§ Mr. Curwen
rose and said, that although he had sat in that House for many years, he had seldom taken a part in the discussion of the question then before them. He trusted, however, that upon the present occasion, he might be permitted to obtrude himself upon their attention for a very few moments. It had been the policy of those who were opposed to the measure of Catholic concession, to represent the great body of the people of England as hostile to that measure. For his own part, as far as his experience went, he could confidently assert that such a representation was erroneous. He had the honour to represent a large county, and so far from the existence of any hostile feeling amongst his constituents, he could say, that a great and decided majority of them were favourable to the Roman Catholics—a feeling in which he himself most heartily concurred. He would go further and say, that there were none more attached to Protestantism than the inhabitants of the north of England, and he was certain that if by the passing of this measure they anticipated any danger to the established religion, they would be the last to support it. But they foresaw that by granting emancipation, they were affording the most effectual security to the Protestant religion. Was it nothing he would ask, to conciliate six millions of people, and convert them from enemies into friends? He had always been accustomed to consider the restrictions upon the Roman Catholics as resulting from political and not religious motives. They were entered into originally for the protection of a prince, who was called to the throne of these realms by the voice of the people, and to prevent the return of another prince who had been excluded from that throne. But the political reasons which existed for those restrictions had long since ceased, and if, at the period of their enactment, they had not been looked upon as a security for the Protestant religion, still less were they called for at the present moment. There never, he contended, was a period, when alarm ought less to prevail than at the present moment, for there never was a period when the church was in higher favour, or when its ministers discharged their duty in a more exemplary manner. It was, therefore, with considerable pain that he saw the members of that respectable and venerable body coming forward with petitions against the Catholics. If such was the conduct of the en- 488 lightened and the educated, what could be expected from the unlettered and the ignorant, who would naturally look up to them for an example? He was sure that much of the opposition to the emancipation of the Roman Catholics proceeded from an ignorance of the real character of the low classes of the Irish. He had himself at one time shared in that ignorance, and he had gone to Ireland imbued with many prejudices against its inhabitants. Those prejudices he was, however, happy to say, had been completely removed. Although subject to every privation, and labouring under the extremity of wretchedness, there were no people in whom the social affections were more strongly developed than in the Irish. There were none superior, and few equal to them, in all the relations of father, husband, son, and brother. Treat them but kindly, and an abundant harvest of gratitude and good feeling would follow; but it was idle to expect that Irishmen would submit to a continuance of that system of degradation and insult to which they had hitherto been subjected. He would take the liberty of mentioning a circumstance which had occurred within his own knowledge, and which would tend to illustrate his argument. In the town where he lived, there were from 700 to 800 Irishmen of the lower orders residing. A strong prejudice had, for a long time, prevailed against them; the consequence of which was, a reciprocal hostility upon their part, which vented itself, occasionally, in acts of aggression and outrage, which went so far at last, that the military was obliged to be called in. In this state of things it occurred to some of the inhabitants, that the conduct of these Irishmen must have proceeded from their having no place of public worship; for, while the Protestant inhabitants were peaceably engaged in the performance of their religious duties, the Irish were given up to riot and debauchery. They accordingly subscribed to the erection of a Catholic chapel, procured a clergyman, and their subsequent conduct was the very reverse of what it had been. Their children were educated, and the prejudices which had prevailed against them were gradually done away with. He was sure that similar results would follow from similar conduct in other parts of the Kingdom. Of this he was at least certain, that if any of the "No Popery!" chalkers were to endeavour to excite a prejudice in the town 489 to which he had alluded, they would be hooted out of it with a universal cry of indignation. He should not trespass further upon their attention than merely to say, that if we refused to conciliate the Catholics in time of peace, it was hardly to be expected that they would be satisfied with the same measure of concession in time of war [hear, hear!]. He, for one, would not blame them if they were not. The hon. gentleman concluded by expressing his cordial approbation of the measure.
§ Sir R. H. Inglis
rose and said:—
Sir; a large part of the debate which has taken place hitherto upon this great question has, on one side, proceeded upon the assumption, that there has been a considerable change in the principles and character of the church of Rome; a change so considerable as to justify the removal of all those securities, or, at least, of almost all those securities against it, with which the wisdom of a former age had surrounded the Protestant constitution of this country. I contend, on the contrary, that, the church of Rome is not merely unchanged, but unchangeable. I contend, that the evidence on which this change is, in the judgment of the hon. member for Armagh, sufficiently proved, is, in itself, and on other points, so little trust-worthy, as, at any rate, to justify no great experiment on the constitution. I contend, that this experiment, the object so long and so clamorously sought under the name of Catholic Emancipation, is of little benefit to the great mass of those, in whose name and behalf it is urged. I contend, that those, the very few, to whom it would be beneficial, it would still leave dissatisfied and discontented. I contend, that the claim so urged is not a right founded either in abstract natural justice, or in specific convention. I contend, lastly, that under these circumstances, it is wiser and safer, in the choice of many ways full of difficulties, to keep to that path, which, though not without its difficulties, is still the path by which the country has advanced to her present greatness, and the people to the largest aggregate of individual happiness ever yet combined.
The hon. member for Armagh, and the right hon. gentleman, the Attorney-general for Ireland, have (very conveniently, I admit, for their views of the subject) desired us to give them nothing of that old almanack—history. The hon. member for Armagh 490 desired that he might be met, not by old facts and old prejudices, but by new and contemporary evidence, and fair reasoning. Though I deny the right (in argument on a question involving the probabilities of human conduct in future) to expunge from our consideration all that is past, to deprive us of all the benefits which history might give us, and to limit us to the observations of our own ephemeral existence, yet I feel so confidently the strength of our position, even on the ground which our adversaries have chosen for us, that I am willing to meet them there, and with their own weapons. I will, therefore, pledge myself, in my endeavour to prove the unchanged character of the church of Rome, to use nothing but new and contemporary evidence, and, I trust, nothing like prejudice. The evidence which I shall offer shall be as accessible as that on the table of this House, and more authoritative; because, in great part, it shall be the evidence of the Papal See itself. I am willing, indeed, to admit, that, in many things, the church of Rome has changed since the Reformation: but, in none has she changed connected with her influence on the present question. I am willing to admit, that the physical power of the church of Rome, over the bodies of men, is considerably less; but I contend, that she still exercises over the conscience, and over the intelligence of men, a despotism as complete, and as dangerous (so far as her power extends) as she ever did.
If I were asked to measure the progress of public opinion, and the state of the human mind in any country, I should refer, not so much to her laws, not so much to her institutions, as to her literature—to that which represents man in every condition of his social and private life, which models his character, and is itself modelled by it. Now, by that test I am willing to try the church of Rome. I will tell you, not what her literature is, but what it is not. Her tyranny over literature, her proscription at this day of all the great masters of the human mind, can be paralleled only by the tyranny and the proscription which she exercised five centuries ago, over the minds and bodies alike. The volume which I bold in my hand, the "Index Librorum Prohibitorum," contains a list of the books which are at this time proscribed in the church of Rome, under the penalties of the Inquisition. It was printed at Rome, by authority, in 1819, and I bought it there, in the College, 491 I think, De Propaganda, in 1821. The list was framed at different times: the literature of every generation since the Reformation has added some of its treasures to it; but, when I quote the names of earlier greatness proscribed in it, let me not be supposed to violate the pledge with which I began; for I quote no charge against the sixteenth century, which cannot in the same words be applied to the nineteenth; none against a Pius 5th to which a Pius 7th did not actually and honestly expose himself. The first book in this great Catalogue of works which are taken from the faithful every where, and are given up to the Inquisition, is "Bacon de Augmentis Scientiarum;"* "Locke on the Human Understanding;" and "Cudworth's Intellectual System," follow in the train. Let me add a minor fact connected with the papal condemnation of Bacon's work: the date of the publication of that work preceded the date of the decree against it about fifty years; so little had the church of Rome in that day risen to the level of the age, that fifty years had elapsed before the name and the work of Bacon appear to have reached the Vatican. It is true, that the best modern literature of the land of these great men is not as yet proscribed; but, may we not venture to believe, that fifty years hence, when some future Pius, shall have heard that, in the heretical country of England, there had existed about this time two such men as Dugald Stewart and William Paley, their names will be added to those of Bacon, Locke, and Cudworth; and their works also will be condemned, as fatal to the faith of man? Many other English works are proscribed. One only I will mention, "The Paradise Lost" of Milton.† The reading of the work was interdicted, indeed, nearly a hundred years ago; but, the prohibition was renewed in 1819. Is not this enough to prove, that the character of the church of Rome is not so open to a beneficial change, as some of my honourable friends are willing to hope and believe it to be? I pass over large classes of books, the very possession of which is forbidden; but, I must notice the impartial prohibition of*Baconus (Franciscus) de Verulamio. De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum; donec corrigatur. Decret. 3 Apr. 1669.†Milton. Il Paradiso Perduto. Poema Inglese, tradotto in nostra lingua, da Paolo Rolli. Decr. 21 Januarii 1732.492 science. Sir, the church of Rome proscribed Copernicus;* but to make all things even, it has proscribed Des Cartes also.† Will the House believe it possible, that the celebrated sentence in 1634, against Galileo—a sentence immortalized by the execration of science in every country, where the mind is free—should be renewed and republished in 1819? ‡ Yet, of this fact, I hold the proof in my hand, in the volume of the "Index" which I have already quoted. The work of Algarotti, on the Newtonian system, shares the same fate: so that every modification of science, in other words, every effort of free inquiry, every attempt to disengage the mind from the trammels of authority, is alike and universally consigned to the Inquisition. I venture to think, that a good library, in almost every class of literature, might be formed out of the books which the church of Rome in this "Index" prohibits. Am I not justified in saying, that the church of Rome remains unchanged, the unchangeable enemy to the progress of the human mind? Every other institution is advancing with sails set, and banners streaming, on the high, yet still rising, tide of improvement: the church of Rome alone remains fixed, and bound to the bottom of the stream by a chain which can neither be lengthened nor removed. The House will not be surprised, after this, to hear, that Grotius "De Jure Belli et Pacis" and Puffendorf, are equally and impartially given up to the Inquisition. But, will not the House be surprised to hear of the treatment which Fenelon has experienced? Alive, he was condemned and persecuted; to this day, one of his most devotional works, as I believe it to be, is placed in the same Index of Abominations from which I have made the preceding selections. Surely my hon. and learned friend, the member for Plympton, in a speech on a former occasion, to which I listened with less delight than usual to any thing from him, because I could not agree in his conclusions, claimed too much for the church of Rome, when he described it (I*Copernicus, Nicolaus. De Revolutionibus Orbium Cœlestium, Libri VI. nisi fuerint correcti juxta emendationem editam anno 1620. Decr. 15 Maii 1620.†Des Cartes Opera Philosophica; donec corrigantur. Decr. 20 Nov. 1663.‡Galilei Galileo. Diologo sopra i due masimi Sisteme del Mondo Tolemaico, e Copernicano. Decret. 23 Augusti 1634.493 use the substance, if not the words of my hon. and learned friend) as the religion of Fenelon. Another hon. and learned friend of mine, now, no longer a member of this House, in a splendid passage which I well remember, enumerated the great divines of the Roman Catholic church, and referred to the solemn and saintly morality of Nicole, the severe and intellectual faith of Pascal, the devout and affectionate religion of Fenelon, and asked, whether the church, which these men represented, could be fairly an object of the aversion with which we regard it? I answer, whatever the church may be which these men represent, it is not the church of Rome. The church of Rome will have none of them. It "proscribed them living, and condemns them dead." Of Fenelon I have already quoted the proscription: Pascal, also, in his two celebrated works, (one, indeed—the "Pensées"—on account of the notes of Voltaire which accompanied it), is condemned in the same "Index"; and Dr. Doyle, in a Letter which was published last year in Dublin, as distinctly renounces another of the very best of the Roman Catholic divines. His Correspondent, in reference to a comprehensive scheme for uniting the churches of England and of Rome, had referred to the names of Pascal and Quesnel.* He answers, "the very mention of Baius and Quesnel would cause every Catholic to revolt from you; and I, myself, would rather undertake to reconcile a church-of-England-man to Rome, than attempt to render Quesnel or Baius acceptable—so odious are these names to us." "The opinions of Baius or Quesnel should never be mentioned, if you wish to conciliate the Roman Catholics."† And yet, it is by these names—the names of Fenelon, Pascal and Quesnel—that the church of Rome is most advantageously known in this country; it is by these names, that it is alleged, by her Protestant friends, that she is represented.
Upon the subject of the works proscribed in the "Index", I will intrude no further on the attention of the House, than to say, that not only are all the Versions of the Scriptures, which may have been published by the British and Foreign Bible Society in any spoken language (quâvis*Letters on the Re-union of the Churches. Dublin 1824. p. 13.†Letters on the Re-union of the Churches; p. 24494 vulgari linguâ), prohibited absolutely and universally, but in one of the latest additions to that "Index" (a single sheet, printed in 1820, and containing the works prohibited since the date of that Index in 1819), are two editions of the New Testament in Italian, both from the Vulgate; both by Martini, archbishop of Florence; both printed in Italy; and neither of them stated to have a single heretical note; but both alike proscribed, as unfit to be read. The prohibitory clause is as follows: the Pope (having recited the condemnation of the editions of the New Testament in question, of an English impression of the same book, and of seven other works, one of Medical Jurisprudence, one of Physiology), proceeds—" Itaque nemo cujuscunque gradus et conditionis prædicta opera damnata atque proscripta, quocumque loco et quocumque idiomate, aut in posterum edere, aut edita legere, vel retinere audeat, sub pœnis,"&c. From the tyranny over the human mind thus exercised by the church of Rome, wherever it has power, I draw this conclusion, that, to give it new power any where would be most unsafe; and if it were given on the ground that the church of Rome has changed its character, would be most contrary to the evidence of facts. It has still the same grasping, dominant, exclusive, and intolerant character: it is weaker, indeed, than it was; but it carries with it every where the same mind. You have, indeed, shorn and bound the strong man; but, the secret of his strength is still upon him; and if, from whatever motive, you admit him into the sanctuary of your temple, beware lest the place and the opportunity should call that strength into action, and with all the original energies of his might restored for the occasion, he should pull down the temple of the constitution upon you, and bury you and your idols and himself in one common ruin.
The prohibitions which I have quoted are not, I repeat it, from old worm-eaten authorities: they were published not seven years ago, in Rome, by the last Pope. His own personal conduct accorded too much with the spirit of that book. Though he owned how large a share the heretics of England had in his restoration; though he owned specifically that it was the act of England which was the means of restoring to him all those treasures of ancient greatness, of which Rome had been deprived; though he was ever anxious to shew every personal kind- 495 ness and attention to the English as individuals; though he was himself, as an hon. friend of mine described him to be, with some latitude indeed, a "Protestant Pope, and almost one of the best Protestants in Europe;" yet, so entirely did he in Cathedrâ, adopt the principles of his station; so little did he venture to deviate from the intolerance of his predecessors, that the English, in the day in which I was at Rome, seven years after the restoration of that Pope, had no place of worship recognised or tolerated in Rome.* I speak in the hearing of many members who must have been in Rome within the last ten years; and, without fear of contradiction, I assert, that though the English were connived at, when they went to the drawing-room of one of their own countrymen to have under his roof the comfort and advantage on Sundays of their own church-service, they were not permitted to have it; and when they wished to have a regular chapel, the permission was distinctly refused. The worship of the English Protestants at Rome was not only not licensed, it was not even tolerated—it was only connived at. Is this the proof that the spirit of the church of Rome is changed?—that it is more tolerant, more willing, and more fit, to be blended with Protestantism? Will the House believe, that the English, that the Protestants generally, had, when I was in Rome, four years ago, no space allowed them there, marked out and secured for themselves, where they could bury those members of their families whom it might be their misery to lose there? From consecrated ground they were excluded of course; but is it credible that they should not have been permitted to wall round, or to fence in that portion of the waste in which they were nevertheless allowed to cast their dead? If the right hon. gentleman, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, had been present, I would have asked him, whether there be not in the archives of his office some representation, dated five or six years ago, on the part of the English in*Sir R. in a subsequent debate said, he had just been informed, that since he had visited Rome, a favourable change had taken place in respect both to the public worship of the English, and to the burying ground of the Protestants, but that in the year 1821, the facts were as he had stated.496 Rome, soliciting the interference of our government in obtaining for them a burying ground of their own; or at least some security and sacredness to the spot now uninclosed and open to every other purpose? The fact is, that the intolerance of the see of Rome is as great as ever. The late Pope, good man as he was in many points, distinctly proved this, in that very curious work printed here thirteen years ago, containing his official correspondence, with Alquier and Miollis, when they seized the papal states in 1808.* The Pope himself was carried off a prisoner into France. While Buonaparte was meditating it, he still felt it right to submit, for the sanction of the Pope, certain articles relating, not to the universal church, but to the internal administration of France itself as it related to religion. One of those articles was, that all religions should be free.—"Que tous les cultes soient libres et publiquement exercés." The Pope answered as if he had been Julius 2nd or Sixtus 5th. He turns round to his cardinals, and tells them in words which no Protestant should ever forget—" We have rejected this article, as contrary to the canons, to the councils, to the Catholic religion, to the tranquillity of life, and to the welfare of the state."† In another rescript to the bishops in the same work,‡ he refers to the toleration of all sects actually granted in France under Buonaparte; and says that such alliance can no more consist with the Catholic church, than a concord with Christ and Belial. Let it always be recollected that this was in reference to an application from a sovereign on his throne, in the plenitude of his power, to a poor decrepid old man, whom he was about to carry off as a prisoner into the centre of France; that Buonaparte felt the spiritual power of the Pope, when he asked the exercise of it to confirm his*Relation de ce qui s'est passé à Rome dans I'Envahissement. des Etats du St. Siège par les François. 3tom. Lond. 1812.†Si pretende la libertà d'ogni culto con publico esercizio, e questo articolo siccome opposto à canoni ed ai concili, e alla religione cattolica, al quieto vivere, ed alla felicità dello stato, per le funeste consequenze che ne deriverebbero, lo abbiamo pure rigettato. Relation, tom i., p. 42.‡Relation, tom. i. p. 193.497 own regulations for the internal government of France; and that the Pope showed the unchanging character of his church in refusing, even under such extremities, to yield one jot of its intolerant assumptions.
