HL Deb 06 May 1851 vol 116 cc577-8

presented nearly a hundred petitions agains the Papal aggression from various places in Scotland, and observed that the reason why he had given notice of his intention to present these petitions, was not for the purpose of raising any discussion on the subject, but simply that he might the more effectively direct the attention of their Lordships to this emphatic demonstration of public opinion, as proving how erroneous were the statements of those who represented that the feeling upon the subject of the Papal aggression was not so strong or of such general prevalence in Scotland as in other parts of the empire. A few weeks before the Easter recess, he had spoken of the strong feeling which existed upon this question amongst the Scottish people; and he had done so partly because statements to a contrary effect had been circulated in certain quarters, and partly because an impression had unfortunately got abroad that these statements were founded on fact, and that it was indeed true that the indignation excited by the encroachments of the Court of Rome was less strong and less abiding in Scotland than in any other part of the kingdom. His assertions had been contradicted in the public press by a gentleman whose respectability he willingly admitted, but whose competency to interpret the general feelings of the Scottish people he was not so ready to allow. The petitions which he had now the honour to present (83 in number) satisfactorily refuted the representations of the gentleman in question, and supplied the most eloquent corroboration that could be required of the statement which he (the Duke of Argyll) had made to their Lordships. The petitions proceeded from all parts of Scotland. They had not been got up at public meetings, but were the spontaneous expression, tranquil, but firm and emphatic, of the feeling of the people upon this important question. The petitioners expressed in unqualified language their indignation at the Papal aggression, and prayed their Lordships to take the most stringent measures to repress it. The signatures to the petitions which he then presented, were, he believed, about 100,000 in number. The noble Duke then presented a petition against Papal aggression from the city of Glasgow, signed by 56,000 inhabitants; also petitions from the Lord Provost, magistrates, and town-council of Edinburgh; from the University of Glasgow; and from numerous burghs, presbyteries, parishes, and congregations of all denominations, in all parts of Scotland.


expressed his acquiescence in all the observations which had fallen from the noble Duke who had just presented this immense mass of petitions. In no part of Her Majesty's dominions had the sentiments of Her subjects been so strongly expressed as they had been in Scotland. All the communications which he had received from that country confirmed the opinions which had just been expressed by the noble Duke.