HC Deb 27 March 1821 vol 4 cc1474-89

On the order of day for going into a committee on the Bill sir J. Newport moved an Instruction to the committee "That they have power to make provision for regulating, the intercourse between Persons in Holy Orders, professing the Roman Catholic Religion with the See of Rome."

Mr. Hutchinson

declared himself to be hostile to the Intercourse bill, and stated that the Catholic clergy were by no means satisfied with it.

Mr. Carew

stated, that he had received letters from several most respectable Catholics in Ireland expressive of the satisfaction which they felt at the bill.

Mr. M. Filzgerald

said, he strongly objected to any interference of a Protestant government over the administration of the Catholic Church. As a Protestant he felt objections to that interference or constitutional grounds, as strongly as a Catholic could feel against it or grounds of faith.

The House having resolved itself into a committee,

Mr. Peel

rose to propose the amendments of which he had given notice The nature of his proposition was, to extend the exceptions of the bill to the privy council and to judicial offices. The House had last night pronounced its opinion, that the Catholics ought to be admitted to sit in both Houses 6f parliament. He did not stand there to impugn that decision—he bowed to it. But he would take the benefit of an admission which was made last night, namely, that the clause for admitting Catholics to parliament was the main objects of the bill; that the failure of that clause would render other parts of the bill or less valued but that the success of that clause would make other exceptions of minor importance. As the bill now stood, an alteration had been effected: in the exclusively Protestant character, of both House of Parliament since the Revolution. It still, however, left untouched the securities provided for the third estate; namely he inviolability of the Protestant succession to the throne of these realms? The ace for securing the succession excluded Papists from the throne, and fenced round the rights and dignities of the established church. It went fat ther—it not only required that the succession to the throne Should not be a papist, nut that he should forfeit his right of succession if he married a Catholic. To whom, then, were they to look for the maintenance of that compact so solemnly provided for by the Act of Succession? Not to the monarch himself; for by the law of England lie was irresponsible; for his acts his ministers alone were to be adjudged. It was therefore more particularly necessary that those responsible advisers should not be selected from a class which might expose the monarch to the danger of an undue influence. He was one of those who thought that there was less danger from a Catholic king with a Protestant council, than from a Protestant king, with a Catholic council. Indeed, he should have apprehended infinitely more danger from Charles 2nd, with his cabal, than from his successor James, while Papists were excluded from his councils. It was said, why should they guard by oaths against a danger which might arise from the admission of Catholics to office, when they provided no such guard against Atheists and Infidels? To this he would answer—because they knew of no oaths which could be made to apply to the cases of Atheists and Infidels. He did, however, know of guards against Catholics. They were recognized and acted upon at the time of the Revolution; and in the same spirit in which they were proposed in those acts, did he now call for their continuance. This bill provided an eligibility for Catholics to all offices in the state save three which had been excepted. But although by this bill they might serve as ministers of the Crown, yet, inconsistently enough, were they excluded, in the first place, from advising the" Crown respecting the grant of appointments, lay or ecclesiastical; and, in the second place, exposed to a penalty, if they ventured to advise the Crown respecting such appointments. Nothing could be a harsher inconsistency, than to declare men eligible to fill certain offices, arid yet, in the same breath, to punish them if they ventured to exercise or advise the exercise of the patronage properly attached to those offices; so that though they might become the responsible ministers of the Crown, and constitutionally bound to advise the Crown for the best interests of the country, yet the moment they ventured to perform their duties and tender that advice, they became liable to the penalty of a misdemeanor. Rather than expose Catholics to such an unjustifiable mortification, be should object to their being placed in those offices where they would have to combat such manifest iii consistencies. Mow was it possible that a Roman Catholic could take the privy councillor's oath, and do his duty accordingly, exposed to these humiliatory qualifications? How could he swear, "faithfully and truly to declare his mind and opinion to the Crown according to his heart and conscience," when, by giving his advice, he might commit a misdemeanor? He would suppose the case of a Catholic secretary of state for the Home department, and that a question was discussed before him, touching the education of the children of a king, was it likely that, according to "his heart and conscience," he, if a rigid Catholic, would recommend a Protestant education for the royal children? A privy councillor was, according to the words of lord Coke, "a chosen, sentinel" of the constitution. Was it probable he would continue to be that, if a Catholic, and restricted by these inconsistent qualifications? Pursuing therefore the policy, the principle, and the necessity, which regulated the act for securing the succession to the throne, and looking at the important and responsible duties of a privy councillor, he must conclude that Catholics could never be deemed eligible to fill that oflice.—Coming now to his recommendation to exclude them from all judicial offices, he begged not to be understood as opposed to their admission to the rank of a silk gown. It might be said to be an anomaly to concede to them a silk gown, and yet to exclude them from the bench. It certainly was; but the whole provisions of the law upon this subject were necessarily anomalous. With, respect to the exclusion of Catholics from the bench, he must beg leave to remind the hon. gentleman opposite, that the right hon. gentleman who had introduced this bill had admitted not only the purity with which the administration of justice was conducted by Protestants, but also the perfect sense of that purity which was universally felt by the great body of the Catholics. He was not aware that the judicial situation was ever held by a Dissenter. He believed that the judges were in the uniform habit of taking the sacrament according to the ritual of the Church of England, and not anything themselves of the annual Indemnity, bill. They were also, he believed, called upon, in rotation, to assist in the court of dele- gates. Now, even by this bill, a Catholic could not sit as a delegate. He would therefore, if eligible to the bench, be exposed to the invidious exception of ineligibility to the court of delegates. Great additional solemnity was acquired to the office of a judge, by his attending divine service before the opening of the assizes. The effect of this attendance to the duties of religion on such an occasion he considered very important; and he was at a loss to see how a Catholic judge could uphold the same reverential interest in the situation in which he might be placed. He concluded by moving as an amendment, that after the offices from which Catholics are to remain excluded, the words "or the office of privy councillor," be inserted. He should afterwards move to add to the excepted offices, those of vice-chancellor and master of the rolls, and chief justices of the King's-bench, and Common pleas, or justices of either bench, and chief baron of the Exchequer, and the other barons of the Exchequer, in England and Ireland.

