HC Deb 07 March 1828 vol 18 cc1058-9
Mr. Brougham

said, he held in his hands a petition which he trusted would receive the serious attention it deserved from the House, as well from the importance of the body from which it came, as the matter it contained. It was a petition from the general body of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, and had attached to it the names of the leading advocates, as well Peers as Commoners, of that body. They prayed the House to erase from the Statute-book a law, which was alike discreditable to Catholics and Protestants, as it made it imperative upon the former to state, and the latter to sanction the statement, that the Roman Catholic religion was damnable and idolatrous; thus denouncing a great, portion of the empire. The petitioners further stated that such a declaration was unchristian and illiberal, pointing out as outcasts a great portion of the people of Ireland. They prayed the repeal of all tests, oaths, and obligations, which operated in producing the disabilities under which they at present laboured with respect to seats in the Councils of the empire. It was unnecessary for him to add, that he entirely concurred in the prayer of the petition. He hoped the very respectable body who had intrusted their petition to his care would not consider him guilty of the slightest want of zeal in their cause, if he declined entering into the merits of their case at present. He declined doing so, because he thought that the two questions as to ineligibility to parliament, and disqualifications for certain public offices, could not be separated; or, if they could, it must be to the disadvantage of both.

Ordered to lie on the table.