§ The Archbishop of Canterbury presented a Petition from the dean and chapter of Canterbury, against the Catholic Claims, which was ordered to lie on the table.
The Duke of Norfolk
expressed his regret at the hostility of the petitioners to those concessions to our Catholic fellow-subjects, which he considered essential to the safety and welfare of the state, coupled with an adequate security to the Protestant establishment, to which establishment no man was a warmer friend than himself. He was surprised also at the fear expressed in the Petition, that granting the claims of the Catholics would lead to the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, and thereby remove the security of the Protestant establishment. It was well known that no ministry had ventured to enforce these acts; that they were hung up from year to year, and that no ministry, however intolerant, could venture to carry them into execution. He hoped that these Petitions were merely the over-zeal of individuals, and that they were not set on foot by any of his Majesty's ministers. He trusted, however, that as the discussion of the great question relative to the Catholic Claims was not to come on till after the holidays, that all the Petitions against those claims would be by that time before 243 the House, in order that they might be the better enabled to take the whole subject into consideration.