Sir John Newport

said, that many members of the Scotch church were also members of the privy council. How, then, was the argument of the right hon. gentleman made out, that because the sovereign and his wife were not to be of the church of Rome, therefore his ministers and councillors must all be of the church establishment? Tim inference was destroyed by the fact, that members of the church of Scotland were allowed to but the advisers of the Crown. This was the only case in which the British constitution rendered the sovereign responsible. He was liable to the loss or his Crown if he became a Papist. If it were meant to limit and restrain the sovereign in the choice of his privy councilors, why not say so at once? and the exclusion might in time extend even to particular individuals. As to the oath of the privy Councillor, it ought to be recollected that it was statutable: and when the special Wording of it was relied upon, the right hon. gentlemen seemed to have forgotten that it was framed and enacted before the Reformation. It was riot very creditable to this Protestant country, that it should exhibit such intolerance, while Catholic countries set it such an example of enlightened liberality. Abroad, differences of religion created no invidious distinction; and it was worthy of remark, that at the present moment we had a Protest- ant ambassador from Catholic Bavaria' and a Catholic minister from Protestant Denmark. Nay, he had even understood that that minister was about to be replaced by an English Catholic who had found that encouragement abroad which he would willingly have accepted at home. He could not avoid calling the attention of the House to the analogous condition of Hungary, connected as it was with Austria. It contained about seven million, inhabitants, one-third of whom were Protestants; the hierarchy was Catholic, of great opulence and power; but formerly the most bitter contests had prevailed in consequence of differences of faith. In 1791, however, the emperor Leopold summoned the Diet of Hungary and a proposition was then made to give the Protestants an entire and absolute ad mission to every office of the state. It was carried by a majority of 291 to 84; and since that period the utmost tranquillity and harmony had prevailed. One part of the proposition was to exclude barristers from the bench, but to give them a silk gown. He was not disposed to undervalue a silk gown; but he did not think the Catholics would accept that alone as a considerable boon, when they were to be shut out from the dignity of the bench. The right hon. gentleman who introduced this bill had most impressively claimed for the Catholics an admission to the bench—that they should not be deprived of their chance in the race of honour. Let the House look at the peerage and see how many distinguished ornaments it had acquired from the profession of the law, and how many of those ornaments had been raised from the lowest ranks of society. The people at large therefore looked to it with hope, as the means of aggrandizing their families; and the Catholics ought not to be excluded from the same advantage. It had been said that Dissenters were excluded from the bench; but the fact was other wise: sir M. Foster and lord Rosslyn both lived and died Dissenters. Not seeing the necessity of the exclusion now proposed, he could not give it his consent.

