HC Deb 07 February 1833 vol 15 cc310-1
Mr. Wilks

presented a Petition from the Committee of the Protestant Society for the Protection of Religious Liberty, in favour of the complete Emancipation of the Jews. He had no doubt that this was but the first of many petitions which would be I presented upon the subject, and he trusted that their prayer would be complied with. By the Repeal of the Test and Corporation Act, the Jews were now exposed to particular hardships, for they were unable, if the laws were enforced against them, to resist the penalties from which they used I formerly to be cleared in common with other Dissenters, by the annual Bill of Indemnity, The exclusion of the Jews was the last fragment of a barbarous system of intolerance, which was a disgrace to our jurisprudence, and which last fragment would, he hoped, be now swept away.

The Petition laid upon the Table,

Mr. Wilks

moved that it be printed.

Sir Robert Inglis

objected to the presenting of the petition, on the ground that it purported to come from a Committee, and not from a public body; and also because it would occasion discussion, which would be inconsistent with the arrangement entered into last night on the subject of printing petitions.

Mr. O'Connell

attached great weight and importance to the petition. It came from a Protestant Society, having for its object the protection of religious liberty. He represented a constituency of a different persuasion. But he and his constitu- ents were equally anxious for the establishment of perfect freedom of conscience, and on the most extensive score of religious liberty. He would, however, recommend to the hon. Member (Mr. Wilks) rather than provoke discussion on its printing, to withdraw the petition for a few days.

Mr. Wilks

objected to any limitation of the privileges of Members on the subject of printing petitions. He thought any attempt to preclude printing of petitions, recommended either by the body from whence they came, or by the magnitude of the subject to which they referred, interfered not only with the rights of the House, but with those of the general constituency. Rather, however, than occupy, at present, the attention of the House, he would adopt the suggestion of the hon. and learned member for Dublin, and withdraw the petition for a few days.

Petition by leave withdrawn.