The Earl of Wilton
1160 presented a Petition from certain inhabitants of Manchester, in support of the independence of this branch of the Legislature, and praying that they would not consent to any measure calculated to weaken the temporal and spiritual capacity of the Church of England and Ireland. The petition was signed by 10,512 persons. The wealth and intelligence of those who had signed the petition did not form the only ground on which the petition was entitled to the most serious attention of their Lordships. The circumstance to which he was anxious to call the attention of the House was, that the name which appeared at the head of the multitude of signatures to the petition, was that of a gentleman of large landed property and great independence of character, who was himself a Roman Catholic, and who testified in this manner and by this means, his disapprobation of the attempt to weaken and impair, to undermine and destroy, the Established Church. He had the honour of being acquainted with this gentleman, who, he was proud to say, was influenced by no other feeling than an anxious desire to record his opinion of the advantages derived from the institutions of the country, and of the admirable and real practical liberty we enjoyed. He was deterred by no menaces, and influenced by no fears, when he thus frankly put his name to this petition. His doing so was itself an answer to the vain-glorious boast that the Catholics of Ireland had over-powered the Protestant Members of the English House of Commons. The Gentleman in question had honourably come forward on the present occasion.
§ Lord Skelmersdale
said, that it would be invidious were the name of this gentleman above referred to given, because all the other Catholics of the neighbourhood entertained a similar opinion. The signatures to this petition were quite unsolicited.
§ Petition laid on the Table.