Sir J. Nicholl

declared, that he, meant, nothing offensive to the Catholics, when he stated it to be his opinion that their exclusion from the degree of political power which they sought, was inconsistent with the safety of a state which was essentially, fundamentally, and per- manently Protestant. If the number of the Catholics were few, there might be loss danger in allowing their admissibility to the offices alluded to; but their number: was so considerable, that if they were admissible not only to the judicial bench, but to the counsels of the sovereign, great danger might arise to the security of other Protestant succession. There was, he was willing to admit, no danger of that church being altered or affected while parliament remained as it was; nay, he would, in justice to the Catholics themselves, believe that even if a number of them were introduced into parliament, they would not, in the face of day, make an attempt of that kind; but what he feared was, that this point would be laid hold of by demagogues and agitators to disturb the peace of the church; and, that the measure, instead of uniting and knitting together the members of the two religions, would lead to constant bickerings and warfare If he conceived that these concessions could be made with safety, he would readily concur with the promoters of the measure; but he was afraid that that was quite a vain hope, and that religious opinions, which formed the most powerful of all human incentives would be made a sort of rallying point for political contests,

Lord Castlereagh

said, that whatever parliament might now grant, he would, as far as his power extended, endeavour to carry into effect; and he would use Ins best efforts to induce the Catholics to receive with gratitude, the boon which it might please the legislature to bestow. If parliament thought fit, it was doubtless in its power to surround the measure with various qualifications; but if those qualifications had the tendency to keep alive a Catholic question in the country, and to destroy that conciliatory temper which now prevailed, he should be betraying the interests of the cause he professed to advocate, if he were to give up the ground he had previously taken, and adopt a proceeding which must have the effect of protracting this long-agitated question The two great principles on which his learned friend had argued the subject were; first, the question of safety with reference to the Protestant churchy and, next, the number of Catholics who, under this measure, would get into power Every one would go along with his learned friend, in admitting that one of the fundamental foundations on which the union stood was the inseparable establishment of the Protestant church of the two kingdoms. It was true that external force might overthrow the system; but he could not conceive that granting political power to a few. Roman Catholics was at all likely to hasten the application of external force. But he denied that, under the: act of Union the Protestant church of Ireland could be at all modified. No man could suppose that any of the covenants of that union could be made the subject of legislation. It was a question which, as far as parliament was concerned; was placed beyond the reach of legislation. But his learned friend would here allow him to put this distinction that it was one thing to establish a religion, and another to protect it by that qualified degree of endowment which parliament had, in other instances sanctioned. Thus, the Catholic clergy of Scotland were at this moment in the possession of that description of provision which was the only provision he bad ever beard suggested for the consideration of that House, with reference to the Irish Roman Catholic clergy. His learned friend must certainly know that in Ireland, also, a state provision was granted to a body connected with the church of Scotland—he meant the Presbyterian synod of Ulster. He would not say under what circumstances that provision had been granted; but he would contend that in its practical results no measure was ever more beneficial. The Protestant church of Ireland was, by a solemn covenant between the two parliaments, placed beyond the reach of becoming an object of legislation in that House. He did not know that the omnipotence of parliament could not repeal the Union; and having, separated the two legislatures, that of Ireland might proceed to remodel its church. But that the united parliament, could interfere with the united Protestant church he wholly denied; since it was directly contrary to the act of union. With respect to the qualification which his right hon. friend proposed, he would now offer a few observations to the House.