not afterwards speak in the debate.
§ The Speaker
observed, that unquestionably the strict rule of the House was such as had just been laid down; but it was sometimes the custom of the House to allow, as a matter of courtesy, a gentleman who had seconded a motion to speak at a future period.
§ Mr. Denis Browne
was loudly called for. He said, that the motion was for a committee to inquire into the truth of the allegations contained in the petitions of five millions of people, who paid the taxes, who supported the establishment, who had defended the country in times of danger, and who were nevertheless debarred the enjoyment of the constitution. 1014 If an absolute promise of emancipation had not been made to the Catholics, there certainly had been a hope held out to them. Mr. Pitt saw that whilst the legislatures were separate, the claims of the Catholics could not he granted with safety—hence the Union. If before that measure, it would have been madness to grant those claims, he thought it would be madness to refuse them now. Was the House prepared to shut the door against inquiry—to stop the Catholics in limine? If so, they would scatter the seeds of future woes.
§ Mr. Dawson
, of Londonderry, said, it was with great reluctance that he obtruded himself upon the attention of the House, being conscious of his inability to offer any observation which had the charm of novelty. Before he proceeded upon the discussion of the question, he wished to guard himself against the consequences of any hasty or indiscreet expression. It was far from his wish to encrease the animosities which had already been engendered; he would much rather live with his Catholic countrymen, many of whom he loved and honoured, as a friend and a neighbour, than be regarded with an eye of suspicion. In private matters he had never made any distinction between a Catholic and Protestant, but in public matters there was much to complain of, and he should express his opinion with boldness, but without bigotry, and resist their claims with firmness, but without hostility. Prom the contents of the petition which the right hon. gentleman had presented, and from the speech of that right hon. gentleman, a person unacquainted with Ireland might be induced to suppose that the Catholics were in the lowest state of political and even personal degradation. No argument at all calculated to excite the feelings had been spared to win over the reluctant and hesitating, to what they termed the cause of liberality and justice. When their advocates assumed the pathetic tone, we were told that they were aliens in their native soil, that the penal code obstructed them in every situation of life, that it damped the industry of the peasant, chilled the ingenuity of the mechanic, and blasted the ambition of the nobility and gentry—that they enjoyed their property by sufferance and cultivated their religion as a boon. These were the arguments applied to the feelings. They had often been successful; and if they failed re- 1015 course was had to our fears. When the Catholics themselves plead, they disdain the mild tones of supplication; they talk of their numbers, their power, their importance, their possession of the country. They tell you that they possess all the energy, all the industry of the people of Ireland; that they possess the greater part of the trading and manufacturing interests; that the agricultural class is exclusively Catholic; that they occupy the best positions for commercial and military purposes; that they have the readiest means of attack and defence. This is their language,—different, to be sure, from the tone of their advocates; but this also is successful. At one time they are aliens in their native land; at another time lords of its soil. Now, he asked, were these two statements correct? Were they on the one hand oppressed; or did they on the other possess all the power and resources of the country? So far from being oppressed, the condition of the Catholic was precisely that in which he might be expected to be found, from his inferiority in the empire at large, in wealth, property, and number, as well as from his hostility to the established constitution and religion of the country. To get rid at once of the accusation of oppression was to say, that the Catholics enjoyed the most perfect liberty of person, of conscience, of speech, of locomotion, the most perfect security of property, the equal protection of the laws, the most impartial administration of justice. Their religion was not only tolerated but encouraged by the state: they had an annual grant for the maintenance of a college; they became members of the constitution, by enjoying, in the most unrestricted manner, the right of the elective franchise, the army and navy were open to them; in short, with the exception of exclusion from a few offices, they enjoyed as great a share of liberty as it was possible for men to enjoy.—Under these circumstances, instead of allowing our passions to be inflamed and judgment influenced by exaggerated accounts of their humiliation, and of our injustice, we should examine whether those restrictions were not founded in wisdom and policy. It was an undisputed maxim, that where man divested himself of his natural liberty, and assumed the bonds of civil society, it would be impossible to maintain the grand principles for which men associate together into one community, 1016 namely, a safe and peaceable living and secure enjoyment of property, unless the majority had a right to determine the condition of the rest. It was a maxim in this House (at least it had been since the Test and Corporation acts), that the established religion was to be maintained for ever as the religion of the nation, and we had been taught to consider our liberlies and our constitution so interwoven with it, that hitherto we had resisted all attempts against any alteration. This religion was adopted and cherished by the majority of the nation; but the wise and beneficent policy of our ancestors had left to the minority the most perfect freedom of person, the secure enjoyment of property, a valuable, though restricted exercise of political power, the impartial protection of the laws, and most complete liberty of conscience. These privileges could not be denied to any part of a free community, and the enjoyment of such privileges leave men but little reason to complain of laws enacted for the preservation of other rights to which they are hostile. The Catholics cannot complain of exclusion if they are not permitted to form one of a body, of which they would constitute, not only an unnatural and a distorted limb, but into which they would introduce a forbidden and fatal disease. They may demand protection and toleration, but they cannot expect confidence and establishment. These are the principles of the constitution recognised by Locke, Blackstone, and De Lolme. They are confirmed by the wisdom and experience of our ancestors; they are not only the practice of this country, but they are acted upon with more severity in every Protestant nation of