But it may be said, that this was all in the effete and worn-out soil of Europe. Take the seedling to another world; and see what a different fruit it will produce. But stop, in the first place, and mark what fruit it did produce, when the ground was newly turned up in Spain. By the constitution of the Cortes, it was enacted in respect to spiritual liberty as follows:—"The religion of the Spanish nation is, and shall be perpetually, the Roman Catholic, the only true religion. The nation protects it by wise and just laws, and prohibits the exercise of any other" The oath of the members of the Cortes was this—"I swear to defend and preserve the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman religion, without admitting any other into the kingdom." Is the church of Rome here changed? Go across the Atlantic; what is the fundamental article in the constitution of the newest of the Roman Catholic states of the New World? I will not trust my recollection, but I will read a passage from the constitution of Mexico; it is nearly the same as that of the Cortes: "The religion of the state shall be the holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic church. The state protects it by just and salutary laws; and prohibits the exercise of any other." This is the act not of imperial, but of republican Mexico; it is the newest specimen of that kind of religious freedom which the members of the church of Rome will admit, even when taking the greatest care of their own civil rights. I might quote much about the Protestants in France, and the spirit of the Roman Catholic religion even there; still more about the Vaudois, against whom the king of Sardinia, on his restoration, re-enacted all the oppressive decrees which had been repealed during their subjection to France. I might quote not less as to the spirit of the Belgian church; but I trust, that I have already said enough to prove that the semper eadem of the Romish church is no vain boast; that that church is at this day as grasping, as despotic, as exclusive, as in those ages, which by an unnecessary courtesy to the present, so 498 far as Rome is concerned, we call the dark ages.
Sir, I contend, that the evidence on which this alleged change in the Church of Rome is supposed to rest, upon the proof of which change we are told to relax all our securities against its former character, is itself so little trust-worthy on many other points, that no vital alteration in the constitution can safely or consistently be made on the testimony of such witnesses. I will not exhaust the patience of the House, by comparing the evidence of Dr. Doyle, before the committee, with his letters as J. K. L.; or the evidence of Mr. O'Connell before the committee, with the speeches of that gentleman before the Roman Catholic Association. I will, however, quote one or two passages from Dr. Doyle, comparing them with what he had said elsewhere; and I would appeal to the hon. and learned member for Winchelsea, or to the hon. and learned member for Peterborough, whether, if they had such a witness as Dr. Doyle in the box, who had in one place professed his respect for the Established Church, as next to his own, and his unwillingness even to touch her property if pressed on his acceptance, they would not ask him— "Pray, Dr. Doyle, do you not remember, in such a place, and before such and such people, saying,—that the religion of the establishment in Ireland must be divested of the plague of riches? Do you remember saying—'We shall see (the passage is in the twelve letters of J. K. L. p.34, which I will proceed to read) whether this mighty Babylon can be suffered to exist; —whether this enormous mass of wealth can remain untouched in a country which has no exchequer, which cannot pay the interest of her debt, which has no public institution that is not sectarian; we shall see whether this magnum latrocinium, as it was called by Burke, be compatible with the exigencies of the state, the interest of the proprietors, and the peace or prosperity of the empire?'" And having compared the spirit of this passage with the spirit of his refusal to receive for the church or Rome any portion of the revenues of the establishment, I ask, whether the hon. and learned members would rest any case before a jury on the testimony of such a witness? Dr. Doyle was asked, if the Pope should interfere with the rights of the king, what would the Roman Catholic clergy do. His answer before the 499 committee is—"We should oppose him by every means in our power, even by the exercise of our spiritual authority."* Now, I will suppose, that, this measure not being carried, the Pope should attempt to absolve from their allegiance the Roman Catholic subjects of Ireland, and a rebellion should break out. Hear Dr. Doyle, (I quote from the pamphlet which I hold in my hand, "Letters on the Re-union of the Churches," printed in Dublin last year). "If a rebellion were raging from Carrickfergus to Cape Clear, no sentence of excommunication would be fulminated by a Catholic prelate."† Will you believe him when he is writing this in his study in Carlow; or when he is answering leading questions, with a great object to gain, in a committee above stairs? Some of Mr. O'Connell's speeches and writings warn us sufficiently of the ulterior objects of the Roman Catholics, if they can gain power. I quote them for this object, and not to contrast them with his evidence. "Think you that I forgot," said he, in his letter to the Courier, 17th June, 1824, "the two millions of fertile acres which the clergy of the few enjoy, along with the tithes of all the rest of the land? Think you I forgot the church rates, which compel the famishing Catholic peasants to erect gorgeous churches for the clergy, that they may pray and preach in stately loneliness?" On the 13th January last, Mr. O'Connell gave us the history of the progress of the designs of the Roman Catholics; it is in a speech to the Association. "Nineteen years ago, no allusion to the Protestant establishment had been made in their petition. Once Mr. Scully had made an allusion to it; he was met by the frown of lord Fingal; and Hay was nearly handling the inkstand." He goes on to say, that he was glad that they had not got emancipation sooner; meaning, I suppose, that they had now strength to seize other and higher objects. "The Established Church was burthen some to the people, and did them no kind of good. He would be content that they should go to the Castle, and there receive what was thought fit; he protested against their going to the peasant's hut, and to taking, as had been on a former occasion stated, the blankets." At another meeting, be said, "the privilege of sitting in parliament was a privilege*Evidence, House of Commons, p. 192.†Letters, p. 4.500 necessary to enable the Catholics to have a careful watch over the enormous expenditure of the church establishment." Is not this warning enough to us? Are these the men to whom it would be safe to intrust the care of our Protestant interests? Are these the men whom we would place in this House to legislate for the church of England? It is said that these passages all refer to the church of Ireland; that Dr. Doyle, in his evidence, has expressly limited his observations to the church of Ireland. Sir, there is no church of Ireland: the church of Ireland ceased to exist at the Union; it is now for ever one with the church of England they form one undivided establishment any attack on the one is an attack on the other: and that part which is in Ireland cannot be pulled down or undermined. without shaking the English part to its foundation. Let not the establishment in England fondly believe that the church in Ireland can be destroyed, or even weakened, without a mortal injury to their own nearer interests: let not the people of England believe that a successful attack can be made upon the property of the church, whether in England or in Ireland, without endangering the security of all other property. The injury to the establishment in England, the danger to all other property, may be more or less remote; but, whether near or distant, it is alike inevitable from the day when power is once in any quarter familiarized with spoliation. Let neither the establishment nor the people of England believe that the church of Rome has changed, or can change her policy or her principles; that she is, or ever can be favourable, or even indifferent to our institutions; and that she may now at length be safely entrusted, with the legislative care of our religion. Unless the evidence, even of our own contemporary experience, be fallacious (I have pledged myself not to appeal to, history), the see of Rome is at this day hostile, not merely to the dignity and supremacy of the Protestant church in this empire, but to the toleration of any other church any where else: and the testimony before the Committee upon which a change to the contrary is assumed, and upon which this great innovation in our constitution is demanded, is utterly insufficient to justify us in incurring even the slightest of those hazards, with which, in my judgment, that innovation would be followed. 501 The next point which I shall endeavour to prove is, that the object which is to be sought with so much hazard, that object which has been so long and so clamorously sought under the name of Catholic Emancipation is of no value, comparatively, to the mass of those in whose name it is claimed. It is not easy to bring forward specific evidence from the people themselves to prove the fact; but in the first place, look at their condition as described by almost every witness: and see, whether to the great mass of the people (and we are continually told of the six millions who are interested in the question), the objects still withheld, seats in parliament, or on the bench, can be of any felt value? In the next place, let the people be allowed to speak by those who, at different periods, for the last thirty-three years, have represented themselves to be the great friends of the people. What said Dr. M'Nevin, one of the Irish Directory in 1798? A noble lord who was examining him before a committee of the House of Lords in Ireland, happened to hold a pen in his hand, and said, "Do you think the mass of the people in the provinces of Leinster, Munster, and Connaught care the value of this pen, or the drop of ink which it contains, for parliamentary reform, or Catholic Emancipation?"—"I am sure they do not."* This may, perhaps, be said to be an answer to too leading a question (not more leading, by the by, let me repeat, than the questions often put in the committee up stairs):—But what said Thomas Addis Emmett, another, I think, of the Irish Directory in 1798? "I believe the mass of the people do not care a feather for Catholic Emancipation, neither did they care for Parliamentary Reform till it was explained to them as leading to other objects."† What said Oliver Bond before the same committee of the Lords in Ireland? "Catholic Emancipation was a mere pretence in 1791 for the purpose of reform." In a second answer he closed his sentence with some memorable words: "I believe the mass of the people did not, and do not care for Parliamentary Reform; but those who thought for them, did."‡ Why do I quote these men? I quote them, because, like the Roman Catholic leaders of the present day, they would have been held at that time to have*House of Lords (Ireland) Committee of Secrecy, 1799, p. 43.†Committee of Secrecy, p. 50.‡Committee of Secrecy, p. 52.502 fairly represented the public mind in Ireland. Catholic Emancipation was on their lips; but it was not their real and ultimate object, as is shown in the evidence which I have quoted, given when they had no object to gain. I quote them for the purpose of showing that when the present leaders of the Roman Catholics in Ireland clamour so loudly for Catholic Emancipation, they also may have other and deeper objects in view. The truth is, that there has never been wanting in Ireland, a succession of men willing to be "the friends of the people," in the sense of Oliver Bond; men who raise the storm, and ride on it, who draw from the grievances of Ireland their own notoriety and consequence. Whether their names be M'Nevin, Emmett, or Oliver Bond; or some later and still living names to which I will not here refer, we may say to the, people of Ireland—"Plebicolas istos vos vestrâ causâ excitare putatis? Concitati aut honori ant questui illis estis; qui vos nec in otio, nec in armis esse sinunt; qui cém in concordiâordinum nullos se unquam esse vident, malæ rei quàm nullius seditionum ac turbarum duces esse volunt."
I contend that Catholic Emancipation will still leave discontented and dissatisfied the few, to whom it will nevertheless have been of real benefit. It will have opened to them some roads to honour as yet untrod; but you still leave enough to violate your own principle; you only remove the difficulty one or two steps further. You allow Mr. O'Connell to have a silk gown; you allow Mr. Charles Butler to sit upon the bench; but you will still exclude both of them from that which constitutes to a young and ardent mind the great hope and stimulus of the profession; you still for ever exclude him, and every one of his class in religion, from the chance of ever being lord chancellor; and when my honourable and learned friend (the member for Plympton) talked of the damp and chill given to generous ambition by the exclusion of the rising talents of the law from its higher elevations, I felt that, even by the bill of which he was, at the moment, the eloquent advocate, that exclusion is rendered only just so much the more marked, as it is perpetuated by the very friends of the Roman Catholics in a bill which they call the Relief Bill. So little would this measure in the course of nature satisfy those for whom it is more immediately intended. They would still be marked and branded; their religion 503 would still be a religion not to be trusted, and if this measure be carried, I have no doubt, but that three years hence, we shall have the same associations; perhaps not the same orators, a Lawless instead of on O'Connell, at the head of the Irish Roman Catholics, and the same tales of grievances about Catholic millions being still excluded from being lord chancellor, and still being compelled to pay tithe to Protestant rectors, and rent to Protestant landlords.
The truth is, that the whole of our constitution, as my honourable friend the member for Corfe Castle stated, is a system of securities and exclusions. In every instance in which we give power, we regulate it by age, by sex, by property; and I am yet to learn, why, in a question of the probabilities of human conduct, I ought not to have regard to the opinion also of the party to whom I am to give power; particularly when he tells me, that he will not regard my king in the light in which the constitution has placed him, viz. "as over all persons ecclesiastical as well as civil, in these his realms, supreme," but that he will regard another person, and him a foreign prince, as in these realms, and over one-half of human affairs supreme.
If I could consider these claims of the Roman Catholics, as claims of justice, founded either in abstract natural right, or in specific convention, whether treaty of Limerick, or articles of Union, I should be ashamed to resist a claim of right on any pretence of expediency. I feel it painful on many grounds to resist these demands. I feel this to be painful, but I hope that I should feel it to be intolerable, if I believed that their claims, so long urged, were founded in justice, and in abstract right; but, Sir, protection is the right of every member in civil society; power is the right of no man. No man has an abstract right to possess power in any community; it is the free gift of each community to each person, to each class; and on the principle on which the constitution of England, consisting indivisibly of Church and State, has refused to give power, except to those who support it so undivided, I entirely concur. That under the treaty of Limerick, or under the articles of Union, the Roman Catholics of Ireland have any claim whatever to the measure which they now demand, I am deliberately prepared to deny: the first article of the treaty shows that 504 the object was, to give toleration, not power— "The Roman Catholics of this kingdom shall enjoy such privileges in the exercise of their religion, as are consistent with the laws of Ireland, &c."— but I have trespassed so long upon the indulgence of the House, that I am unwilling to enter at any length upon this branch of the subject. My right hon. friend, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, and others, have indeed discussed it fully and conclusively. I therefore will no longer intrude on the attention of the House. I admit with the hon. member for Armagh in his eloquent and influential speech on a former occasion, that we have only a choice of difficulties; every path is beset with dangers; but I think that it is the part of wisdom to keep, in such circumstances, to the path along which we have hitherto travelled, leading, as it has led us, to the greatest public freedom, and the greatest private happiness which have ever been combined, rather than to deviate into any other path, which, even on the admission of the guides, who pretend to know it best, may lead us further, and in a very different direction, from that in which we desire to go. For these reasons, Sir, and having heard nothing which has induced me to change the opinions which for many years I have held in private life on this question, I shall vote against the third reading of this bill.
§ Mr. Horace Twiss
said, that although the opposition to this bill had been rested mainly on the ancient grounds, that the proposed alteration would be repugnant to the constitution, and upon that remarkable theory of the honourable member for Corfe Castle, that this constitution is in its genius exclusive, yet the friends of the bill had hitherto taken little notice of this line of argument; perhaps, because it had, in various ways, been often answered before, and had confined themselves almost wholly to topics of temporary interest and urgency. But, it would be to be regretted, if the country should thence infer that the advocates of concession had given way upon the main constitutional ground; and he would therefore solicit the observation of the House to one general constitutional view of the question, which he believed had not before been presented, at least, not connectedly, or in its clearest light.
Now, persuaded as he was, that the many humane and candid individuals who 505 voted against his bill on the second reading, would not thus have impeded a measure, of which no man denies the vast importance to the whole Irish people, had it not been for a sincere belief, that great as are the present evils of Ireland, there would be a greater evil still in any breach of the constitution, he thought that the desideratum on the part of the Catholic population of Ireland, was no longer to make out a case of strong appeal to the feelings of the House, for as far as feelings were concerned, there had been enough to make the House unanimous in their favour; but the task required now, was, to satisfy the reason of the House, that in truth the opinion is absolutely a mistaken one, which assumes the exclusion of that body to be a principle of the British constitution. Now, in dealing with this, which was, therefore, the material question remaining on the bill, he would narrow the issue to one single point of the exclusive law; and that issue could not well be taken upon a point more convenient than the exclusion from parliament; because, that is the particular exclusion which the opposing party regard as the strongest in principle for their argument; and this should be practicable to make out the proposition, that even this exclusion from parliament was not of the essence of the constitution, it would hardly be pretended, that there was any thing essential in the exclusion from any of the minor franchises. It was, probably, a fact familiar to most of those whom he now addressed, that though several enactments exited for a century before the Revolution, imposing severe penalties upon popish recusants under certain circumstances, yet the only principle, regarding franchise or eligibility, that was known to the constitution down to the close of Charles the second's reign—a principle unqualified by any condition but the single one of acknowledging the political supremacy of our own sovereign, to which the Catholics, for the most part, have never been averse, was the common-law principle, as declared by lord Bacon, that "the subject that is natural born hath a competency or ability to all benefits whatsoever." When the parliament, therefore, in Charles the second's reign, enacted the tests which this bill proposed to repeal, and which tests, with some little modification of the oath under William and Mary, are at this day the bars to the entrance of Catholics into parliament, it 506 was naturally thought requisite that a deviation so striking from the common-law principle of general eligibility, should be justified or at least explained, to the people of whom it disfranchised some hundreds of thousands, by setting forth, on the face of this statute of Car. 2nd, some statement of the then subsisting reasons for the exclusion. Now, if those original reasons, which may have been thoroughly valid and constitutional at the first, continued valid and constitutional still, then it might be true, that exclusion is a principle of the constitution, and ought not to be superseded by such a bill as the present. But, if those original reasons were spent and gone—if all their spirit has evaporated with time—then either it must be shown that other constitutional reasons have arisen since, which now supply their place; or it must be allowed that, with the extinction of the constitutional reasons for exclusion, the exclusion itself had lost its constitutional character, and merited support no longer [hear, hear!].