—He agreed with his right hold friend, that the right to exercise the principle of exclusion, where the safety of the state required it, was inherent in. all governments. The truth of that position could not be shaken, without affecting the monarchy of England. But he must also observe, that the admissibi- lity to certain offices was a question of policy and prudence. His learned friend had argued this part of the subject as if by some strange principle of magic, the government was to become wholly Catholic. His learned friend had forgotten those securities which necessarily arose from the Protestant population and wealth of the realm; and he argued that the administration of the country would be, to a great extent, Catholic—that Catholic authority would surround the Crown; and that the state would be shaken to its foundation. Now, for his part, he saw nothing in Catholic power, even if it were extensive, that should cause any apprehension of danger. They found amongst the Roman Catholics of England men of high rank, of large fortune and of extensive influence; but to contend that there was any portion of them who, if they procured political power, would exert it for the dangerous purposes that had been alluded to, was a position unworthy to be argued. At one time it had been stated that the number of the Catholics in that country as compared with the Protestants was as four to one; and that the Protestants of the church of England formed only one eighth of the whole population. But Dr. Duigenan, who had received correct information on the subject, denied the fact. He said that, instead of 6 persons to each House, there was not more than 5½ or 5¼ giving a total of 3,500,000, of which not more than 2,000,000 were Catholics. With respect to property 49 out of 50 parts of the landed property belonged to Protestants, and 9–10ths of the personal property."—When such was the state of Catholic numbers and property in Ireland it was not likely that many Catholics would be returned from that country; especially when it was recollected that the Catholic freeholders were comparatively few. He had made some inquiries into the state of Catholic property in Ireland and he found that there were not above 14 or 15 places where the Catholic interest could make itself extensively felt, and, he believed, conscientiously, if they passed the bill to-morrow, that not more than 5 or 6 Catholics would be returned. He did not think, indeed, that Roman Catholics would find their way into that House to the extent which he thought would be beneficial to the state and to the Protestant establishment. For his learned friend would agree with him, that if the Catholics maintained mischievous prejudices, that House was the place in which they were most likely to be eradicated.—The noble lord then proceeded to argue against the proposed qualifications. He knew there were some offices in which it would not be proper to place Roman Catholics; but the question was, whether it would not be best to leave the selection to the sovereign? He maintained that it would and contended that there was little fear that a Protestant king would select a Catholic administration. At the same time he did not see that a Catholic minister in the cabinet could overturn the constitution. But his right hon. friend would say—"If so few Catholics can become privy councillors, is it not as well to exclude them at once?" He thought not; because it was keeping up one of those bars which the Catholics complained of for the purpose of securing a very inadequate object. With respect to Roman Catholics becoming judges, in all probability it would only be in cases where the individual had raised himself to the summit of his profession by his talents and assiduity; and such a man, he contended, having the eyes of the whole country on him, would be induced, more than any other individual, to conduct himself in an exemplary manner. Such were his sentiments. Should the House differ from him in opinion, he hoped that the Catholics would frankly accept such advantages as their Protestant brethren were willing to accord to them.