Europe, above all, in those whose constitution bears the nearest resemblance to that of the British empire. To begin with those states which have something like a representative constitution, we find that the laws against the Catholics are very much in the spirit of our own. In Sweden, perfect liberty of conscience is allowed, but the establishment of schools and convents is strictly forbidden; processions and public ceremonies according to the Catholic rites are expressly prohibited; all attempts at proselytism, and all errors of apostacy, are punished I with the most severe penalties. The authority of the pope in spiritual matters is subservient to the authority of the king, and his vicar apostolic is permitted to re- 1017 main in Sweden so long only as he conforms to the decree of toleration, under all its restrictions. In civil matters, all persons, natives or foreigners, professing the Roman Catholic religion are strictly prohibited from holding any of the higher or lower offices of the state, they cannot become members of the Diet, but by the same beneficent policy which prevails in this country,—they have a voice in the election of the members of the Diet, though they have not the right of admission.—By a decree of the states of Holland and West Friesland, it is enacted, that no priest shall exercise the Roman Catholic worship, unless by a written consent of toleration from the states—that in all the different dependencies the priests shall abjure the authority of the pope in the most ample manner—and also the power of dispensation, of absolution; and shall even preach the preeminence of the states. All bulls, mandates, &c. from the see of Rome must be submitted to the council of the towns before publication: no new churches can be built without the consent of the burgomasters; and even with that consent they are not allowed to bear any resemblance to those of the established church. By the same decree, all Roman Catholics are excluded from being officers of justice, secretaries, and police officers. By an act of the senate of Hamburgh, the free exercise of the Roman Catholic religion is allowed; but it is allowed only in private buildings, without steeples or bells, or bearing any of the outward signs of a public church: all public processions are prohibited, and the senate assumes to itself the most complete control over the regulation of all ecclesiastical matters. These concessions are thought quite sufficient, and the Catholics are expressly forbidden to look for civil employments in the state, or even to express dissatisfaction at their exclusion, under a threat of the immediate revocation of the indulgence of the state.—In the move despotic nations of the continent, professing the Protestant religion, the exclusion under which the Catholic labours, though not so severe as in those states which have been mentioned, is, however, very comprehensive, and sufficiently manifests the suspicion with which they are tolerated. In Denmark, they are treated perhaps with more rigour than in any other country; for the exercise of their religion depends upon the arbitrary will of the king alone. No public place 1018 of worship is authorised by law, and it is allowed only as a matter of special favour to foreign ministers. The power of the pope is absolutely unknown, and though there is no express law to prohibit Catholics from filling any office of the state, yet the spirit of the law is inferred from there being no instance of the employment of a Catholic in the high civil departments. In Prussia they are treated with greater indulgence, as they labour under no exclusion from office; but in ecclesiastical matters the authority of the king is supreme, and no communication between bishops or individuals and the court of Rome can take place lawfully, except through the medium of the Prussian government. In Saxony the Catholics laboured under greater restrictions than prevailed in any other country, until the conquest of the country by Napoleon, who restored them to an equality of rights, but these privileges were gained by the power of the sword, and not with the concurrence of the nation.—Now, from this hasty sketch of the regulations affecting Catholics in Protestant countries, two things are apparent—that in those countries possessing a constitution in which the elements of liberty are to be found, in something like a representative system, the exclusion of the Catholic from civil office, and the restriction under which he exercises his religion, prevail with the greatest rigour. In Holland, Hamburgh, and Sweden, the Catholic is looked upon with the most jealous eye. What inference is to be drawn from this universal exclusion of the Catholic in the free Protestant states of Europe? Is caprice or prejudice the cause of their exclusion?—Certainly not: for they are uncertain and fluctuating in their nature, and cannot be assigned as a motive for general policy. Is tyranny? No: for it is incompatible with the free forms of government in those countries. No rational inference can be drawn, except that wisdom has dictated and experience has proved that the principles of the Catholic faith are hostile to the general principles of liberty. Another circumstance worthy of note is, that no Protestant nation under a despotic government ever allows the exercise of the Roman Catholic religion without some restriction. If this is to be found in despotic governments where the king can banish or imprison, for any attempt which he may think subversive of the law or religion, 1019 how much more careful ought a mixed I and limited government to be, where no such summary power exists, in admitting those persons into power, who live under no government without suspicion, and under very few without total exclusion—and what is there in England alone of all the Protestant nations of Europe, to I make her regardless of dangers against which every other nation is anxious to provide? If he was justified in concluding that concession could not be claimed as a matter of right, he would ask, is it politic to repeal these laws? He had not witnessed any thing on the part of the Catholics themselves to induce him to turn a deaf ear to the dictates of wisdom and experience: he would not follow theory and speculation in preference to practice. It was said that it would be an instrument of peace: he was sure it would be a cause of dissatisfaction. It was true the majority of the Irish nation was Catholic; but a very small number of that majority would be at all affected by complete emancipation. It was true also that the superiority of wealth, power, industry, and property, was on the Protestant side, and that every man would be alarmed. If prejudices exist, they are not likely to be removed by giving up to numerical majority alone all the privileges upon which the preponderating party in wealth and property have founded their security. If the Catholic is emancipated the Protestant will be alarmed, and we shall weaken Protestant loyalty without securing Catholic allegiance.