The makers of this statute of Car. 2nd, set forth in its preamble, that the divers good laws then in being against popery, had failed of their desired effects, by reason that popish recusants had access to court, and liberty to sit and vote in parliament. For the sake, therefore, of ensuring "the desired effects," by the removal of those two obstructions to the good laws against popery, as also for safety against the danger with which the popish plot was then supposed to be threatening king Charles and his government—for these two reasons (and these are all that the statute even alleged) the legislature proceeded, among other enactments, to provide for the exclusion of Catholics from the parliament as well as from the court. Now, upon this, the first thing which struck one's observation was, that this exclusion from parliament, instead of having been what very many suppose it, a regulation of a substantive character, intended to form a new era and a permanent principle in our constitution, was in truth enacted in the humble, secondary character of a help to the desired effect to the divers good laws then pre-existing against popery. Now, what did gentlemen suppose those divers good laws against popery are, which this especial help was thus introduced to invigorate? Something which we fondly cling to—which we religiously and affectionately 507 act upon and revere? They are neither more nor less than the body of repealed pains and penalties [hear, hear!]—that body, which, after it had survived all the circumstances that perhaps in the 16th and 17th centuries may have justified its original creation, was decayed by time into disuse and very disgust, and lay for years a lifeless lump in our legislation; when parliament passed the act of 1791, the celebrated 31st of George the third, which buried the last remains of the nuisance, and removed it for ever from the nostrils of the people. That was the collection of divers good laws against popery, which, this preamble said, would fail of their desired effect, if papists were not forbidden to sit and vote in parliament! To preserve at this day, when parliament had swept away the code itself, a harsh restriction, which, by its own original preamble, affected no higher character than to have been subservient to that code, would, at best, be an absurdity—even if it did not involve a wrong. But it is a wrong, and in nothing more notoriously than in this—that, while the original preamble to the restriction keeps its prominent place upon the Statute book, setting forth, as its reason, a code of laws, now long since repealed and annulled, the restriction not merely keeps the birthright of our fellow subjects from them, but keeps it from them now upon a false pretence [hear!].
It was true, that the promotion of the divers good laws against popery, was only one of the two motives alleged in this preamble; for it adverted to another, and at that time a much more really influential cause, the danger, or rather the terror, of the Popish plot. Now, on this he would not say one single word, because, without meaning any disrespect to a certain well-known protest against the reversal of lord Stafford's attainder, he thought that danger so obsolete, that any man who should attempt now to revive an alarm about Catholic conspirators and popish lords, would enter upon his task at the risk not merely of refutation, but of ridicule. If Titus Oates himself were alive again, such a scheme would be a despair, even to his matchless anti mendacious impudence. Aye, but it had been repeatedly said, and the argument had derived a value from its adoption by his right hon. friend, the Secretary of State for the Home Department; though Oates's history were a falsehood, yet there was another real and 508 formidable plot against the government and religion of the country, detected from Coleman's Letters, and from Charles's secret treaties with Louis—a plot which justified, at least, though it may not have specifically induced, the strong measure of excluding papists from parliament. Let it be so: grant that this real plot did justify exclusion: grant even that both the plots were real: what mattered all these things to the present generation, who live in times so distant, that not only are all the conspirators with their conspiracies crumbled into dust, but the government itself, for whose safety against them this statute professed to provide, had been remodelled on a larger and a surer foundation; and the only surviving memorial, that such a danger was ever apprehended, was this irritating though futile remnant of restriction! The reasons assigned in the statute of Charles 2nd having both thus entirely ceased, the vindicator of the tests was driven to seek their constitutional title in such other reasons as might have arisen since. The principal of these ex-post facto reasons was, that the exclusion had been settled at the time of the Revolution. It was an article, the solicitor-general had said, in the compact of king William with the English leaders, in order to confirm the Protestant constitution of these realms. No: but in order to another object, doubtless very important while it lasted, but an object in its nature not quite so lasting—in order to confirm the new and not yet secure title of the prince and princess of Orange [hear, hear!]; in order to provide, at a juncture when almost every Catholic was a partisan of James, a test which, in the Papist, should detect the Jacobite [hear, hear!]. For this, the real object, there was no need that these invidious disqualifications should be prolonged beyond the secure completion of the royal settlement; and whenever the country should become secure, so also would become the constitution which had been planted in its soil.
But, the moment any one approached this part of the case, he was straightway warned off, as a sort of trespasser upon the constitution of 1688. Now, he would by no means speak loosely or lightly of any thing so enacted or sanctioned: all was done, he believed, for the very best at that time; but the modern mistake about the constitution, as then arranged, consisted in not distinguishing between 509 its permanent principles and its temporary expedients. The permanent principle of the constitution was not that which had been stated by his hon. friend who had spoken last, but that which all our arrangements, both in and since the reign of king William, had concurred with a uniform tendency to establish, the principle, namely, that every individual subject, whatever his station, shall not only possess a. perfect security for his person and property, but shall likewise hold the greatest, proportion of public liberties and rights, which it can consist with the general welfare, that he be permitted to enjoy or to exercise [much cheering!]; and every measure seemed to him to be consistent or inconsistent with the constitution, not as it tallied with any written rule, whether laid down under the particular circumstances of 1825, or under the particular circumstances of 1688; but as it promoted or as it impeded that great general principle [hear, hear!].
Let those, then, who professed to be apprehensive for the constitution, first make sure that they understand it in its true sense; and then let them consider frankly, not whether the restriction to be repealed may once have been necessary to the constitution, because that he need not refuse to admit; but whether such a restriction was necessary now [hear, hear!]. Let them remember, that though actual equality of political privileges was an arrangement, as impracticable as actual equality of private possessions, yet that constitution, after all, was the best and the safest, aye, for the higher classes as well as for the lower, which comes the nearest to that equalising principle—which, allows, not indeed an equal possession of franchise, but an equal eligibility to possess it: and that it is precisely this near approach to that principle in our own, constitution which has given it its superiority over all others which the world has ever seen [hear, hear!]. There may be exceptions, no doubt, and properly, to almost any general political rule—exceptions of troubled periods, and exceptions as to dangerous individuals; but might it properly be, as in Ireland, that one million of the people should for ever be the rule, and five millions of the people for ever the exception? that, the exception, should permanently comprise five times as many cases as the rule? At this rate, had there not been some strange confusion of language? Was it sense to 510 talk of the five millions of disfranchised subjects as the exceptions? Did not the five disfranchised millions then come by their very numbers to be the rule, and the one single million which has the franchise to be the exception? And, if that was the real result of the theory, if the doctrine established that disqualification was the common and general rule, and eligibility only the privileged and rare exception; if the argument thus construed the constitution to be the inheritance of only one man in every half-dozen, he ventured unequivocally to retort upon that doctrine the charge of unconstitutional tendency, and to affirm that the breach of allegiance to the constitution was not with those who would communicate it, and promote its growth, but with those who would cramp and curtail it.
It was time, then, for the House to disencumber itself of the obstinate error, that the men to whom we owed our constitution, while they left open the door to the Presbyterian, the hereditary opponent of monarchy, and to the sceptic, jealous of all religion, intended nevertheless that the exclusion of the sincerest and most loyal subject who might happen to be a Catholic, should outlast all the dangers and all the reasons by which at first, perhaps, that exclusion was justified. A private, but authentic narrative, related, that when the duke of Orleans, some time Regent of France, was about to engage in his service a gentleman whose mother was of the uncourtly religion of the Jansenists, the faction opposed to Jansenism, the Jesuits about Louis the fourteenth, remonstrated with the king upon the abomination that would ensue, if the duke should take a Jansenist into his retinue. The king took the alarm. "Why., nephew," said be, "what can you be thinking of, to take a Jansenist into your household ?" "Sir," said the duke, with all appropriate humility, "I assure your majesty, the gentleman you suspect is no Jansenist; on the contrary, I have every reason to suspect that he is an utter disbeliever in all religion whatever." "Oh!" said the, king, "that alters the case if you assure me that he is no Jansenist, and that the only thing to be said against his principles is, that he has no religion at all, I beg I may not be understood to have the smallest objection to your employing him" [much laughter]. It was likely enough that Louis so reasoned, and so expressed himself; but he 511 protested against putting the sentiments of Louis the fourteenth into the mouth of William the third. He would shew that king William's principles were not chargeable with the inconsistencies imputed to them. It appeared, from the returns to parliament, in 1731, that in the earlier half of the last century, the whole Catholic population of Ireland was less than one million and one-third, and the number of Protestants between 7 and 800,000; and at the time of the Revolution, which was upwards of forty years before, the numbers were probably yet fewer. On a numeration so small, our ancestors might not unreasonably have considered that political dangers might justify the relative depression even of the majority of the whole people, when that majority exceeded the minority by only three or four hundred thousand persons, But, if those founders of our constitution were alive at this day, to see the Catholics, with other Dissenters, exceeding the Protestants of the Established Church by nearly five millions of souls, could it be thought, that in a state of facts so different, the law they would recommend would be the same? No: they would tell their country, according to the tenor of the principles, upon which their great names are founded, that to a surface so extensive a narrow rule must be inapplicable: that political inequalities, however occasionally justifiable upon a small scale, become intolerable and impossible upon a large one: and that the mere physical operation of things, the mere swelling of the stream of population, must hurry, of itself, irresistibly forward, to burst all those weak embankments, and lay waste the land which it should be forbidden to enrich. I listen to you, therefore, gladly, said the hon. gentleman, when you refer me to your ancestors; I allow and I admire the model; all I ask is, that we may avoid servility in studying it; that we may construe their code, not with a literal minuteness, but as its great authors would have written it had they been writing now; that we may no longer pore blindly upon the letter of their laws, but rise to the spirit of their legislation.
Why, then, what became of the feeble assertion, that the founders of the constitution of 1688, having recognized and re-enacted the exclusive tests, should be therefore understood as having intended to bequeath exclusion as a lasting component of their system? Was it meant 512 that every statute against popery which was made before the Revolution, and which the parliament of king William did not repeal, or only altered a little, which was the most that could be said of this statute of Charles the second—was it meant even that every statute against popery which king William and his parliament themselves originated, had thereby become, ipso facto, a fundamental law, for ever exempt from abrogation or change? That seemed too large an assumption for the loosest understanding to admit; especially after the unceremonious way in which not only the older enactments, the divers good laws against popery, but even their offspring, the laws of king William's own reign, were dealt with by the tolerating act of his late majesty, among whose very few human failings, a coldness toward the Protestant religion was certainly never even imputed. Gentlemen who relied on the inviolability of all the anti-catholic provisions that were arranged or acquiesced in at the time of the Revolution, might find themselves ensnared into difficulties which a mischief-loving papist would not take a little diversion to behold them struggling withal. The very first parliament under king William most seriously enacted—ludicrous as such a provision might now appear—that two justices peace, from time to time, might search a recusant Catholic's house and premises to see if he possessed—what will it be supposed? Arms? No. Treasonable papers? No. Treatises of dangerous divinity? No—but to see if he possessed any horse of more than 5l. value; and, moreover, that any friend of that Catholic, assisting in the concealment of such unconstitutional popish nag, should be liable, not only to pecuniary penalties, but likewise to three months' imprisonment. Now, on the principles of some gentlemen, this law, for the exclusion of papists from the Turf, was just as rightfully an unalterable feature of the constitution, though a feature not quite so prominent, as the law for the exclusion of papists from parliament: nay, if there were any difference in point of authority between the two, the horse law had rather the highest pretension, because it originated under king William himself, in the very year of our great Revolution. When, in 1791, the parliament revoked the power of the magistracy to tender the test, they thereby virtually abrogated also the penal enactments upon the horses 513 owner who should refuse to take it; and we had hitherto supposed, that they had done that very judiciously; but, from the argument now under consideration, which he did not see how the hon. member for Corfe Castle could help adopting, who made exclusion his hobby, it should seem that parliament made no small mistake, in thereby dismantling one of the bulwarks of the constitution; that it would have been happier, if, in 1791, some cautious patriot had whispered his too easy country, that she should keep the "equo ne credite" more steadfastly in view—that she was bound by her constitution to preserve all her establishments exclusively Protestant, down even to her very racks and mangers. It was now, he feared, too late. The stable door had been imprudently thrown open to the insidious Pope; and though we had him still debarred from the mansion house, he was nestled irremoveably in the hay-loft [laughter and cheers].
If, then, there was no general immunity for all the laws left standing by king William's parliaments, was there any thing about this statute of Charles the second in particular, to distinguish it from its cotemporary laws, and endow it with a special charter of unalterability? Why, it had been already altered, time after time. First by the statute of William and Mary, which had remoulded the section, prescribing the oath! a second time, by a statute of George 2nd, which had repealed the material section, requiring tests from the royal household; a third time, by the 31st of George 3rd, which had repealed the still more important section, whereby papists were once excluded from court; so that there had actually, by this time, been more taken away than left standing of that great constitutional protection, which we were still told it would be destruction to us to break in upon, or even to touch [hear!].
But, gentlemen imagined they had entrenched themselves on a still stronger ground of constitutional principle, when they argued, that the reasons assigned for this bill would lead to the extent of releasing our sovereigns, as well as our parliaments, from any test of their Protestant faith. If a test be necessary as a safeguard for our Protestant throne, why, ask they, is it not equally necessary for the safeguard of our Protestant parliament? To that question he would answer—and it Was one perpetually put as 514 if it were unanswerable—the reason why you may exclude a Catholic from the throne, consistently with your admission of him into parliament, is this: that though the essentially Protestant principle of the constitution, which required, that not only on the whole, but that in each of its three branches, the legislature be Protestant, would not be affected in any conceivable degree by the admission of half a score Catholics into a body of several hundred Protestants, whose aggregate character those Catholics would be so much too few to change, or even to modify, yet that Protestant principle would be not merely endangered, but absolutely destroyed, if you were to fill the supreme place, which in its nature only a single individual can fill, with an individual who should not be Protestant. One Catholic would change the whole character of the Crown; while fifty Catholics would no more make any change in the character of the parliament, than fifty admirals or colonels would convert it to a council of war. That, in one word, was the reason why no inconsistency was chargeable on the proposal of admitting a few Catholics into a Protestant parliament, which would equally continue to be Protestant still, and yet excluding any Catholic from that Protestant throne, which his single accession would reduce to be Protestant no longer [hear, hear!].
Now, if the old reasons for exclusion had ceased, he begged the House to observe, to what point they were in danger of being led by the argument for the continuance of restrictions proceeding on the ground of their original necessity. It was only in this very parliament that his right hon. friend the Secretary for the Home Department, had entitled himself to the public thanks by his prompt and vigorous co-operation with the government of Ireland, in applying a legislative check to the temporary disorders of that kingdom. By that check, the whole political benefit of the British constitution was taken, for a necessary season, from our Irish fellow subjects. That necessity was very generally felt: no strenuous resistance was offered by the great body of opposition. The measure was renewed for a single year at a time, till at length its necessity was happily at an end. But, what would the House have said to a British minister, who, instead of allowing the remedy to cease with the disorder, as his right hon. friend had done, should 515 have ventured to propose that this disfranchising enactment, vitally requisite as it was to Ireland under flagrant rebellion, should be prolonged for all time to come, and consecrated as a canon of the constitution? Who would have consented that the painful resorts of our necessity should thus be strained into the rules of our life? And yet, precisely such a policy it was, only less harshly glaring, because mellowed a little by age, which the perpetuators of the tests would have us uphold, not merely, as in the Irish case, against a promiscuous mass of what are now called pauper freeholders, but against those individuals who, if any class of our fellow subjects might, without indecorum, be presumed less open than the rest to possibility of disaffection, would be peculiarly entitled to the benefit of that presumption—holders of the greatest stake—occupiers of the highest station—royalists by ancient remembrance and the bond of a common adversity—and, more than all, by the honourable, even if mistaken politics, of that tory religion for which yet their brother tories would reject them! Not that, if we turned to our history, we should find that the cause of civil liberty had wanted its champions among the Catholics. He was bound, indeed, to admit, that if Catholics were really dangerous subjects at this day, little argument of a constitutional tenor could be raised for admitting them into the legislature, from the mere fact that in other and dissimilar times the charter of our liberties was won by Catholics: just as, on the other hand, he was entitled to insist, that if the Catholic of this day is not a dangerous subject, the misdeeds of his ancestors in certain dark and widely different ages, afford no constitutional plea for his disfranchisement now [hear, hear!]. But, at all events, it would be fair to say, apply your measure equally—if you visit upon the Catholic the sins of his fathers, beyond even the third or the fourth generation, do not bar him from his interest in his father's deservings [hear, hear!]. When the striking fact was first pointed out, that of the Baronies, by whose lords Magna Charta was acquired from king John, the only four now extant as baronies are in the tenure of Catholic peers; that fact he apprehended was appealed to by the noble, member for Aylesbury less in argument, than as a matter of feeling. But it did become a question of argument, and of very serious argument too, what 516 impression of the constitution you were producing upon your people, if you were thus to tell one vast body of them, that in their entire case, the constitution had for ever repealed that great law of nature, and of all civilized society, which had made the merits of the parent a transmissible inheritance to his children—if you were thus to tell them, that while the state expected the services of all her subjects, her constitution had cut off one of the strongest of all human inducements to serve her [hear, hear, hear!]? What zeal (said the hon. gentleman) do you think would have been felt for your liberties by those Howards, and Talbots, and Arundels, and Cliffords, who won not only your original charter under John, but its repeated confirmations and enlargements in subsequent reigns, while a Catholic nobleman was yet under no incapacity to labour in the cause of our common country—With what heart would they have risked, as they did, their lands and their lives, to lay the first ground-works of that constitution, beneath whose shelter it is your pride to dwell, if they had dreamed that a time was to come when their posterity, and the posterity, of Catholics like themselves, alone of all the nobility, of these kingdoms, must be shut out without an accuser, without a crime, without even a surviving suspicion, from the threshold of its protection and its privilege [repeated cheering]?
