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between this country, and Sweden and Norway, for the prevention of slave traffic; and the copy of a treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation, between Great Britain and the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata. Many petitions were presented both for and against the catholic claims. The Earl of Donoughmore moved the order of the day for the second reading of the Roman-catholic relief bill. Lord Colchester observed upon the systematic conduct pursued by the Catholic Association,and complained that the tranquillity of Ireland was said to have been effected by a power unknown to the state. So far as the parliamentary inquiry had gone, it did not remove any of the objections to this measure. He contended that it was a measure adverse to the general feelings of the country. They had always shown a readiness to grant to the Roman-catholics a full participation in the enjoyments, advantages, and interests of the constitution ; but these, unless accompanied with political power, had always been refused. It had been surmised that further concessions were necessary : it might be so. They enjoyed the right and security of property: still, if the ends of justice required further regulations for the security of property, let them be made. Civil employments were already open to them—the army and the navy had long since been opened to them, but nothing would satisfy them, it seemed, but the broad road to political power. The bill now before the house demanded admission for them to all the governments under the crown,
the lord-lieutenancy of Ireland only excepted. Under the provisions of such a bill, which went to the extent of admitting to the highest political situations the Roman-catholic community, could any man doubt that the protestant church of England and Ireland was likely to be injured ? What were the tenets of the catholic religion ? He would leave to more learned men the task of tracing those tenets through the works of individuals who had written in the older times. He would content himself with adverting to some publications which had appeared in their own days, which had come under their own observation, and of others that had made their appearance at no very remote period. The most prominent of the writers of the present day, in favour of the catholic claims, (Dr. Doyle) denied the justice ofthose laws by which the church of England held its supremacy in those realms. The same opinion was to be found elsewhere, Last year, in a debate on the catholic question, a document was referred to, in which it was broadly affirmed that the ministers of the protestant church would ever be detested by those who differed so greatly from them in religious belies. But then it was said, that all danger was avoided by the cautious manner in which this bill was drawn up. But did those who so argued recollect the oath of the Roman-catholic ecclesiastic? He swore to keep most secret whatever counsel he received from the pope, the supreme head of his church. His oath ran thus— “Concilium Domini Papae tenebo omnino—et nemini dicam." Was there no danger to be apprehended from those who were thus bound
to conceal the counsels of their great leader? They had heard not a little about the ornaments of the catholic church, in foreign countries. Their learning, virtue, and piety, had been greatly eulogized. But let their lordships turn their attention to the doctrines of the bishop of Meaux (Bossuet), one of those who were particularly pointed out as patterns of toleration. What did he say on this subject ' He said that which no doubt was echoed by all his brethren, that the right to use the power of the sword, in addition to the ordinary force of the catholic religion, was not to be questioned. Most unhappily they had known instances in this and the sister country, where the doctrine thus laid down had been acted on. How did the French prelate to whom he had justalluded conclude his funeral sermon over Louis XIV. 2 He, in his peroration, praised the conduct of that monarch, and for no act of his life so much as for the extermination of heretics. This showed what the doctrine of the church of Rome had hitherto been, and it remained for those who supported the present measure to show that it had undergone an alteration. This bill, it appeared, was to be connected with another measure, which would secure a provision to the Roman-catholic clergy—a kind of regium donum. He looked upon this as a very unfair proceeding towards the protestants. He conceived it was extraordinary that such a proposition should have been made, without any notification, in favour of a grant of that kind, having been made on the part of the crown. He contended that such a grant would 1825.