—Can any man suppose that the inhabitants of the same country, divided so immensely in their religious sentiments, will not come into frequent collision? Suppose Catholic emancipation to be granted, are friendship and union to follow immediately? Are there no causes of dissension in the institutions founded upon a Protestant establishment, which have grown up with centuries? Would Catholics acquiesce in their existence, if they were complimented with the privilege of becoming judges, sheriffs, and members of parliament? In Ireland the corporations of all the principal towns are universally Protestant; they can admit or refuse whom they like. Would Catholic emancipation make the admission of a Catholic into the corporations more probable than it is at this moment, and would not his defeat founded upon the prejudice of the Protestant be more gating than his present 1020 disability? In election matters there would be the same source of discord: nine-tenths of the land of Ireland belong to Protestant proprietors, and a great part is occupied with Catholic tenants. In the event of a contest between a Protestant and a Catholic, the former would rely on his property and his influence as a landed man; the latter on his religion and the intrigues of the priest. If the former succeeded, the tenant would be exposed to religious excommunication; if the Catholic succeeded, the tenantry would be arrayed against the landlord Were there no seeds of mischief in such a conflict? Greater evil would flow from such perpetual struggles than from the present restrictive laws. If the law enabled a Catholic to be sheriff, his first act would be to name twenty-three Catholic land-owners, if indeed such a number could be found in any county, as the fittest persons to be grand jurors: the next year the Protestant would retaliate, and hence would arise an endless conflict. Were there no sources of discord to be found in the regulation of ecclesiastical affairs, upon the supposition that a bill had passed for the relief of the Catholics? Conceive the principles by which the pastors of the respective churches would be actuated? Conceive the pure and independent doctrines of our church, and the bigotted and servile tenets of the Catholic worship? Conceive the character of its ministers?—ours endued with a lofty idea of their own independence, and highly gifted with all the learning which the ancient and celebrated institutions of this country afford—theirs wringing a scanty subsistence from an impoverished and unwilling peasantry, drawing their; education, as well as their principles, from the institutions of a foreign country:—our church flourishing in wealth and splendour, theirs existing in poverty and h distress: our ecclesiastical establishments; the richest in Europe, compared with the number of persons for whom they are provided: theirs, the poorest for the multitudes which are attached to them. Conceive this state of things, and can any man say that peace will be the fruit of the comparison? Is it in human nature to suppose that the Catholic body will continue to pay with patience for the maintenance of a double establishment, to one of which they are attached—to the other mortally hostile? Is it not natural for them to look back to the times when 1021 their church possessed all that wealth of which ours has despoiled them? Is it not reasonable for them to say, "restore the patrimony of our church, as you have restored the establishment of our religion"—and will not they find many advocates to support the claims which the majority of the nation make for an ecclesiastical establishment, which, contrary to all general principle, is now kept up for the minority? Can such a system continue in harmony, if the aggrieved and more numerous party have the power and inclination to attempt its destruction?—With this view of the case, it cannot be said that Catholic emancipation would heal the dissensions of Ireland: it would not remove the causes which have been described: they would remain untouched and undiminished. And, with such a conviction on his mind, he could not suffer such delusive arguments to remain uncontradicted, being convinced that Catholic emancipation would not remove the causes of discord between the Protestants and Catholics.
Mr. Charles Grant
said, he would now trouble the House with the few observations which he had to make, because, from the advanced stage of the night, he might otherwise be precluded from delivering his sentiments on this important question; the delivering of which, in the situation in which he stood with regard to Ireland, he esteemed a solemn and imperative duty. He had listened with the utmost attention and the greatest delight to the eloquence with which the motion had been introduced—an eloquence which, while it called to the support of the policy which it recommended the names of the illustrious statesmen and great geniuses of former times, evinced the possession of a high portion of kindred talent. He had, indeed, heard the speech of the right hon. and learned gentleman with wonder and admiration, esteeming it worthy of the cause which it defended—of the principles which it advocated—and worthy of the petitioners whose claims it stated and enforced. He presumed to think that their cause had made some progress, not only from the powerful eloquence and convincing reasoning of the right hon. and learned mover, but from the observations of his right hon. friend, who had spoken on the question as became the frankness and candour of his just and manly mind. His right hon. friend had, however, argued 1022 upon a view of the question which was not before the House, and had answered propositions which had not been advanced. He had argued as if it had been proposed to repeal all the disabilities under which the Catholics laboured, at once, without examination or deliberation; whereas, it merely pledged the House to inquire into them in a committee. He owned he was surprised to hear his right hon. friend draw a parallel between the repeal of the Catholic disabilities and the abolition of the Test and Corporation acts, and argue, that because the latter could change the former, it ought not to be taken into consideration. The prayer of the petitioners contained nothing offensive or revolting: they asked for inquiry; they besought the House to examine their case; and, if their claims should be shown to be founded in policy and justice, to remove the disabilities under which the laboured. His right hon. friend answered "True it is we feel for your situation; true it is your case is a hard one: but we cannot grant your request; for if we do so we must repeal the Test and Corporation acts!" The Catholics came boldly forward and said, that past causes of animosity ought to be forgotten; and that, in their present disposition towards our establishments, there existed no ground for alarm. To this his right hon. friend answered—"True, they are forgotten; but, in the revolutions of states, at some future distant period, we may become afraid of you; and we will, therefore, persevere in the same treatment of you as before, when you