If, then, all the ancient reasons for restriction were thus extinct, as well those which operated in earlier times as those which had been assigned in the statute of Charles the 2nd, and in the arrangements of the Revolution, insomuch that the law of exclusion could stand no longer upon them, but must rest, if at all, upon other reasons of a more modern necessity to the constitution, then he presumed to say, that upon principle the supporters of the tests were now precisely in the same situation in which they would be, if, with the expiration of the old reasons, the old law itself had expired also, and they were now introducing a bill to renew it for a further term. He had listened in vain, through many a debate, for any suggestion of danger or inconvenience from the abrogation of the tests, which could possibly be urged in favour of a proposal for renewing them if expired He was not surprised that no such suggestion had been offered: for, indeed, what appropriate 517 ground—nay, what plausible topic, even of those which once and long were popular, would the proposer of such a renewal be now in a condition, with common gravity, to dilate upon? Not the danger of a popish pretender, from the issue of king James; there survived no such aspirant. Any dispute, it even disputableness, in the royal succession? The Crown had been uninterruptedly transmitted through six successive demises.—The ambition of an over-reaching pontiff? The dim reflection of her classic antiquity was all the lustre that now remained to Rome.—The project long imputed to the Catholics, for recovering, the forfeited estates? He would not ask the House to disbelieve the imputation, because the Catholics themselves denied that design; not because the proposed measure would afford them no facilities for that design; nor yet because the obliterating hand of time had made that design impracticable, by effacing four-fifths of the forfeited titles,—but because the leading classes of the Catholics themselves had become extensively the purchasers of the forfeited lands [hear, hear!], and whatever interest therefore they might formerly have had in promoting the dreaded transfer, the same interest they had now in preventing it, whether to magnify their clergy, or to glut their brethren of the laity [hear, hear!]. Would the renovator of the tests then enlarge upon the probable numbers of the Catholics in parliament, and the influence which those numbers would carry with them? Those numbers, and the probable influence they would carry, would stand in about the proportion which one bears to sixty-five or seventy. But, his hon. friend the under Secretary (Mr. Dawson), in one of the ablest speeches he ever remembered to have heard on this subject, had expressed his apprehension, that a legislature chequered with Catholics, would follow the ancient example of Tyrconnel's popish parliament; a parliament which his hon. friend had described indeed to be so very popish, that it contained only eight Protestants in the House of Commons, and not more than ten in the House of Peers. When he inveighed (continued Mr. Twiss) against the bigotry of that popish parliament with its little sprinkling of Protestants, I could not forbear thinking as he proceeded, that bigotted as they were, at all events they did not exclude those few Protestants for the difference of their religious faith [hear, 518 hear!]. And, when he went on to relate how that Catholic majority upheld and advanced its own Catholic faith, unheeding and unchecked by the handful of Protestants in its number, the inference forced itself upon my mind, that in like manner a Protestant parliament now, would be very little impeded in the maintenance of its Protestant faith, by a similar admixture of Catholics [much cheering]. But, his hon. friend dreaded the insincerity of that religion; and the persecuting spirit which he supposed peculiar to the Catholic religion. Sir (said Mr. Twiss), I venture, though I believe this is an unpopular doctrine, to deny altogether the imputation, that persecution is at all more a-kin to the Catholic than to most other of the many religions which in different ages have been what we call established—that is, connected with the ruling powers of the state [hear, hear!]. Take, for example, the persecutions upon the two main questions which these very tests involve—the nature of the Lord's supper, and the supremacy of the Pope. Henry the eighth will afford a fair illustration, because he was an active partisan upon both these points. He persecuted furiously for the Catholic opinions respecting the nature of the Sacrament: that you will attribute to his breeding up in popery. But he persecuted just as furiously against the supremacy of the Pope; was it popery that prompted him to that? Bishop Bonner committed his murders on behalf of the Catholic faith; and you will say it was popery that spurred him on; but was it popery too that led Cranmer to burn men alive for the Protestant faith? Or, when Trajan set the aqueducts of pagan Rome afloat in Christian blood, was there any pope in the plot, with Apollo and with Jupiter [hear, hear!]? Whatever may have been the motives of the manifold persecutions which, in various ages, have vexed the world, and I believe they have much oftener been motives of a political than of a religious character, however religion may have served to gloss them, I am satisfied, that the danger of their recurrence has passed away for ever [hear, hear]. Persecution was endured in other days, from the same ignorance on the part of the people, as to their own just rights and physical powers, which induced them to put up with its kindred evil, political oppressions; but, if a new Henry, or a new Mary, or a new Elizabeth, were to arise in these days, we 519 should no more allow them to give their bishops commissions for burning us, than we should let them arm their privy councils with arbitrary powers to imprison and fine [hear!].
But, there were some, who not fearing much in our days from the faggot or the rack, were yet unrecovered from the apprehensions excited by the associations in Ireland: gentlemen who, having previously inclined to a liberal course, were now induced to withhold their support, by the notable fallacy, that concession ought not to be made this year, lest the House should seem to have been frightened into a vote. If, after the angry demonstrations of those bodies, the House had hurried then, for the first time, to a vote of concession, there might have been some colour for the imputation of timidity: but bearing in mind, that bill after bill for the relief of the Catholics had passed this House in this very parliament, and failed only in another stage, he begged to ask which symptom, after this, would be more indicative of fear—to hold steadfastly on in the adopted line, without heed to the passing alarms of the day, or to abandon the course thus deliberately chosen and pursued, because there had been a little agitation in the wind? He would put it individually to every member of those majorities which had hitherto carried the question through this House, which course would afford to his constituents and to the world the better assurance of his firmness, that he should maintain his consistency by his votes on this question, or that, in an access of panic, he should retract and upset the mature resolves of years [hear hear!]? Before gentlemen, who had previously supported this measure, should resolve to abandon it now rather than risk the imputation of fear, he begged them to consider, whether, if there be any such a thing as being frightened into a vote, there may not also be such a thing as being frightened out of it? He begged them to consider, whether their credit for courage would stand much higher, if they should be called on to make their election, and act, at the same time (as come that time must, if ever war should break out again) when Ireland, arming in the general excitement, should hold her weapons ready to be guided, as the policy of England should guide them, either for our defence, or, which God avert, for our dismemberment [loud cheering]. England would relieve 520 her then, and better then than never. But, he would have no man flatter himself with the delusion, that the concessions which he might subscribe with a drawn sword at his throat would ever be set down as the result of any very fearless, philosophical deliberation on his part [cheers].
Besides, as to the fears imputed from these recent associations, they could never be imputed again; for the associations themselves, the source of the fear, had ceased to exist. Ireland, the quarter of the empire most largely and directly to be affected by the proposed concessions, had for some time past been so free from her wonted disturbance and distress, that in the annual balance of our affairs, which was graciously communicated from the throne to parliament, that kingdom had this year, for the first time, he believed, within the memory of man, been carried to the credit side of the public account. Even the act for suppressing her political societies—which, however, on the ground of necessity, it might be justified, could certainly never be regarded there as gracious—even that law had been followed, on the part of the Catholics as well as of their opponents, by the most peaceful and implicit acquiescence. He had a right, therefore, to argue, that the danger of the associations was over: if it was not—if the act for suppressing them had not removed the danger—if it was not to have the effect of restoring security and confidence, that highly penal act had been obtained from parliament under a delusion. He was sure his right hon. friend, the secretary for Ireland, would not tell him that—would not tell him that it had been any other than a measure of safety as well as of necessity. Necessary he believed it to have been; because he felt that the leaders of the Catholic population were the more dangerous, inasmuch as the grievances which they harped upon, and perhaps exaggerated, were, in no small proportion, actual and real—but, he must say, that after thus putting down the exaggerators of the grievances, the least that parliament could do now was, to put down the grievances themselves [hear hear!]. And if the Catholic religion had been, as some alleged, too often made the cloak of dangerous designs against the state, a cloak which they were resolved they would not encourage any subject of this realm to wear—could they believe, after the experience of so many unhappy years, that 521 theirs was a policy which would be likely to induce him to cast that cloak aside? The very fables of our childhood would teach a sounder wisdom. They would tell how the wayfaring man, who, when assailed by the tempest, gathered the folds of his garment but the more closely about him, relaxed before the kindly influences of a gentler sun, and opened his bosom to its warmth [cheering].
The weapons of the anti-catholic party were not always of the temper which a prudent combatant would desire to wield; but there was one topic of theirs which he could not forbear to borrow, he meant that favourite suggestion about the great extent to which concession had already been carried in favour of the still vexed, still unsatisfied, Catholics. No doubt concession had been made to a great extent—that was precisely his argument—and the larger the boons which parliament had granted, and the oftener parliament had granted them, the more it made for his case. For, wherefore had they granted so much to the Catholics? Not, of course from fear; not, undoubtedly, from favour; but because on each single occasion, when, as trustees of the public safety, parliament had felt themselves justified in sanctioning some fresh concession in the series, the circumstances upon which they acted, the visible effects of previous boons upon the behaviour of the Catholics, had been such as to satisfy reasonable men that each new concession respectively would be free from any danger to the public weal; so that each of the consecutive relaxations, instead of being an argument against more, had, in truth, been a successful experiment; showing how completely the welfare of the state, the only legitimate test of any penal or exclusive legislation, may consist, and has long consisted, with even a progressive concession,[hear, hear!].
Under these circumstances, he heartily congratulated the hon. baronet, the mover of this proceeding, on the time at which it had been his good fortune, and he would presume to add, his good judgment, to urge the bill to its present stage. Again and again, when measures had been proposed for restoring our Catholic fellow-subjects to their place in the constitution, it had been said, that they had mistaken their time—that though the principle might be sound, the season at all events was unsuitable. And the people of this country, always unapt to 522 entertain abstract constitutional considerations, were slowest of all to admit the participation of new associates in their political rights; so that the honest pride which they felt in the possession of those rights had, perhaps, heretofore been a little too exclusive. But, the repeated discussions and investigations in and out of parliament, had at length let in the light; the better informed classes of the people no longer allowed themselves to be overcast by the cloud of petitions, compelled from all the usual quarters, but not now, as formerly, unanswered by others of a larger and more liberal tenor; insomuch, that an opinion had gone abroad, how well founded, he would not stay to inquire, but undoubtedly, a very general belief, as men are prone to believe what they wish, that the success which had hitherto attended the Catholics here, was to speed the present bill through another House of parliament. The grounds of that opinion he did not know; but this he did know, that it was an opinion tending powerfully to work out its own fulfilment—that when once the more enlightened classes of the people had become persuaded that parliament was likely to grant a particular relief, because it was a relief which parliament ought to grant, the time was not very far off when that relief would be granted. If then, in any former debate, any adversary of the Catholics had gained himself a momentary triumph, by objecting that the time was inconvenient—that there were wars raging abroad, or disturbances at home—that there were dangerous demagogues on that side of the water, or popular alarms against popery on this—to any such adversary the hon. baronet was entitled to say. "Our turn is come now to make a vantage ground of time. The wars you told us of have subsided into the profoundest peace; instead of the disturbances you used to dwell upon, we have tranquillity and industry, and competence round about us; the agitators of Ireland are silenced by the law; and if, since their suppression, voices are yet heard in support of the Catholic cause, they are the voices of the people of England that you hear." Unless, therefore, gentlemen would venture to put their case upon the issue that no time could ever be fit for reinstating their fellow-subjects in the constitution—a length which he remembered to have heard no less firm an anti-catholic than Mr. Perceval in that place 523 declare that he at least would not venture to go—unless they were prepared to put the original principle of the constitution to a violent death, in order that they might render this favourite exception immortal; he would now take his stand before them upon the auspicious character of the present time, and claim from them an equalization, which now not only every general principle, but every reason of temporary expediency were alike combining to recommend and to enforce [hear, hear!].
He trusted he had now made the proposition with which he began, namely, that the constitution to which gentlemen had appealed was not of the exclusive character which they would impute to it; that the dangers which might once have existed as constitutional reasons for exclusion were altogether at an end; and that no others had arisen since to supply their place. And these considerations had the greater force, because, even if the Catholics were proved to entertain any, or all of the objects which had often been imputed to them, no man had yet uttered one single syllable to show in what manner the proposed relaxation would assist in advancing their energies. Nay, on the contrary, it should seem that parliament would be diminishing the power of the Catholics by removing the sympathy with their wrongs [hear, hear!].
After trespassing so long on the indulgence of the House, there was only one other consideration which, before he should sit down, he wished to offer to their notice, because it was materially connected with the view which he had taken of this debate. And, when he should state the source from which he drew it, he trusted it would be some authority against the harsh doctrine, that a severe law, necessary once, must be necessary for ever. He quoted it from no Catholic rescript—from no speculative tract upon political or upon religious liberty; but he quoted it from the Statute-book of the realm: from a statute too, not made in the vacillating Protestantism of Henry 8th, not in the blood-thirsty spleen of Philip and Mary—not even in the bold liberality of Elizabeth—but made in the reasonably ancient, and unexceptionably Protestant reign of the Sixth Edward. It was the Statute 1 Ed. 6th, chap. 12, the great Constitutional act, which abrogated all the persecuting laws, "concerning religion or opinions," which 524 cut off the new-fangled treasons and restored the law of Edward 3rd; and which repealed that enormous statute of Henry 8th, whereby the proclamations of the king bad been invested with the authority of an act of parliament. After reciting, that "rebellion and insurrection, and such mischiefs had made it necessary to enact laws which might appear to men of exterior realms (for even then it was that foreigners had their eyes on our religious dissensions), and many of the king's subjects, very strait, sore, extreme, and terrible, although they were then, when they were made, not without great consideration and policy moved and established, and for the time very expedient and necessary;" the preamble to this important statute concludes, as he would do, in the following words—"But as in tempest or winter one course and garment is convenient, in calm or warm weather a more liberal case or lighter garment, both may and ought to be followed and used; so we have seen divers strait and sore laws made in one parliament, the time so requiring, in a more calm and quiet reign of another prince by the like authority, and parliament repealed and taken away: the which most high clemency and royal example the king's highness willing to follow, is contented and pleased that the severity of certain laws be mitigated and remitted, upon trust that his subjects will not abuse the same, but rather be encouraged thereby more faithfully, and with more diligence (if it may be) and care for his majesty, to serve his highness."—The hon. and learned gentleman sat down amid loud and repeated cheering from all sides of the House.
§ Mr. Hart Davis
said, he was anxious to address the House not only from a feeling of the importance of the subject before them, but because of the deep interest which is constituents had always manifested in regard to it. The main question rested on this foundation; namely, that the British Constitution was essentially Protestant, and that it was therefore necessary to have a Protestant king. Under these premises, it would be a waste of time to endeavour to prove the necessity of both Houses of parliament being Protestant. The advocates for the Roman Catholic claims allowed that the constitution was Protestant, and that it was not only necessary to have a Protestant king on the Throne, but that the king's advisers should be Protestant, and that the great 525 offices of State must be filled by Protestants. If this were so, he would contend, that the Roman Catholics would still not be placed on the footing of equality with Protestants; and he asked, what reason had we to believe that they would be more satisfied with the present concessions than with those which had already been granted them? Would the Catholic clergy be satisfied without sharing the property of the Protestant Church of Ireland? The very reluctant consent which was given by the Roman Catholic bishops to the proposal for granting stipendiary allowances to the Catholic clergy would seem to give a decided answer to this question. When Roman Catholics were allowed to sit in parliament, and in the privy council, what security could the king have that he would be upheld in any measures which he might deem vitally necessary for the security of the Protestant church and state? Was it decent or just, that parliament should expect the king to be a Protestant, whilst they gave him Roman Catholic counsellors? Was the king the only man in his dominions who was to be bound down by the severest penalty to a particular form of worship? Was the Roman Catholic religion now, or had it ever been so little encroaching in its general character, that it might safely be trusted with any portion of political power in the confidence that it would never be abused? On this latter point, it was his unqualified belief, that the Catholics would never be satisfied until they had first been placed on a footing of entire equality with the Protestants; and subsequently, he feared they would struggle hard for the superiority. He would, therefore, resist their encroachments to the utmost, by refusing to give them any increased political power. Let them have toleration to the utmost extent to which it could be granted with safety to the state; but, if the country was to have a Protestant king, let them maintain also a Protestant parliament, in order to hand down to their posterity that pure and undefiled religion, and those liberties and privileges, which they had received from their forefathers. He had read much on the subject, and had heard all that had been said upon it in the House for more than twenty years; yet, his opinions were unchanged, and he must, consequently deprecate the passing of this measure. He put it to the advocates for the Catholic claims, whether it would be prudent 526 to make concessions at that moment, after the House had been so lately bearded by the association in Dublin. He should give his hearty dissent to the third reading of the bill, confident that he was thereby serving the best interests of his country.