not be right. It would be a virtual recognition of the Romancatholic religion in this country— a thing which had not been heard of for ages in this realm. To that proposition he must decidedly object, because it appeared to him to be most unconstitutional. There were many other points connected with this measure which deserved the deepest consideration. It was proposed, to prevent any mischief from the intervention of a foreign power, to have recourse to the . domestic nomination of bishops. But of what use was that, when, unless the pope agreed to receive the person nominated, the proceeding became null? They had been reminded that the Roman-catholics of Hanover were placed on a footing with their protestant brethren; but it was proper to observe, that the Roman-catholics of Hanover allowed to the monarch, that which the Roman-catholics of this country denied to the king—the right of interfering with the investiture of bishops. This was not all. It appeared, that a commission was to be appointed to examine the bulls and rescripts of the papal see which might be sent to this country; but the superintendence of those original bulls and rescripts was not to be intrusted to any member of his Majesty's government. Their lordships must all have heard of a publication which was now circulating through the heart of England on this subject. It was an address from the Irish Roman-catholics to the Roman-catholics of England—telling the latter expressly that they were unjustly deprived of political rights, and not forgetting to tell them that they ought to wrest those rights from the government of the country. A power which proceeded in this way ought to be attentively watched. The Romancatholic hierarchy, let it be concealed as it might, possessed an authority in this country, of which the legislature ought to be jealous. Strange to say, a Roman-catholic institution, which was excluded from Roman-catholic countries generally, had contrived, not only without law, but, in his opinion, against law, to acquire large possessions in England. When this was an acknowledged fact, who could be hardy enough to contend that there was no danger, if farther concessions were granted to the Roman-catholics, of their exercising an extensive sway in this
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empire? It was argued, that in .
other countries, the Roman-catholics held an equality of rights with the protestants. But, when this was the case, the circumstances of those countries were very different from the circumstances of this empire. If, under a despotic government, Roman-catholics of great talents and great ambition attempted, by popular aid, to disturb the existing order of things, their career could at once be checked by the prompt exercise of power. But, under a free government, like that of Great Britain, this could not be done. Much mischief might be effected before the evil could be checked. The notification in a single gazette, might, in one night, alter the constitution of that house, by introducing there a number of individuals of a religion which the state had long been accustomed to look upon with suspicion. A great deal had been said of the securities which the Roman-catholics
offered; but, in his opinion, the best security which could be devised for the constitution, was to prevent the Roman-catholics from any farther participation in political power. Emancipation was the great watch-word on this occasion. He would say, that the emancipation which was most necessary for Ireland, was emancipation from bigotry, emancipation from ignorance, emancipation from that foreign power whose spiritual authority was acknowledged there; and, finally, emancipation from the extreme subdivision and underletting of lands. Let this be done, and the peace of Ireland would be secured. That country would then be freed from the baleful influence of party. The result of all his observations was, that the disturbances which had occurred from time to time in Ireland, were not the consequence of feelings irritated on account of religion. Some active political leaders might assume that as the cause, but he believed that all those disturbances had their origin in some specific grievance. As a proof of this, let their lordships turn their eyes to the north of Ireland. There the difference of religion was as great as in any part of that country: but there was there more employment and less poverty; and the consequence was, that the disturbances which were common to the south of Ireland, were there unknown. The present tranquillity of Ireland was adduced as a reason for carrying this measure; but the very cause to which that tranquillity was ascribed ought to make the legislature more vigilant, They were told, that the power of priests was not so great as it had formerly been. His firm belief was, that the power was only dormant—that it could easily be called into full operation—that “it is not dead, but sleepeth.” He called on that house, he called on the legislature, not to resign the high situation which they now held, for the prospect of contingent advantages. He called on them not to fill with discontent the great body of protestants of England, Scotland, and Ireland, by concedin these demands. Fully impresse with the justice and policy of these sentiments, he begged leave to move, “that the word non, be left out, for the purpose of substituting this day six months.” The Marquis of Anglesey was anxious to offer a few words in explanation of the vote which he meant to give this night. That vote would undoubtedly be against the second reading of the bill now under consideration. He knew that, in taking this course, he opposed the sentiments of many of his friends, but, on the other hand, he had a duty to perform, which, however painful, he would conscientiously discharge. He had formerly given a different vote, but he felt that he might now, consistently with the course of proceeding which he had adopted on other occasions, oppose the breaking down of a most important barrier of the constitution. The change of circumstances, he conceived, fully admitted and justified his conduct. It appeared to him, that the different concessions made to the Roman-catholics had not been met by them with a corresponding spirit of conciliation. Each concession had given rise to new demands, and had tended only to produce restlessness and