were really dangerous." It was thus that we treated the Catholics of Ireland. His hon. friend behind him (Mr. Dawson) had called upon him to follow him to Denmark, to Sweden, and Holland, and see how the Catholics were there treated. He would not obey the call of his hon. friend; he would not follow him to foreign countries; he would appeal to the British constitution, and call upon the House rather to set than to follow an example. Motives of policy and justice, which affected the whole empire, pressed upon parliament the consideration of the Catholic claims; but more particularly the interests of Ireland required that so important a part of the population should not be excluded from the benefit of the British constitution. The right hon. gentleman here drew an eloquent contrast between the state of the inhabitants of 1023 Great Britain and Ireland, and attributed some share of the difference of circumstances in the two countries to the anomalous disabilities under which most classes of the sister kingdom laboured. He represented Ireland as subject to inconsistencies and anomalies of all kinds—suffering much local oppression and great general distress; having its higher classes excluded from privileges to which the lower were admitted; wanting that sympathy between the different orders of society, and that interchange and communication of sentiment and feeling between the different ranks of life, which constituted at once the glory and the security of England. In this country freedom lived along the line which joined all the classes of the community, and our institutions were conductors of the general feeling. Why was not Ireland in this state? Why was property there stripped of its influence? Why was it divested of the force of authority? What was the result of all this? Local outrages—distrust of the laws in a people disposed to obedience—extending to all classes of the community—operating in the higher classes to a contempt of the law, and in the lower to a transgression of it. He did not attribute all this state of things to the Catholic disabilities; but as little was he inclined to allow that these disabilities had no part in it. The system formerly pursued with regard to Ireland had been to legislate contrary to the opinion of the country. The calamities of the people followed, step by step, the system of degradation to which they were subjected; and the relaxation of the oppressive laws had been as invariably followed by improvement and increasing order. It should not be forgotten, that while Wales and Chester owed their liberties to Charles 2nd, Ireland owed her slavery to William 3rd.—When he heard of the inconsistencies that would be involved in granting the Catholic claims, he could not but contrast them with the inconsistencies of the present system, where Ireland might have Catholic electors, but could not return a Catholic representative—where Catholics might be magistrates, but not sheriffs—barristers, but not king's counsel. There was nothing more inconsistent in a Protestant king having persons of the Catholic religion in his council, than a king of the episcopal system having presbyterian councillors; and a parliament that might be filled with dissenters could 1024 admit, without inconsistency, a Catholic But did the exclusion of the Catholics from the privileges they claimed produce peace or any corresponding advantages? No. If there was danger to our establishments from the admission of the Catholics, there was greater danger from their exclusion. There were two lines of demarkation on which the House might take its stand. First, it might have repealed the penal laws, and, after repealing them, might have stood on the existing disabilities, or might repeal both. But parliament had not stood on cither. It had repealed all the penal statutes, and some of the disabilities, retaining others. It was contended that, if the Catholics obtained the abolition of the existing disabilities, they would become formidable to our establishments by becoming more powerful. This, he contended, would not be the case. As individuals, those who attained office or distinction would become more powerful; but the body would be less so, because less united. Besides, a government ought not to found its security on the weakness of its subjects, but on their confidence. There was no part of the constitution which ought to depend on the powerlessness of any portion of the subjects. It was impossible to tell the countless and nameless ties by which the constitution attracted to itself the affections of subjects; and therefore it was madness to persist in any measure, the inevitable tendency of which was to alienate those affections. He implored the House to consider that the fate of Ireland was at stake—to look at the state of the population of that country—to reflect on its present misery—and on what the parliament of Great Britain had already done for that country under the auspices of our late sovereign. Let it no longer be said of Ireland, that, having performed the duties which the constitution exacted, she was still excluded from the privileges to which she had a constitutional right. He called on the House to ratify this night the solemn contract of the union, and to make that great measure in reality what it was in name. What did Mr. Pitt, who had projected that measure, conceive to be its nature? What meaning did that great statesman attach to the following lines, which he had applied to the union of the two countries:—Non ego, nee Teucris Italos parere jubebo, Nee mihiregna peto: paribus se legibus amba Invictæ gentes æterna in fœdera mittant.1025 What, he asked, did Mr. Pitt understand by the eternal laws of confederacy, which were in future to bind those nations, not in the relations of conqueror and conquered, but in equality of laws? We professed to follow the policy of that enlightened statesman in our intercourse and relations with foreign countries; but on this system of domestic policy we have not yet acted, nor will the maxims on which that system was founded be reduced to practice, until the inscription on his tomb shall record the liberation of Ireland. Let them look to the recent improvements in Ireland. They would find that even opportunity had been seized of educating all classes of society in that country. They would there see a generous people making every effort, under every disadvantage, for improving the situation, and enlightening the minds of the lower classes of society. There were securities springing up where they were least expected, as if sent by Providence to remove a base and illiberal pretext.
§ Mr. Luke White
said, he merely rose to make his acknowledgments to the right hon. secretary for Ireland, for his excellent and manly speech in behalf of his suffering country.
proceeded, amidst very general cries of question! to oppose the motion, but was altogether inaudible.
§ Mr. Hart Davis
said, that upon a question of such vital importance, he should consider it right to move an adjournment, if any member was prevented from delivering his opinions.