Mr. C. Grant
said, he was not disposed to go at any great length into the discussion of the present question, after the able manner in which it had been already argued. The subject was now nearly exhausted; but, without going into the general details, he could not resist the opportunity of stating his opinion of its necessity, for the sake of the tranquillity of Ireland. He regretted that the question had been viewed with so little reference to its effect upon the condition of that country—that Ireland, the great element in the consideration of the case, had been so little alluded to. It was to all intents an Irish question. Its chief bearing was upon that country. He was sorry, therefore, that his hon. friend (sir R. H. Inglis) had not grappled with the question—how were they to deal with Ireland, if this bill was not passed? This was the real, the most important point for the consideration of the House; and he would beg to ask any honourable member prepared to give his vote against this bill, what was to be done with Ireland in case of its rejection? Some honourable members seemed to think, that a partial concession would secure the tranquillity of that country—that the eligibility of a few Catholic barristers to the honour of a silk gown would have that effect: but, when they had to deal with six millions of people, seeking for the restoration of their civil rights, it was a mockery to rest upon a point of this kind. It was not on this point that the supporters of the bill rested. They took their ground on the broad constitutional principle, that every man should be admitted to an eligibility to that rank and office which he might claim as a British subject. The opponents of the measure made their stand on the exception to that principle. He was not bound, as a supporter of the general principle, to answer all the objections, which rested on consequences resulting from the exception; but, he would ask the supporters of the exception, what had they done to secure the tranquillity of Ireland? Had they succeeded to the extent, that they might now rely with confidence in the affection of the people 527 of that country? He contended that, as long as the present exclusive system lasted, no firm reliance could be placed on the duration of the tranquillity of Ireland But, some honourable gentlemen founded their objections to an alteration of the existing system, on the very evils which it had produced. It was said, that the Irish people were not contented—that they would never become so, under any modification of the laws. He would ask those honourable members, had they ever attempted to make them contented? Had any attempt been made to remove the cause of the discontent? Why, then, should its continuance be urged against an amelioration of the condition of the Irish people? One objection to the present bill, which had fallen from the last speaker, rather surprised him. It was asked, would it not be a hardship on the king, that he must be Protestant, while the counsellors by whom he was surrounded might be Catholic? But, he in turn, would ask, was not that the case already? The king, by the act of settlement, must necessarily be Protestant; and that must continue to be the law, whether the present bill passed or not. Another objection was, that the bill would sanction a communication between the Pope and the Catholic clergy of this country; and that then Protestants could not take that part of the oath of supremacy, which said, that the Pope had not nor ought to have any ecclesiastical authority within these realms. But, that communication was recognized by the act which tolerated Catholic prelates and priests in this country. It was recognised by the establishment of Maynooth college, in Ireland; in which, though there were Protestant visitors to inspect the general regulations, the Catholic visitors alone could direct and regulate the doctrine and discipline, as far as related to matters of religion, and those Catholic visitors, many of them prelates, were known to be in constant communication with the see of Rome. As to the other part or the objection, which related to the oath of supremacy, he would ask, in what sense did honourable members already take that oath? Could any man deny that the Pope had some spiritual authority within those realms; and would it be contended, that such authority would cease to exist if this bill was rejected?—The right hon. gentleman then proceeded to observe, that it seemed to be forgotten that we had hitherto been 528 legislating for the people of Ireland, as for men quite passive—not as for a nation of sensitive beings, who had feelings and passions like other men, and who were more bound by feelings of attachment for kindness conferred, than by coercion; that we lost sight of the moral influence of the penal laws, which were calculated to degrade those on whom they operated: and that, when it was objected to any enlightened foreigner, that the government of his country had not accommodated itself to the more liberal spirit of the age, his ready answer was, "Look at the state in which you keep Ireland." From such degradation he would wish to have Ireland emancipated. He would also wish to see the English nation and the English legislature freed from the stain which had so long rested on them, by the continuance of the penal code.—As to the objection, founded upon the writings of Dr. Doyle, under the signature of "J. K. L.," he thought it was unjust as against the principle of this measure. He did not stand there as a defender of those writings. On the contrary, he regretted that a prelate of his great piety and extensive learning should have suffered his zeal to have hurried him beyond what his more mature judgment might not approve. He was sorry that to the zeal and energy of a Bossuet, he had not joined the meekness and charity of a Fenelon. But, when he made this observation, he could not forget that, there was a great distinction to be drawn between the cool and frank communication between friend and friend, and the feelings of an indignant writer describing the wrongs of his country. The House were bound to consider the extent of the provocation. For some time back, scarcely a day passed over, in which the press and the pulpit did not teem with accusations against the Catholics, charging them with the most improper conduct, assailing their religion, and ascribing to them principles and actions which they detested just as sincerely as he did. He lamented very much that provocations should have been given to call forth this indignant retort, as much as he deplored those legislative enactments, fixing a stigma on the Catholics on account of their religious faith, and branding them as persons undeserving the smallest confidence, and unfit for the enjoyment of those privileges which were accessible by all the sectarians. It had been argued, that this measure would not affect 529 the great body of the people of Ireland. Was it nothing, he begged to ask, that the religion of that great body should be branded with a stigma—that its professors should be constantly held up as unworthy to be trusted with any office or place of trust under the government of which they were subjects? These were circumstances deeply felt by all; even by those who could not expect to be directly benefitted by a change in the system. They created a feeling of discontent and dissatisfaction common to all classes.Spiritus intus alit, totamque infusa per artus Mens agitat molem, et magno se corpore miscet.
He would trespass on the attention of the House for a few moments longer, while he stated his impression of the necessity of this measure from his own experience. His earliest conviction had been in favour of Catholic emancipation; but when he commenced his official career in Ireland, he was told there that that opinion would give way to his more extended knowledge of the people of that country. It was urged, that his first impression was the result of the warmth and ardour of youth, but that it would be corrected by the knowledge and experience which his official situation would enable him to acquire. These matters were so often and so earnestly urged, that he began to suspect he had imbibed a very wrong notion, in his advocacy of the Catholic claims. However, he did acquire further information and more extensive knowledge of the Irish people, and of the real condition in which they were placed; and the result was, that though they might have mellowed his former feelings, they still served to confirm them. He saw in Ireland—and it convinced him of the delicate situation in which any government must stand in that country as long as emancipation was delayed—that the penal laws had placed an almost insuperable bar between the government and the great body of the people—that they took away that union between the governors and governed, so essential to the purposes of good government—that they destroyed that sympathy with the people which was felt in this country, and which produced a due respect for the laws, and those by whom they were administered. The penal code rendered England almost blind to the true situation of Ireland. Her dark side was turned towards us; and we bad to grope our way in the dark, to the immense mass, formi- 530 dable, as Mr. Burke observed "by the very activity of its inertness." But, the population of Ireland was not an inert mass. It was active, and sensibly alive to all the sufferings it had undergone—to all the indignities under which it still laboured. He had found in the course of his experience, that what remained of the penal code was enough to destroy every thing like security, but that it was omnipotent for all the purposes of insult and injury. It threw the great body of the people into opposition to the government; removed them from the fair influence of the aristocracy and landed property; and placed them under that of the clergy, (which he did not mean to deny, if well regulated, would be found eminently useful)—in many instances placed them under the control of the incendiary and assassin, and in others forced the common people to exercise a wild and ferocious justice on the laws themselves. We had acted as if Ireland was not in a fit state for enjoying the benefits of the constitution of England. But why was she not so? We had dealt out hitherto only the severities of that constitution to her. The laws there were in a constant paroxysm of exertion—in a state of habitual effort; which in this country was only the result of occasional necessity. We had passed the Insurrection act, the Arms bill, the Convention act, and other coercive measures of that kind, for the purpose of repressing or punishing outrage. He did not mean to contend that those acts were unnecessary: on the contrary, he took his stand on that necessity. It was on the ground that such violent measures were so frequently called for under the present system, that he now called for a change of that system. He wished the House to try what would be the effect of a system of conciliation. Every thing, for a long series of years in Ireland, had been subjected to the operation of oppressive legislative restrictions. The arts, manufactures, and commerce of that country had been long suffering under a pernicious system of laws. Those laws were now happily removed, to the great advantage of both countries. The penal code, the worst of all, was the only one suffered to remain. Would the House assent that improvement should take place in every thing but the moral and political condition of the people of Ireland? He had heard objections to the conduct and opinions of some members 531 of the Catholic church in Ireland. He had found in that church, as there might be found in all churches, individuals who carried their opinions to extremes; but he had also met those among the Catholic clergy whose conduct would do honour to any Protestant community. Amongst others, he might mention Dr. Everard, the late titular archbishop of Cashel. It gave him great satisfaction to be able to inform the House, that that reverend gentleman had lived on terms of almost fraternal unanimity with the Protestant archbishop of that place. Though they were both zealous friends of the religion which they respectively professed, they lived on terms of the most uninterrupted intimacy, and governed their flocks with the greatest harmony, under the principles of that common Christianity which would be much promoted by the success of the present measure.—He contended that there was nothing in the Catholic religion which prevented a professor of it from being a good subject to a Protestant prince; and in proof of his position, called the attention of the House to the fact, that, though several Catholics, headed by the duke of Guise, had opposed the accession of Henry 4th., then a Protestant, to the crown of France, others of them had zealously supported that monarch's claim to it, under the belief, that he was the sovereign destined by Providence to rule over them. When he heard it stated in that House, that the Roman Cathodes were incapable of a right perception, and that every honourable and generous sentiment was confined to the breast of the Protestant, in answer to such unfounded charges, with the permission of the House, he would read an extract from the preface of Thuanus, to his History of Henry 4th. wherein he observes.—"Nempe ad cetera quibus hoc infestum virtuti seculum scatet mala, religionis dissidium accessit, quod jam toto pene seculo, orbem Christianum continuis motibus vexat et deinceps vexabit, nisi tempestiva remedia, atque adeo alia quam quæ hactenus adhibita sunt, ab iis quorum precipue interest, adhibeantur." He then went on to remark what he wished the House particularly to attend to. "Nam experientiâ satis edocti sumus, ferrum, flammas, exilia, proscriptiones irritasse potiùs quam sanâsse morbum mentiinhœrentem ad quem proindecurandum, non iis quæ in corpus tantum penetrant, sed doctrinâ et sedula institutione quæ in animum leniter instillata descen- 532 dit opus esse." This language, as beautiful as it was true, proceeded from a Roman Catholic author, who wrote several centuries ago, and was abundantly sufficient to refute the unqualified charges which had been so absurdly raised against the Catholics. It was the duty of the legislature to surround the Catholic population with such kind and genial influences as would make them not only faithful subjects, but render them good members of society. In supporting the measure then before the House, and advocating the cause of the Catholics, he wished to guard himself from the charge of indifference to the Protestant religion. He detested that principle which would not suffer you to shew charity to people of opposite opinions, without imputing a dereliction of duty. Every thing which he heard—everything which he had seen—gave prognostic of the future success of the measure on which they were then legislating. It might, by circumstances, be delayed a year or two, but it must ultimately pass. He saw light breaking in upon Ireland through a thousand avenues; every measure that advanced its interests, every relaxation of unjust principles, were so many facilities to Catholic emancipation. He therefore called upon the House most earnestly to render that boon which the progress of knowledge and of religious charity, and the anxiety of the public for the improvement of Ireland, showed must ultimately be granted, delightful and acceptable to those on whom it was to be conferred, by not postponing it to any distant period [cheers].
