HL Deb 18 March 1828 vol 18 cc1170-1
Lord Holland

said, he rose to present a petition, numerously and respectably signed by the Protestant Dissenters and other inhabitants of Norwich, praying for a repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts. He had several other petitions of a similar description. It was not his intention, in presenting them, to anticipate any discussion which was likely to arise when the most important subject to which they related should be brought before their lordships. It had been his fate for twenty years to present similar petitions. His feelings on those occasions had not been different from what they were at the present moment with respect to the merits of the petitions, and the course which ought to be pursued. It had ever been his opinion, that the prayers of those petitions were founded upon justice, policy, and reason: it had always been his conviction, that the persons interested had claims upon the indulgence, and even upon the gratitude, of the government. Hitherto he had presented those petitions doubting of any great advantage in presenting them; but now, when he looked to the votes of the Commons of England, he did say that he presented the petition with a perfect feeling, that the time was not far off when this great measure would receive the sanction of the parliament. He believed that the other House was, at that very moment, employed in considering the best mode in which they could carry their object into execution. Upon that point it would ill become him, at the present, to offer any remarks. He should accept any concession made by parliament towards the attainment of the object which the petitioners had in view; but he should not consider that object fully attained, unless the petitioners procured that which he had always recommended them to pray for, and for which Mr. Locke had strenuously advised them to contend—absolute liberty—just and true liberty—equal and impartial liberty—a complete equality of civil rights. Ordered to lie on the table.

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