dissatisfaction. Judging from the tone and language which had recently been used, it seemed to him that nothing short of catholic ascendancy would satisfy the catholic body. Allusion had been made to force—it had been almost threatened that the measure should be carried by force. Six to one had been spoken of, as the relative proportion. Now, if there must be a contest, (and the idea was most painful to him)—he repeated, if they were to be threatened with the opposition of 6,000,000 of men to 1,000,000—if the fight must come, he should like to meet it when the country was in the best possible situation — when peace prevailed on every side. Still he must say, that he was really and sincerely a friend to the Roman-catholics. He would grant them every relief that was proper, but he would take care to grant them nothing at the expense of the constitution. Seeing the necessity of upholding and maintaining the protestant ascendancy, he could not consent to any farther extension of political privileges to the Roman-catholics. With respect to the measures which were said to be connected with the bill now before the house, he would offer a very few remarks. He did not object to an alteration of the elective franchise in Ireland—it might probably be productive of good; neither did he object to making a provision for the catholic clergy; but he must be allowed to say, that if a protestant king paid a catholic clergy, he could see no reason why that protestant king should be excluded from all power in the appointment of a catholic bishop. He should now conclude, as his
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only object was to explain the ground on which he gave his vote on this occasion—that ground was, an anxious desire to support the existing establishment and the protestant constitution of this country. The Marquis Camden spoke in support of the bill. He entered into a statement of his proceedings when lord-lieutenant of Ireland in 1795. At that time he was commanded by his late Majesty to cause an inquiry to be instituted into the state of Ireland, and he could aver that there was, at that time, a strong desire on the part of the Irish government to attend to the claims of the catholics. He was so strongly imF. with this feeling, that he ad written a letter to Mr. Pitt, in order to show the necessity of a revision of the system. In 1797, his confidence was so great in the Roman-catholics, that he had stated it to be his opinion, that if an enemy had landed on the southwest coast of Ireland, the Romancatholics would have fought against him. If, from the passing of this bill, he saw the least possibility of danger, he certainly would oppose it.: but he felt no such alarm. It had been contended, and it was made a strong ground in support of these claims, that at the period of the union a promise had been given that they should be conceded. He was sure that every step taken on that occasion was correct; and he felt himself justified in saying that no pledge was then given to the Roman-catholics. He could assure their lordships that he felt a real love and affection for that country, in which, notwithstanding its occasional seasons of popular violence
and insubordination, he had passed many of the happiest hours of his life, owing to the intelligent society he had met in the higher circles, and the general good feeling that pervaded the lower classes. It was his earnest wish, that at so favourable a period as the present, every thing should be done that could with propriety be effected towards the conciliation of the Irish nation, which would doubtless be most grateful for a measure of such a nature as this. He had therefore felt it his duty, upon the best consideration he could give to this subject in all its bearings, and under the whole of the circumstances which surrounded the question, to deliver his senti
ments in favour of this bill. The Earl of Darnley concurred most cordially in the greater part of the observations that had fallen from his noble friend; and most especially in that declaration which his noble friend had so emphatically made, that the present was the time, if it was intended ever to concede these claims to the Roman-catholics of Ireland at all, at which the concession ought to be made. If their lordships were at any time to pass this important bill, they ought to pass it now, for never could they avail themselves of a more auspicious opportunity. With respect to what had fallen from the noble and gallant marquis (Anglesey), though he (Earl of Darnley) had the misfortune to differ in the most decided manner from the sentiments and principles advanced by him, yet he thought their lordships must admit, whatever might be their opinion in regard to those sentiments, that they could not have been delivered in a more ingenuous