commenced his speech by adverting to the miraculous conversion of the hon. member for Armagh from a bitter enemy into a warm advocate for Catholic emancipation. He noticed the reasons which that hon. member had given for his conversion, and stated, that they were by no means strong enough to produce a similar change in his mind. He contrasted the extemporaneous evidence of Dr. Doyle before the committees, with the deliberate writings of that individual under the signature of J. K. L., and stated, that with all the respect that he felt for a Catholic bishop, he could not believe him as a witness, when he heard him uttering sentiments directly in the teeth of all that he had written. In Dr. Doyle's opinion, a possession of forty years would create a title in lands sequestrated from the church 533 Here was a direct admission that, if the House of Commons confiscated a part of the property of the church, it only required a lapse of forty years to establish a title in it, So that the effect of this bill would be, to bring a certain portion of Roman Catholics into the House, who would according to their religion, be justified in seeking a part of the Protestant church property. The church, to be sure, might remonstrate. But, what of that? The title would be good in forty years, and she had only to sit down under the loss. The three measures of Catholic emancipation, of the elective franchise bill, and of the proposed establishment for the Catholic clergy, were so blended together, that he could not oppose the first without saying a few words in condemnation of the other measure. With regard to the elective franchise bill, he would declare that it was one of the most unconstitutional measures he had ever heard of. The defenders of it said that it was made an adjunct to the Catholic Relief bill, in order to conciliate Ireland. Good God! to conciliate Ireland! Was the admission of lord Fingall and of Mr. O'Connell to parliament—was the emancipation of the patrician and equestrian orders of the Catholics from the disabilities under which they laboured, calculated to reconcile the general mass of its population to the loss of one of its best and dearest privileges? He would ask the hon. baronet who had brought forward the measure now under the discussion of the House, whether he would consent, for any measure which would benefit the splendid shopkeepers of Bond-street, to disfranchise the baker, the butcher, the tailor, the tinker, et hoc genus omne, who lived in the city, which that hon. baronet had the honour to represent? What did the hon. baronet suppose would be the result, if it were attempted to disfranchise the chimney-sweepers, who, as the hon. baronet well knew, lived in the blind alleys of Westminster, while the shopkeepers and higher orders of the inhabitants were allowed to retain their rights? It was stated, that the elective franchise bill was rendered necessary by the splitting of freeholds which took place in Ireland: but, was Ireland the only part of the empire where such practices took place? Had the hon. baronet never heard of such practices at Brentford? Was property worth only 40l. a-year split into numerous votes in no other country but 534 Ireland? True it was, that such a system might be productive of much fraud and perjury; but it was not on account of morality, it was not on account of religion, it was not on account of the amelioration it would create among the mass of the people, that the supporters of the elective franchise bill wanted to disfranchise the 40s. freeholders; but on account of the political advantages which the passing of it would bestow on the higher ranks of the Catholics. The character which he would give to the elective franchise bill was contained in two words—it was magnum latrocinium [hear, hear]. He could not conjecture by what means Mr. O'Connell could make it palatable to the lower orders of his countrymen. That, however, was Mr. O'Connell's concern, not his; but he could conjecture, that a dialogue of the following nature might ensue between that gentleman and some of the peasantry, whose disfranchisement he had advised:—"Well, Mr. O'Connell, what have you got for us by your journey to England?"—"Oh," Mr. O'Connell might reply, "the duke of Norfolk is to sit in parliament; lord Fingall is to sit in parliament; I may have a silk gown, and may sit in parliament if I am elected."—"This is all very good," the peasant might reply, "but now that you have told us what you have got, pray tell us what we have got."—"You have got!" Mr. O'Connell might reply, "O, you have got a great deal; you have got—well robbed" [a laugh]. He would repeat over and over again, that this bill committed a most flagitious robbery on the rights of the people; and he for one would never consent to give privileges to one class of men, and, uno flatu, to take them from another. He concurred most warmly in the opposition which his learned friends the members for Winchelsea and Nottingham, had given to this measure. He knew that on all occasions he and his learned friends were not men of whom it might be said, "Et cantare pares et respondere parati." He was therefore upon this occasion particularly glad to avail himself of their support. In his apprehension a more unconstitutional measure had never been attempted since the grand forfeiture of the charters before the Revolution. He did not pretend to be a man of deeper research than his neighbours; but this he would say, that after all the research he had made, he could find no case in our annals which formed 535 a parallel to the present. The case of the borough of Nottingham, where the county magistrates were let in to a share of the jurisdiction, which had formerly been exclusively possessed by the magistrates of the corporation, was the only case to which it could beat all assimilated. There was, however, a plausible pretext for that infraction on the rights of the corporate officers of the borough of Nottingham. They had failed to quell certain riots which had occurred within their jurisdiction; and their corrupt conduct, therefore, served as an excuse for the punishment inflicted upon them. No borough had ever yet been disfranchised, without due investigation of the charges brought against it, and without a considerable mass of evidence being taken upon oath to substantiate them. And yet the House was now precipitately going to disfranchise half the voters of Ireland, upon evidence of the most conflicting and unsatisfactory nature; without having got any two individuals whom it had examined, to agree as to the qualification which the freeholders of Ireland were hereafter to possess.—Having said thus much on the elective franchise bill, he would now proceed to the resolution relative to the proposed remuneration of the Catholic clergy. By that resolution they had determined to establish a papal church, armed with all the jurisdiction belonging to papacy. He thought that the House could not be aware how large, how extensive, how perfectly intolerable that jurisdiction was. Were honourable gentlemen aware, that the rite of baptism, the rite of marriage, the rite of sacrament, the rite of entering the church, that of confirmation, that of receiving charity, and that of burial, were all spiritual rites, which could be withheld or not, according to the will of the clergy? Supposing them to be withheld, what relief could the Irish Catholic receive? If the House gave the title of bishops to any of the Catholic clergy, along with the title they must give them all the spiritual jurisdiction of their church. And, if they did give them such jurisdiction, how could they provide against the abuse of it? He threw these points out to the consideration of the House, and trusted that they would not be without their due weight in this discussion. Connected with this subject was the form of oath to be taken by the Catholic bishops of Ireland. Why did these bishops refuse to take the same oath as was taken by the Catholic bishops 536 of Spain? The bishops of that country admitted the supremacy of the sovereign in the oath which they took on their investiture; for in their oath was this clause, "salvis regalibus, et usitatis consuetudinibuset totâ subjectione domini Ferdinandi." Why could not the bishops of Ireland swear with a similar salvo? He complained that there had been a considerable doctoring with the oath to be taken by these prelates. It was different in the bill of 1816, in the bill of 1821, and again in the present bill. He could not say that the present form of it was auctior than it had previously been, because it was shorter; nor emendatior, because it was less correct.—The hon. and learned gentleman went on to describe the jealousy with which the policy of the French government watched the conduct and correspondence of a nuncio resident within their territory, and the regulations by which they secured to the chief officers of government the inspection of his communications from and to Rome, as well after his departure as during his stay. Such was the caution used in a Catholic. state in admitting any emissaries or delegates from that dangerous power—a state, too, which took care previously to secure itself as much as possible, by retaming for the crown of France, against all the papal pretensions, the right of nominating its own bishops. There was no Catholic state in Europe—not even Spain, where the abominable tribunal of the Inquisition prevailed—that did not show something of a corresponding jealousy, in its regulations of the intercourse between the clergy and the see of Rome—that did not compel, by some means, a recognition of the right of the government to keep the ecclesiastics in submission and subjection to the secular power. The term securities, though a word of mere cant as now used, was ridiculous in its application to the present rude and vague law. What security could there be in a commission of Popish bishops, empowered to inspect all communications from Rome, and report thereon to the privy council? What security would there be for abuses in the Treasury, if, instead of those continual checks put upon the financial administration by the House and its members, the chancellor of the Exchequer could prevail upon parliament to appoint instead thereof, a commission to inspect the affairs of the Treasury, composed of four lords of the Treasury? Would not the consti- 537 tuents of the hon. baronet twit him with the fallacy, if he were to propose no better securities for the administration of the money of the nation? Yet, such was his provision for the protection of the national religion. He would not reason gravely upon such securities. A man of sense would be ashamed to throw away the powder and shot of a good argument upon so wretched a proposition. These were not the penalties provided by Mr. Grattan, illustrious alike for his enlightened views and his patriotism, in his bill; nor by his right hon. and learned friend, the Attorney-general for Ireland, in the bill which he bought in. Those bills did carry the principle, that the state must have the opportunity of viewing all documents coming from that quarter; and the power of inspection was given to the great officers of state accordingly. But, it was said that the Catholic religion prohibited the exposure of those sacred documents to the unhallowed eyes of laymen. Not so thought the French government, which, from Henry 4th down to the present time, had always secured for the lay-officers of state that power of inspection. Under the Revolutionary government the same right was claimed; and Napoleon Buonaparte, during his reign, enforced the old law of France, which gave the right of inspecting all such documents. He objected to this measure itself, and to the two other measures which were called its adjuncts or wings.—Though it was hoped these wings would support it in its ærial flight, he trusted they would melt, like those of Icarus, and bring it to the ground.—It had been said, that they must not look to old calendars or musty records, for the doctrines and practice of the Roman Catholic church—that times had altered with the spirit of the age. But, what was the practice of that church at present? Would his hon. and learned—he was about to say his right reverend friend (Mr. Brougham)—such an advocate for free inquiry, and the spread of knowledge—would he legalise a jurisdiction, the principle of which was to prevent the people from reading the Scriptures, or hearing them read in the vernacular tongue? [Here the hon. and learned gentleman read a letter from the present Pope, stating the evils which the perusal of the Scriptures was calculated to produce on uneducated minds, and throwing some derision on Bible Societies.] He saw round him many gentlemen who be- 538 longed to such societies. Those who exerted themselves in circulating the Scriptures, were treated in the letter as a sort of strollers. They were called delirantes homines; so that every person was deemed delirans homo who contributed his money or his exertions to the meritorious work of placing the sacred volume in the hands of all who were capable of reading. This he looked upon as nothing less than a libel on the people of England. The established church was not called in this document "Ecclesia Angliæ," but, by a sort of nickname, Protestantism.—His right hon. friend (Mr. C. Grant) in that able and eloquent speech which he had just delivered, contended that, as there no longer existed any Pretender to the Crown of these realms, the motive for the exclusion of Roman Catholics no longer existed. In this, be differed from his right hon. friend. As to the public feeling upon the subject, there were 253 petitions against Catholic concession, and 54 in its favour. This, he thought, was a pretty strong proof of the sentiments out of doors [no, no!]. The gentlemen opposite might say, that they had made no exertions to procure petitions. He was entitled to assume the same, upon the part of those who had presented adverse petitions. It was also said, that the majority of the petitions was from clergymen. This was not the case; as but 66 of them were clerical. Acting under the dictates of his conscience, and to the best of his judgment, he felt bound to oppose the measure. He could not follow the example of the respectable member for Armagh. He could never renounce his old errors of Protestantism. As to the wings of the bill, the moral one for the disfranchisement of the freeholders must fail; and as a constitutional lawyer, "so help him God," he must, upon conscience and conviction, oppose it to the utmost. The ecclesiastical adjunct of the bill for paying the clergy, was, if possible, more objectionable. Parliament never could consent to vote money for the purpose of bending down six millions of people in a degrading and dishonourable slavery to a spiritual thraldom, which assumed the power of excommunication and eternal perdition, if its victims were only to venture to read the word of God, or to offer up their prayers to him, without leave first obtained of a priest. He would, therefore, conclude, by moving an amendment, "That the bill be read a third time this day six months."
§ Mr. Huskisson
said, that after the ample, frequent, and, above all, the able discussions this question had received—after the powerful and interesting speech made by his hon. and learned friend who had just sat down, the greater part of which referred to the subject which occupied their attention last night—he felt he owed to the House some apology for trespassing .upon them at all; but it might afford gentlemen some satisfaction to be assured that he would confine himself to the smallest bound of discussion upon the subject. It was, however, impossible for him to give a silent vote upon a question of such importance. With regard to those events which were gone by, there were no circumstances of his long parliamentary life which he could review with more sincere pleasure and satisfaction than the conscientious votes which he had given, upon many occasions for the restoration of the Catholics to their constitutional rights, and for the partial or total repeal of those disabilities under which they laboured. The motive of this conduct was not because he would extend more favour to Catholics than he would to others; and he would now state, that, with all deference to the talent and ability displayed by the hon. baronet, the member for Dundalk, he could scarcely help supposing, when he heard the hon. baronet's arguments, that the question was, whether the Catholic religion was to be established, or merely to be tolerated by the law of the land. He had nothing whatever to do with the spirit, or the tenets, or the doctrines of that religion. In the practices and intentions of the Romish hierarchy he could see nothing to dread were they even wickedly inclined. He owed the Catholics no favour whatever, He differed from many members in that respect. He was under no political obligation of any kind to them; but, he owed it to justice to vote for the removal of their disabilities. He thought it but justice that those penalties and disabilities which afflicted them should be removed, when the evils for which they were supposed to be the remedy had ceased to exist. This feeling alone would influence his vote; but he also thought he owed it to his country to support the measure, for other important reasons. By withholding the privileges sought for, we should be acting dangerously, as we retarded the prosperity of the country, in time of peace; by so doing we rendered that peace less permanent 540 and secure: and when war occurred, we impaired our resources and divided and distracted the energies of the country when they ought to be brought, by a common effort, to act against the common enemy. He would not enter much at large into this part of the subject; but he could not refrain from observing that the objections made by the hon. and learned Solicitor-general to the bill brought in by the hon. member for Stafford, and to the present measure were not upon broad grounds. His objection merely went to this—that the securities offered were not satisfactory. If this were the case others could be introduced. He had not heard that the constitution would fail, if the measure were carried. The other objections went also to matters of detail, and did not involve any general principle. He would not attempt to enter into that principle at present; and if he felt disposed to do so, he did not see how it was within his power. The discussion upon the general principle had been long exhausted. All that historical learning and constitutional research could supply—every appeal that ingenuity and eloquence could make to the generosity and justice of the House—we had been brought to the consideration of the question, and with a degree of success, which he trusted, would now attend it. He would, therefore, waive the investigation of the principle, and apply his attention to the pressing and urgent nature of the subject, as it affected Ireland. And, though he thought the claims of the English Catholics were powerful and cogent in justice and in reason, yet as compared with those of the Catholics of Ireland, he considered them comparatively unimportant; and that, but for the situation of Ireland, they would be easily adjusted. He was free to admit, that in a country possessing a Protestant establishment, such a number of Catholics as existed in Ireland was an evil of great magnitude. It was an evil, speaking generally, but it was attended with peculiar circumstances, as affecting Ireland. The government of this country had, at a former period, imported thither the Protestant religion. The transfer of the church property to the ministers of the reformed religion was not accompanied with the transfer of the feelings, affections, or religious belief of the inhabitants. Still, the act of union, following in the stream of time, confirmed that property in the religion of the state, and it was now irre- 541 coverable This was wisely done: because, to shake the inviolability of the church property, or that of any other kind, was to affect the stability of all property, and thereby to subvert the foundations of all civil order and good government. He now would ask the House that question which he was in the habit of asking himself, when he came to the consideration of the subject—What is the nature of that evil to be considered: is it such that it will wear itself out; will it increase day alter day; and has it at present attained such a portentous size, that it must of necessity endanger the peace and tranquillity of the country?—This was the practical question which he asked of himself. And the next question he asked was—Since this evil existed year after year, what was the remedy which parliament ought to apply? It was a good old dictum of that House; that there was no political evil of such a magnitude, that parliament was not bound and was not able to find a remedy! He was also aware that the same question was asked by some hon. members opposed to the question, and who came to a conclusion, that something ought to be done. He would now ask them what that something ought to be? He would ask them, did they hope for the conversion of all the Roman Catholics to the Protestant church? He wished to God such an expectation could be realized. It would, in his opinion, be a source of advantage and benefit to the state. But such was an idle expectation—it was too visionary for discussion. Of this he was sure, that if there was a chance for individual conversion by the exertion of individual zeal, such chance was destroyed, as long as we shut the door against freedom of discussion, and by our pains and penalties and disabilities, checked the light which might be diffused from the knowledge of Protestant doctrines. The Catholics would not remain in their present situation. It was impossible, when we took into consideration their increasing numbers in wealth; when we reflected upon the diffusion of knowledge especially amongst the higher classes, who devoted themselves to professions. They were encouraged in their claims by the example of other countries—by the sympathy and approbation they experienced from many of the Protestants of this country—by the majority of this House, exclusively Protestant—and by a considerable number of the members of 542 the other House. The hope that they would, under such circumstances, desist from their claims, would be, if possible, more visionary than the expectation of their general conversion.—He would now come to his other question, and ask what should be done for the removal of those dangers which threatened Ireland? And here he would assume for the sake of argument, that danger was to be apprehended from this great change in our laws and institutions. He would descend into the particulars of that danger. In what did it consist? Was it such a one as men of firm and manly minds, accustomed to the difficulties inseparable from legislation, would not shrink from; or was it such as was calculated to appal men who were not afraid of ordinary difficulties? It was, in his opinion, a truth that danger arose from comparison; and in this case, the course leading to the least should be adopted. Twenty-five years had elapsed since the time of the Union; and during that period the attention of the House had been often called to the consideration of this question; and the House, as in duty bound, had applied all its attention to the subject. They knew, as they ought to know, the difficulties attending it. Those who had not the benefit of local knowledge, had opportunities of being informed, from the testimony of various members who took a part in the discussion; of men who were not prevented by a want of nerve from looking difficulties in the face. Look to the opinion of the gallant member for Westmeath. He tells you, that he had violent prejudices upon the subject; that it was with the utmost reluctance he surrendered them. He tells you of the danger of the present state of things; and that if the measure be not granted, it cannot be postponed. He knows from his habits of life, the value of 10,000 well-disciplined troops; and he tells you, that if this question be carried, you will do more for the peace of Ireland, than you can effect by an augmentation of your forces to that extent. Upon this part of the subject he would not give any opinion. He considered it in a moral and political point of view. By far the greater loss which the country experienced in consequence of these restrictions on the Roman Catholics was occasioned—and this was a fact which gentlemen who were accustomed to discuss questions of political economy would do well particularly to consider—by the loss of all the benefit 543 that might, under other circumstances, be derived from the employment of millions of English capital in Ireland, which must now be considered as so many millions diverted and withdrawn from all those channels of industry and improvement which they might have so beneficially opened or enlarged. He was one of those who unquestionably would have rejoiced if the measure of Catholic emancipation had been granted at the time of voting the union of the two countries. But, whatever had, subsequently to the union, been the misfortunes and troubles of Ireland, it could not be denied that she had been, in the same period, going on increasing in wealth and power, and in intelligent and educated classes. There were, in fine, a great many more existing circumstances now, than there were five-and twenty years ago, to enable Ireland to receive the boon which she claimed with advantage to herself; and the danger of withholding that boon, on the other hand, was proportionably increased, compared with what the danger of doing so would have been at a period five-and-twenty years back. The Catholics came before parliament as supplicants for admission to a participation of all those civil rights and privileges which were enjoyed by all other classes of the king's subjects; and in this their supplication, they were backed by a large portion of the intelligence and influence of the Protestant community, both in England and Ireland. It was this very circumstance of their being so supported, that made a further denial of these claims highly dangerous. There seemed to be some hon. gentlemen who supposed that the Roman Catholic's perpetual meditation—his dream by night and his anxiety by day—was, how he might most effectually plan the overthrow of the Protestant establishment as it now existed. Now, what was it that the Roman Catholics were at that moment asking? To be admitted within the pale of a Protestant political society. Could it, then, be imagined, that, the moment they should succeed in getting within it, their exertions would be turned to the destruction of that shelter and protection which they had so strenuously exerted themselves to attain? But, suppose the fears of honourable gentlemen should unfortunately ever be verified, as he heartily believed they never could or would be so—suppose that the Roman Catholics manifested any such hostile intentions; could it be doubt- 544 ed what course we should be called on to pursue? Would they any longer stand in the situation of supplicants for rights—in that situation which now constituted the moral strength of their case? No! but they would stand in the altered situation of aggressors—of aggressors against the constitution of the state, against the constitution of the church, against every establishment that formed our guard and security, and supplied the basis of our power. Unless, therefore, the House could suppose the Roman Catholics to be the most desperately foolish, as well as the most desperately wicked people in the world, it could not entertain fears of this description. Yet, if such a fatal result should ever, indeed, take place; he was, on the present occasion, prepared to say, that he, for one, would go the full length of re-enacting the whole penal code against the Catholics—a code, however, of which he must say he could not see the necessity of many of its enactments, which rather, in truth, were calculated to excite that irritation in Ireland, that was ever most likely to occasion the discontents that it was sought to repress. His right hon. friend, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, had intimated, that he thought some concessions ought to be made to the Roman Catholics. His right hon. friend was not, therefore, one of those opponents who thought that the civil exclusions now existing ought to exist for ever. His right hon. friend's objections were understood to be to their admission to the bench, the privy council, and to seats in parliament. His right hon. friend would excuse him for remarking, that he seemed to forget that it was almost impossible for an individual to obtain a seat in the council, except through the channel of one, or both Houses of parliament. It was only in this way that he could obtain an ascendancy in the councils of the country. His right hon. friend did, indeed, suppose the extreme case, that a Catholic might be possessed of such transcendant abilities and such a weight of character, that he might guide, and influence the deliberative councils of the nation. It was, of course, impossible to deny the possible existence of such an event; but it should be coupled with the existence of other circumstances of such an extraordinary description, as to make its occurrence a bare possibility. The individual alluded to by his right hon. friend, must possess such abilities as 545 would make him an object of danger. He must be also a bigot. His mind must be debased, and subdued by the worst doctrines of the church of Rome. He must be a hypocrite, gifted with powers of the most profound dissimulation, such as would enable him to impose upon the House, and escape the vigilance of the press, and of the other free institutions of the country. He must, in short, possess such a combination of qualities as were never exercised by any individual who ever endeavoured to obtain authority through the medium of a popular assembly. If there were such an individual, he would say—let him come into the House. They always had, and always would have a standard, by which they could measure the abilities and talents of any person whatever. A person thus endowed would, in that House, be taught to move in his proper orbit, in his legitimate sphere would describe that circle for which he was best calculated. When he was expelled and hurried out of that House, he would be converted—as was often the case in Ireland—into a blazing and eccentric comet, disappearing for a season, and occasionally returning to desolate that country and terrify this.—With regard to the societies which had been suppressed in Ireland, their spirit would, he thought, still remain. It would start up in some other shape; it would perpetuate discord, foster faction, render the law inefficient for the protection of property, make the government powerless, and the population a prey to anarchy and confusion. How, then, it might be asked, were such associations to be dealt with? How could they be effectually dealt with, except by removing the cause of grievance? Sorry he was to trespass so largely on the patience of the House; but this was the first, and he trusted it would now be the last, opportunity that had presented itself to him for the delivery of his sentiments on the principle of this bill. The hon. member for Durham had rather reflected upon the improper way in which he conceived that the two bills, which he called the two wings, had been treated and prepared in the preliminary stages of their progress, prior to their being brought up before the House. But he now begged to state, on the part both of himself and of his right hon. friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whose absence on such an occasion as this, and particularly on 546 account of its cause, the House must deeply regret, that neither of them had been present at any of those previous discussions of the two measures; and he was authorized to say, that his right hon. friend knew nothing of either of the bills in question, until the notice of the hon. member for Stafford of the elective franchise bill, and the notice of the noble lord (L. Gower) in respect of the other, first brought them both to the knowledge of his right hon. friend. For his own part, he believed that both bills were intended to aid and accelerate the great measure of Catholic emancipation. As to the bill for disfranchising the 40s. freeholders, he could not quite say that he altogether approved of its principle. In voting for the other, he had intended to give it his sanction only up to this point and to this extent—that as this House held the public purse, and was bound to provide for the expenses of the public service, so he should hold it was, to provide for the effectual operation and results of a measure which, by granting Catholic emancipation, would be calculated to produce such incalculable benefits to the community, over which the parties in question might fairly be supposed to exercise so extensive an influence. But, when his right hon. friend talked about the making provision for a regular establishment, for archbishops, bishops, and an inferior clergy, as a concomitant to the bill for Roman Catholic emancipation, he begged to say that he stood pledged to no such provisions whatever. He thought, indeed, that it would require much previous inquiry and consideration, before they could proceed to make any provision for the Catholic clergy by law. And he should be unwilling—as far as he could judge now upon a subject so complicated and difficult, and mixed up with many other considerations that would be fully gone into before any definitive plan was acted upon—to place that provision, whatever it might be, beyond the control of government; in the same manner as was observed towards the Protestant dissenters and other separatists from the church of England. To the bill itself now before the House, he gave his most cordial support.