Mr. Wetherell

argued, that the promoters of the bill, having acknowledged the ineligibility of Catholics to judicial situations, connected with ecclesiastical functions, would be guilty of inconsistency, if they did not follow up their principle by excluding them also from offices of temporal judicature, on the ground that the temporal courts took cognizance of many matters of an ecclesiastical nature. Besides, there were duties which the temporal judges had to perform, that a Catholic could not discharge. He could not, for instance, sit in the court of Delegates, upon appeals in spiritual matters, nor could he act as a coadjutor in the ecclesiastical courts. The supporters of the bill were also guilty of an absurdity in allowing Catholics to be eligible to the situations of privy councillors, and yet making it a misdemeanor in them to advise the sovereign upon matters of ecclesiastical interest. This was an impracticable prohibition. The advice of the privy councillor to his sovereign was secret and confidential; and therefore the prohibition of giving advice on ecclesiastical matters, which advice could never be known, was a mere nullity. The safest and most consistent way, therefore, was to exclude Catholics from this office altogether; and to remove the necessity for so absurd an exception, by a practicable general rule.

Sir James Mackintosh

agreed with the right hon. mover, that anomalies were not objections in the formation of a scheme of religious government. Upon such a subject it was almost impossible to reduce legislation to a symmetrical form. He took the present question to be altogether a question of compromise, of degree, of the arrangement of opposing feelings and inconveniences—a question upon which it became impossible to follow any one principle to its utmost logical consequence. The learned member had laid great stress upon the difficulty of enforcing the provision against advice to the sovereign from Catholic privy councillors in matters of ecclesiastical interest. The learned member asked, how was the giver of such advice to be detected. The question reminded him of a brief dialogue between the republic of Venice and the see of Rome. The republic of Venice once asked—where was the original deed of conveyance by which the keys of Heaven was vested in the disposal of the pope? To which his holiness replied, that it was upon the back of that instrument which gave the Adriatic sea to the dominion of the doge. Now, he would tell the learned gentleman how the advice which the Catholic privy councillor gave to his sovereign might be known, if he would only inform him how the advice which any other privy councillor gave was to be ascertained. It was stated, that the country had once undergone great dangers, from having a king who listened to Catholic advisers; but it should be recollected, that there was then no exclusion of a Catholic king; and yet the country had proved too strong both for king and ministers, when they entertained designs subversive of the religion of the state, and the liberties of the people. But what would be the consequence of admitting Catholics to seats in parliament, and yet excluding them from the situation of privy councilors? Why to introduce new principles into parliament. In the first place, Catholic peers could advise his majesty as hereditary councillors of fro Crown in the House of Lords, and catholic commoners could advise the kind as members of the House of Commons; but then they were not to aspire allowed to aspire to the higher and more sacred functions of privy councillors; If parliament acknowledged this, it would be equivalent to declaring that it was not the great and paramount council of the nation but that there was another council; higher and of a more important character there itself. Again, the members of that House had hitherto been looked upon as equal's but if this principle was admitted, then there would be recognized within those walls a race of inferior and outcast member, divided from all others by an impassable line of separation; and the House would consist of a privileged majority and a degraded minority. In the third place, it was always understood, that the Crown chose its ministers from among those men who, by their abilities, had risen to eminence in the councils of the nation; but if this principle was admitted, then there might be persons. I that House, who, by their talents, intelligence, or civil virtues, might rise to the highest eminence, and yet be for ever precluded from being chosen as the" responsible advisers of the Crown. The danger to the republican principles of our constitution had been already stated; but he would ask, was there no danger to be apprehended to the monarchy itself, from driving to despair a body of people, whose active abilities would not be allowed to be devoted to the service of the sovereign? The very same principle which gave security to the rights of the people, would give stability to the prerogatives of the throne. There ought not to be therefore, is that House a body of men, whom the Crown had no hold of, like others who aspired to public offices. As to himself, he was likely to spend the remainder of his life in Opposition, and if he could look duly to the interests of party, he might not regret that such a principle should be acted upon, because it would give to the ranks of Opposition a set of men who must be irreconcileable enemies to the ministers' of the Crown—men of blasted hopes arid acrimonious temper. But he would rather see men choose Opposition from principle, than be driven into it by the exasperation of hopeless exclusion. The hon. and learned member then proceeded to answer the argument, that judicial characters of the Catholic church, not being capable of partaking of the communion of the church of England, could not be present at the observance of those decent ceremonies which usually preceded the exercise of their judicial functions. He observed, that although they could not partake of the communion: of the church of England, there was nothing to prevent them being present at the celebration of its worship, any more than in the case of Non-Conformists, several of whom had been judges, and he instanced sir M. Foster. He then went on to remark upon the great effect which the opening of judicial situations to Catholics would have upon the body of the Catholic community, is conciliating their affection to the laws and institutions of this country, more especially in Ireland. He considered this as a privilege that would have more extensive consequences in this way, than even the concession of seats in parliament, because few could aspire to the latter, but all who reared up their sons to the bar, would have expectations of their rising to the most honourable station in their profession. The example, too, of a Catholic in Ireland, raised to the distinguished and venerable situation, of a judge, would have more practical influence in making that people understand and value the equal blessings of the British constitution, than the most eloquent statements of general principles; and as to any bias operating upon the mind of a Catholic judge where ecclesiastical interests were concerned, he did not believe there was any ground for the assertion. He had himself, when holding a judicial situation in India, frequently to decide questions which involved different ecclesiastical interests, and opposing religions, and he never felt his mind swerved for a moment from, the strictest impartiality. He claimed no farther credit on this account, than for the possession of common sense; and he could not think so meanly of the Catholic lawyers, as to suppose they would sacrifice the dignity of the bench, the honour of their profession, and the virtues and character which alone could raise them to that exalted station, on account of bigotted notions, and doctrinal predilections.

The committee divided: For the Amendrment,169; Against it, 188: Majority 19.