Mr. Maurice Fitzgerald
rose merely to state a fact connected with the present question. The circumstance to which he wished to draw the attention of the House was, the insertion in the Gazette of an address, purporting to come from an association of Orange-men in Ireland. He J understood that from among the addresses presented to his majesty, a selection was made for publication in the Gazette by the minister whose duty it was; and he was bound to say, in justice to ministers, that the individual who selected that address must have done so without the sanction of his colleagues, as it was nothing less than an insult to the sovereign. It was not perhaps generally known, that this class of individuals had been pronounced by the judges of the 1026 land to be an illegal association, inasmuch as they bound themselves to a conditional allegiance, and to principles unknown to the great body of the public. The address in question had been brought over to this country by the lord mayor of Dublin, and had been presented to his majesty, surrounded and emblazoned with those symbols of the association which were understood only by its own members. The lord mayor of Dublin, who had been employed to carry over this address, was his majesty's stationer in Ireland, and, he understood, had expected to receive the honour of knighthood on presenting it. A noble lord, remarkable for his suavity of manners, and his powers of enlivening even aldermen, had gone so far as to furnish the knight expectant with the motto "pro patria" which he conceived peculiarly appropriate to a stationer. Having railed, however, to obtain the honour which he had been led to expect, the lord mayor was condoled with by his friends, and an hon. alderman (sir W. Curtis) who was remarkable for his festive urbanity, had resolved "to cheer him up" with a dinner. He should only add his hope, that the presentation of party addresses would always be reprobated by that House, as it could never be desired that the sovereign of this kingdom should become the sovereign of a party or faction.
§ Sir G. Hill
said, he had had the honour of accompanying the lord may or of Dublin. He should oppose the present motion, because former concessions to the Catholics had failed to produce conciliation.
could not suffer the question to go to a vote, without troubling the House with a few observations. The present was a subject on which he had frequently expressed his sentiments; but it was one which he never approached without great pain, because it compelled him to differ from those friends with whom he usually agreed on other political and national questions. Another circumstance that gave him pain was, that from what had passed he saw no great prospect of a more favourable issue to the question at the present moment than had formerly attended it; but still he conceived it to be his duty to express himself candidly and without reserve. He had often wondered that the extent of the question now remaining for discussion had so much importance attached to it. He could 1027 indeed conceive why the Catholics should consider it of great importance; because, as the right hon. gentleman had observed, it was natural for them to feel great interest in being excluded from those offices and honours which were open to the attainment of others, and in being considered, under the circumstances of the constitution, not as dissenters, but as Catholics. Still, however, the question at issue certainly did not appear to him to involve that degree of advantage on the one side, and of danger on the other, which ought to provoke the warmth that at present existed. He could not conceive how that mind was constructed which convinced itself of danger arising from the equality of Protestants and Catholics, or which could have any other objections to the establishment of that equality than a repugnance to change of every kind. He could not persuade himself, if this concession were made to-morrow, that it could bring the Catholics any accession of power, and he thought that the right hon. gentleman had stated this point more strongly than was borne out by the truth. Stress might be laid on the numbers of the Roman Catholics, and the danger which might be apprehended from that circumstance if ever they should attain any considerable increase of political power; but if we looked to other parts of the empire, and saw their numbers, greater out of all proportion, we could not for a moment entertain any idea of danger to the constitution from the numerical strength of the Roman Catholics, if they had the means or the inclination—neither of which he admitted—to turn their strength against the interests of the country. He would put it to the House, whether, considering the nice balance of opinion in that and the other House of Parliament upon this question, it was a subject which ought to be suffered to hang about them in an unsettled state? Looking at the present, and what might be the future state of Europe, he would ask whether such a question, calculated as it was to create considerable embarrasment, ought