Mr. Secretary Peel
said, he intended to address but a very few words to the House on this occasion. He was sure the House would, in the first place, allow him to advert to something which 547 had fallen, in the course of the debate on Friday last, from the hon. and learned member for Winchelsea. They would allow him to do so, out of regard to the situation and the feelings of the writer of a letter which he held in his hand. It came from the widow of the late Dr. O'Byrne, the bishop of Meath, whose name had been alluded to particularly on Friday night. That lady desired him to state distinctly, in answer to the observations in question, that the bishop, her late husband, never was an ordained priest of the church of Rome. He had been brought up as a Roman Catholic, and so continued until he was about 20 years of age; when, seeing reason to enter the Protestant church, he went to Cambridge. At that university, Dr. Watson was his tutor, and he was ordained, for the first time, a deacon of the Protestant established church, and some little time subsequently, a minister of the church of England.—Having set this matter right, he would proceed to observe that he felt satisfied that he had already offered every opposition to this measure which he could offer, consistently with the principles on which his objections to it were founded. It seemed, therefore, useless for him to detain the House on the present occasion; nor did he think it necessary to do so with the view of bringing forward any novelties on this subject, which, on the contrary,he was unable to find. His opinions on this most momentous subject were already on record; and it would be trifling with that indulgence which the House had shown towards him on other occasions, if he were merely to repeat now what he had so often advanced to them before. He merely wished to take that opportunity of re-stating that the opinions he had formerly held on this question remained unaltered. Those opinions were not precisely in conformity with some that had fallen from gentlemen who were hostile, like himself, to the general question of Catholic emancipation; for he could not concur with those who thought that no further concessions whatever ought to be made to the Catholics, seeing, that he had decidedly and distinctly declared his conviction, that in all respects the Roman Catholics of England should be put on the same footing as those of Ireland—an opinion that he had avowed, by the support which he had given to a bill, introduced by a noble lord, on the other side during the last session. But, he was still 548 of his former opinion, that it was for the permanent interest of this country that the legislature and the chief executive offices of the state should be confined, as they were at present confined by law, to those who protested against the doctrine of the church of Rome. Indeed, when he saw in what manner religion, and a desire to support and advance that religion, had influenced all the civil contests that had taken place in this country—how intimately religious feeling had been connected with all the great feuds recorded in our history and that of Scotland and Ireland—how mainly it had influenced the two great events of the Reformation and the Revolution, he could not but feel sensibly, that religion and a desire to promote it would always be a great operating cause of similar conduct. Again, when he looked at the numbers of the Roman Catholics, and at the circumstances under which the transfer of church property from their to Protestant hands, took place at the Revolution, he could not feel satisfied or convinced that it was either wise or expedient to remove those barriers which he thought much better calculated to protect the Protestant ascendancy in this country, than those ecclesiastical securities which it was now proposed to substitute in their stead. In one sense he certainly did think that these bills were inconsistent with the constitution; but, in regard to the measure now before the House, he did not rely on that objection alone. In the other proposed bills, the clauses went to violate those relations which the constitution had established between the church and state, and the rules by which they were reciprocally governed and regulated. His hon. and learned friend (Mr. H. Twiss) had read to the House that evening an able lecture on the constitution; but, really he wished that his hon. and learned friend would refer to other records, and other authorities, that he had overlooked. His hon. and learned friend, in the very outset of his speech, declared that he intended to prove that the exclusion of the Roman Catholics first passed into a law under the 30th of Charles 2nd—an act passed, undoubtedly, at a time when the country was in a state of great ferment; that such exclusion entirely reposed on that statute originally, and on the penal statutes subsequently enacted in furtherance of the same object. But here he entirely differed from his hon, and learned friend; 549 because he would contend, that the exclusion of the Roman Catholics was quite coeval with the Reformation. He begged to refer to the 5th of Elizabeth, where it would be found, that every knight, burgess and citizen, before he could sit in that House, was obliged to take a certain oath, which, if his hon. and learned friend would be content to administer, instead of the test or abjuration oath he (Mr. Peel) would be quite satisfied. His hon. and learned friend had also pointed out an act which was passed in the reign of Edward 6th; and had quoted the preamble, the language of which he considered to be very beautiful and impressive, and which was to this effect:—"But, as in tempest or storm one coarse vest is convenient; in better or milder weather a lighter and more liberal garment, both may and ought to be used;" &c. Now, he (Mr. Peel) being anxious to ascertain what was the "light and liberal garment" used in the reign of Edward 6th, in respect of these matters, had found, on perusing the act, the preamble of which appeared so beautiful and impressive to his hon. and learned friend, that it was one under which, for the very speech that his hon. and learned friend had that very night delivered, he would have been put to death. "If any person shall by any writing, word, deed, or act, affirm, or set forth, or assert,"—in short should deny the king's supremacy—then, "he and all his alders, abettors, and comforters"— (that would be the hon. and learned member for Wootton Basset, and all the gentlemen disposed to support him), "should incur and suffer the penalty of death;" &c, [hear]. "A light and liberal" vest, truly, his hon. and learned friend had selected for his purpose. He could only say, that he required no such laws, on this subject, as those of Edward 6th. His apprehensions of danger from the removal in any degree of the existing barriers against the Roman Catholic religion and influence, were in no degree weakened by the vote to which the House had come, that it was "fit and expedient" to make provision for the Roman Catholic clergy. It was singular that his right hon. friend (Mr. Huskisson) should object to remove, as he said, the provision in question from the control of parliament, as in the case of some bodies of Dissenters; because, if so, why had his right hon. friend concurred in the vote of its being "fit and expedient to make provision by law," and in so far, apro- 550 vision not under the immediate control of parliament; for what else did his right hon. friend understand by "a provision by law?" He must in this place strongly contend, that if ever there was a question which ought to be reserved for the executive to deal with, it was the relation in which the Roman Catholic clergy should stand with the government? As to the establishment of that clergy, he had certainly heard two propositions asserted in that House: of which one regarded a scale of allowances, such as 1,500l. a-year for an archbishop,1,000l. a-year for a bishop, 200l. a-year for a priest, &c. The other was in effect this—that the funds for the payment of these allowances were not to be taken out of the produce of the taxes, but out of the resources of the church. Neither of these propositions or explanations was calculated to remove his objections to the proposed provision; though he would not say that it might not be necessary hereafter to consider of the propriety of making some sort of provision for this class of persons. The evidence of Dr. Doyle went clearly to express an unhesitating opinion, that let the Pope state whatever he would in regard to the doctrine of the church of Ireland, no member of the Roman Catholic church in that country would allow the slightest interference on the part of the Crown in the regulation of their religion or its clergy. On this account, again, he was of opinion, that the vote of the other night was a most important one; and subsequent reflection had justified to his own mind the advice which he had ventured to give the House on that occasion, namely, that they should pause, before they agreed to such a vote. Without at all disguising from himself the difficulty of the two only alternatives which they were told the House had to choose between on the present occasion, he thought there was yet another plan to be proposed, which ought, at least, to give no dissatisfaction to the parties it applied to. If the legislature and the chief executive offices in the protestant government, as settled by the bill of rights, were left solely to Protestant representation, and all others opened to the Roman Catholics, he could not see that the latter would have a right to complain of such an arrangement as one of injustice to them, or of degradation; nor did he believe that it would lead to any of those invidious distinctions, which he admitted had existence in Ireland, or those irritating processions 551 that could not be enough condemned. That the parliament were on this great measure placed in a situation of great difficulty he did not at all deny; but that difficulty was in no slight degree attributable to the course which had been hitherto taken in that House on the subject, and by which the hopes of the Roman Catholics must necessarily have been raised very highly. Believing, as he did, that these exceptions and this exclusion ought still to be continued, and the conviction of his mind remaining still unaltered by any of the arguments he had heard, he felt it to be his duty to that conviction, and to the Crown of which he was a minister, to persevere in the course he had adopted; however painful he might feel it to be to differ on this occasion from so many honourable friends of his with whom he usually acted. He had, at least, not been instrumental in exciting or encouraging any false hopes in the minds of the Roman Catholics; and he therefore (perhaps for the last time) should now, by his vote, attest his uncompromising opposition to this bill, which proposed to grant them all that they claimed [hear].
§ Mr. Brougham
rose, amidst cries of question, and began by assuring the House, that after so many nights' discussion—due, however, to the great interest at stake, and due to the Catholics—it was not his intention to trespass on the House at any length: but he felt himself called upon to make a few observations as to something which fell from him on Friday evening, and which had drawn forth an observation from the right hon. Secretary; and he should add a few words as to the measure itself. The hon. and learned gentleman then entered into an explanation relative to what he had said of bishop O'Byrne. It bad been understood, he said, that the bishop had, in the early part of his life, received orders from the Pope, which had been afterwards repealed. This was not a solitary instance; as he understood a gentleman, at present a very popular preacher, had never received any but a foreign ordination. If bishop O'Byrne had not received popish ordination, it was singular that this should have been so generally credited. He (Mr. B.), in saying so, only said what was generally understood., His friends denied it, and he was himself satisfied. It was probable the mistake might have arisen from the brother of bishop O'Byrne 552 having been a Catholic priest. The hon. and learned member then proceeded to make a few observations on the measure itself. The right hon. Secretary, it seemed still apprehended danger to the Protestant establishment both in church and state, if the Roman Catholics were to be allowed access to the offices of the latter. The very same alarm on the very same account was experienced in England a hundred and twenty years ago. But, as no harm had happened, notwithstanding, ever since, he had a right to anticipate that a hundred and twenty years hence our posterity would laugh at our fears, as we now did at those of our ancestors. When the Scottish union was to introduce into the House of Lords sixteen Presbyterian peers at once, the bishop of Bath and Wells, the venerable predecessor of one of the most vehement opponents of the Catholic claims at this day, earnestly besought the lords to consider, that they were, by such admission of the Presbyterian peers, exposing themselves to a danger, "the greatness of which no tongue could express." The Kirk of Scotland was the object of deep alarm to the right rev. prelate; but in the Scottish parliament a dread of a different kind was entertained, and they, who in that parliament argued against the union, said—" What! send sixteen peers and forty-five commoners to England—send the flower of our flock to the land of bishops and abominators! Their faith will be perverted, and they will come back and subvert and overthrow the established religion of Scotland." But, notwithstanding these opposite apprehensions, the measure was carried, and produced none of those mischievous effects which had been so confidently anticipated. In like manner he felt satisfied that, if the measure before parliament was carried, it would not be productive of the slightest danger, nor would it lead to the overthrow of the religion of this country, as the right hon. Secretary so seriously apprehended. A right rev. prelate (the bishop of Bath and Wells), the very flower of our Episcopacy, had said,—and he was no Jesuit, nor a lover of Jesuits,—that an individual who subscribed the thirty-nine articles, did not subscribe to the particular belief of each of them; but that by believing some and disbelieving others, he in some manner, lumped his faith; and that, as in the ebbing and overflow of the tide, the belief in one article 553 was counteracted by a disbelief in another, and thereby a sort of average faith was embraced, which entitled the subscribing person to swallow the whole, and to assume to himself any situation or promotion in the church or elsewhere, that he might be enabled to obtain.—Among the objections to this measure was one chiefly relied on; namely, the discrepancy between a pamphlet of bishop Doyle and the evidence of that person before the Irish committee. Without meaning to cast any imputation on that highly gifted man, he certainly would not deny, that there might be some intemperate or indiscreet sentiments in that pamphlet, to which he could not give his approbation. Nay, there were some expressions in it which the writer himself would probably reject in his calmer moments. But, was it not possible that Dr. Doyle was sorry for those expressions? Was it not barely possible that the tone of that pamphlet, the tone of speeches which had been quoted, and the difference which appeared in the evidence that had been subsequently given, might have been produced by the kind and considerate treatment which the individuals had experienced in this country? Might not that change have, been effected by the opening of the doors of parliament, to a certain degree, for the purpose of listening to their grievances and complaints? Might it not have arisen from your listening to their story; from your allowing them to tell with their own lips, the miseries and privations under which their country suffered? And that, too, with an implied feeling, that you, the parliament of the united kingdom, would redress them? Might not these considerations mitigate the tone of those who approached the legislature with a tale of long-suffering? And if so, could any man advance a more cogent reason for proceeding in the same course of conciliation, and admitting the Roman Catholics to the full benefit of the constitution? Was not that the mode by which the Catholics would be led to cherish feelings of loyalty, respect, and affection for this country? Those feelings—the feelings of loyalty, respect, and affection—had begun to show themselves, the moment the light and warmth of the constitution was seen and felt through that chink, through that trifling aperture, which had recently been made. What, then, would be the effect, if the whole benefits of the constitution 554 were thrown open to them? He contended, that if this were done, the full and entire confidence of the Roman Catholics would be gained firmly and for ever. He must protest against making the speeches and writings of any individuals, however reprehensible they might be, a reason for condemning all those with whom he might be connected. Why should they make the opinions of one man, out of five or six millions, the standard of all the principles, and of all the feelings, of the great body to which he happened to belong? How would gentlemen in that House like such a measure to be dealt out to themselves? How would the right hon. Secretary who spoke last feel, if he heard any individual say, "I will not judge of the right hon. gentleman by what he has said himself, but by such or such a speech, delivered by such or such a gentleman who supports his principles. Mr. Such-a-one spoke no very sensible speech—he can talk very great nonsense—so can sir such-a-one, or my lord such-a-one. Listen to them; and then you will have a sample of the speech of the home Secretary, whose principles they advocate." This would undoubtedly be most unjust towards the home Secretary; and it would be equally unjust towards any other person. As an exemplification of this, let the House look to the productions of a certain reverend bart. out of doors. Whether he preached to or threatened the legislature, he wished his sentiments to be received as the transcript of the feelings of a very extensive body. He was totally opposed to any such proceeding. He would say, let the hon. baronet in the House, and the hon. and reverend baronet out of the House, stand or fall by their own speeches and writings. Let them not attempt to give a fictitious importance to them, by declaring that they speak the sentiments of vast numbers. He had, in the course of the debate, heard something of persecution; and it was said that the principle of persecution was inherent in the Catholic church. Let not those who used this argument be too nice in its application. There had been persecutions in all churches. Persecution was the effect of superior power, and superior domination. It occurred when any particular church had got the upper-hand, while as yet all heresies were not completely put down. At such a crisis, persecution flourished. Let the priests of any religion have power, 555 and let men speak for themselves, in opposition to their doctrines; in that case, persecution was sure to follow. Let the House look to the head of the Lutheran establishment, which first pointed out the errors, as they were called, of the Church of Rome. Luther himself was not free from the charge of intolerancy. But, the establishment of the country, it would be said, was Calvinistic. What had lord Chatham said on this subject? He had declared, that we had a Calvinistic creed, an Arminian clergy, and a popish ritual—that Calvin, whose precepts they followed, was himself a persecutor—the persecutor of Servetus, whom he caused to be burned. But, they need not go back to so distant a period, to show how persecution was engendered by power. He called on the House to look at the scenes which, at no very remote period, had been acted in this country. He alluded to those infernal torments—he could call them nothing else—which, a hundred and fifty years ago, were inflicted on the people of Scotland under that tyrant, who, alike contemning the law of God, and the sacredness of the constitution, sent his people to die the death of martyrs, on account of the Covenant. They died as they had lived—convinced of the justice of the opinions they had espoused, and scorning to give up a principle, even though their existence depended on it. What was this but the clashing of two sects? On the one side were the priests who possessed power; on the other side were the honest men, who dared to deny that their doctrines were right; and the result was, that persecution which he defied the man the best read in matters of this kind to equal in the history of this country or of Europe. In arguing this question, he put all mention of heresies, jesuitism, and persecutions out of his view. Such violent language was unsuited to such an occasion; and he hoped they should have more of it on the one side or the other. What he said was—Let us throw open the doors of the constitution without delay. Let us put an end to a long series of discontent and bickering. When individuals bandied about the charge of jesuitism and of persecution, he would advise them to look upon these things as matter of history—as things only to be remembered for the purpose of making their minds, and the minds of their children happy, in the idea that they had 556 outlived the day when such charges were matters of moment. He would call on the House to remove all those disabilities, which, while they created ill feelings amongst one party, created no benefit for the other. To use the quotation from Thuanus, which had already been applied by the right hon. President of the Board of Trade, "Proscriptiones" (that was the very highest point of his climax), "Proscriptiones irritasse potius quam sanasse morbum menti inhérentem." The country was now at peace. But were there no circumstances which might make this transient? What must be the situation of this country, if her power in Ireland was only to be kept up at the point of the bayonet? at one time depriving her of her constitution, and at another approaching her, not with the open hand of peace, but with the mailed hand, to crush and oppress her. Could any one hope to preserve peace and harmony between the two countries, while one of them was kept down by punishments, penalties and chains? If you wish to secure the happiness of the empire—if you wish to complete its safety—let no foreign country have the opportunity of looking with a malign aspect towards Ireland. Let England throw aside her long-prized, and he once thought exploded Irish impolicy. Let her leave to foreign powers no spot on which they could dwell in the hope that in that spot the empire might be weakened. Some of them at that moment dwelt with delight on Ireland. Every thing that passed in Ireland had found its way into foreign gazettes. In the Vienna gazette not a word was said about our improvement in arts and sciences—not a syllable about the strides which education was making—not the least notice was taken of the liberal policy which distinguished our commercial arrangements. No mention was made of those great blessings which, day after day, were pouring into cur laps—no attention was paid to the knowledge which the liberty of debate was constantly showering on our heads. These matters were all carefully concealed; and, with one exception, our domestic affairs were passed over wholly unnoticed; Unfortunately, the condition of Ireland formed that solitary exception. The same feeling existed elsewhere. Then, he said, let there no longer be a spot in the empire on which foreign enemies, who hated this country, could suffer their eye to dwell 557 with malicious pleasure. Make it as unpleasant for them to look on Dublin or on Cork, as it was at present for them to view Edinburgh or London. Peace, it was true, was now established: but would war never come? And when it did come, let them, unless they changed their conduct towards Ireland, look to that country then. Did they recollect the situation of Ireland during the revolutionary war? Nay, fifteen years ago, when they talked of Ireland, did they not speak of that country as if a province of the empire was likely to become a province of France? Such times might come again, and such fears might be renewed, if the Catholic question were rejected now. After they had put down the Catholic association—after they had increased their military power—after they had done much to irritate, and little to produce a kind feeling, he did not believe there was any man, whether English or Irish, who would be vain enough to answer for the peace of Ireland, even if a firm peace prevailed in every other part of Europe, if this measure were thrown out. But, this he would say, that if they sent up this bill to the other House by a large majority he thought, without arrogating to himself any peculiar foresight, that they might depend on the tranquillity of that country [hear, hear]. Without arrogating to himself any vain spirit of prophecy, he would say, that were this bill carried by a large majority through that House, he would be one ready to answer for the thorough pacification of Ireland, because he could then answer for its becoming a law. But, if it did not become a law in that manner—if it were not carried by such a majority, and that at the present moment, in this very reign—in the reign of his gracious majesty the king who now sat on the throne—them he could only say, that he had exonerated himself from any blame that might attach to future consequences, by calling on the House to be wise in time—by imploring them to act while it was day—by entreating them not to wait until the dark night shrouded them, "when no man can tell what will come!" [cheers].