Mr. Goulburn

then rose to propose an amendment, which he flattered himself would meet, with the general concurrence being governors of colonies. To those who objected to the admission of Roman Catholics to any office, it was not necessary to adduce any argument, as it was impossible to anticipate opposition to this particular exclusion, and indeed the grounds Upon which it rested were founded on principles so precisely similar to those on which the promoters of the bill had acted in the exclusions proposed by themselves, that it would have been equally impossible, for him (but for what had fallen from the noble secretary of state), to have expected any op* position from them.—It appeared to him, that little more was necessary than to state the duties which devolved on governors of colonies, and which could not be withdrawn from them in order to prove that they ought not to be Roman Catholics. The House then should be aware, that governors held the office of ordinary, and holding that office, exercised within their governments at episcopal functions; that they had in that capacity a control over all the clergy; the presentation to all vacant benefices; the regulation of all that relates to the repairs of the churches and to the general discipline and good order of the establishment. His noble friend had indeed stated, that it would be a great benefit to the colonies to divest the governors of their present right of presentation to livings, and to vest them in the government at home. He must beg leave to differ even on this point from his noble friend. It did not appear to him a trifling inconvenience to leave the presentation to a living in a distant colony, dependant on an authority with which no communication could be had in less than four or five months, and perhaps more, after the vacancy had occurred; and that too in climates which, from their unhealthiness rendered vacancies much more frequent than in more favoured countries; But when it was farther considered that the governor's authority was not limited to the mere presentation, that it comprised every possible regulation as to the discipline and good order of the church, and as to the proper conduct of the clergy in their respective situations, he would ask whether it was possible, consistent with any regard to the established church in those colonies, to leave all these matters to the precarious regulation of a distant authority.—The mover of the bill had thought it necessary to make some excep- tions to the general admissibility of Roman Catholics to political offices. The exceptions, if resting on any principle, were founded on this, that Roman Catholics could not with safety to the established church, be entrusted with offices which gave to them a right of appointing ministers to that church, or a direct interference in its affairs. On this principle he presumed that Roman Catholics had been unanimously excluded from the offices of lord-chancellor and lord-lieutenant of Ireland. But was it known that the governor of every colony exercised within it, all the powers of the lord-chancellor and the lord-lieutenant; that his right of ecclesiastical appointment was far more extended than that of the lord-lieutenant. If, therefore, it was necessary for the security of the church of England that the chancellor of this kingdom should be protestant; if it was necessary for the security of the church of Ireland, that the lord-lieutenant should be protestant, how was it possible to admit, that, consistent with the security of the church in the colonies, the governors might be Roman Catholic? It might have been possible for the framers of the bill to have transferred the church patronage of the lord-lieutenant to other persons. There were in Ireland archbishops and bishops, whose qualifications to exercise such patronage could not be doubted. Divest the lord-lieutenant, therefore, and no great evil might result; but divest a governor of church patronage, and to whom shall it be transferred? Bishops in most colonies did not exist; and if any thought that it might be possible to find in every colony protestants of character and weight sufficient to enable them to receive a delegation of episcopal authority, they formed an opinion at variance with all knowledge of the actual state of colonial society. In all colonies (and more particularly in the West Indies) those who might from their property, be supposed likely to possess influence, were generally resident in Great Britain, and those who did reside in the colony, were either too much engaged in agricultural or commercial speculations to admit of their dedicating their time (supposing them qualified) to direct the ecclesiastical concerns of the established church. It had been stated by the member for Knaresborough, that as the law now stood there was nothing to prevent a Roman Catholic from being a governor. He (Mr. G.) had heard, with surprise, such a statement from the learned member, and he was convinced, upon examination, that it had no foundation. The uniform practice of 150 years had been to administer to governors the oath of supremacy, and the declaration against transubstantiation. This was at least a presumption against the correctness of the learned members opinion. With respect to the declaration against transubstantiation, he had no objection to admit that the law under which it was required (the 25th. Charles 2nd) was not clearly applicable to the case of a governor. But as to the oath of supremacy, there could be no doubt, but that the practice of requiring it could not be dispensed with, without a direct violation of a positive statute. The oath of supremacy in itself operated as a complete exclusion of the Roman Catholic; else why was the alteration of that oath the main object of the bill now before the House, The statute of Elizabeth, by which the first oath of supremacy was imposed, required that it should be taken by all "who received her highness's fee or wages in any part of her dominions," and the statutes of William and Mary, which substituted a new oath of supremacy, made no alteration whatever, as to the persons by whom it was to be taken. Unless, therefore, it was maintained, that governors did not come within the words of the statute of queen Elizabeth, the position of the learned gentleman could not be supported.—He did not urge his amendment upon the House on the same grounds as the amendments which the House had already rejected. It was not, that he apprehended any danger to the church or constitution of this country from the admission of Roman Catholics to the office of colonial governors: it was for the church of England established in the colonies, that he considered this a necessary guard. He pleaded in behalf of those who, being unrepresented here, had a stronger claim to the attention and consideration of the House, in behalf of a church which had had many difficulties with which to struggle, which had been hither to much neglected, but which was now be ginning to revive under the care of the general and the local government, and which could only be maintained by the constant superintendance of persons in power, really anxious from principle to extend its doctrines. The extent of the patronage which governors possessed was not an immaterial consideration for the House. In the West Indies alone there were no loss than 71 livings, to which the governors possessed an unrestricted right of appointment; in other colonies the number was not inferior; the question, therefore, was simply, whether Roman Catholics ought to have the presentation to not less than 150 Protestant benefices? and upon this question he could hardly bring himself to doubt the concurrence of the House in the proposed amendment.

The committee divided: For the Amendment, 120; Against it, 163; Majority, 43.—The chairman then reported progress, and asked leave to sit again.