to remain permanently unsettled? Giving every credit to his right hon. friend for the candid and honourable manner in which he had discussed this question, yet he could not agree with him, that in the fear of future possible danger to the country, or even in the fear of a danger of our having a Catholic Icing, we ought to allow a question of the 1028 magnitude and importance of the present to hang about the government in an unsettled state. He had not understood, as his right hon. friend seemed to have done, that the right hon. mover had looked upon the question as one of right. If he had so done, he must differ from him, for he looked upon the question of admissibility as one which must be decided by the necessity of the case. He was fully prepared to maintain the right of the state to abridge the liberty of the subject, where that was found to be necessary for the general benefit; and this he held to be particularly applicable to the ecclesiastical part of the state; but he did not think that necessity now existed for the exclusion of the Roman Catholics. The Roman Catholic was not placed on the footing of dissenters from the Church of England in general; this was a marked and particular exclusion, and for which he could see no reasonable ground in the present state of the country.—The noble lord then proceeded to show, that there was nothing in the state of this country or of Europe, which could justify the continued exclusion of the Roman Catholics from taking that station in society which their growing prosperity had entitled them to; and that the apprehension of future danger from their increased power, was not a sufficient justification for their exclusion. In France, in the Netherlands, in Holland, and even, in Germany, no such regulation was allowed. The treaty of Westphalia had contributed to eradicate such distinctions; and it was not therefore strange, that at the last congress at Vienna the only thing which had been unanimously agreed upon was, that the distinctions of religion should not be considered as a bar to the advancement of any man to a situation which he might be capable of filling properly. He appealed to the House whether such distinctions ought to be supported in this free country. Not even in Hungary, where the Roman Catholic religion was the established one, was the difference of religious sentiments held to be injurious to any persons in their political conduct. The reasoning of his hon. friend founded upon the practice of Hamburgh and of Sweden, ought not to be looked upon by the House as conclusive. Those concessions which he considered as fitted to be granted to the Roman Catholics ought to originate in a spirit of liberality; and he was proud to say, that of all the different 1029 religious divisions of the world, there was not one more disposed to liberality than the Church of England. When he applied this principle to Ireland, he saw the strongest reason for supporting it. He would not have it understood that the question of Catholic emancipation was ever held out to Ireland as a pledge for the union of that country with England. It was distinctly understood that that question was to be left entirely to the discretion of the legislature. Looking, however, to the situation of Ireland, he maintained, that the only practical mode of effectually putting an end to the embarrassments which were met in the government of Ireland would be, by removing the discontents arising from the present situation of the Roman Catholics. He would declare, that they could never expect to settle the differences which existed in Ireland, and to apply to that country the remedies which its internal condition required, until this question was finally and amicably adjusted. He felt that the established church in Ireland should be supported at all risks; for if ever attempts were made against it (which he could not anticipate as a result of the present measure), force must be opposed to force, and such attempts would be put down; but he conceived that that church might be sufficiently protected, not indeed by making the Catholic religion the established religion of Ireland, but by affording to it the same protection as to every other class of dissenters. With respect to the making a provision for the Catholic clergy of Ireland, he would say, that if that had been done before now, the internal situation of that country would be very different from what it was at the present day. He had submitted a proposition of this kind to the heads of the Catholic clergy, under the administration of lord Sidmouth, then Mr. Addington, and he was informed, that however liberal the offers which were made might be, the measure could not be carried while the lay part of that religion remained excluded from the privileges which they so earnestly hoped for. He thought the government acted wisely on that occasion. Nothing, he conceived, would contribute more to improve the 6tate of Ireland, than such an arrangement. He did not mean that the clergy should be placed in a state of subserviency to the government; but