§ Sir F. Blake
rose, amidst tremendous shouts of "Question," which continued during the whole of his speech. He supported the bill; and as well as we could bear, declared that he would always be at his post. He stood up at that moment the unsolicited advocate of the 558 Roman Catholics. To deny them the privileges they called for was an act os injustice; and that he would state in the face of the right hon. Secretary for the Home Department.
§ Colonel Forde ,
amid cries of "question," and "withdraw!" spoke briefly in support of the bill, and expressed his approbation of the measures which had been appended to it.
The question being put, the House divided: Ayes 248. Noes 227. majority for the third reading 21. The bill was accordingly read the third time. Mr. Bankes then brought forward his promised amendments. The first amendment was, that Roman Catholics should not be eligible to certain offices, "nor to sit in either House of parliament." That was put and negatived without a division. The second amendment was, to the clause authorizing the sovereign to appoint a commission of Roman Catholic prelates to superintend the correspondence with the see of Rome, &c. the amendment was, that the sovereign or his successors should appoint such commission "if they shall so think fit." It was also negatived without a division. The bill was then passed. The following is a List of the majority, and also of the minority on the above division.
List of the Majority and Minority. MAJORITY. Browne, D. Abercromby, hon. J. Browne, J. Abercromby, hon. G. Browne, rt. hon. D. R. Brownlow, C. Acland, sir T. D. Bruen, H. Allan, J. H. Burdett, sir F. Althorp, vise. Burgh, sir U. Anson, sir G. Bury, vise. Bagwell, rt. hon. W. Byng, G. Baillie, J. Calcraft, J. Baring, sir T. Calcraft, S. H. Baring, A. Calthorpe, hon. F. G. Baring, H. Calthorpe, hon. A. Barnard, visc. Calvert, C. Barrett, S. M. Calvert, N. Becher, W. W. Campbell, hon. G. Bective, earl of Carew, R. S. Belgrave, visc. Carter, John Benett, J. Caulfield, hon. H. Bentinck, lord W. Cavendish, lord G. Benyon, Ben. Cavendish, H. Bernard, Thos. Cavendish, C. Binning, lord Chaloner, R. Blake, sir F. Clarke, hon. C. B. Bourne, rt. hon. W. S. Clarke, sir G. Brandling, C. Clifton, visc. Brecknock, earl Cocks, J. Brinkman, T. Coffin, sir I. Brougham, H. Coke., T. W
Colborne, N. R. Kennedy, T. S. Colthurst, sir N. Kingsborough, visc. Compton, S. Knight, R. Coote, sir C. Lamb, hon. G. Courtenay, T. P. Lascelles, hon. W. Courtenay, W. Latouche, R. Cradock, R. Lawley, F. Crosby, J. Leader, W. Daly, J. Lester, B. L. Dawson, J. H. M. Leicester, R. Denison, W. J. Lewis, T. F. Denman, T. Littleton, E. Doherty, John Lloyd, sir E. Douglas, W. R. Lloyd, S. J. Drummond, H. H. Lockhart, E. Dundas, hon. T. Lushington, S. East, sir E. H. Maberly, J. Eastnor, lord Maberly, W. L. Ebrington, visc. Macdonald, J. Ellice, E. Mahon, hon. S. Ellis, C. R. Marjoribanks, sir J. Ellison, C. Marjoribanks, S. Evans, W. Martin, J. Evelyn, L. Martin, R. Fergusson, sir R. C. Maule, hon. W. Fitzgerald, rt. hon. V. Maxwell, J. Fitzgerald, rt. hon. M. Milbank, M. Fitzgerald, lord W. Mildmay, P. St. John Fitzgibbon, hon. R. Milton, visc. Folkestone, visct. Monck, T. B. Forbes, lord Moore, Peter Forde, M. Morland, sir S. B. Frankland, R. Mostyn, sir T. Freemantle,rt. hon. W. Mountcharles, earl of French, A. Money, W. T. Gaskill, B. Newport, rt. hon. sir J. Glenorchy, visc. North, T. H. Gordon, R. Nugent, lord Gower, lord F. L. Nugent, sir G. Graham, sir S. O'Brien, sir E. Grant, rt. hon. C. O'Callaghan, J. Grattan, J. O'Grady, Standish Grenfell, P. Ord, W. Grosvenor, hon. R. Oxmantown, lord Grosvenor, hon. T. Paget, hon. sir C. Guise, sir W. Pakenham, hon. R. Gurney, H. Palmer, C. Gilbert, D. G. Palmer, C. F. Harding, sir H. Palmerston, visc. Harvey, C. Pares, T. Hawkins, sir C. Parnell, sir H. Heathcote, G. J. Phillips, G. R. Heron, sir R. Phillips, G. Hill, lord A. Phipps, hon. E. Hobhouse, J. C. Plummer, J. Honywood, W. P. Plunkett, rt. hon. W. Hornby, E. Ponsonby, hon. F. C. Howard, hon. W. Portman, E. B. Howard, hon. S. G. Power, R. Howard, H. Powlett, hon. W. Hume, J. Poyntz, W. S. Hurst, R. Prendergast, W. G. Huskisson, rt. hon. W. Price, R. Innes, sir H. Pringle, sir W. James, W. Prittie, hon. F. Jolliffe, H. Pym, F. Knox, hon. T. Ramsbottom, J.
Ramsden, S. C. Williams, J. Rice, T. S. Williams, O. Ridley, sir M. W. Williams, T. P. Robarts, A. W. Wilmington, sir T. Robarts, G. Wilmot, R. Horton Robertson, A. Wilson, sir R. Robinson, hon. F. Wodehouse, E. Robinson, sir G. Wood, alderman Rowley, sir W. Wortley, J. S. Rumbold, C. Wrottesley, sir J. Russell, lord J. Wynne, C. W. W. Russell, lord J. W. Wynne, sir W. W. Russell, R. G. TELLERS. Scarlett, J. Duncannon, visc. Scott, J. Phillimore, J. Sebright, sir J. Shaw, sir R. PAIRED OFF. Smith, G. Anson, hon. G. Smith, J. Balfour, J. Smith, W. Bent, J. Smyth, W. M. Bernal, R. Somerville, sir M. Boyd, W. Stanley, lord Cockburn, sir G. Stanley, hon. E. Croker, S. W. Staunton, sir G. Cumming, G. Stewart, A. Curwen J. C. Stuart, lord J. Dunlop, J. Stuart, hon. J. Edwards, hon. E. H. Stuart, J. Ellis, hon. G. A. Sykes, D. Fitzroy, lord C. Talbot, R. W. Fleming, S. (Saltash) Tennyson, C. Gladstone, J. Tierney, right hon. G. Grant, col. Titchfield, marquis Grant, G. M. Twiss, H. Gurney, R. H. Tynte, K. K. Haldimand, W. Upton, hon. A. Hamilton, lord A. Valletort, lord Heathcote, sir G. Vernon, G. G. Ingleby, sir W. Wall, C. B. Lloyd, J. M. Warrender, sir G. Mackintosh, sir J. Wellesley, R. Mostyn, sir T. Western, C. C. Scudamore, R. P. Wharton, J. Smith, R. Whitbread, W. H. Tavistock, marquis Whitbread, S. C. Thynne, lord H. White, H. Warre, S. A. White, S. Williams, sir R. Whitmore, W. Wyvili, W.
MINORITY A'Court, E. Blackburne, E. Archdale, M. Bond, J. Ashurst, W. A. Bonham, H. Astell, W. Boughton, sir W. Astley, sir J. D. Bouverie, hon. B. Baker, J. Bridges, G. Bankes, H. Bright, H. Bankes, W. Brudenell, lord Barne, M. Brydges, sir J. Bastard, E. P. Buchanan, J. Bastard, J. Burrell, sir C. Belfast, earl of Burrell, W. Bentinck, lord F. Butterworth, J. Beresford, lord G. Buxton, J. Beresford, M. Byron, T. Bernard, visc. Campbell, A.
Cartwright, R. W. Herries, J. C. Cawthorne, J. F. Heygate, W. Chandos, marquis Hill, right hon. sir G. Chaplin, C. Hill, sir R. Chetwynde, G. Hodson, J. A. Chichester, sir A. Hodgson, F. Cholmley, sir M. Holford, G. Clements, hon. J. Holmes, W. Clinton, sir W. Hotham, lord Clinton, H. F. Hulse, sir C. Clive, visc. Inglis, sir R. H. Clive, hon. H. Lines, J. Clive, H. Irving, J. Cole, sir C. Jenkinson, hon. C. J. Collett, E. J. Jervoise, G. P. Cooper, E. S. Jones, J. Cooper, R. B. Kerrison, E. Cooper, J. H. King, hon. H. Copley, sir J. King, sir J. D. Corry, visc. Knatchbull, sir E. Cotterell, sir J. Legh, T. Crawley, S. Legge, hon. H. Cuffe, J. Lennox, lord G. Curteis, J. E. Leslie, C. P. Cust, hon. E. Lethbridge, sir T. Cust, hon. P. Lewis, W. Curzon, hon. R. Long, sir C. Dalrymple, A. J. Lowther, visc. Davenport, D. Lowther, hon. H. C. Davies, H. Lowther, sir J. Dawkins, J. Lowther, J. Dawkins, G. Lopez, sir M. Dawson, G. Lucy, G. Douglas, J. Lushington, col. Duncombe, W. Luttrell, J. F. Duncombe, C. Lygon, hon. H. Dugdale, D. S. Macnaughten, E. A. Dickinson, W. Magennis, R. Dowdeswell, J. C. Manners, lord C. Drake, W. T. Manners, lord R. Drake, T. T. Manning, W. Egerton, W. Mansfield, J. Ellis, T. Martin, sir B. Estcourt, T. G. Maxwell, J. W. Fane, J. Maxwell, B. Fane, T. Maxwell, sir W. Fane, V. Morgan, sir C. Farquhar, J. Morgan, G. G. Farrand, R. Munday, F. Fellowes, W. H. Mundy, G. Fetherstone, sir G. Musgrave sir P. Fleming, J. Newman, R. W. Foster, J. L. Nightingall, sir M. Foley, J. H. H. Noel, sir G. Forbes, C. Ommanney, sir F. Forrester, F. O'Neill, hon. J. Gascoyne, I. Owen, sir J. Gipps, G. Palk, sir L. Gooch, T. S. Pechell, sir T. Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Peel, rt. hon. R. Graham, marquis Peel, W. Graves, lord Peirse, J. Greville, hon. sir C. Pelham, J. C. Grossett, I. R. Pennant, G. Hart, G. V. Percy,— Harvey, sir E. Pitt, W. M. Heber R. Pitt, J.
Pole, sir P. Westenra, hon. H. Pollen, sir J. Wigram, sir R. Poilington, visc. Wilbraham, E. B. Porcher, H. Williams, R. Powell, E. Willoughby, H. Rae, right hon. sir W. Wilson, sir H. Raine, J. Wilson, W. C. Rice, hon. G. T. Wodehouse, hon. J. Rickford, W. Wyndham, W. G. Rogers, E. Wynne, O. Rose, rt. hon. G. Yorke, sir J. Ross, C. Rowley, sir J. TELLERS Russell, J. W. Lushington, S. Ryder, right hon. R. Wetherell, sir C. Scourfield, W. PAIRED OFF. Shelley, sir J. Blair, J. Shiffner, sir G. Bradshaw, J. Smith, S. Brogden, J. Smith, A. Curtis, sir W. Smith, T. Divett, T. Smyth, R. Downie, R. Sneyd, R. Elliot, lord Somerset, lord E. Grant, A. C. Somerset, lord G. Grant, A. Sotheron, F. F. Handley, H. Stanton, J. Hope, hon. sir A. Stopford, visc. Hope, sir W. Strutt, J. H. Hudson, H. Stuart, W. Keck, G. A. L. Suttie, sir J. Mackenzie, sir J. W. Taylor, G. W. Mitchell, J. Thompson, J. L. Monteith, H. Thompson, W. Montgomery, gen. Thynne, lord J. Nicholl, rt. hon. sir J. Tindall, N. C. Northey, W. Townshend, hon. H. Onslow, A. Trant, W. H. Paget, hon. B. Trench, F. W. Pellew, hon. P. Tudway, J. P. Price, R. Ure, M. Seymour, H. Vivian, sir H. St. Paul, sir H. Vyvyan, sir R. Sumner, H. Wallace, rt. hon. T. Walker, J. Warren, C. Walpole, hon. J. Webbe, E. Wildman, J. Wells, J. Wilson, T. Wemyss, J. Worcester, marquis