§ Mr. Bright
in presenting two Petitions—the one from British-born Jews resident in Bristol, the other from a great number of Christian inhabitants of Bristol, of every denomination, praying that the Jews might be placed on an equality in respect of civil rights and privileges with their fellow-subjects—took occasion to observe, that the general feeling at Bristol was greatly in favour of the Emancipation of the Jews. The petitioners affirmed, that they knew the Jews to be distinguished for their loyalty and good conduct, and they thought this persecuted people were entitled to be placed on an equality, in respect to civil rights and privileges, with their Christian fellow-countrymen. Whenever the question should conic before the House he would be most happy to assist in removing the greater part, although, perhaps, not all of the disabilities under which the Jews at present laboured.
§ Mr. Protheroe
begged to call the attention of the House to both these Petitions, as well deserving of it. As the argument against the Emancipation of the Jews seemed to have taken a religious tone, he must be allowed to observe, that the character of the inhabitants of Bristol was a; religious as that of any other body of individuals in the kingdom, and yet that there was a strong feeling among the intelligent classes in that city in favour of the emancipation. If they had the least apprehension that it would expose the Established Church, or the Constitution to any danger, they would be the last people of the Empire to petition in favour of it Whenever the subject came regularly be fore the House he should certainly vote for full and entire emancipation.
§ Mr. Huskisson
said, he also had a Petition to present on the same subject, to which he begged shortly to call the atten- 376 tion of the House. It came from a number of Bankers, Merchants, and other inhabitants of Liverpool, stating that in their opinion the civil disabilities under which the Jews laboured were as contrary to the spirit as they were injurious to the interests of Christianity; and they consequently prayed that the bill in progress through the House, for relieving persons of the Jewish persuasion from all civil disabilities, might pass into a law. The Petition was signed by above 2000 persons; among whom were comprehended not only the Mayor of Liverpool and many members of the Corporation, but every banker, and almost every merchant of weight in the town. An hon. friend of his had told him that he had never known any petition from Liverpool more numerously and respectably signed. It was also signed by several clergymen of the Church of England. Under these circumstances, he trusted it would have the influence to which it was entitled. There might be exceptions; but he believed that, generally speaking, the persons the most religiously disposed in Liverpool were decidedly favourable to the emancipation.
§ General Gascoyne
observed, that although he most readily bore testimony to the number and respectability of the individuals who had signed the Petition, and agreed fully with his right hon. colleague that for many years no petition had been more numerously and more respectably signed; nevertheless, feeling as he did, that the principles which induced him to oppose the introduction of the Roman Catholics into an entire participation of the civil privileges of their fellow-subjects equally operated on his mind with reference to the Jews; he felt himself bound to say so. His right hon. friend acted consistently with the principles which induced him to vote for Catholic emancipation, in supporting the emancipation of the Jews; a proposition which it had been last Session foretold would be made before a year had elapsed. On the broad principle of an established religion being necessary, he should oppose the bill in every stage. After having voted against the Catholics it would be paying them a very bad compliment now to vote in favour of the Jews.
§ Mr. O'Connell
thought that, so far from an opposition to the bill being a compliment to the Catholics, the only compliment the gallant Officer could make to them would be to vote for this bill, and for every 377 measure of religious emancipation. The political reasons which operated with many persons to induce them to oppose the Catholics could have no influence in the case of the Jews, and any opposition to them must be founded on principles of religious intolerance, which the Catholics did not wish to see acted on.
§ Sir John Brydges
would give the bill all the opposition in his power whenever it came before the House.
§ Mr. Huskisson
thought that those who had voted against the Catholics might consistently support the bill for emancipating the Jews.
§ Petitions to be printed.