that no measure could be more calculated to improve the 1030 internal slate of the country, than the connexion of the Catholic clergy with the government of the country. It was impossible that it should be effected whilst the great body of the Catholics remained in their present state of exclusion. What they wanted was, to make the law respected in Ireland—to make it effective. But he knew that government never could have the same authority, or enforce its authority with due effect, whilst this exclusive system was continued. If the House should consent to go into the committee, he would do every thing in his power to forward the measure, because it was his conviction that until it was carried, a great defect would remain in the security and harmony of the empire.
, of Galway, begged to oppose to the theory of the right hon. member for Oxford something that flowed on his mind from experience. Instances as likely to excite the Catholics against the Protestants, had occurred, as any that might be expected to rouse the Protestants against the Catholics; but the result had been satisfactory. The Derry Journal being prosecuted by the Catholics for a libel, a Catholic jury had given a verdict against a Catholic priest, and when Mr. O'Gorman brought an action against the Dublin Evening Post for calling him "a dishonourable blockhead," what did the jury tell him? Why they told him, that he was entitled to sixpence damages. This served to prove, that Catholics were bound by their oaths, and ready to perform their duty. He should certainly vote for going into the committee. If they wished to withdraw all the benefits that had been conferred on the Catholics, they might consistently negative the present motion; but having paid 999l. and obtained no receipt, if paying another shilling would procure the receipt, it would be wisdom for such an object to make so small an additional sacrifice.
§ The House divided: Ayes 227. Noes 221. Majority in favour of the motion 6.
|List of the Majority; and also of the Minority.|
|Abercromby, hon. J.||Althorp, vise.|
|Acland, sir T.||Anson, sir G.|
|Alexander, Jos.||Anson, hon. G.|
|Allen, J. H.||Arbuthnot, rt. Hon. C.|
|Brandling, C. J.||Ellison, C.|
|Baillie, J.||Evans, Wm.|
|Bagwell, rt. hon. W.||Farrand, Robt.|
|Barham, J. F.||Farquharson, A.|
|Barham, J. F. jun.||Fergusson, sir R.|
|Baring, sir Thos.||Fitzgerald, lord W.|
|Baring, Alex.||Fitzgerald, rt. hon. M.|
|Barnard, visc.||Fitzgibbon, hon. R.|
|Barratt, S. M.||Fitzroy, lord J.|
|Beaumont, T. W.||Fitzroy, lord C.|
|Bective, earl of||Fleming, J.|
|Becher, W. W.||Forbes, lord|
|Bennet, hon. H. G.||Frankland, R.|
|Bentinck, lord W.||French, A.|
|Benyon, Ben.||Finch, G|
|Blake, sir F.||Gladstone, John|
|Binning, lord||Gaskell, Ben.|
|Birch, J.||Glenorchy, vise.|
|Blair, J. H.||Gordon, Robt.|
|Browne, D.||Graham, S.|
|Browne, P.||Grant, C.|
|Browne, J.||Grant, J. P.|
|Browne, Dom.||Grant, J. M.|
|Broadhead, T.||Grant, F. W.|
|Bury, visc.||Grattan, J.|
|Benett, John||Grenfell, Pascoe|
|Butler, hon. C. W.||Griffiths, J. W|
|Byng, George||Holdsworth, T.|
|Calthorpe, hon. F.||Harvey, C.|
|Calcraft, J.||Hamilton, lord A.|
|Calvert, C.||Hamilton sir H. D.|
|Calvert, N.||Hamilton, Hans|
|Campbell, hon. J.||Harbord, hon. Ed.|
|Carew, R. S.||Harding, sir H.|
|Cavendish, lord G.||Heathcote, G. J.|
|Cavendish, H.||Hill, lord A.|
|Cavendish, Charles||Hobhouse, J. C.|
|Carter, John||Hollywood, W. P.|
|Castlereagh, lord||Hornby, E.|
|Caulfield, hon. H.||Howard, hon. W.|
|Chichester, A.||Howard, hon. F. G.|
|Clifton, vise.||Hughes, W.L.|
|Clifford, capt.||Hume, Jos.|
|Cocks, J. S.||Hurst, Robt.|
|Coffin, sir I.||Huskisson, rt. hon. W.|
|Coke, T. W.||Hutchinson, hon. C.|
|Colborne, N. R.||Hartopp, G.|
|Concannon, L.||Joliffe, Hylton|
|Courtenay, W.||Johnson, C.|
|Courtenay, T. P.||Kennedy, T. F.|
|Crompton, Saml.||Kingsborough, vise.|
|Crosby, J.||Lamb, hon. W.|
|Creevey,Thos.||Lambton, J. G.|
|Daly, J.||Latouche, Robt.|
|Dawson, J. M.||Legge, hon. H.|
|Denison, W. J.||Lennard, T. B.|
|Penman, T.||Lewis, T. F.|
|Douglas, W. K.||Lloyd, sir E.|
|Doveton, G.||Lloyd, J. M.|
|Dundas, hon. T.||Lloyd, Sam.|
|Dundas, Charles||Lushington, Steph.|
|Dunlop, J.||Lawley, F.|
|Don, sir A.||Metcalfe, H.|
|Dunally, lord||Mackenzie, T.|
|Ellice, Edw.||Maberly, W. L.|
|Ellis, C. Rose||Macdonald, Jas.|
|Hill, hon. G. A.||Mackintosh, sir J.|
|Mahon, hon. S.||Stuart, lord J.|
|Marjoribanks, S.||Sykes, Daniel|
|Martin, John||Staunton, sir G.|
|Martin, R.||Talbot, R. W.|
|Mildmay, hon. P. St. J.||Taylor, M. A.|
|Milton, vise.||Tennyson, C.|
|Monck, J. B.||Tierney, rt. hon. G.|
|Money, W. T.||Twiss, H.|
|Moore, Peter||Upton, hon. A.|
|Moore, Abraham||Vernon, G.|
|Morland, S. B.||Wilmot, Robt.|
|Mostyn, sir T.||Wall, C. B.|
|Neville, hon. R.||Ward, hon. W.|
|Nugent, lord||Warre, J. A.|
|Nugent, sir G.||Warrender, sir G.|
|O'Callaghan, Jas.||Western, C. C.|
|O' Grady, Standish||Wharton, J.|
|Ord, W.||Whitbread, S. C|
|Palmer, C. F.||Whitbread, W. H.|
|Palmerston vise.||White, Luke|
|Pares, Thos.||Whitmore, W.|
|Parnell, sir H.||Williams, J, P.|
|Pierce, H.||Wilson, sir R.|
|Phillimore, Dr.||Wood, Ald.|
|Philips, G.||Wortley, J. S.|
|Philips, Geo. R.||Wynn, sir W. W.|
|Plunkett, rt. hon. W.||Wynn, C. W.|
|Pole, rt. hon. W.W.||Wyvill, M.|
|Ponsonby, hon. F. C.||TELLERS.|
|Power, R.||Duncannon, vise.|
|Powlett, hon. W.||Freemantle, W.|
|Prendergast, J. S.||PAIRED OFF.|
|Price, Robt.||Belgrave, lord|
|Pringle, sir W.||Bourne, rt. hon. S.|
|Pym, Francis||Colthurst, sir N.|
|Plumber, John||Crespigny, sir W. D.|
|Ramsay, sir A.||Croker, J. W.|
|Rice, T. S.||Cumming G.|
|Ridley, sir M. W.||Curwen J. C.|
|Robinson, sir G.||Ebrington, lord|
|Robinson, rt. hon. F.||Evelyn, L.|
|Rowley, sir F.||Guise, sir W.|
|Rumbold, C.||Gurney, Hudson|
|Russell, lord W.||Lester, B. L.|
|Russell, R. G.||Maule, hon. W.|
|Scott, James||Maxwell, John|
|Sebright, sir J.||Newport, rt. hon. sir J.|
|Sefton, earl of||Phipps, hon. Ed.|
|Shaw, R.||Pryse, Pryse|
|Smith, Geo.||Ramsden, J.C.|
|Smith, J.||Russell, lord John|
|Smith, W.||Scarlett, John|
|Smith, Robt.||Scudamore, R.|
|Smythe, J. H.||Tavistock, marq.|
|Somerville, sir M.||Tichfield, marq.|
|Stanley, lord||Wilkins, Walter|
|Stewart, A. K.|
|Apsley, lord||Ancram, lord|
|Archdale, M.||Bankes, H.|
|Ashurst, Wm.||Bankes, G.|
|Astell, Wm.||Bathurst, rt. hon. B.|
|Astley, J. D.||Bathurst, hon. S.|
|Attwood, M.||Beckett, rt. hon. J.|
|A'Court, E. H.||Bent, John|
|Alexander, J.||Bentinck, lord, F.|
|Beresford, sir J.||Fetherston, sir T.|
|Beresford, lord G.||Fleming, John|
|Bernard, lord||Folkes, sir M.|
|Blackburne, John||Fox, G. Lane|
|Blair, J.||Fynes, H.|
|Bouverie, hon. B.||Gascoyne, J.|
|Brogden, J.||Gifford, sir R.|
|Brownlow, C.||Gilbert, D. G.|
|Brudenell, lord||Graham, sir J.|
|Bright, H.||Grant, A. C.|
|Bruce, Rt.||Greville, sir C.|
|Burrell, sir C.||Gossett. W.|
|Burrell, Walter||Grosvenor, D.|
|Buxton, J. J.||Handley, H.|
|Claughton, Thos.||Hart, General|
|Calvert, John||Harvey, sir E.|
|Cawthorne, J. F.||Hill, sir G.|
|Cecil, lord T.||Holford, G. P.|
|Chaplin, C.||Holmes, W.|
|Cheere, E. M.||Hotham, lord|
|Childe, W. L.||Heygate, Ald.|
|Cholmeley, sir M.||Hodson, J. A.|
|Clerk, sir G.||Innes, John|
|Clements, hon. J.||Jenkinson, hon. C.|
|Clinton, sir W.||Jervoise, G. P.|
|Clive, hon. R. H.||Irving, John|
|Clive, Henry||Knox, hon. Thos.|
|Cockerell, sir C.||Keck, G. A. L.|
|Cole, sir Chris.||Kinnersley, W.|
|Cole, sir L.||Knatchbull, sir E.|
|Collet, E.||Langston, J. H.|
|Congreve, sir W.||Lemon, sir W.|
|Copley, sir John||Lenox, lord G|
|Cotterell, sir John||Leslie, C. P.|
|Corbett, P.||Leigh, J. H.|
|Cranbourne, lord||Leagh, F.|
|Crawley, Sam.||Lewis, W.|
|Cripps, J.||Lethbridge, sir T.|
|Curtis, sir W.||Lindsay, hon. H.|
|Curteis, J. H.||Lowther, vise.|
|Curzon, hon. Rt.||Lowther, hon. H. C.|
|Cust, hon. W.||Lowther, J. H.|
|Cust, hon. E.||Lucy, G.|
|Cust, hon. P.||Lushington, S. R.|
|Cooper, R. B.||Luttrell, H.|
|Dickinson, W.||Maberly, John|
|Dalrymple, A.||Macknaghten, E. A.|
|Davenport, D.||Magennis, R.|
|Davies, T. H||Manners, lord R.|
|Dawkins. H.||Manners, lord C.|
|Deerhurst, lord||Mansfield, John|
|Divett, Thomas||Martin, sir T. B.|
|Dodson, D.||Mills, C.|
|Douglas, John||Mitchell, John|
|Dowdeswell, J. E.||Monteith, H.|
|Downie, Rt.||Morgan, sir C.|
|Drake, T. T.||Morgan, G. G.|
|Drake, W. T.||Munday, E. M.|
|Dugdale, D.||Munday, G.|
|Egerton, W.||Musgrove, sir P.|
|Elliot, hon. W.||Mountcharles, earl|
|Ellis, Thos.||Nightingale, sir M.|
|Fairlic, sir W. C.||Ommaney, sir F.|
|Fane, John||O'Neil, hon. J.|
|Fane, Vere||Onslow, Arthur|
|Fane, Thos.||Pakenham, hon. H.|
|Fellowes, W. H.||Palk, sir L.|
|Pechel, sir Thos.||Thompson, W.|
|Peel, rt. hon. R.||Ure, M.|
|Peel, W.||Valletort, lord|
|Pellew, hon. P. B.||Vansittart, rt. hon. N.|
|Penruddock,—.||Vivian, sir H.|
|Pitt, W. M.||Webbe, Ed.|
|Pitt, J.||Wallace, rt. hon. T.|
|Pollen, sir John||Westenra, hon. H.|
|Portman, E. B.||Wells, John|
|Powell, sir J. K:||Wemyss, J.|
|Price, Richard||Wetherell, C.|
|Paxton, W. G.||Whitmore, Thos.|
|Pearse, John||Wigram, W,|
|Pole, sir Peter||Wilbraham, E. B.|
|Rogers, E.||Wildman, J.|
|Robarts, Ab.||Williams, Robt.|
|Rice, hon. G.||Wilson, T.|
|Ricketts, C. M.||Wodehouse, hon. J.|
|Rickford, Wm.||Wodehouse, Ed.|
|Robertson, A.||Wilson, sir H.|
|Russell, J. W.||Wyndham, W.|
|Ray, sir W.||Dawson, G.|
|Scott, hon. W.||Long, sir C.|
|Scott, S.||PAIRED OFF.|
|Seymour, Hugh||Bradshaw, T. H.|
|Seymour, Horace||Campbell, A.|
|Shelley, sir John||Cartwright, R.|
|Shiffner, sir G.||Clive, lord|
|Smith, T. A.||Dent, John.|
|Smith C.||Estcourt, T. G.|
|Smith, S.||Goulburn, H.|
|Sneyd, N.||Lockhart, J.J.|
|Somerset, lord G.||Lowther, John|
|Somerset, lord E.||Luttrell, John|
|Stewart, W.||Montgomery, J.|
|Strathaven, lord||Newman, Rt.|
|St. Paul, sir H.||Nicholl, sir John|
|Stopford, lord||Noel, sir G.|
|Strutt, J. H.||Northey, W.|
|Sumner, G. Holme||Powell, Ed.|
|Suttie, sir J.||Ryder, hon. R.|
|Stewart, sir John||Scott, sir W.|
|Taylor, sir H.||Swann, H.|
|Taylor, G. W.||Ward, Robert.|
|Thynne, lord John||Walker, S.|
|Townshend, lord C.||Worcester, marq.|
|Townshend, hon. H.||Wynne, Owen|
|Tremayne, J. H.||Yarmouth, earl|
|Tulk, C. A.|